Hello, Etsy! My name is Cassie Gray and I run Shop Clementine from my home studio in the rural hills of Western Massachusetts. I work with recycled silver and reclaimed gold, along with gemstones and diamonds, to make modern, minimalist jewelry. I’m also known to watch more terrible television than all of my friends, combined.
I’m endlessly inspired by my raw materials — metal sheet and wire, sparkly cut gems — and by the simple geometry all around us. My collection of antique tools helps refine and form my pieces; I love the unique texture that only a century-old hammer can provide. I often make sketches when inspiration strikes, but my drawings look like a chicken was given access to writing implements, so no one ever sees those except me. Some jewelry pieces require a lot of labor and fabrication know-how, while others flow simply and easily. Once I complete a piece, I wear it around for a while, just to get a feel for it. Occasionally, it’s back to the drawing board. But most of the time, I keep those first samples for myself. I have about ten times as many rings as I have fingers. I might have a problem.
Shop Clementine was born out of boredom, really. I was working a very cerebrally-creative corporate job, but I had total restless hand syndrome. I needed to make something tangible, so I revisited my childhood hobby of making jewelry. Once I jumped in, I saw that the pool was really, really deep and full of possibility. I attempted to teach myself to solder (warning: not recommended). When I realized that a propane camping canister and tin plumbing solder probably weren’t going to give me the results I was looking for, I took a series of intensive metalsmithing courses at several different craft schools. I love metalwork because it seems ever-evolving — there will always be a new technique to learn, a new tool to try, a new discipline to master. (Or, occasionally, attempt and fail and attempt again — and that’s totally okay, right?)
Even while I’ve expanded my scope exponentially, I’ve continued to offer many of the designs that initially made my shop successful. No matter what new, cool, and potentially earth-shattering directions my work will take in the future, you will still be able to find the dependable basics that my line is known for.
Next week will mark my ninth year as an active Etsy seller. (I feel like I should have the Oldest Living Townsperson cane over here!). To me, Etsy has been more than a platform or a venue: it has been the door to some of my most kick-ass connections and friendships. The Etsy community is full of wildly creative, supportive, and engaged people, and I’m so glad to call a lot of them my real-life friends. My business and my brand would not be where they are today without the love, help, and advice of some of Etsy’s best and bravest artists and makers. The future holds new horizons, ventures, and collaborations, but their roots will be here, in this dynamic Petri dish of creativity.
All photographs by Shop Clementine.