Meet Our New San Diego Chapter Co-Leaders!

I am so excited to introduce to you our two San Diego Chapter co-leaders, Richelle and Gini. They are both incredibly talented makers who are eager to support other makers in their businesses. If you live in San Diego, you can keep up with the chapter on Instagram at @sd.ahas and check out the incredible things they are up to. If you are interested in starting a chapter near you, you can fill out the form found here.

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you make!
A: My name is Richelle and I am the brains, beauty, and talent behind Red Scorpio Handmade. I am a jewelry artist, and I specialize in custom photo keepsake jewelry.

It started in 2009 when the company where I'd worked for over 20 years suddenly went out of business. I opened a small art studio with my sister where we offered walk-in make & take crafts and also taught workshops. The most popular workshop was making bamboo-tile bracelets. I fell in love with them, and started making them for myself and as gifts, and it just grew from there.

Q: Tell us about ways you've been working with makers already?
A: I've been networking with makers online, and through CreativeLive, which is my obsession.

Q: Why are you excited to start the Academy of Handmade chapter in San Diego?
A: I am really excited because I've spent the past 3 years holed up in my studio, making product and running my business online. My main contact with the outside world has been online, or when I visit the CreativeLive studios, so I am very happy to be involved with this fabulous group of makers in real life!

Q: Share a little about what you love about the handmade community in San Diego.
A: My favorite thing about the handmade community here in San Diego is that it hasn't really been established yet, but we're starting to grow. The East Village and Barrio Logan are beginning to bloom as artists' enclaves. Academy of Handmade has an opportunity to shape this new community into something cohesive and supportive. I'm hoping we can get something going similar to what's happening in the San Francisco handmade community, where makers have an attitude of abundance and support.

Q: What's your favorite thing about San Diego?
A: I am a second-generation Native San Diegan, so my whole family lives here, which I love. Then there's the amazing natural beauty of San Diego. Beaches, mountains, deserts, canyons: we've got it all!

Q: Where can people find you online?
A: You can find me at

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you make!
Hello, I am Gini (it's pronounced like Gin of Gin and Tonic with an "e" on the end).  I am the owner/maker behind Dulce Diego, purveyor of handcrafted parties, gifts, and provisions.

Parties—I make all of the party decorations, piñatas, favors, and signage for themed events.

Gifts & Provisions—I make Mexicana inspired pillows, bags, accessories, aprons, kitchen linens, and candles.  I am expanding my selections to include more and more paper crafts.  All of our gifts are themed around holidays, with a particular nod to Dia de los Muertos throughout the year.

I grew up in a house of makers.  My mom was/is a master sewer and crochet queen (her work is throughout my business!).  My sisters were toll painters in the 1990s, then mixed it up with calligraphy. So there really was no way I was going to escape my inevitable craftiness.

I have always been in love with paper.  During college I found a useful outlet for obsession: party supplies.  Partly driven by college-related poverty and partly out of family craftiness, I began making all of my own party supplies.  I made everything from the invitations and decorations to the food and favors.  By graduate school, I had amassed a small posse of friends who worked tirelessly for pizza and wine creating every intricate detail for themed parties.  It got more intense over time and culminated in a 32 page “guide” of how to set up my wedding so that nearly all of the guests pitched in.  Several half-baked attempts at getting a party supply business going, I realized it was never going to happen if I didn’t go all in.

I draw my inspiration from Mexican folk art.  I grew up in Southern California, surrounded by Mexican American and Mexican cultures and my love of the vibrancy and craftsmanship grew over the years.  I moved to Texas for 10 years where I found even more Mexican American arts and crafts.  Then I lived in Boston where I savored any tiny speck of Mexican culture and frequently had to create my own versions.  Finally, back home in California, I am so thrilled to be surrounded by a constant source of inspiration for my work.

Q: Tell us about ways you've been working with makers already.
I have been lucky enough to meet some amazingly talented people over the years.  Virtually all of my work is collaborative in nature.  I have a posse of pals who are incredibly talented and provide feedback and support for my endeavors, and vice versa.  I am super excited to pass along information or knowledge that would help support another maker.  I also love working with makers in teams where we have a set goal to complete.

Q: Why are you excited to start the Academy of Handmade chapter in San Diego?
I have really missed being a part of a community organized around one of my life’s passions.  Working alone (or with my mama) can frequently isolate you from the knowledge, experience, and camaraderie of other makers.  I love reassuring people that they are contributing to the maker community and helping them accomplish their goals even if it is just through moral support.  I am so excited to meet new makers, see their amazing crafts, and build community!

Q: Share a little about what you love about the handmade community in San Diego.
We recently launched the San Diego chapter of AHAS and were thrilled to meet so many local makers who are also remarkable people.  Virtually all of the San Diego makers have a significant philanthropic thread woven into their making process.  I am so looking forward to our community as it grows, evolves, and builds.

Q: What's your favorite thing about San Diego?
I think my years trapped in either a desert or the frigid New England winters, I will say the weather.  It truly is remarkable and I have missed it in my time away from San Diego.  I believe it makes San Diegans happier and I know it makes me happy.

Q: Where can people find you online?
Etsy Shop:
Instagram: @dulcediegosd
Twitter: @dulcegini