WHAT SHE DOES FOR MONEY: "Money? What's that? 40+ hours a week I'm at school. I'm studying Preservation Carpentry at North Bennet Street School, the oldest trade school in the country. This summer I'll be at Historic Harrisville in New Hampshire, working to preserve buildings on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks in an old mill town!"
WHAT SHE DOES FOR LOVE: "I love old people and I love old things. I love to refinish old furniture. That's how I started on this path of craft. I love the thrill of the hunt for my next piece at antique shops, flea markets, estate sales, and the side of the road on garbage day. I have a serious travel bug; there are few places on Earth I wouldn't go. I also like to geocache, play rummy, gather random groups of people together, sit around bonfires, and take advantage of a good beer and an Indian summer."
HER STYLE: "I swapped my Manolos for a pair of Timbs."
HER 2015 GOALS: "I want to improve my skills on a lathe. By Christmas I want to be turning all sorts of gifts. I'd also like to expand my social circle here in Boston. Making new friends as a mildly introverted adult is a difficult process. I want to have more close friends here than I do fingers to count them on."
A LADY SHE ADMIRES: "Allison Killeen, my neighbor back in Buffalo. She's a nurse and mother of four boys, the youngest being Jimmy who has significant disabilities. She was a strong source of support when I was applying to North Bennet, not only for me but for my parents as well. Allison always has a lot on her plate, yet she found time to be one of my biggest cheerleaders. When I was wait-listed for six weeks, she’d come over to see the progress on my furniture projects and insist that I not listen to the doubt that began to creep in. She is a beautiful woman whose radiant spirit and unwavering encouragement is never far from my mind."
ON CHALLENGES SHE'S OVERCOME: "Letting go has been a recurring hurdle to jump. Knowing when. Learning how. Also, keeping the ego quiet."
ON HOW SHE FOUND HER CRAFT: "No one wanted to spend the money to redecorate our seasonal cottage but I couldn't stand looking at the tired hodgepodge of furniture we had any longer. So I bought myself an orbital sander and a good paint brush. It turned out so well I just kept doing it and eventually started my own business working out of my parent’s garage. The passion for saving antiques got stronger, but the challenge of it dwindled. I needed to take on bigger projects. That led me to North Bennet, where we learn to preserve and restore 17/18/19th century buildings."
ON WORKING IN A MALE-DOMINATED FIELD: "Men certainly dominate this field. But in my class of 13 students, four of us are women; a ratio the program has never had. There is a feminine presence felt in the group, and it tips the scales a bit. We simply approach projects in a different way. We understand that attention to the finer details requires more time. We are less willing to sacrifice quality; perfection cannot be rushed. Outside of the school environment, I find it takes people a bit longer to take me seriously. Some are intimidated. Others hold me to a reduced standard. But never once have I been told I cannot do this as well as any man. And I very much enjoy the look of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them what I do. I am in a specialized trade with a prestigious education to back me up. The fact that I am a woman generates a greater interest in my work, and as someone applying for internships and jobs, what could be better? Most people I meet think what I’m doing is 'awesome' and I agree."
WISDOM FOR FELLOW LADY GUNS: "Know thyself."