Rebecca S. Scott of Somerville-based Shepherd’s Run Jewelry, has been making jewelry for years. Her work first captured my attention about five years ago, when I stumbled upon her gorgeous jewelry at Roslindale Open Studios, and I have been a fan ever since.
Scott, who has a background in etching, painting, and mixed media, received a mixed degree in etching and printmaking from Dublin Institute of Technology. She has over 15 yeas of interior design sales and is a self-taught jeweler. With Shepherd’s Run Jewelry you will find classic, organic, and high-quality pieces.
I recently asked Rebecca some questions about her background, her work, and her influences.
You were born and raised in Ireland. How has your background influenced your work?
I was lucky enough to not only be born and raised in a country that supports and encourages art and the arts as a vocation, but to be raised in a household that valued all forms of artistic expression. My mother was a photographer, music journalist, and DJ—as well as an avid reader. She had many painters, sculptors and musicians as friends, and we were surrounded by their works in our house. Whether in the home or outside, there was an atmosphere of abundant respect for art in all it’s forms. Beyond that, the raw, natural beauty of Ireland and growing up in a somewhat rural village has remained with me. The tremendous amount of time I spent outside growing up has left me with an endless fascination for certain themes that still inform my work.
What were your early years in the United States like?
When I moved to this country, I tried getting a job in a bookstore, which had been my non-art career that got me through high school and college. I discovered that working in bookstores wasn’t as well paid as it was at home. I also didn’t see a viable career in painting or printmaking right when I moved here. I ended up getting a job through a good friend in the San Francisco Design Center and was fortunate enough to work with unbelievably beautiful fabrics. I had access to incredible remnants, which I started making into purses, as I hated seeing all these fabrics getting dumped. My mother was a quilter, so I had a decent knowledge of piecing and construction. As a maker of things, and an all-around problem solver, I figured bags would be a good use of these fantastic materials.
How did you make the evolution from studying fine art to jewelry design?
I got into jewelry design completely by accident. Around the same time that I was making bags, I made a necklace for a dear friend’s 40th birthday (which she disliked and actually returned to me). I got many compliments on that necklace after wearing it to work and a trunk show, that I decided to make a few more. Soon enough, the jewelry started outselling the bags and I went full-fledged into making beaded jewelry in the early 2000’s. Within a few years I got somewhat tired of working with beads and assembling pieces.
Looking for a change, I took a metals 101 class at Metalwerx in Waltham, as I had loved working with metals whilst etching in college so figured ‘why not?’ I fell in love with metal and heat, rented a bench space at a studio building in East Somerville, and the rest is history. I maintained my career in interior design sales and management, with jewelry being my sideline. It wasn’t until last year that I made the terrifying decision to go full time with my jewelry.
What materials do you use in your designs and is there a material you are dying to work with?
I predominantly work with Argentium which is a form of silver—it’s got a slightly higher fine silver content and less copper than traditional sterling. It also has some germanium, which gives it different working qualities than sterling. Argentium is a very sympathetic material to work with, as you can fuse it as opposed to solder, which I find very liberating. I work with 14k gold fill, due to cost concerns but would love to start working more with karat gold. I recently worked with Palladium, (a cousin of Platinum) to make my first ever wedding bands! It was an interesting experience and I welcome the opportunity to work with it again. I also want to start using keum-boo, a technique of fusing high-karat gold to silver. It’s on the books for next year.
Where do you pull your inspiration from?
As cliché as it sounds, I love to work with, and draw inspiration from natural elements—organic forms, either plant-based or from rocks and pebbles. When I was younger, I walked to the train to get to school along the longest natural bay in Europe, so the coastline and all it’s elements were a part of my daily life.
Can you talk about the most challenging design you have created?
A private commission I did earlier this year that was based on capturing a client’s thumbprint in an aesthetically pleasing and permanent way, making a sizable bezel and setting the thumbprint between layers of glass I had to hand shape and bevel. I learned A LOT about working with glass: shaping, setting—and not scratching, chipping, flaking, or breaking during the setting process, which I hadn’t expected to be the tricky part!
How has your work changed over the years and where is your work been headed recently?
The older (more experienced?) I get, the more I find that I’m pulling back and refining or simplifying my designs. I used to be of the ‘more is more’ camp with lots of detail and layering with different elements making up each piece, but now I love letting the line and textures I’m working with be the main element of my pieces. I see much of my jewelry as line drawings, that happen to be wearable. I also am getting a little more edited in what I make, and only make things that I enjoy wearing and hope that others will feel the same.
When you see Rebecca’s work in person, you will have a difficult time walking away without a piece of your very own. I have several, and not doubt will continue to add to my collection. You can find Shepherd’s Run Jewelry online at www.shepherdsrunjewelry.com and purchase select works at the following retail locations:
Home By Stamm and Black 525 Massachusetts Avenue, Acton MA
Boutique Fabulous 1309 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA
Craftland 212 Westminster Street, Providence, RI
Tangerine & Olive 232 Mountain Road, Stowe VT
Rebecca is also showing at these 2016 holiday markets:
12/11/16 Somerville Local First Holiday Market at the Armory
12/17/16-12/18/16 Union Square Pop Up Holiday Market
12/18/16 Gather Here Handmade Holiday Market
Follow Shepherd’s Run Jewelry on Instagram: www.instagram.com/shepherdsrunjewelry
Photos courtesy of the artist.