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Behind the Scenes with Marcie McGoldrick from Martha Stewart

Mar 31, 2009

by Vanessa Bertozzi

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Whether you’re a casual crafter or a full time artisan, Marcie McGoldrick’s job can seem like a fantasy. As the Editorial Director for Holiday and Crafts at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Marcie develops new projects for Martha’s magazines and books and recently launched the new Crafts Dept. blog. We spoke with her about the day-to-day work at the Crafts Department, as well as their new, beautifully designed, thoroughly — tantalizingly — massive book, Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts. We hope you enjoy the inside scoop! We’ll be mailing out free copies of the book to the first 5 people who comment with their favorite craft technique below (special extra surprise Martha Stewart Crafts products to the first)!

From Marcie’s bio…
Name: Marcie McGoldrick
Job Title: Editorial Director, Crafts and Holiday
Date started at company: May, 1999
First story: Paper Bag Luminarias, Weddings, Fall 2002
Hometown: Oreland, Pa
Education: Pratt Institute (MID) Masters Industrial Design
First Job: Babysitter
Astrological sign: Virgo
Personal crafting/artwork: Ceramics, marciemcgoldrick.com
First craft memory: Not positive but I think it included pasta as beads
Things you collect: Eva Zeisel Dishes, Blown Glass

FAVORITE . . .
Color (Pantone): Pantone #185
Holiday: Halloween
Pizza topping: Mushrooms
Kind of Fabric: Linen
Dessert: Chocolate
Source: Ceramic Supply of New York and New Jersey
Craft Disaster: Mold making mishap ended up having latex oozing out everywhere.

Here’s our Etsy interview with Marcie. Read on!

Since you’re the holidays editor at Martha Stewart, we have to ask: What’s the first holiday craft project you remember making as a little girl? Can you recommend any fun Easter themed or Mother’s Day projects to our readers?

I remember making wreath ornaments with crumbled shredded wheat, glue and red hots as embellishments/berries – I think that my Mom still has it and it makes an annual appearance on the tree.  Dyeing eggs is also a pretty dominant memory – I think that my hands were rainbow colored for days after.

I recommend our Easter Web Workshop (March 23rd – April 11th) for Easter ideas. For Mother’s Day I recommend a handmade card – whether you make it yourself or buy it. I like the screen-printed cards from foxyandwinston. She has Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards that are pretty cute.

As far as gifts go, I always wanted to embroider my Mom a Mother’s Day gift – I will try to accomplish that this year.

Thanks for the advance copy of Encyclopedia of Crafts. I have to admit that before I got it I was anticipating it being about 10 inches thick! There’s something so satisfyingly ambitious about an encyclopedia. Can you tell us how and when the idea for the project first started?

You’re welcome – hope that you like it.

We started working on the book about a year and a half ago. It is an encyclopedia of techniques from A-Z. The book is structured so that you learn the basics of different craft techniques, as well as the tools and supplies involved. Then you get projects that incorporate what you have learned. It is really based on our history of crafts – so of course there are chapters on making wreaths, quilling, decoupage, soap making, botanical printing, paper punching pom-poms and more.Cover_Encyclopedia_of_Crafts_2.jpg

Which craft projects didn’t make the cut? Did you have to edit many things out? Any craft orphans out there that didn’t make it into the book but that you totally love?

That is a tough one – I think we are hoping that this is the first of many books – so hopefully we won’t have any orphans.

How did you choose the projects for the book? You were dipping into the impressively deep archive of MS magazines, right? Do you have a sense of which projects have been readers’ favorites over the years?

We identified the techniques first and then from there picked projects that were the most compelling – while trying to give a good range of skill and scale.

On Etsy, it’s inspiring to see all the creative variations on craft techniques spiraling off ad infinitum. Are you all over at MSLO keeping an eye out for how crafters are putting their own spin on projects from the book?

The reason that we structured the book by technique was so that people could learn the how-to and then incorporate that into their own projects – so I think that we will definitely be on the look out for some new twists. From time to time readers send us photos of their projects and it is always really fun to see what people do. If any of you are interested in sharing with us we would love to hear from you. Our e-mail is thecraftsdept@marthastewart.com.

You are heading up the new crafting blog, TheCraftsDept.MarthaStewart.com. Where did the idea for the blog start?

We thought that a blog would be a great way to share some of the other aspects of the craft department that don’t always make it onto the pages of the magazine — behind the scenes, inspiration, personal work etc. We also thought that it would be a great way to be a more active part of the crafting community as a whole. We are all pretty active as individuals but there is a different dynamic to the department as a group.

How many people work in the crafts department? What are their backgrounds? Do you all just know how to make everything or do people have their specialties?

There are seven of us in the Living craft department, and then there are four at the TV show, and six or so that work on Martha Stewart Crafts. All of the different areas will have a presence on the blog, so you really are getting all aspects of our craft world.

The crafters have pretty diverse backgrounds — you can’t go to college and major in crafts – if you could I probably would have. I have a Masters in Industrial Design, and we have sculpture majors, fashion and textile majors, fine art majors, and at one point we even had a lawyer.

What we all have in common is our passion for making things. We definitely have people specialize in some things like knitting, sewing, etc. but many times someone’s desire to learn a new craft is what makes it into a story. The specialties really come into play when you are in need of assistance when developing. It is really great to ask the person who gilded 200 ornaments for a Christmas tree if they have any helpful hints – chances are they do.

Can you describe your workspace a bit? Many crafters would consider this is sort of a crafting paradise! Can talk about how editors come up with ideas and test projects?

We just moved after being in the same space for 15 years. We did a major clean up and re-organization as part of the move – the first few blog entries talk a lot about our space and how it is organized. There are also quite a few photo galleries that give you a pretty good sense of the space. Our new workroom is really great: it is open and has windows along one whole side overlooking the Hudson. The reality for those who envision a meticulous spotless workroom is that, as organized as we try to be, with seven people working on a variety of projects at any given time, there is always an element of chaos. It is an inspiring chaos provided that you can still find what you need!

Our story ideas come from different places. Many of our Holiday stories are inspired by the vintage world; sometimes we want to put a modern twist on a traditional technique, and sometimes we are inspired by a material and want to explore its potential. When developing a story we really do try to come up with the best way to make each project with the best possible result. Sometimes it works out perfectly the first time (not very often) – sometimes it can take a while. For example, this past December there was an ornament story inspired by different types of china. We tried four different clays to find the one that was light, dried well and held the impression the best.

What happens to the craft test projects you make? Do you take them home, sell them, or give them away? It would be so cool to have a gallery of prototypes!

All of our craft projects are archived after they are shot. From time to time the stories get used for different events. A few years ago we had a large event at the piers in NYC – many of our old projects were brought out for people to see.

How do you find people for the television show or to contribute projects to the magazines and books? (I know this isn’t your department, but inquiring minds want to know!)

Yes – this isn’t my area of expertise. I do know that employees recommend many of the people. There have actually been a lot of Etsians that have been on the MARTHA show. Here are a few of them: Fog and Thistle, Paper Treats, The Black Apple, and forty-two roads. They were all kind enough to share how to make their projects. That is one thing that I love about crafters — that they are really open to sharing with others.

Do you have a favorite craft supply? Any new tools that you’ve discovered and fallen in love with?

I would have to say that tools are really my thing. It is great to have the right tools for the right project. Some of my favorite Martha Stewart Crafts tools are a cutting mat (a must), screw punch (really versatile), and bone folder.

Have you spotted any MS-inspired Etsy items in our marketplace? Any items jump out as using MS supplies?

I have seen a few things that look familiar, but sometimes it is hard to say exactly where the ideas come from. The shop papertreats is an Etsy shop that uses a lot of Martha Stewart Craft Supplies to make their products. They have some really cute stuff!

Everyone is so worried about the economy these days, and yet, there are signs that crafting — as a hobby and business — is still experiencing resurgence. Why do you think that is? Do you feel like handmade has a critical role to play in the world?

I think that handmade is experiencing resurgence for many reasons. For a while much of what was available in the mass marketplace was pretty cookie cutter.

As a reaction people seem to have more interest in things that feel special or are a better reflection of their own personal style. Making and buying things that are handmade is a great way to achieve this.

The current economy will only help to perpetuate this trend. There is so much value in learning a new craft or making something by hand. You have the experience itself, in addition to the end result or project. I know this sounds funny, but it is like the old adage: “Give the man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” Sorry if that sounds corny, but in relation to crafts, I think it is kind of true.

If you’re local to the New York area, Martha will be doing a book signing at noon on April 3, 2009. Crafts Editorial Director Hannah Milman will be there to demo some projects too. Here are the details: Roosevelt Raceway Center, 1280 Corporate Dr, Westbury, NY 11590-6625

Be one of the first 5 people to comment below with your favorite craft technique and receive a copy of the Encyclopedia of Crafts (special extra surprise to the first commenter)!

You can find Marcie on Etsy as marciemcgoldrick. Check out some of Marcie’s favorites (and some of her own items) below…

98 comments

  • anicastillo

    anicastillo said 8 years ago

    I love polymer clay!!!

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye said 8 years ago

    My favorite crafting projects are using old and salvaged china, pottery and wood to make colorful yard art! I use them in place of flowers since I have the world's worst brown thumb!

  • workingforpeanuts

    workingforpeanuts said 8 years ago

    I love Marcie's picks! I imagine the book is wonderful! My favorite craft is making Peanut People! And crochet! Thank you!

  • AlloverArt

    AlloverArt said 8 years ago

    Love this article! Thank you! :)

  • AmandaSainsbury

    AmandaSainsbury said 8 years ago

    knittings the best. Or anything that generally makes a mess :)

  • OneSweetDay

    OneSweetDay said 8 years ago

    I really enjoy crochet, especially making fun little people, like gnomes.

  • Karmacrochet

    Karmacrochet said 8 years ago

    Ouch I'm slow Great Article! My favorite crafts are crochet and knitting.

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake said 8 years ago

    Love to sew!

  • quilt7metal

    quilt7metal said 8 years ago

    I like the combinations; like gluing shells onto other things, adding paper cutouts to everything!

  • anicastillo

    anicastillo said 8 years ago

    aaah! I was the first one??, Im gonna pass out or something

  • hazysunshine

    hazysunshine said 8 years ago

    my favourite's probably sewing but i love trying new crafts that i've not done before so sounds like my kind of book!

  • voleurdebijoux

    voleurdebijoux said 8 years ago

    wonderful article and picks! :)

  • PollyPainting

    PollyPainting said 8 years ago

    I love using bits of old maps and vintage children's books!

  • acyrillka

    acyrillka said 8 years ago

    I love seasonal crafts! I learned a great Easter one from Martha Stewart's website -- egg candles. I handed them out to all my friends for the perfect fat-free Easter gift. I can't wait to check out her encyclopedia.

  • slidesideways

    slidesideways said 8 years ago

    My favorite thing is sewing, but then other days it seems to be knitting, and then there's painting. I just can't decide, too many things. I love it all!

  • PansyMaiden

    PansyMaiden said 8 years ago

    Great interview! Look at that work space...Ah...

  • theeye

    theeye said 8 years ago

    interesting article

  • bubbletime

    bubbletime said 8 years ago

    What a great article! Boy I love those ice cream bowls....

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese said 8 years ago

    Marcie really does have the dream job, and great taste too! I'm a huge fan of Eva Zeisel myself!

  • LaveMeSoapCo

    LaveMeSoapCo said 8 years ago

    omgosh! that crafting space is amazing!

  • KalliopeJewelry

    KalliopeJewelry said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the great interview! That Giraffe is adorable!

  • dogties

    dogties said 8 years ago

    We love Martha Stewart... So many great ideas. Wonderful items

  • redyellowandblueink

    redyellowandblueink said 8 years ago

    I liked the comments about the meaning of craft and this economy. When I saw the photo of the craft studio I heard angels singing and my jaw dropped. Right now my kitchen table is acting as an overflow station for makin" and craftin', you do what you gotta do. Thanks for the nice article. I love Martha Stewart.

  • redyellowandblueink

    redyellowandblueink said 8 years ago

    oh wow just saw Marcie's shop-lovely.

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 8 years ago

    Great interview!!! But funny enough you can go to college and major in Crafts. That was one of my degrees :) Though, Crafts in the sence of the Arts and Crafts or Craftsmen movement.

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 8 years ago

    BTW could the due date shirt be ANY cutier!!! I wish I knew someone who was expecting!

  • lovesmenot

    lovesmenot said 8 years ago

    i can't wait to get my hands on the new book! my favorite "craft" is sewing but i love to paint, play with paper and generally be a maker. great article!

  • zombuki

    zombuki said 8 years ago

    I'm too late buuuuut I love casting resin :3

  • Tumus

    Tumus said 8 years ago

    Hooray for inspiring articles ^_^ I love seeing others workspaces. Sometimes i wish Etsy would have a section in the forums just for posting pictures of work spaces. I just want to dig thru all those glorious supplies! *goes off to frolick* I like to think the economy is making people realize the "value" of life and the way we live it. Especially when it comes to handmade things.

  • EpicBones

    EpicBones said 8 years ago

    love this!! oxox

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 8 years ago

    Another great read~ so much to absorb I'll be coming back often to reread and peruse the pictures, blogs, drool over the large and organized work space, mine us cluttered, paint containers everywhere. Thanks Etsy admin~!

  • bettebible

    bettebible said 8 years ago

    I love that craft space!!! I finally have my own sewing/craft room organized for the first time in years....it won't stay that way for long, but that's ok!!

  • vivilian

    vivilian said 8 years ago

    Great article! Thanks for sharing this

  • sewlola

    sewlola said 8 years ago

    I love the glittered birds!

  • WoollyWonka

    WoollyWonka said 8 years ago

    Great article! Thanks!

  • raeburnink

    raeburnink said 8 years ago

    yay, thanks for the inside scoop on the craft mecca, marcie!! love your etsy shop, too!!

  • papertreats

    papertreats said 8 years ago

    I have been following Martha for years and have made countless projects for my children. Some of my favorites: the fluffy chicken costume(using feather boas & yellow dish gloves for the feet..hehehe :) and the flower fairies using sheets of crepe paper to make the hats and flowers. For my daughter's first birthday I made the garden cake...spending hours making marzipan vegetables! Not only have my skills been sharpened with each project, but my children's lives have been enriched with these wonderful memories! It was such an honor to be asked to be on the show! Something you always dream about, but never think would actually happen :) My sincerest thanks again to Martha and the wonderful producers at MSLO!

  • 4TheSparrowsNest

    4TheSparrowsNest said 8 years ago

    A crafting encyclopedia?! Sounds terrific!! I also enjoy polymer clay for its vast imitative techniques; you can make it look like almost anything.

  • bobnstitch

    bobnstitch said 8 years ago

    Wonderful Nice to meet you Marcie!!!

  • pogoshop

    pogoshop said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful kind of work you do - sharing the skills and joys of handwork. I've never seen a Martha Stewart book that wasn't gorgeous, so I know this one will be too.

  • CutieDynamite

    CutieDynamite said 8 years ago

    Really cool, can't wait to see the book!

  • StudioAMF

    StudioAMF said 8 years ago

    I COVET THAT WORKSPACE!!! Mostly because mine looks like a tornado ran wild in there. Great article, can't wait to see the book!

  • klacustomcreations

    klacustomcreations said 8 years ago

    she does have a dream job but I bet it is challenging coming up with some many different things.

  • 3squares

    3squares said 8 years ago

    Can't wait to check out the new book!

  • thestapeliacompany

    thestapeliacompany said 8 years ago

    I want to BE this woman! Such a cool job. And I'll be getting that new book too...

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 8 years ago

    Can't wait to see the new Craft book. It's so cool that some Etsyians were on the Martha Stewart Show. That is actually how I was first introduced to Etsy. P.S. Love the Giraffe!

  • SusanKJewelry

    SusanKJewelry said 8 years ago

    This sounds like a book that i would love to own. Can't wait to see it!

  • MGMart

    MGMart said 8 years ago

    Great article! Thank you for sharing with us. Marianna

  • Jewelweeds

    Jewelweeds said 8 years ago

    I'm so glad Marcie finally opened an Etsy shop, I'm totally addicted to her necklaces! Thanks for the great interview, I can't wait to see the book in person.

  • livefunky

    livefunky said 8 years ago

    I know what I'll be asking for for my birthday this year! I cannot wait to see the book and pour over every page. Thank you for a great article and behind the scenes look into your fabulous crafting space at MS.

  • neile

    neile said 8 years ago

    wow, she really does have the dream job! Thanks so much for sharing. the blog is great...I just lost a few hours of my day to it!

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the great interview!! Love Marcie's work on Etsy.

  • MagicMarkingsArt

    MagicMarkingsArt said 8 years ago

    another site to get lost in...love learning new craft ideas for myself and my students!

  • dahliacodesigns

    dahliacodesigns said 8 years ago

    This exciting! I have loved Martha Stewart for ages! Favorite technique would have to be anything with colorful, pretty, PAPER!

  • KBShimmer

    KBShimmer said 8 years ago

    I love Martha, it is great that she and her team are such Etsy supporters! Yeah!

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 8 years ago

    Actually, you CAN go to college and major in crafts! I have a BFA in ceramics and thebrokenplate (Juliet) actually has a degree in craft studies from Towson State University. Go CRAFT!

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 8 years ago

    Actually, you CAN go to college and major in crafts! I have a BFA in ceramics and thebrokenplate (Juliet) actually has a degree in craft studies from Towson State University. Go CRAFT!

  • Crysto

    Crysto said 8 years ago

    what I would give for such a big clean and organized workspace as that.

  • edgyapparel

    edgyapparel said 8 years ago

    In college, I received the very first published issue of Martha Stewart Living from my Mom. I have been hooked ever since. Painting, crafting, designing for years. Thanks , Martha! You Crafting Diva.

  • hazelnutcottage

    hazelnutcottage said 8 years ago

    great article! love the gallery picts and yummy looking encyclopedia...wow

  • twolefthands

    twolefthands said 8 years ago

    Lucky girl, working for Martha! Man, if my work space looked like that I would think I died and went to heaven!

  • CamphorChins

    CamphorChins said 8 years ago

    What a great article, I love Martha Stewart!

  • SquaresOfFlair

    SquaresOfFlair said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the article! I need to pick up that book.

  • Waterrose

    Waterrose said 8 years ago

    I saw her with Rosie today and the book. It looks fabulous! Thanks for providing the interview...great information.

  • SeasonsOfJoy

    SeasonsOfJoy said 8 years ago

    How exciting about this new book, and to get to see inside the crafting expert's crafting playroom- oo-la-la! Thanks so much for all of this! I agree, handcrafted is going to just explode! My favorite craft technique, very hard to chose one thing..... I love icing, creating with a decorating tube full of possibilities, and my best tip for this is when you are running off to take a break, put the tip of the bag in a glass or mug with a damp piece of sponge or rag in the bottom to keep it from plugging up!

  • BlueTerracotta

    BlueTerracotta said 8 years ago

    That workspace is indeed a crafter's heaven!

  • ScottieinaCanoe

    ScottieinaCanoe said 8 years ago

    Fab article!

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware said 8 years ago

    Thank you for doing this article!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 8 years ago

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpitwIwC1Ag CBS/Etsy clip featuring Ruffeoheartslilsnoty.etsy and some Martha, MAx and Rob!

  • hadleyhutton

    hadleyhutton said 8 years ago

    Lovely interview. I am always eager to see what the MSL crafters are up to. I love opening my mag each month to see the talent from these folks.

  • rikkicondon

    rikkicondon said 8 years ago

    Love the idea of a craft technique series..I reccommend a great book: LOST CRAFTS Rediscovering Traditional Skills by Una McGovern. Look forward to the Martha Stewart series and love the new crafts blog.

  • dlkdesigns

    dlkdesigns said 8 years ago

    So inspiring!

  • littlealouette

    littlealouette said 8 years ago

    so so exciting and fabulous! xoxo

  • artwithallie

    artwithallie said 8 years ago

    Yes, I'm all for a handmade world!!!

  • CecilandCo

    CecilandCo said 8 years ago

    Always lots of great ideas and inspiration for all. Thanks.

  • ValsArtStudio

    ValsArtStudio said 8 years ago

    I love that workshop, and think I'd give an eyetooth to have it as my own ;o)

  • PipocaHandmade

    PipocaHandmade said 8 years ago

    I can't wait to get this encyclopedia! Great article and lovely picks!

  • BrickBasement

    BrickBasement said 8 years ago

    I am so excited about the encyclopedia! I read the magazine every month and wait in anticipation for the next!!

  • kateendle

    kateendle said 8 years ago

    I bought a pair of Marcie's earrings a few years ago at Rare Device in Brooklyn. They're my favorite earrings and I get compliments on them all the time. The weight and size of the porcelain is so pleasing! Really happy to have found her Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6932959 Great article!

  • LOOKAjewelry

    LOOKAjewelry said 8 years ago

    Hi Marcie! I love seeing your work in Martha Stewart Magazine and reading about you on Etsy too! Congrats!

  • parischicboutique

    parischicboutique said 8 years ago

    Love everything MS and so glad to see a sneak peek into the craft room! Thanks and can't wait to get the new book. Book signing in Westbury, NY this Friday :) Yay, get to meet Martha!

  • littlepinkpebble

    littlepinkpebble said 8 years ago

    great~!!

  • BayMoonDesign

    BayMoonDesign said 8 years ago

    I love crocheting with wire to make jewelry. I can't wait to see the new encyclopedia!

  • PenelopeAndAnastasia

    PenelopeAndAnastasia said 8 years ago

    Certainly a dream job Marcie ~ the craft room made me drool a little. The ice cream bowls are almost too beautiful and I'm sure the treat tastes that much more delicious in them!!

  • amarshall

    amarshall said 8 years ago

    Marcie is so lucky! I have been a die hard Martha fan for a very long time. Even got to sit in the audience at a taping of her show, it was the best! I love all of my MS books & can't wait to get this new one!!!

  • PinsandNeedlesBasket

    PinsandNeedlesBasket said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article. I love/have things by Martha - her craft tools, magazines, books, home. She is truely a great inspiration for all! It has always been a dream of mine to appear on her show some day...:) -Jennifer Pins and Needles Basket

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 8 years ago

    That is the workspace of my dreams! Love those huge windows! The new issue of Martha Stewart Living is great ("Spring's Best Ideas.")

  • BROOKLYNrehab

    BROOKLYNrehab said 8 years ago

    great article. i bought a bowl from gleenashop during the holidays. i love it.

  • woolhug

    woolhug said 8 years ago

    i really envy the fantastic work space!

  • bamagems

    bamagems said 8 years ago

    I love to watch Martha on TV-great article!

  • strawberrytruffle

    strawberrytruffle said 8 years ago

    My father used to give my mother crafty gifts at Christmas with tags that read "To: Mom From: Martha Stewart".

  • DogGoneKnitting

    DogGoneKnitting said 8 years ago

    When I grow up I want to be Marcie. Can't wait to get the new book!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 8 years ago

    Cool!

  • sandali

    sandali said 8 years ago

    Great article -- always love to see other's workspaces -- most definitely get the crative juices flowing even more !!

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