By ARDEN BASTIA Tucked in the Fellini Pizzeria plaza in Pawtuxet Village is a new oasis of healing energy and art made with love. Anchored Soul, a new business at 2190 Broad St., Unit 11, in Cranston, is the culmination of Alana Almonte's hard work and
Tucked in the Fellini Pizzeria plaza in Pawtuxet Village is a new oasis of healing energy and art made with love.
Anchored Soul, a new business at 2190 Broad St., Unit 11, in Cranston, is the culmination of Alana Almonte’s hard work and creativity, as she opens her new storefront.
Through Anchored Soul, Almonte creates mixed media and sculpture art by repurposing local shells, driftwood, seaglass, beach rocks, crystals and more to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
“When I first got into this, I thought it would just be a custom order thing,” Almonte said in an interview on Monday. “But I didn’t think I was capable, honestly, until the people in the village and the Gapee Arts & Crafts Festival were asking me about a store. And then arts and crafts festival after arts and crafts festival, people continued to ask me. It was the feedback and community that really pushed me to do it.”
She launched her business on Facebook in February 2018, and quickly found she was providing unique art in high-demand.
“I started my business on Facebook, and it’s what saved me through the pandemic,” Almonte said. Her small business grew online through her Facebook page, Instagram, word-of-mouth, and presence at fairs.
But Almonte isn’t just an artist. She is also a Reiki master teacher, a dental hygienist and a mom.
Almonte received her Reiki certification in 2016 and continued on to get a certification as a Reiki master teacher.
“Before I started my business, the thing that really got me to consider opening a business was my experience with Reiki,” said Almonte in an interview on Monday. “It just opened me up to this world of being an entrepreneur and my mindset was focused on clearing the air and the energy and getting back to my roots of what I really enjoy.”
Reiki is a Japanese form of alternative medicine called energy healing, and involve the transfer of universal energy from the practitioner’s palms to their patient.
“There’s a cool combination of Reiki in all of my art. I infuse all of my artwork with Reiki energy, even the healing crystals,” she explained. “We are energetic begins; we are comprised of energy and are most certainly affected by it.”
Almonte offers Reiki services at Anchored Soul, and even does trainings for those wanting to learn the ancient art of energy healing.
Almonte also offers art workshops through Anchored Soul, and did so throughout the pandemic.
“Especially during the pandemic, if I didn’t create, I don’t know where I would be,” she said.
Last summer, Almonte transformed her home garage into an art studio where each month, she offered a new art workshop. Attendees had the chance to make Zen flowers from driftwood, seashells, and Reiki-charged crystals.
Almonte said these workshops helped her get the word out about Anchored Soul, and built her clientele.
“I would post the workshop on Facebook and post pictures. Everyone saw it on social media and they’re like, ‘Oh, we want to do one!’” she said. “So if I didn’t do that, I don’t know how I would have maintained anything. Because it was tough, but you just had to get creative, and that’s my life.”
The transition from online business to storefront is a big one, but Almonte is excited for the possibilities.
“Seeing people in person, that’s more my thing,” she said. “I’m also a dental hygienist so I’m used to the one on one interaction with people,” she said. “And having a physical space where I get to meet the person and tell them about the arts is so much better to me than trying to show you a picture and explain step by step what I did or why I did what I did in a description. I feel like being able to meet the people, and see them connect with a piece the way I have really makes me feel a little bit better when I let them go.”
Almonte has a personal attachment to each of her pieces, as each one is carefully and intentionally crafted. When she can, Almonte personally selects each seashell, piece of seaglass and driftwood from beach shores to use in her artwork, and lets the natural pieces inspire her art.
“I always tell people I can’t take all the credit. I have a lot of little elves that go and they grab things for me, but I do like to handpick them myself,” she said. “And there’s something special about that too, of picking it up and saying ‘Wow, I see this could be a beautiful dress,’ or something I have to make into a project.”
Opening a storefront in Pawtuxet Village seems only right, as Almonte grew up just down the road.
“I feel like this has always been my place. My grandmother’s lived here for 65 years, and my family’s been included in the Gaspee Days Committee since the beginning of time,” she said.
Almonte currently lives in Exeter with her husband, David, and two daughters, ages 4 and 6.
Just like their mother, Almonte says her daughters love all things art.
“They don’t stop coloring. There are markers out from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Almonte said, laughing. “I don’t push it, but they’re definitely like me.”
Almonte is looking forward to celebrating both the soft open and grand opening of Anchored Soul.
Anchored Soul will have a soft open on Wednesday, May 5, and a grand opening celebration on Saturday, May 22, at 3 p.m.
The grand opening will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins, along with live music and refreshments from local restaurants.
Because of the success of her business, Almonte is no longer working as a dental hygienist. “It’s just meant to be, it’s my life’s purpose. If you’re doing what you love and should be doing, it’s all going to fall into place easily. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, but it’s just natural.”
Anchored Soul officially opens to the public on May 5 at 2190 Broad St. in Cranston. For more information about workshops, trainings, or custom orders, follow Anchored Soul on Facebook, contact Alana at (401) 316-6401, or visit anchoredsoulri.com.
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