When Marianna Urrutia graduated from her master’s program in architecture at the University of Houston, the recession had already begun. Undeterred, the native San Antonian found a way to use her skills and passion. “I took it as a clue to experiment and explore,” Urrutia says. “I’d already been very crafty and part of being in interior design and architecture was about being very elegant.” Today Urrutia is the creator of her own line of handmade items called ChickRocks. Her most popular items for sale are the jewelry and paper goods, which are each uniquely designed by Urrutia herself.
“My physical models in grad school were always well-crafted, and as a teen I enjoyed making friendship bracelets,” says Urrutia, “but I wanted to explore and be more modern.” Characteristic to ChickRocks accessories are the modern combination of colors and textures. While Urrutia tends to stick to the same color palettes, her items are still one of a kind. The two-inch bobby pins, for example, feature orange and yellow polka dots against a white background. But they are also made with silver tone and vintage Lucite, which gives the jewelry a clean and elegant look. For Urrutia, it’s not just about the “less is more” factor, but also “quality over quantity.”
Her journals are made from scratch, and the most in-demand greeting cards feature ChickRocks’ signature wiggly one-eyed monster, reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are. Just as the line began with a recession, it ends with perfect pricing. The mini cards start at a dollar, with the rest of the paper goods priced at no more than $8. The jewelry, such as the bobby pins, start at $4. Items can be purchased through the online shop at chickrocks.com, Etsy, or at the D.I.Y. Factory on San Pedro Avenue, as well as Pulquerios on South Alamo.