Cosmic Twin is a playfully offbeat minimal jewelry line created by Madeleine Pope. Madeleine was born and raised in Houston, Texas to a creative and entrepreneurial family. She studied dance and fine art and later came into jewelry-making in 2013 when she started studying metal-smithing at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle.
Madeleine launched Cosmic Twin in 2014. The line is influenced by dance, surrealism, natural asymmetry, the human body, and contemporary minimalism. Each item is handmade by Madeleine in her studio located in Seattle’s international district. We visited her thoughtfully curated apartment and studio to explore her process.
Photography by Rachael Lang
Tell us about the name and origins of Cosmic Twin…where did the name come from? What inspired you to start the jewelry line?
I am a twin, but the name really has more to do with a dear friend and very talented artist, Christa Palazzolo, who is also a twin. Years ago Christa and I met in Austin, Texas and quickly became the best of friends. We even became roommates for several months before I moved to Seattle. In that time, we were often asked if we were sisters. Christa and I would even sometimes walk out of our bedrooms before going out together at the same time and would be wearing very similar outfits, if not almost exactly, and we would laugh and roll with it. So eventually when people would ask us if we were sisters we would just say: “Yeah, we’re twins…” a little half-truth that we would laugh about. Someone who found out that we were joking said that we were “Cosmic Twins” and I just really loved that and it stuck with me.
I had been working in management when I lived in Texas and was very unhappy with that type of work. When I moved to Seattle, I felt it was a good time to start over, find something I really loved. I’ve always known that I would want to open my own business, but was not sure in what field. I thought deeply about what inspires me: I loved selling vintage for the aspect of fashion and finding something unique and interesting. I loved doing hair for the aspect of fashion as well as working with my hands and the science behind it. I thought about how much I loved jewelry and looked into jewelry metalsmithing. I took a class at Pratt and I was hooked! Less than a year after my first class I was launching my first collection.
What does a typical day in the studio like? Are you listening to anything that helps you get into production mode?
Usually I get in the mode by walking to my studio in the ID, turning on my torch and then figuring out what pieces are going into production for the day. I try my best to reduce steps and limit how many times I pick up and put down a tool, so getting organized is essential and helps me get going. I DJ, so I often make little mixes that keep me singing while I work or sometimes I’ll even be dancing a bit in my chair while I work. I like to stay focused that way. Lately I’ve been dancing and singing to Front242, Geneva Jacuzzi, Cocteau Twins, and The Passions. Sometimes when I’m not in the mood for music I’ll listen to an audio book, the last one I was listening to was some Philip K Dick short stories.
Who/what are your major influences? Who are you currently following?
There are a lot of modern influences, too many to mention, but my longest lasting influences have been Ettore Sottsass and Memphis Group, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, Blanca Miró Skoudy, Laurie Franck, Grace Jones, Dario Argento films, Keith Haring, Patrick Nagel and almost all things related to fashion in the 70s, 80s and early 90s.
I follow as many talented artists I can find, but some of my favorite fellow jewelry designers are Studio Sophia Sophia, Paige Cheyne, Lane Walkup, Mondo Mondo, Tiro Tiro, Karen Nguyen La, Faux Real, Hey Murphy, Young Frankk, S. Shikama and Reason + Madness – and honestly I could go on for forever – the obsession runs deep.
Tell us about your latest collection.
My latest collection, So Real, has a lot to do with my love for surrealism and apparently puns. I really wanted to move into the wonderful world of silver and was heavily inspired by not only surrealism but early 90s street fashion. I was really feeling hoops and chains, but also getting weird with my designs in a more interesting way, designing jewelry from parts of the body in abstraction. I think this collection speaks more about what I’m personally very passionate about.
What’s next for Cosmic Twin? Are you working on any special projects?
Right now I’m still making everything from scratch (sheet metal and wire mostly). I have been talking and talking over the years about moving into waxwork and casting and I think that is my next move. It sounds like a fun challenge and I think I’m ready to give it a shot. Other than that the future is unknown but I’m sure whatever avenue I take will be a fun one.