Rebecca Schena
Jewelry and metal art objects




Maker, baker, and the proud, sole member of the Anal-Retentive Artists Guild.

A Silicon Valley native, I am currently an undergraduate student at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), working towards my BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing with a concentration in Mind, Brain, and Behavior.

I am interested in jewelry as a method for initiating political communication and as a way of altering, manipulating, or distorting social identity. I continue to explore this idea both in my work and through Making Progress, my collaborative project with jeweler and educator Leslie Boyd.


My creative cycle is one of absorption, manipulation, and expulsion. The tedious process of creating work by hand allows me to process and expel experiences back into the world for reconsideration. I make sense of absurdity through this cycle: absorb, amend, release.

Like a wearable community quilt, jewelry is inherently a form of socially engaged craft based on exchanging ideas through physical creation. I am intrigued by the ways people perceive common symbols and how this communication can be interrupted by manipulation and distortion. I find power in creating wearable art with the agency to situate itself inside channels of communication rather than on the periphery. The content of a piece of jewelry is altered not only by the identity of the wearer, but also by the social context in which it is worn.

I find myself constantly returning to the dichotomy between the internal and the external. Sometimes, all is revealed: motives are clear and manipulation is absent. However, frequently in my work and in political communication, symbols cannot be taken at face value. My pieces are made to be explored, flipped around, cracked apart, and over-analyzed. Their intentions can be blatantly announced or concealed. The blatant takes its form in protest signs and campaign pins — a statement, a chant, a scream. The secretive remains obscured — undisclosed donations, unshared prejudices, erased citizens. With secrecy comes power that can be mobilized for deception or for justice.