We’re excited to kick off our new interview series, Campfire Chats, with none other than Scott Whitaker, the mastermind behind our latest giveaway: a one-of-a-kind textured signet ring holding a stone we discovered in Utah. If you’re new here, this is what we’re talking about. And PSA: there are only a few days left to enter.
Scott has spent the last 20+ years honing his craft and making all types of jewelry, from bracelets to bolos, all of which draw inspiration from the outdoors. His story is one that reminds us to slow down and find purpose in nature, like that first swim of the season “when you jump in the water and she whispers all her secrets to you.” A modern Thoreau, if you will.
Press play on our first Campfire Chat to learn more about Scott’s background, vision and, of course, why Walter Sky is part of his everyday wardrobe.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into jewelry making?
It all started with my grandma teaching me macrame and how to tie friendship bracelets. This led to stringing beads and making necklaces, then in high school, I had an amazing teacher, Sue Villella, who taught me the principles of metal-smithing. While in college, I apprenticed at a jewelry studio and continued my career learning more of the trade until finally purchasing my own brick-and-mortar store in 2006.
What inspires your vision?
My craft is largely inspired by the world we live in — nature, humans, our shared life experience. I always try to work in the flow of life and create what feels true in the moment.
How have your designs evolved over the years?
My designs have evolved to match the way I see the world as I grow older. I’ve gone from refined to rugged and back to refined more times than I can count. I like to look at my craft the same way I look at water — sometimes it rages like a river from mind to hand and other times it flows like a stream. Bringing my life experiences and the experiences of others into my work has been an inspiring part of the craft.
What would you say your style is?
My style consists of looking at nature’s beauty and trying to bring as much of that into people's lives as I can, whether you’re a full-time, part-time or first-time outdoor enthusiast. I hope when you see or touch my work that it evokes in you the same spirit of the outdoors it was created with.
What’s your process for selecting materials and where do you source them?
I love to use found materials while enjoying the outdoors, much like in our giveaway. But we also have quite a few family mines and other contacts that we purchase turquoise, diamonds, etc. from throughout the world.
What’s one piece you’re obsessed with right now?
I’m really loving our textured signet ring; it’s bold, beautiful and a really fun build with the texture and various stones we’ve been using in it.
How do you hope people feel when they get their hands on a piece of Scott James jewelry?
You know that feeling at sunrise or sunset or when you finally reach that lookout you’ve been hiking toward for hours? Or maybe that first swim of the season when you jump in the water and she whispers all her secrets to you? That’s what I hope people feel when they get one of my pieces.
Can you tell us about how you and Nate first met?
Nate and I met around 2015 or so, after he saw some of my work on Instagram. We quickly related to each other’s visions, began working on some business and personal projects, and the rest is history. We both have a lot for the outdoors, and I think that shows a lot in what we’ve both worked to create over the years.
Why do you choose to wear Walter Sky?
When Nate originally told me what he was creating, I was excited to have a brand that could hold up and look good whether I’m out on the trails or in meetings with clients.
What are your most-used pieces of gear?
Favorite thing to do while wearing Walter Sky?
My favorite activity is to swim around in my Walter Sky shorts. “The water is always the right temperature…”
Can we expect another Walter Sky x Scott James Jewelry collab anytime soon?