Women Involved Series: Casey Sheppard
Self taught metal smith, freelance writer, mountain biker, community gatherer, adventure seeker, classic cocktail maker, entrepreneur, adventure dog owner : these are just a few of my trades/passions that influence and create my life, my art.
I currently live in Los Angeles where I work as part of the bar team at Bestia in the downtown arts district, am a freelance writer and jewelry maker.
Tell us about Case of the Nomads- how did you come up with the name?
Case of the Nomads is a yearlong road trip to connect biking and art communities. I’m a metal smith and I create wearable art/jewelry. Before moving to LA I traveled to a lot of art festivals/shows around the country. I would bring my bike with me so I could hit up new trails. I had a blast!! After moving to LA I was missing this life and the killer support of these communities. So I decided to make traveling, biking and metalsmithing my full time job. I’ll be teaching metal smithing workshops all over the US, taking part in bike events and much much more.
The name, well, I wanted my name in the project and nomad but also wanted the name to be clever. I brainstormed with family and friends for a few months until one day my brother texted something that sparked “Case Of The Nomads”.
Have you always had an adventurous soul? How long have you thought about this trip?
I guess you could say I’ve always been adventurous. But I don’t really look at it like that. When I see an opportunity or something cool I do it. I don’t always think these things through which can cause me to get pretty nervous or freaked once I realize what I’m about to do. But once I dive in everything ends up being even more amazing than I could have ever thought. Ends up being soooooo worth it!!
This trip came to me one morning at 4am in early December 2014. But really I’ve been wanting to do something like this my whole life.
Connecting communities- it's such a brilliant idea! What are your hopes/goals?
To see, explore and learn from others. One of my favorite quotes is by Benjamin Franklin and it totally embraces my ideas behind my project. “Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn.”
You will be competing in your first DH race thanks to Amanda Batty (awesome!) How exciting is this for you? Nervous?
I first went downhilling a few years back in Telluride and fell in LOVE!!! I have little experience with DH, I’ve actually only gone about 3 times but it doesn’t matter. I’ve never felt anything so gnarly and fun in my life. The speed and science behind it all is killer. When you hit a horizontal wall and find yourself completely parallel with the ground it’s intense. Clearing a rock garden, gap jump, drops…ahhh man. I, of course, have a ton to learn but that’s why I’m competing. I’m am sooooo freaking nervous but I know once I get on that bike it will turn into something rad!! Amanda is badass and doing a ton to get others into racing. I’m honored to be apart of her Proving Possible program! Thanks Amanda!!!!
Riding bikes is a passion- which state/area are you most excited to explore on two wheels? (or, maybe top 3!)
I’m ecstatic for BC. I’ve dreamed about riding there and can’t wait. I’m also excited for Seattle, Portland, Asheville and everywhere, really. Even though I like crazy extreme trails I’m looking forward to the flowy fun ones too.
You are going to meet other rad biking ladies on your trip, what made you reach out to connect?
I, Yeah I think so too. I’ll be riding with Lauren Gregg in Santa Cruz, Kat Sweet in Seattle and Shanna Powell in Asheville and more to come!! I just reached out to bikers that I’ve either been in contact with over the years, meet at a bike event or have followed on social media. I reached out to them because I wanted to ride with them and no better way to get a tour of a trail then by a local biker.
Jewelry art/metal smithing is a huge passion for you- what is your inspiration for creating your art?
My world around me inspires my art. Growing up in Nebraska I feel in love with nature. When I was a kid we went to NYC and the city took hold of me. This is where my passion for mechanics comes from. I get damn giddy over stupid shit like an ice cream scopes mechanics, a unique door hinge or barbed wire. I like to figure out how things work and then try to translate that into jewelry. Recently I’ve been playing with materials. Living in LA there is a plethora of evil plastic crap and so much waste. I find others ‘trash’ and make it my own. I created a bunch of pins out of ripped plastic ice cube trays, rhinestone studs and thread. I just got back from Joshua Trees where I stayed in these crazy futuristic pods. While there I road the sandy deserted roads and while riding I found all sort of fun stuff like a rusted strip of metal, worn glass, desert trees and broken mirrors. I took these treasures and made them into jewelry. I plan to take advantage of the materials unique to the areas that I visit and create new work that will remind me or showcase that stop.
Writing is also something you love- what is it about sharing words that can foster connections?
I come from a long line of storytellers and ever since I can remember I’ve always wrote. I think it’s cool what we can learn from others and their stories. I’ve learned so much about life by just talking with others. I’m grateful to have a little bit of writing ability so that I can share these stories with others.
The cool with with some of your stops is that you will be volunteering at the various locations. Tell us a bit about what you'll be doing!
Another way to really see a community is by getting into it. What better way then by volunteering?!?! By giving your time and efforts you’d be surprised how others will take you in, plus it’s a great way to give back. I will be volunteering with Kat Sweet at her Gravity Girls Camp by being a guest biker/artist. I’m volunteering at Crankworx BC, I plan to sign up for helping with race set up. Which I am super excited about. I will be able to ride the trails while helping out plus I will get a behind look at this killer event. I’m also offering a Writers Exchange, which is a round table discussion for new/old/wanna be writers. I want to share my experiences and give advice to others and look forward to the insight of others. This will be offered in a bunch of stops without a fee. I want to do as much as I can to give back!
With the start of your project, what advice do you have for someone who is thinking of an adventure similar to yours?
DO IT!!! There is no time like the present. The perfect situation doesn’t really exist but when you pursue your adventure the universe and world opens up to you. Remember to be open-minded, allow for change, embrace the unknown and remember why you are setting out on this adventure in the first place. I have a piece of paper on my desk with reminders of what my purpose is which helps me stay focused. Also surround yourself with other adventurers, reach out to the ones you admire and ask for advice. I do this all the time. Heck, reach out to me. But remember you have to do the hard work and YOU have to make it happen, no one else can. Oh and have fun!!!
Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I’m a paid freelance writer, I write for Art Jewelry Magazine and I’m in the middle of writing my first jewelry design book (which I will finish while on the road) y’all might know this but what you don’t know is that I failed English in High school and lost all my reading ability over the summer transitioning from 1st to 2nd grade. Just goes to show that if there’s a will there’s a way!