For our March issue, I had the privilege of talking with Charlotte Leavitt, an intriguing and amazingly talented jewelry maker from Portland, ME. After leaving her loan officer day job, she started a business handcrafting pendants, belt buckles, cuff links, etc. using nautical chart cutouts of customers' favorite coastal spots–all sealed with boaters resin. How cool is that!? Below, she describes her typical day (sounds like Nirvana to me!). Visit her website at chartmetalworks.com to learn more.
Courtesy of Reena Bammi
A Day in the Life of Artist Charlotte Leavitt
"Alarm goes off. In my previous corporate life, I would already be driving to work. I would already have tried for one more minute of sleep, which would have turned into 10 more minutes. I would have dilly dallied on my hair so that I had no time to fix my lunch. But now I’m on my own schedule, so I hit the snooze for another 15 minutes."
"Get dressed. No nylons or uncomfortable shoes (I wore Uggs all day yesterday). No tight fitting jackets (my fleece is more comfortable). No struggling to decide between pants or skirts (it’s jeans every day)."
"Riley and I head to my studio on foot. It’s a 15-minute stroll from our condo, and it’s one of the favorite parts of my day. Riley knows the way by heart and once we cross over to the wharf he gets excited to greet the sea gulls and stray cats good morning. I take in my beautiful city of Portland with one deep breath, loving its brick lined sidewalks and lovely old storefronts."
Behind her studio, courtesy of Charlotte Leavitt.
"We arrive at the studio. I check my email, collect phone messages, and review my “to do” list from yesterday. For much of the day, I work from my computer, sending proofs to customers, responding to questions, making calls, and updating my blog."
"Meet my friend Jen, a talented local jeweler, for coffee. I try to get together with someone once a week. In my corporate life, this was called a ‘waste of time.’ Turns out it’s exactly what I need. We discuss business strategy and staying true to our creative passion."
"Back at the studio. My fiancé and business partner, John, is sorting through jewelry pieces that were poured with resin from late yesterday. They do into two categories: ones ready for finishing (polishing and spiffing up) and pieces that need another coat of resin."
"A phone call comes in from a customer. She wants to know if it’s possible to make a necklace with a map of Higgins Beach, ME. I say yes, and we chat for a bit about this wonderful place."
"Time to make sales calls for potential wholesale accounts that would land my jewelry pieces in stores on the east coast. It’s what is going to carry my business forward!"
"I check in with John to see how his day is going. He is busy preparing orders and mailing them at the postbox at the end of our street."
"Now, it’s jewelry-making time. I wait until the end of the day when our polishing tools are no longer running and kicking up dust (and when I don’t have to answer phone calls. I can’t talk once the resin is mixed together because it starts curing right away!). I place the image in a pendant frame and pour the resin (a messy process!) overtop. I wait for sneaky air bubbles to surface so I can pop them with my needle."
"The pour is done. It looks beautiful. I grab my camera to snap a few pictures for a blog post tomorrow."
Courtesy of David Hillegas
Courtesy of David Hillegas
"I check the time and contemplate dinner. John and I wrap things up at the studio and head home with Riley for dinner and a relaxing night. As we make our way back through the streets of our fabulous town, John is on his iPhone checking emails that have come in since we left. I smile; Mr. Bluebird is singing happily on my shoulder."