Corkie Bolton and Christina of Habitual Mom go way back–like, college dorm way back–to a time where babies weren’t even a thought that crossed our minds and rather than midnight nursing, nights were spent working feverishly in the jewelry studio. Corkie introduced her line in 2016 after 14 years of jewelry making. A purist at heart, she believes in making heirloom quality, handmade products. Embracing the spirit of “community over competition”, Corkie launched Metalsmith Society in early 2018–an Instagram community where jewelers can share information, ask questions, and learn. She also teaches jewelry classes at The Steel Yard in Providence, Rhode Island.
All of her business running aside, she is a married mama of two amazing kids. We had a chat with Corkie recently to see how she does it all while staying grounded.
Tell us about yourself & your businesses!
I’m a stay at home mom of two and run my own jewelry business, Corkie Bolton Jewelry. I’m also the founder of Metalsmith Society which is an Instagram community for jewelers.
My jewelry line has been my passion for many years. Because beautiful handmade jewelry is a pretty saturated market, it pushes me to become a better jeweler and challenge myself. I may never “blow up”, but I’m perfectly content with the successes I’ve had so far!
Metalsmith Society is a project born out of the need for sharing information and connecting with other jewelers. While there are many singular talented jewelers on social media, Instagram in particular, there wasn’t a space for all jewelers to share their techniques, tips, and tricks, or to show off their work in a group setting. I’ve taught jewelry classes over the years and I’ve always been an open book in terms of helping other jewelers. I believe we all benefit from sharing information with one another and it’s good to have a support system when you need to troubleshoot. Metalsmith Society was born in 2018 and has grown exponentially within the last few months!
What is an average day for your family?
I start my day with a workout. I recently joined a Crossfit gym in Providence and I absolutely love the community there. Afterward, I return home to begin my day with my three-year-old and one-year-old. Usually, a show will be on for my older child so I will take this time to post the daily tip to the Metalsmith Society page and respond to messages, comments, and questions. I love making to-do lists in the morning as well because I’m juggling so much so I will often write one out. In the morning through the afternoon I play with my kids, bring them outside, run errands and visit with friends. When they go down for their afternoon naps I write emails, fulfill orders, work on future Instagram posts, photograph new designs, or anything else that needs my full attention. When they wake up we hang and I make dinner. After they go to bed around 8pm I often drive over to my studio in downtown Providence where I will do several hours of bench work. Some nights I hang with my husband or I veg out.
How do you balance motherhood and entrepreneurship, especially when you are providing a handmade product? You don’t sleep, right?
I have to create a schedule in order to succeed. If I know I only have six hours in the studio to do bench work in a given week I need to prioritize orders first, then experimentation (which I love to do). Also, I’ve learned to say no. If I don’t have the time to take on a project I decline.
You’re superwoman. What is the thing that stands out the most from the births of your children?
Their births were completely different. With my daughter Blake I pushed for three hours and then when they handed her to me she wasn’t crying and moving the way they wanted so they took her to the NICU and I didn’t get to see her for hours. With my son Dean I pushed for three minutes after a shorter but more intense labor and he came out screaming. I got to hold him straight away.
We know to have one kid changes everything… how did having your second baby, Dean, flip the script?
For me, I think it was an easy adjustment because I was so much more confident as a parent. I don’t fret about milestones or being prepared for every possible scenario the way I did the first time around.
What influences your jewelry aesthetic? How do you keep inspired among a room of plastic kids toys?
I always design for myself, if I’m honest. I want the aesthetic to be cool, and functionality is super important to me. Creating things that are long lasting, easy to wear and take on and off.
If you could take one day a week alone to do all things self-care, what would you do? Money is not an object.
After sleeping in (with earplugs and an eye mask) I would go grab a coffee (maybe two) at a beautiful cafe. Then I would do a personal training session with my favorite coach. After that, I would head to a spa for a massage and pedicure. Then a gorgeous lunch at my favorite spot. I would probably choose to spend some time in my studio because doing my own work feels like self-care since I dedicate most of my time to my kids.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you had children?
How hard it can be to be a mom, I would have been more compassionate to my own mom. It was so easy when I was a teenager to be hard on her, and unappreciative. Now that I’m a mom myself I see how hard this shit can be and I have a new level of respect for her.
Photos Courtesy of Corkie Bolton and Eastern Native.