Meet the Maker:
WHO ARE YOU, WHERE ARE YOU FROM, & WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Rachel Shea Beck. I grew up in New York City, but have made Augusta my home for over 25 years now. While I’ve been making jewelry off and on for decades, I have been a full-time jewelry artist, metalsmith and enamelist for about 15 years.
DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS.
Sometimes I plan out my designs, and sometimes I just start playing around with various raw materials (sterling silver, copper and bronze/brass sheet and wire, gemstones, etc.) until they “speak” and tell me what they want to be. I use both traditional and modern metalworking techniques such as piercing, forging, fold-forming, riveting and soldering. I create, by hand, most every part of my jewelry, from the overall design elements down to the settings and findings. The exception is my “vintage collage” line, for which I use various metalsmithing techniques to transform the old into something fresh and new. My enamel work is both kiln and torch fired on copper. My pieces are unique and truly one of a kind.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by people, nature, architecture, classic jazz and rock music, and modern and abstract art. I am very drawn to, and love to create, textures. The combination of the visual and the tactile excites me!
FUN FACT ABOUT YOU.
I am fascinated by words and language. If I’m not in my studio playing with metal and fire, I’m probably doing the New York Times Crossword puzzle. I usually finish the Sunday in about an hour.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA.
The energy! There is always something interesting going on Downtown.
WHY DO YOU LOVE TO DESIGN, CREATE + MAKE?
Designing and making new things has been my passion since early childhood. I was always drawing, painting or making jewelry out of whatever materials I could get my hands on (electrical wire scraps and paper clips, origami paper, buttons, etc.). It is deeply satisfying to successfully bring an image from my mind into reality. I cannot imagine a life without creating. It is truly my calling. WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH OTHER ARTISTS + MAKERS? Never stop playing. Make what feeds your soul, what you are moved to create, and you will love what you do. And so will others!