Casey Sheppard, our upcoming visiting artist, will be stopping off during her year long adventure, Case of the Nomads, where she is touring the United States and connecting communities through her craft. In preparation for her arrival, we have ask Casey a few questions about her practice and travels.
CC: Tell us a little bit about your educational background and/or a brief biography.
Casey Sheppard (CS): I come from an artist family. My great grandfather and grandmother are/were writers, my mother has a strong skill in mosaics and sewing, father is a retired art teacher and my brother is truly the most amazing artist I’ve ever seen. Even though I grew up submerged in art my first passions were fashion and tools (grandfather owned a lumberyard most of my life), that’s why jewelry is a perfect fit for me!
I’m a self-taught jewelry artist, books were/are my education and I learn from doing.
CC: Why metals? What about this medium speaks to you as an artist?
CS: Why not? It’s such a cool medium to play with. I really dig forming metal. It blows my mind that you can take a flat sheet and make it into a vessel or fold it like it’s paper. It’s such a wonderful, unique and versatile medium.
CC: What specific processes do you explore? Have these processes remained a constant in you work or have they evolved over time?
CS: Forming sheet metal and riveting are my luvs I enjoy exploring. They are a constant in my work and are constantly evolving. I feel it’s very important to me as an artist and person to be constantly learning, taking things in and changing.
CC: Can you talk a little about your project Case of the Nomads? How did it originate?
CS: Case Of The Nomads is a year long road trip to connect communities. I’m hitting up bike and art areas mostly and sharing my adventures with others. It originated at 4am on December 5th, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I needed to fulfill my long life dream of taking part in an adventure. That was the birth of my project!
I hope to connect with the students through stories and life experiences while creating and teaching workshops. Bonding with others and sharing each other’s stories adds so much to our lives. I also look forward to what the students will be teaching me. Ahhhh community!!
CC: Describe your interests in interacting/engaging through workshops on the road and the converging of all your practices: metals, jewelry, biking, travel, freelance writer, etc., as well as how all of those things affected your practice as an artists/maker?
CS: You can always find art and bikes in any community. They are part of everyday life. Jewelry is art, has history, everyone has a wedding ring, watch, or necklace. Even if it’s for utilitarian reasons people have these items. Same with a bike, it can be used as transportation, a source for exercise, just to play or as a work of art. So, when I travel and see all this in unknown towns, I like to write about it and share what I find with others. It all just works together like one big dysfunctional family!!!
My art has been greatly affected by this. I am a bit exhausted from my full time job as a nomad. I organize, explore, teach, write and by the time I get in my mobile studio I’m not really wanting to bang and form metal. I’ve enjoyed sewing pieces together, using items I have with me and creating softer work, in a way. I’m also drawing and painting again, it’s nice to take in the beauty of my surroundings and create.
You can learn more about Case of the Nomads here.
CC: Do you have any interesting stories you want to share?
CS: I was caught in a wind/rain storm near Darby Montana. I was working in Jones (my van) when it hit. As I sat at my work space looking out my window I say trees uprooted by the wind. After the storm I walked the campsite and saw over a hundred trees uprooted. Was a site to see. I was thankful that a tree did not fall on Jones and that I have a front row seat to mother nature.
CC:Anything else about your experiences on the road and/or how it’s changed your ideas about art/making that you would like to share?
CS: I’m a lot more conscious of my waste and energy use. I have limited resources (which I’m starting to embrace) and what I use to take for granted (electricity, running water, etc.) I now value. I take this into account now when I make work, it’s liberating, challenging and allows me/my work to evolve.
Come check out Casey’s lecture, Friday, October 2nd, 2015 from 5:30 – 7pm and hear more about her practice and her amazing experiences on the road. She is also teaching a workshop, Pushing Past the Limits with Cold Connections, on Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th from 10am- 5pm.