Meet the Maker - Sanctum Handmade

How did your business get its start? 

Sanctum Handmade started this past summer. I've always been a jewelry maker- Sage & Indie was my original company and I also started Luna Rayne Jewelry with my sister when we learned how to metalsmith. Jewelry making was and is something I truly love to do, but I realized that I needed to find a creative outlet that was more accessible for me as a mom of a small child. Metalsmithing is so fun and rewarding but it requires being in the studio due to the fumes and tools. The pieces I've been making for Sanctum Handmade allow me to work in house which has been a lot easier to manage while being a full-time stay-at-home-mom.  I had made some himmeli pieces years ago for my handmade jewelry display and it was always in the back of my mind as something I'd really like to pursue if the time was right. I made some himmeli air plant hangers over the summer and they sold very well at a few markets that I did. Macramé was an unexpected addition to my product line for Sanctum Handmade. My husband knew that I admired many macramé artists on Instagram and he bought me a spool of rope and a macramé how-to book as a little extra present for my birthday in June. By August when I hadn't opened the rope or the book yet, he guilted me into giving it a try and the rest is history! I made three plant hangers in one night and after that I was hooked! Adding macramé and fiber elements to my metal pieces really brought a unique spin to my work. I am really enjoying launching Sanctum Handmade so far- and I'm looking forward to seeing how my designs evolve over time.  


What motivates you as an artist and maker?

Tapping into my creativity has always been essential for me to maintain a sense of purpose and happiness in my life. I tried to use my business degree and work a 9-5 job but only lasted a year before deciding that my personal happiness was more important to me than building a career that my heart wasn't in.  I have been a self-employed maker for 7 years now. Knowing that I'm the only person in charge of my success is something that has always kept me motivated as a maker.  When you're running a handmade business you get to directly see the fruits of your labor.  Working in the handmade world for so long has taught me that constantly evolving, innovating, and learning new skills keeps things interesting for me as a maker as well as my customers. Another source of motivation for me has been to find role models in the handmade industry and truly study what has made them successful. Collecting gems of inspiration from talented established makers is invaluable to artists trying to break into a handmade career. Instagram is a perfect platform to find insight and inspiration from other makers- people share their work and also often give a view into what their process and business looks like behind the scenes.  It's truly a great time to be an artist- there is so much innovation happening all the time and staying dialed into your industry provides so much inspiration.  

Where did you grow up and where do you live and work now? What is your favorite part about living there?

I grew up in Toms River. After I graduated from The College of New Jersey I moved back home to Toms River for a few years. I met my now-husband through a mutual friend while at a concert at the Asbury Lanes. He was living in the Asbury Park area and I soon moved here to be with him. I love that Asbury Park is constantly evolving and developing- just in the five years I've lived here it's changed so much. New businesses and events start every year and it's such a refreshing community to be a part of- especially as a maker! I feel so fortunate to be close with the people behind the maker's markets in Asbury Park.  I'm friends with Jenny Vickers, the superwoman behind the Asbury Park Bazaar, and my husband (Bret Morgan) is the founder of Asbury Fresh Market. I've been a part of both of these amazing Asbury Park events since the very beginning (as a jewelry vendor). I feel very lucky that life brought me to this city by the sea- as it has truly fostered my creative career and given me so many amazing opportunities.


Walk us through a day in the life in your work space.

As a mom of an almost-two-year-old boy, life is pretty hectic for me as a business owner.  I try to squeeze in as much work during the day as I can (mostly during nap times) but generally my real "work day" starts at about 10 PM every night, and lasts as long as I can keep my eyes open!  Having limited time has definitely made me focus on productivity- I'm always trying to optimize my processes.  I use my garage jewelry setup for all metal cutting and drilling, and the fiber work and himmeli construction happens anywhere I can find a comfy spot- the living room or playroom are my current favorites.  I am looking forward to moving into a bigger house this year so I can officially have a separate space dedicated to my work.  I tend to scatter my supplies throughout my house (just ask my husband!) so having a workshop will get me more organized.  


What kinds of products will you be offering at the holiday bazaar?

At the holiday Bazaar I'll be selling various geometric himmeli designs- with air plants and vases, as well as macramé wall art and plant hangers.  I'm going to have some pretty macramé and himmeli Christmas Tree ornaments and garlands too! 


What are you most looking forward to at the Asbury Park Bazaar this Holiday Season?

I'm so excited for the Asbury Park Bazaar this year because it's my first holiday season with Sanctum Handmade and also because it's going to be so much bigger than previous years with the addition of the Convention Hall space.  I'll be selling in the Hall portion of the Bazaar for 4 of my 5 dates at the Bazaar.  I can't wait to see how it's decorated!  I also love decorating my tent for the holidays too.  This year I'll have a mini tree since I'm selling ornaments! 


Why should people shop small / shop local for the holidays and year round for that matter?

Shopping small and local is so important for so many reasons!  Firstly, you're circulating money in your community instead of handing it to a corporation, so real people are directly benefitting.  You're allowing someone to follow their dreams and create their art through your support.  You're seeing where your products are coming from and not contributing to the often unfair labor practices.  You're purchasing unique pieces instead of mass produced items.  Consumerism actually turns into an incredibly positive thing when we shift to a smaller and more local environment.


What is your favorite holiday tradition?

It's hard to pick one favorite thing about Christmas.  I love decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music from Black Friday on, spending time with family, and giving and receiving gifts.  

Marguerite Chavez