Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Madelynn Cassin and I wanted to be an opera singer when I was younger. Luckily for anyone within earshot I found jewelry making to be my passion instead. I live in Western Massachusetts with my Husband, our 3 kids and our overfed pug Clementine. I love small towns and big cities equally and I collect old tools. I also have cat-like reflexes and can fly. Actually, I can’t, but when I was 8 I tied tree branches to my arms and jumped off of our roof. I don’t take myself too seriously, and try to live a happy, lighthearted life with the people I love. I don’t like being told no. This is why working for myself is ideal.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like to argue. I like to shop online. I like hiking in the woods with my kids. This is my favorite time of year and I’m lucky enough to have them to watch and explore the winter with. I’m a Gemini and alternately like to do everything and nothing. At the same time.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I grew up in a seriously small town in New Hampshire. My playground was the woods and lakes and because there were so few kids my age, I spent a ton of time in the woods, or making something out of what I had found there. My father was a jack-of-all-trades, and my mother has the most keen eye for decorating and beauty of anyone I know. In the first 10 years of my life they had me knitting, sewing, making dolls, tying knots, taking a painting class and drawing, weaving baskets, making terrariums, wreaths, playing instruments, going to inventor’s camp, singing and dancing. The need to create was inherent, but also lovingly fostered by my parents. The Gilsum Rock Swap happens every year in Gilsum, NH, and my father and I would go every year to trade and buy minerals and crystals. We also collected the garnet chips that washed up on the beach in my hometown. There was a time when I had jars and jars of garnets on my windowsill.
From the time I was very young, when I was bored or later down in the dumps… I realized if I started making something, everything would be right as rain.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Color makes me deliriously happy. There is nothing more exciting then coming up with a new combination that evokes some sort of memory. I use only natural high quality gemstones, and work with argentium, sterling and fine silver as well as palladium silver, gold and palladium white gold. Generally I work about 65 hours a week, some days work starts at 7:30am, some days at 5:30pm. I love working with wax, taking a lump of nothingness and making it into something I’m happy with.
Most nights I end up carving and setting stones in my sleep, but I’m working on that.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My children. I know, I know- try not to gag.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Some of my favorite songs would have to be:
When I Die – The Waifs
Every Time You say Goodbye – Alison Krauss and Union Station
Veronica- by Elvis Costello
Crazy on You – Heart
Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
Geek Love- Katherine Dunn
Stone Butch Blues- Leslie Feinberg
Spell of The Yukon & Other Verses- Robert W. Service
The Odessa File- Frederick Forsyth
Anything by David Sedaris
Since I haven’t seen anything with more than a G rating in the past 5 years, I’m not one to speak of good movies- although I did just see Gran Torino and it was Fan-tastic!
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Keep positive. Make original work that you would love to buy yourself. Analyze your shop every month- what works, what doesn’t? Be respectful of your buyers.
Read as much as you can in the forums, use them as a resource. There are so many helpful sellers there. Talk to other sellers in chat. And again,keep positive!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love the new rearrange your shop feature.
I’d like to have a template that allows me to duplicate a listing without having to re-enter all the information again.
It would be great to be able to list one item in a couple different sections in my shop so buyers can browse more thoroughly and easily. (ie: an item can be in my Rings section AND my Gold section).
Automatic sale cancellation after 72 hours with no payment.
Also, it would be great to be able to add notes in the ‘notes to seller’ section after the sale has occurred. (ie: if a buyer forgot to put a ring size in at the time of sale, I can add it later).
Finally how cool would it be to be able to archive your convos, to de-clutter your convo section, but have a record available when needed?
How do you promote your work?
I use twitter, facebook, craigslist, flickr and other sites to show my work and list them for sale. I have a lot of word of mouth and am part of a great team THE JETS who all promote each other’s work and team happenings.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Able to take off a couple weeks every few months and really connect with my family. I’d like to travel a LOT inside the US and overseas. I’d like to be hiking every week with my husband. And I’d like to still feel passionately about my work. I’d like to be expanding my wholesale opportunities and continue to take phenomenal classes to better myself. I’d like to join a choir and get involved in community theater and get back into playing guitar again. Hey, I told you I was a Gemini!