Words: Annie Nguyen | Photography: Heather Scott
Tell us a bit about yourself. (Name, birthplace, brief hobbies/interests, etc)
My name is Heather Scott, I was born in San Mateo, CA and grew up surrounded by the beauty of the northern California foothills. My hobbies and interests include hiking, lindy hop and blues dancing, painting, creating artisan jewelry and discovering new ways to challenge myself.
We met in small scale sculpture class and that wasn't the first time you'd taken that class. What made you want to pursue small scale sculpture?
We did meet my second time taking small scale sculpture! That was such a fun class! I had been primarily pursuing painting at UH and had considered getting my BFA in painting when I remembered a talk I had with my mom. She had mentioned that college is "just as much about figuring out what you don't want to do as it is finding out what you do want to do." I realized that there were so many art forms that I had yet to explore and I really wanted to try some of them. Small scale sculpture was one that sounded interesting. I loved the idea of having the ability to make portable wearable artwork. Art that you can wear and take with you. That class sparked my passion for jewelry making.
When did you decide to transition over to a jewelry line?
I think I started to unconsciously transition over to a jewelry line when I began to experiment with mitsuro. I loved the experimentation and challenge. And I fell in love with the way that I was able to create such beautifully organic shapes. Creating a piece in mitsuro for me is a combination of everything I love. A dance between my hands and the mitsuro to create beautifully organic shapes that mimic nature in a visual art form.
You are originally from California. Does the environment you're in have an impact on your creative process? Would you ever consider living elsewhere?
I am originally from the foothills of northern California. Yes, depending on where I'm living/the weather my mitsuro recipe has to be different. I would love to live in Hawai'i again.
You no longer live in Hawai'i. Has moving changed the way you approach your work?
I still find inspiration in nature around me but more in the plants and forests than the ocean and waves.
Would you say that sculpture has shaped the way in which you approach a project, your career and outlook on life?
Sculpture has taught me that projects are usually ever changing. I may plan a project to be one specific way and through the creative process I find something better that is unexpected. I've accepted that I'm an artist. It's my career and a large part of my identity. Sculpture has shown me how to look at situations in different ways and think creatively. When one approach isn't working, try another, if that's not working, give it a chance to breathe and come back in a little while.
Your artwork is heavily influenced by art deco, art nouveau, cubism but your jewelry is very visceral and contains movement. Could you talk a bit about your process and the influences on your work?
Lines are really beautiful to me, they are found everywhere and even the simplest can be the most expressive. Art deco, art nouveau, and cubism are all heavily linear art styles. My mitsuro work is all formed by hand. I don't use any sculpting tools and nothing is carved. The pieces start in wax and are heated to my body temperature and then pulled to create intricate striations. These pieces are then curled, twisted, and manipulated into flowing designs. It's very much a dance between my hands and the material.
After a piece is formed in wax, they are cast into their respective metals and then finished with a high polish and sometimes gemstones.
What's next on the horizon for you? Do you have any advice for those pursuing sculpture or jewelry design?
Lots of work! It's exciting! I'm currently working on a series that I call my wearable "sculpture wave paintings". They combine my mitsuro work with fabrication and my painting aesthetic.
My advice would be to keep creating all the time. Try not to be too hard on yourself. The more we create the more we find our own voices and hone our skills. Don't try to learn it all at once. Focus on what you know and then if a piece calls for new knowledge seek out the information. There is always something new to learn, don't try to know it all. It takes a lot of time and hard work to be an artist. If being an artist is something that you truly want, don't give up.
Find Heather Scott online at her website and Instagram.
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