Please join me in welcoming Chris from Future Pearl Company. Chris and her husband, Bernie, live in Maine and make some pretty darned gorgeous pearl jewelry. Chris recently answered the following questions from me.
Me: The little snippet of your story that you have on your website is so romantic sounding, "Born by the sea, met on an island, married on a boat and we make our life on the coast of Maine. Water has always been a strong presence for us, perhaps this is why we are so attracted to pearls." Care to briefly fill in a few of the details?
Chris: I was born in City Island ( Bronx, NY ) and Bernie in Rhode Island, we met on Martha's Vineyard, were married on Great Cranberry Isl. ME and to be totally schmaltzy… Bernie's last name translated means "of the island"! We both love the ocean & need the salty air to breath. Living on the coast of Maine is a dream come true, we were so fortunate to raise our family here and to continue to make our life here. The Damariscotta River is a tidal river and we happily moor our boat there. We enjoy the river and spend a lot of time on her from May til October. It's so peaceful & re-energizing.
Me: My favorite piece on your site is the Damariscotta Coin Pearl ring. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for that one?
Chris: Our coin pearl ring will celebrate it's 10th b-day this year! Hard to believe. Originally, I sketched an idea I had for the ring, with none of the practical design worked out…I always leave that to Bernie, he is amazing when it comes to structural/functional design. So, it is a collaboration piece, but I really have to credit Bernie, as he makes each ring. The process sounds simple, but is actually quite time consuming. Each pearl is drilled, and riveted in place, we only use the highest quality pearls as they have to with stand the hammering process, they are each unique & we are proud to say very affordable still after all these years, the price has not changed that much.
Me: Can you find pearls locally in Maine? Or do you have to have them sent from somewhere else?
Chris: No, the pearls we work with are not available in Maine, we source them from many places. The Damariscotta River does however boast one of the very best Oysters in the world. Yes, the world! Have you tried them?
Me: If some of my favorite writers are to be believed, winter in Maine can be brutal. How are you faring this winter? Any brilliant new designs planned for the spring?
Chris: Maine Winters can be tough, but we live in a vibrant community with so much happening, it's sometimes difficult to choose what to do! Theater, the award winning Skidompha Library, numerous classes, live music, lectures, great year round restaurants & shops and the opportunities available for volunteering are extensive. Also, we are just an hour north of beautiful Portland & a half hour South of Rockland, both small cities with beautiful museums, restaurants, & shops. Boston, a mere 3 hour drive or quick train ride.
That said, staying motivated when it's cold & snowy can be tough, but that's Winter everywhere, right? We closed our retail shop in January to focus solely on Future Pearl Company. It was a huge job to close the shop after 6.5 years, we also moved our studio home, so that meant re-organization & lots of building work, which we decided to go a bit crazy with…walls came down, dead trees were sourced from our meadow to reappear as beams in our home ( something had to hold up the ceiling when the walls came down ) rooms painted and a second design/photo studio added. Lot's of fun details. Our children are grown so we decided to design our living space to suit our new life as empty nesters. We love the result. Still lots to do, but we missed the studio, so yes, we are energized & have lots of ideas coming up.
Chris has generously agreed to give away one sterling silver Damariscotta Coin Pearl Ring. To win, go visit Future Pearl Company and come back and leave a comment about your favorite item. I'll choose a winner next Wednesday!