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Luthier Rachel Rosenkrantz's Quarantine Daily Routine Keeps Her Strumming Along

For some, the extra “me-time” enforced by COVID-19 has led to a discovery of new skills or a focus on comforting pastimes. (Baking, anyone?) Master luthier Rachel Rosenkrantz is turning her attention to yoga and CNC machining—the former for relaxation, the latter of necessity.

With vendors closed, she’s learning how to produce things that she once farmed out. “I believe it’s the return of the cottage industry,” she says. In this video, Rosenkrantz shares what her workday looks like and how she stays sane and productive in quarantine.

[Video Transcript]

Rachel Rosenkrantz, Master Luthier: Hi, my name is Rachel Rosenkrantz. I’m a master luthier living in Rhode Island.

What’s your best work-from-home tip?
Routine. Make sure you wake up on time, that you don’t stay in pajamas for too long. And just to have a sense of rhythm helps to keep the ball rolling.

Do you have any best tech tips for remote working?
In my industrial-design days, we were working remote all the time. I feel like I apply what I’ve learned in industrial design to what I do now. I’ve been able to work on many projects in the past with people I’ve never gotten to meet. And it was possible, so why not again?

How do you optimize your home office?
Figuring out the balance between what’s actually the physical work versus digital work. At the end of the day, it feels good to get stuff done. And when it’s just a lot of emails and all the meetings, even though a lot of things were done, it doesn’t feel like it. And, honestly, that affects my mood. So I need to make sure that physically I can see the progress on my workbench; then, I’m, like, okay.

How do you stay inspired when physically confined?
Right now, I would say it’s my sketchbook and what I have in my head—sketching mechanically without thinking, just in a very meditative way. Then, something can get unlocked and have an epiphany moment and start to actually solve problems that way.

How do you recharge while you are working from home?
I go on my deck. I’m lucky to have a little bit of outdoor space. I play music. I started to pick up yoga. I thought I would like it, but I realized I like it more than I anticipated.

How do you implement structure when working from home?
I don’t go to bed until my next day is figured out. I’ve been doing that only for the last year. I wish I’d done that way sooner. Because the next day you get up, and you already own your day. You don’t start saying, “Oh, I should do this. No, maybe I should do that.” And you turn into a hummingbird, and then it’s 10 a.m.

How are you shifting or pivoting your work to respond to the pandemic?
I made 40 face shields last week, and I dropped off 34 to a nursing home in Pawtucket. 

My customer base is musicians, and musicians currently are not really working because there are no events, there are no festivals, there are no concerts. As far as vendors, they’re closed. So, I started to learn how to use a CNC machine, and I’m getting a laser cutter. I need to be able to produce things that I cannot farm out. I believe it’s the return of the cottage industry, what we’re experiencing right now.

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