Grant helps anime-inspired artist

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

After what seems to be a busy summer, Los Alamos High School senior Leia Roach, of Mush Crafts is getting down to business.
The anime-inspired artist has built a business around her SPARK, creating jewelry and plush animals, made specifically for her clients.  
“Last year, I started making plushes with my friend and we thought people would enjoy them,” Roach said.
The idea drove her to etsy.com/shop/.mushcrafts, which allows her to sell to online shoppers, looking for a gift.
Mush Crafts jewelry starts out as a hand-drawn piece of art. Roach is happy to take suggestions from customers and create custom orders, during the creative process.
Roach applied for the Youth Business Grant Program and found the interview panel to be relaxed and welcoming.
“The people were friendly,” Roach said. “They all seemed interested.”
She received a $100 grant, which she and a friend used to acquire a booth space at the Albuquerque Comic Expo in June.
“It was an interesting experience and our neighboring booths were very friendly,” Roach said. “I sold $75 worth of my products. Other booth vendors told us that for a first time, the booth did well.”  
The creation of Mush Crafts won’t be just for the summer. This is only the beginning and with determination and skill, the crafty creator will begin to prepare for the holiday season.
Her crafts include a variety of plush animals and earrings and buttons, including Batman and Captain America pieces, in addition to anime creations.
Roach will continue with Key Club and an anime club at Los Alamos High School, during her senior year.
Her passions, in addition to art, include science and animals. She is still pondering her plans for after graduation and is drawn to film and animation.
Perhaps one day her name will be on the credits of a Pixar movie and the community will know that she got her start with a little help from the Los Alamos Youth Business Grant Program.
To see a list of the 2012 grant recipients, visit to  ybgp.com.
You can find everything from pet sitting and babysitting to yard maintenance and crafts.