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The Arts of Roseville, Granite Bay and Rocklin: Heather Scott; Loomis' Crown Jewel

Growing up, Heather Scott’s answer to the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was always, “An artist!” After a college course in small-scale sculpture, Scott became enamored with the idea of creating transportable art, which eventually led her to artisanal jewelry design. For 10 years now, she’s perfected her skill in working with mitsuro, a 1,300-year-old Japanese technique using malleable wax. “Jewelry is my preferred medium, because I really enjoy the idea of art you can take with you,” shares Scott. “I believe art isn’t only an expression of the artist but an expression of the person who owns [it, too].” View Scott’s latest creations at Loomis’ High Hand Art Gallery, Navada City’s Camelot Gallery, and Placerville’s Gold Country Artists’ Gallery. 

HLB: What are some unique aspects of working with mitsuro?

HS: When warmed to body temperature, [mitsuro] can be shaped, pulled, folded, and twisted to create delicate striations—long organic grooves and ridges that run the length of the material—and the intricate patterns cannot be duplicated by other jewelry techniques. Because the wax is temperature sensitive and the unbroken texture takes time to form, one of the challenges is maintaining the temperature of the wax while handling it. Once the mitsuro is shaped into its final design, the fragile model has to be stored in a dry, cool, dust-free environment until it can be transformed into silver or gold. 

HLB: How is jewelry design ideal in expressing your inspiration?   

HS: I’ve always been inspired by flowers, plants, waves, rivers, streams, and the movement of nature. The sweeping lines and grooves in mitsuro lend to the organic shapes and nature-inspired designs I utilize in my work. Artisan jewelry is a way to see how someone relates to an artist’s work on a more personal level. I really enjoy seeing how a piece I create looks on someone and believe jewelry allows you to connect with others, since oftentimes it has a story; I’ve gotten to know people better just by asking them about an interesting piece they’re wearing.

HLB: When did you consider yourself a professional artist? 

HS: I’ve been selling my work since college, but I didn’t consider myself a professional until 2012 when I showed my work at Off the Cuff at Fine Arts Associates in Honolulu, Hawaii. I sold most of the pieces I made, which gave me the confidence to continue pursuing art as my profession.

HLB: How do you overcome artist’s block? 

HS: I’d like to say I just take a break from a particular project, but it’s more than that. Since mitsuro is such an organic material, working with [it] is often a conversation between artist and medium. Sometimes it’ll suggest what it wants to be and where it wants to go, which oftentimes is the hint of inspiration I need to complete a design. If that doesn’t work, a night out Lindy-hopping or blues dancing always seems to do the trick.

Art Beat:

Through July 7 – Titus Andronicus. Roseville Theatre Arts Academy presents William Shakespeare’s tragedy about the celebrated and victorious protector of Rome, Titus Andronicus, and the violent, vicious circle of revenge and counter-revenge with Tamora, the queen of the goths. Rated PG-13; show times vary.

By Heather L. Becker

artwork images courtesy of Heather Scott
artist photo by DANTE FONTANA