Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Betsy Frost Jewelry at Smith Galleries

Betsy Frost in her studio.
What do a women’s ice hockey player, a Service Dog Project volunteer, and a metalsmith have in common? In the case of Betsy Frost, they are one in the same person. Being a girl in a family of boys may have had something to do with Betsy’s learning to play ice hockey, but she loved it so much she plays year round on a women’s over 40 team. Her Service Dog Project involvement is also a year round commitment. Her family owns two female Great Danes, Scarlet and Mischa, whose puppies are donated to the project and trained as service dogs.The whole family is involved in the non profit organization. In addition to her personal involvement, Betsy has designed a line of jewelry specifically for the SDP and donates half of her earnings from that line to the project.

Sand Dollar Necklace & Earrings by Betsy Frost
So how does Betsy have time to produce jewelry for galleries, and how did she become interested in jewelry making to begin with? At some point in their lives, most artists have a mentor who either introduced them to the love of their craft or encouraged them in their pursuit of it. In Betsy’s case there was the neighbor, a master metalsmith, who allowed her to hang out in his workshop and watch him work. But it wasn’t until Betsy reached the age of 30 that she focused solely on pursuing her dream. Betsy Frost grew up in North Bennington, Vermont, the eldest daughter of 10 children. She always thought she would be a doctor, as her father had been taking her along on his surgical rounds from the time she was six. But after a discouraging glimpse of the pre-med rigors at Williams College, Betsy majored in psychology instead.

Betsy with Scarlet and Mischa

After graduation from Williams in 1987, Betsy waited tables in St. Thomas, danced her way around the world with "Up With People," and studied silversmithing in Sweden and at Skidmore College. She later moved to Boston to be trained for a "real job" by enrolling in a master's program in Counseling Psychology, while still continuing to take classes in silversmithing. It didn't take her long to discover that she really wanted to design jewelry, so she quit the master's program and began studying at the Massachusetts College of Art, where she graduated with a BA in Metals in 1996.

Necklace and Earrings by Betsy Frost
Today Betsy has a custom studio in the basement of her home where she and her assistants design, make, and market her jewelry collections. Her location provides part of the inspiration for her designs, and daily life also provides ideas.  Betsy is inspired by such artists as Matisse and Degas, but also gets many of her ideas from her immediate surroundings--the shape of a flower or shell, or the "line" of a piece of furniture. Living near the water in Massachusetts influenced the sea life collection. Shells, sand dollars, and other sea life combined with a beautiful selection of stones form an outstanding collection of nautical jewelry. A keen eye for observing everything around her gives Betsy ideas for her sculptural pieces. A night owl, Betsy confesses that some of her best design ideas come when everyone else is sleeping.

Betsy currently resides in Ipswich, Massachusetts with her husband Jeff, sons Connor and Rowan, and dogs Jack, Scarlet and Mischa.

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870

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