Rosemary Shepherd learned bobbin lacemaking while living in England in 1970. For more than 30 years she has taught in Australia and overseas for community arts centres, tertiary colleges and special interest groups. For 20 of those years she was specialist lace curator at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, where she developed the Lace Study Centre and wrote a classification system for the lace collection. She was also the coordinator of the 1998 and 2001 International Lace for Fashion Awards.

In 1979 Shepherd was a founding member of the Australian Lace Guild and held office on many occasions. She was also active in other arts and crafts organisations, and in curriculum development for tertiary textile education. In 1990 she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the arts, particularly lacemaking.

Shepherd has exhibited widely and her work is held in a number of private and public collections. Apart from her passionate interest in the complex history of lace, she has always enjoyed experimenting with technique, design and materials. Her current contemporary practice is inspired by historical research and includes jewellery made with fine silver wire.