GUITAR BUILDER FROM FOGO ISLAND, NEWFOUNDLAND
What does a day in your work life look like?
My days vary as far as what jobs I do in the shop, but I'm usually up by 7am, have 2 cups of half-caff coffee and breakfast and then I answer any emails that need answering. I try to be in the shop by 9am. Today I'll be carving X braces on a top and then gluing remaining braces. I'll also pull another set of sides that have already been bent and will get them in a frame to start the next guitar. I have lunch around noon and usually finish my day between 5-6pm. If there's a good flow happening in the shop I will work longer. I love this work because I'm doing something different every day, that suits my personality. I would find doing the same thing every day mundane.
What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?
Ten years ago, my oldest son, Taylor, was killed in a snowmobile accident. He was 18. I had a cleaning company at the time and after his death, I felt I needed something more fulfilling in my work. I had been a singer/songwriter for years with guitar being my instrument and had already built one guitar with Linda Manzer so I made the decision to take a guitar building course with Sergei de Jonge. I finished one guitar during that course and then had to take a year off due to some ligament issues in my hand. In 2013, I started my three-year apprenticeship with Linda and from there went on to do a one-on-one mentorship with Michel Pellerin. In 2017, I opened my own shop. It has been both tremendously fulfilling and healing.
What did you want to be when you were growing up, or a little kid?
The guitar building community is a very sharing group of people. I have always felt welcomed and comfortable being a part of this community dominated by men. I've never felt like I was judged or "couldn't do the job" because I'm a woman. I would highly recommend this craft to other women!
Who’s a role model who helped you in your journey to where you are?
Linda Manzer was my mentor for years and very instrumental in me being the builder I am today. Michel Pellerin was responsible for me really zeroing in on the sound of my instruments and gave me the confidence to open my own workshop.
What are the top five things that are always in your pockets?
Pencil, small ruler, exacto knife, white pencil, small square.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
Playing guitar and singing, reading, watching Netflix, having dinner with friends, walking/hiking.
How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?
Just do it! If you haven't done any woodworking before it can be daunting, I didn't have any experience working with wood when I started. Find the right teacher for you, that's so important, someone who respects you and wants to share their knowledge with you. Persevere. It's not an easy craft, but it's so rewarding if you push through the difficult parts and keep going. Mistakes are how we learn and it's inevitable, you will make mistakes so take a step back, figure out what went wrong and try again. If you can't figure out on your own what went wrong, ask for help.
If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?
Don't worry so much about what other people think.
What does workwear designed for women mean to you?
Workwear designed for women means pants that fit like they were made for me. They're comfortable, durable and they look great! The first time I put on a pair of Britt Utility pants, I knew these were what I would wear to work every day, well, until I put on a pair of Freshley overalls...now it's a combination. :) Knowing this clothing was designed by and for women tells me that a lot of thought and care went into that process. I also love the idea of supporting other women.