Rachel Guery, center, and her mother, Melanie Guery, left, talk with a customer of Three Sisters Pie Co. at the Hitching Lot Farmers Market on Saturday. Every week at the market Guery sells tiny "pielets," macarons, cold brew and home-made syrups. Photo by: Victoria Cheyne/Dispatch Staff
June 24, 2019 9:20:17 AM
Rachel Guery has always been good with her hands.
The Columbus baker and coffee connoisseur, who owns and runs Three Sisters Pie Co. on Main Street, grew up baking her mother's recipes and learning "lab technique" in her childhood kitchen, where she spent a lot of time as a home-schooled kid.
She started with tiny "tea cake" sugar cookies, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and then pecan pie and banana nut bread, a recipe passed down from her grandmother.
Meals were cooked at home every day and help in the kitchen was encouraged, Guery's mother, Melanie Guery, said. At her grandmother's house nearby, something sweet was always in the oven.
Guery claims she can't cook, but she said baking comes naturally.
"It's always been a part of my life," she said.
Guery took her mother's recipes and updated them with new flavors and tweaks here and there, although she admits butter -- just shy of two cups' worth -- is never absent from any of her spinoffs.
And now the student has become the teacher, Guery's mother said.
"She does it much better (than me)," Melanie said.
Outside the kitchen, Guery makes art just for fun.
After changing her major a couple times, Guery found her way into the art department while attending the Mississippi University for Women. She emphasized her studies in painting and drawing, although she tended to experiment with other media.
"I pretended to be an artist," Guery said.
A memorable project is a chair she welded together from odds and ends gathered from around her parents' farm between Columbus and Starkville. The chair now sits in their home.
"My teacher gave me a B on it, and I'll never forget it," Guery said.
She also developed a "mild obsession" with garden gnomes while in college, after one was stolen from her yard. The result was gnome-centered pieces, including a print of a color-blocked gnome's silhouette, that now hangs in her shop, and a graphic of Grant Wood's iconic painting "American Gothic," but with gnomes standing in place of the two people.
Now she makes art whenever she's feeling creative. Guery said she crafted her way through a dream catcher "phase" last year. She learned how to figure the pieces from Pinterest posts.
Running her business and planning her wedding has consumed most of her time, but she said she's working to set boundaries for a work-life balance. She's begun tinkering in the garden and is proud of her makeshift greenhouse in front of her shop.
Guery said her father has "the greenest thumb ever." Growing up, she learned the basics from tending to raised beds in his garden. Now she's returning to her roots.
She doesn't know the scientific classifications and technical names of what she's nestled in the flower boxes, pots and hanging planters framing her store's visage. She simply finds what she likes and plants it.
Guery said she knows that the work she physically figures herself, whether it be plants in the garden, mini "pielets" in the shop or gnome prints on the side, will be some of her best.
"I know that I'm good with it, so I'll continue that, but it's also very fulfilling to be like, 'Yeah, I did that,'" she said.
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