Visiting Artist: Casey Sheppard

The Metal Arts studio hosted our first visiting artist back in September. Traveling metalsmith Casey Sheppard came and spent 2 days at our facility making cold connected copper bracelets with the students. It was an awesome time, and the finished bracelets are looking pretty cool (we still have some students finishing up)

Casey is currently road tripping all over the US in a van she's decked out with a bed, a bench, a teeny tiny kitchen area, and lots of storage. She camps on the nights she's not being hosted by an institution. The purpose of her project is to connect arts based communities. Her tagline is "Roaming to Unite Radness". I didn't know much about Casey, or her project until we arranged this workshop, and I'm so glad we did! She offered an entirely different perspective to my own, and even though I know this whole idea and lifestyle of roadtripping isn't for me, I found it fascinating. Casey plans to do a similar trip by bike in 2017. It would never occur to me that this is something I could do, mainly because it's not something I would ever want to do. I'm such a home body, and I like having all my stuff close at hand. I can't even pack light for a weekend away; I'm always afraid I'm going to need something I don't have. But I think it's cool that there are other people out there who do these things and then share that experience with the rest of us.

I thought her project was great as well: Easy enough for a complete beginner, with a great end product, but challenging enough, as well as introducing a variety of skills. I loved that it involved tube rivets, since I couldn't get any of my students this past summer to try them. I also liked that even though we all followed the same formula, everyone was able to customize their bracelet through texture. Mine looks way different, because I didn't follow directions. Oops. I was bummed, because the clasp was supposed to be larger and more noticeable, and was one of my favorite parts of the whole design. But, again, not following directions, mine ended up small. Oh well, live and learn. Casey also reintroduced me to fold forming, something which I've always sort of loved the look of, by have never really investigated too much.

Of course everyone's favorite part of Casey's visit was India the Adventure Dog.

Of course everyone's favorite part of Casey's visit was India the Adventure Dog.

I've always admired people who have make completely cold connected work that looks fantastic. I've been lucky, especially in my early metals education to have access to a fairly well equipped studio. But I have had times where I didn't have access to a torch, and it can be a real challenge, especially when you want to do something simple, like solder a pin back on. Casey is a great teacher, and general all around fun person to be around, so if she's ever roadtripping through your area, I suggest you check out what she has to say.

If you want to know more about Casey, her project, or how you can support her, check out her website, where she also maintains a blog about her travels.