>>hey i'm madison and i'm the lady that runs the (mostly) mobile jewelry biz, vancrafted studio! after graduating college my boyfriend gage & i bought a van, and made it home. he built me a removable jewelry bench so I could set up in flower fields, mountainsides and mossy forests across america- and that i did.
where do you call "home"?:
>>home for me is more of an idea than a physical place. since spring of 2014 i have lived on and off in a van. eventually we sold our beloved van & moved into a truck! that being said i have moved around almost constantly for three years. the only constants have been creating jewelry, gage, and our beloved (and spoiled) australian shepherd- tobin. those are the things that make me feel at home.
>>oh boy, it came from many, many hours of throwing words around, so many lists and hundreds of thesaurus searches online. gage actually was the one to come up with it. we were laying in the van on the side of the road in the berkshires going to sleep one night when gage said, "vancrafted studio!". i think we both knew that was it. vancrafted studio just made so much sense. so in summer of 2015 all the mobile metal-smithing i had been doing finally had a proper name!
where/what is your biggest inspiration?:
>>earth! if you have taken a look at, or own any of my jewelry you will notice that there is a continuous theme of mountains, plants, organic shapes and i only feature all natural stones. it's easy to stay inspired when i can choose my surroundings to not only be in, but create in daily. if we pulled up to a space that was particularly beautiful and it also gave gage & tobin a good spot to hike or fish- that was ideal and we would stay and have a dreamy time of recreation and creation. if we pulled up to a camp spot that was lamer than google said- we would leave. total freedom isn't necessary, but having it sure is nice!
are you still on the road?:
>>gage and i took the summer off truck life to regroup. we moved home to gage's sweet parents' house in milwaukee to save some money and to see just how much vancrafted studio could truly take off. i am so stoked to report that it has exceeded my expectations! i am so happily, very busy.
>>i started metal-smithing sometime in 2011. i was going to school at northern michigan university, took a jewelry class & from there i was hooked.
is this something you've always wanted to do?:
>>no! looking back on my 24 years so far it makes sense, though. in high school i would drive 40 minutes a few times a month to this amazing flea market with so much cheaply priced silver and turquoise jewelry. i would barter and buy up as much as i could! so there was one established addiction. my other addiction was creating things, a wide array of things. discovering metal-smithing really allowed me to hone in on my creative urges and make a beautifully functional product about it.
what are your all time favorite pieces to design?:
>>while i love making everything i put out into the world, there is a special place in my heart for really meaningful customs. for example, i recently made two thunderbird necklaces for an amazing woman who's dad is struggling with cancer. on the back of them i stamped quotes about staying strong and fighting like a warrior. she sent me a photo of them with them on and it made me tear up. i felt so special to be a small piece of hope and encouragement on their journey of concurring that evil illness. it was a truly special feeling!
what does the design process look like when someone wants a custom?:
>>it usually starts with a few emails back and forth, possibly me sending some stone options, then i grab the final details like size and if my customer would like any custom initials or text. you can expect me to be up front with the price, current turn around time and design. i love to do customs, contact me for one!
where do you find your favorite stones and gems?:
>>i have two main suppliers, kim and jessica of all american turquoise. while i am hesitant to share them with other jewelers i feel a duty to name them and give them some well-deserved business! all of their stones are so beautiful and i am always so satisfied when i get them in the mail. if a client of mine wants something specific for their piece of jewelry, i can always shoot them a message and they always come through for vancrafted studio.
>>i know this might sound crazy but we are warming up to the idea of 'settling down' a little. this means nothing fancy & nothing permanent. to us it means living in a consistent place for more than a few months- which we haven't done in years! i'm looking forward to having a garden, getting my beautiful bull skull out of storage and up on the wall again, & gaining ties to a environmentally friendly and peaceful community. also- along with a busy jewelry shop comes mail, and lots of it! an address would make things so much easier.
what's next for vancrafted studio?:
>>my plan for vancrafted studio is to continue on with sterling silver and natural stones for a few more years. eventually i would like to transition my business into unique engagement rings and fine jewelry. this idea would mean using only ethically sourced diamonds and stones, as well as using only recycled gold and other metals. i am hoping that my customers grow with me and continue to shop when i make the eventual change!
and again, i want to say thank you to madison for the amazing dream cuff come to life. i can't wait to work again with you in the future!