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Announcing a brand-new way to learn metalsmithing

Join an innovative jewelry designer on a year-long online journey
Welcome to Free Form

Well, hello there! Step right up. Let me introduce myself. I’m Casey Sheppard, and I make metal and wire jewelry. I am here to share with you my projects, techniques, and philosophies in a brand-new learning initiative that we're calling Free Form.

I have created a years' worth of step-by-step jewelry-making projects, videos, blog posts and more. If you subscribe to the Facet—Metal & Wire newsletter, new content will be delivered right to your inbox every two weeks. You can follow along, and learn the not-always-traditional way that I make jewelry. We'll use inexpensive materials, basic tools, and learn as we go. 

Best of all, it's FREE! All you need to do is sign up for the newsletter to access this exclusive Free Form content. 

Come join me to play, learn, and explore. Connecting online is such a great way to experience life, jewelry, art, the world, and so much more. I am ever grateful for the opportunity to share my insights of design and jewelry with you.

work bench on the road
A bit of wirework al fresco. 

Ya know, books and online was actually my first taste of the sweet, sweet jewelry world. As a self-taught jeweler, I’ve relied on the knowledge of others to help develop my techniques. 10 years later, look at me, I live in a van, by the river….errrr…wait….what? 

Yes, I live in a van that is sometimes by a river. How did that happen, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Growing up in Nebraska, I was immersed in the arts, thanks to my father and brother, and guided in business by my entrepreneurial-savvy mother. I was raised with the freedom to dream, and encouraged to grab life by the horns! I spent much of my childhood exploring my Granddad’s lumberyard, where I developed a mad love affair with all tools.

After high school, I bypassed college to work in high fashion in NYC, but I felt the persistent calling of the arts, and the desire to own my own business. But in what medium? And what type of business? To answer these questions, I moved from the hectic, strenuous life of the big city to a place where I would be able to focus my attention; where I could explore, play and learn. By moving back to my hometown of Lincoln, NE, I just so happened to find myself smack in the middle of one of the best entrepreneurial communities out there. 

showing at cherry creek art festival
An exhibition at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, CO. 

With the support of that community (and after trying a few mediums on for size), jewelry just made sense. I use tools, jewelry is part of fashion, plus I get to play with fire and smash metal with a hammer!

I would spend almost a decade perfecting my trade and business by good old-fashioned trial-and-error, which meant I learned a LOT! I’ve shown my work at galleries, art centers, shows, magazines and exhibitions all over the world.

In 2013, I made a leap and moved to Los Angeles to further my career by making jewelry for rockstars. (Crazy, I know! ) After working with a top designer in the rock-and-roll industry, and interning with a headdress maker for clients like Katy Perry and Disney, I found that my heart wasn’t in it. I was working harder than I had in my entire life, and it paid off, but in a currency that I no longer wanted. I was longing for an adventure.
vanlife
Van life. There's nothing like it. 
lecture at Edinboro metals dept
Lecturing at Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA. 

Combining my loves of jewelry, mountain biking, traveling, and community,  I created a project called Case of the Nomads. The goal: to live on the road for a year with my metals studio, my dog (India the Adventure Dog), and my bike (Skidmark, my Surly Karate Monkey).

The plan: to seek out what is beautiful and hidden. To grow and learn by traveling to art and bike communities. On July 1, 2015, I left LaLaLand for the open road. 

My education reached new heights with this project. I spoke at numerous universities, art centers, and schools across the US. I’ve taught workshops (both bike and metal), introduced hundreds of kids to metalsmithing or placed a hammer in their hands for the first time. I was a metals tech, lived in a tree house, and helped build a new jewelry studio. It's been a crazy ride!

I’ve lived in my van (I call her Jones) for almost two years now, calling a campsite, driveway, side of the road, middle of the woods, or the back streets of major cities my home. ALL of the jewelry in Free Form was made in that van!

kc and india with jones full view

 

photo of joshua tree my homesometimes
Joshua Tree National Park is in the southern California desert, and is open year-round. There is a visitor's center at the junction of the Utah Trail and National Park Drive.

I’ve learned the simple things about life: how to find food, water, and shelter, while letting everything else just fall into place. My Case of the Nomads project marks the first time I’ve supported myself as a full entrepreneur, which has allowed me to master my abilities to be a jack-of-all-trades. The list includes: mountain bike coach, lecturer, educator, jewelry maker, land art maker, photographer, writer, classic cocktail wench, van-lifer, traveler, brand ambassador and so much more.

AND you can now add artist residency host to the list: in April 2017, I hosted my first off-the-grid artist residency in Joshua Tree National Park with jewelry artist Cate Richards

teaching workshop
Giving some tips on using a flex shaft at a workshop. 

I’ve got a lot of insight to give on all things but what’s important for you to know: I have a vast, diverse knowledge of the complex jewelry industry. I can't wait to share this knowledge with you.

These newsletters will be filled with all sorts of information, tips, videos and fun. I hope it will push your thoughts on design, your own abilities, and give you a peek into my world. There will be a number of projects. Some will feature simple designs that everyone will have fun making, and others will become a bit more complex. I gotta push you a bit, it’s how we learn and grow, right? But don’t fret, I’m not just gonna throw you into the deep end, until you're ready. Well, not at least without some floaties.

By the way, you may see me do things a bit differently than others. I may even do something wrong, which is awesome, 'cause sometimes rules need to be thrown out the window. I ask that you have an open mind and open heart. I created Free Form to give you the means to play, to learn and even be a little goofy. Also, I want to show that there are many ways to approach jewelry, design, creating, and LIFE.

Lastly, I want to thank you again. Having jewelry makers like you subscribe to this newsletter allows me to give back a bit to this wild, vast, damn knowledgeable community that is jewelry, which I am proud and honored to be a part of. So ya ready to have some fun and get down and dirty with some metal? Right on. Let’s do this. 

Sign up here to receive more free content from Casey, delivered exclusively in the Facet—Metals & Wire newsletter

 

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