Creator Profile: "Moon Artist" Michelle Cogger on favourite crystals, the ideal workspace, and selling on Etsy
Michelle Cogger is a Brantford-based jewellery maker and the creative mind behind Moon Artist. Her handmade pieces - necklaces, pendants, earrings, crystal wands, and digital downloads - are fused with intention and positive energy and sold in the same way.
We talked about her creative process and some of the magic that goes into her work.
What do you love about making jewellery as a creative outlet?
I love that my process of jewellery making satisfies everything I need as a creative. I get to do research, and start my pieces by learning and diving into something new. Since my jewellery making usually involves gemstones and other metaphysical materials, I love to dive into the history, benefits, science and research behind it.
I love to learn and I hope that by doing this I can connect more with the materials I am working with and those I am creating for. If you were born to create, you know this feeling, but I get this sensation in my hands; this urge to make. I need to build, create, mix and make. Jewellery-making is a lot of twisting, turning and sliding. It satisfies and settles that urge in my hands.
I also love working on digital creations, which is brought in when I design posters, advertisements, or images for Moon Artist. The whole process helps me feed the parts of my soul that want to create, work and build. And, of course, I have to nod at the very obvious answer that you get to wear your rad creations.
How do you want people to feel when they wear your pieces?
First, I want them to feel exactly how they were expecting. A lot of my pieces are purchased by people who want to express that inner goddess/warrior/badass being. I hope they feel that. I also hope the energy comes through in each piece. I create everything in a loving state - I don’t work on your jewellery if I’m ticked.
Your pieces are always cleansed with selenite and then Palo Santo or a smudge stick, and then charged in the moonlight before it comes your way. I really, really want people to feel that magic.
What are your current favourite materials to work with?
Many of my materials that I work with are amazing gemstones and eye-catching beauties that Mother Earth has created. So, its odd for me to say that my current favourite material is a waxed cotton thread. I’ve recently become very interested in macrame and mala creation, or knots I guess you could say. I love the meditative quality in creating those pieces, and I am usually tying knots with this awesome, waxed cotton cord.
I love this point in your Etsy profile: “I work... surrounded by love, inspiration, many cups of tea, and glitter.” What are your workspace requirements to create your best work?
My ideal creative setting starts with a clean workplace. My sun sign is Virgo, and we are very organized and critical beings, which is awesome and horrible. I cannot start working without a clear space. It makes me happy, it allows my work to flow easier, and it creates an open mindset. It’s actually a production to start working.
Now I am putting on the kettle. I work in a back room in my home, down a long hallway that connects to the kitchen. So I’ll strut back to my sweet studio room and I’ll put on some music. Usually a record. I have been very into SZA’s album CTRL, David Bowie’s Changes, and Drake’s Take Care. Music is on, kettle is hissing and I will make my way back down the hallway to make my tea. I make a nice big pot of whatever loose leaf tea I am trying at the moment, and head back to my art room. Right now I am trying a new lavender and blueberry tea, and its amazing. I have a nice big chair, and I grab 2 blankets to get cozy.
I start by picking out whatever gemstones seem to be calling my attention. I usually place these gemstones on a beautiful tea saucer or a cornflower glass plate, just because. From there, we just see what happens. All my materials are nearby so it is simple enough to grab chain, or cord, or wire or whatever the project is calling for. I am always up flipping records and pouring tea. It’s a dance party of happy interruptions and free creation.
I am very lucky people are so trusting of me. Even when it is a commissioned or custom piece I am (usually) given complete creative freedom. Can’t help but love that.
What does your dream studio look like?
I think I have my dream studio. In the big picture, I totally do. It is my own space, in my home. I have my a desk in there to do my makeup. I have super big desk to create my jewellery and other art pieces. I have a bookshelf full of amazing reference books, crystals, tarot cards and love notes. My yoga mat is always unrolled on the floor and there is a beautiful big window that looks out into my backyard. It is a little messy, and fun, and everything I could dream of. I am super, super lucky and very happy.
What advice do you have for new Etsy sellers?
To remember that Etsy is a tool, and a constantly updating one as well. You have to work it, to make it work for you. This is a hard thing for the hands-on creative person to do. I used to dread updating my Etsy shop, and I had this twisted and sour state of mind that believed everything I made would just sell on its own.
Meanwhile, I had put no love into the descriptions, photography, tags or any other of that very important stuff you should do. I thought I was rebelling, but I was playing myself. The love you put into your creation needs to be translated into those listings. I had to start respecting my work in a new way to get into that right frame of mind. Now the “Etsy Update” is part of my thought process in creation.
Take the time to do the research, look at the business and marketing side of it. During your research, don’t be afraid to ignore things you are reading or choose to skip over it. Do what feels right for you.