Carol Hepper was born in McLaughlin, South Dakota and received a Bachelor of Science at South Dakota State University. Inspired by sculptural work by Lee Bontecou and the early Minimalists, Hepper began creating pieces using wood and tanned rawhide, alluding to her childhood on the South Dakota Native American reservation. Later she began using fish skin rather than leather. In her workshop in Chinatown, New York, Hepper works primarily with willow branches. These are cut and sent to her from South Dakota by her father. The branches are soaked in water, curved, and dried in set positions. Her most current work combines various woods with industrial pipes and clamps, representing the intersection of nature and industrial culture.