Creating Wearable Art – An Interview {& Giveaway!} With Beki of The Rusted Chain


Photo Property of The Rusted Chain
Photo Property of The Rusted Chain


As part of the Resources for Creative series, I’ve been seeking out interviews with a variety of artists that inspire me with their creative process.  Beki’s work caught my eye for a multitude of reasons.   I was first inspired by her manifesto:

 We are about simply inspiring jewelry.
We are about supporting local businesses.
We are about honoring God.
We are about living simply and sweet tea.
We are about fresh cut flowers.
We are about thrift stores, yard sales, and antiques.
We are about bare toes in green grass.
We are about big red barns and mason jars.
We are about savoring small moments in life.
We are about daisies, peonies and fields of sunflowers.
We are about supporting an underdog and giving to charities.
We are about friends, family and fun

Along with being a jewelry maker and a fantastic photographer, Beki hosts an enormous annual craft & antique show with a wide array of vendors in October – The Kansas Barn Sale.  The Rusted Chain jewelry pieces are durable yet delicate and feature great variety in the use of words, shapes and designs– from classic and simple to rock-glam chic.   Her work has been featured in countless magazines and blogs, and celebs like Ree Drummond (of The Pioneer Woman fame) and Lisa Whelchel regularly wear her creations.


Sarah: What inspired you to create jewelry in the first place, and them move into the business end of it?

BEKI: I just got a wild hair one day and decided I wanted to try making jewelry.  I ran to Hobby Lobby and bought the supplies I thought I’d need, then went home and created my first bracelet.   I was hooked.  I made more and more, and when I had too many to wear, I started listing them on Ebay–and people bought!  When demand started going up, I knew I could actually make a real business out of it.

Sarah:  What books about creativity & inspiration are you currently reading?

BEKI: I’m currently reading The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus, suggested by my friend Lisa Whelchel.  I’m loving it!  It’s about being more bold and brave, things I struggle with naturally.

Photo Property of The Rusted Chain
Photo Property of The Rusted Chain

Sarah:  Do you listen to music when engaged in the creative process?

BEKI: I have a lot of variety in my music…[Songs like] Don’t Stop Believin’ keep me going.  I can hear you laughing [at listing] Miley Cyrus!

[Sarah’s note: I’ve created a playlist from artists Beki loves and listens to…and no judgment from me! I love hearing what music inspires others…no matter the artist or type!   You’ll find the playlist music player & songlist at the end of this post.} 

Sarah: What inspires you for the words and designs on your jewelry?  Do you follow style trends?

BEKI: Things just pop into my head all of the time.  I keep a list on my smart phone of new words and phrases I want to put on jewelry.  I don’t really follow trends much…I just know what I like and hope others will like it too!

Photos Property of The Rusted Chain
I recently ordered my first 'Rusted Chain' treasure...a nod to my touring days and remembering my favorite gypsy soul - my Mom.
I recently ordered my first ‘Rusted Chain’ treasure…a nod to my touring days and remembering my favorite gypsy soul – my Mom.

SarahWhat is your favorite collection of your jewelry and why?

BEKI:  It always changes.  My current favorite is the most recent, the Delta Blues collection.  I was just really inspired to do something with a sort of Southern Rock gritty feel, but keeping it simple and pretty enough to wear with a business suit or black dress.  {To view and shop this collection, click here.} 

Photo Property of The Rusted Chain

Sarah: Who are other artists you admire & why?

BEKI: I love anyone who stands out as unique, true to their own style, not following any trends.

SarahWhat inspires you?

BEKI: So much!  Words, poetry, books, music, nature, textures…

Sarah: What advice can you give to someone just starting out in their artistic journey?

BEKI: Be original, work hard, treat people well.  Those are the three keys to success in my opinion!

Sarah:  How has being a parent shaped your artistic work and business?

BEKI:  Being a Mom has made me create jewelry that is pretty, but not too delicate.  Toddlers grab necklaces and tug them often, and I don’t want anything that will snap easily!  Our jewelry has to be wearable for everyday real life, not just special occasions.  Now that our kids are older, they all help out with the business, particularly during busy seasons.  They help stock shelves, polish jewelry, even assemble things.

Sarah:  Being a Christian artist, can you talk to me about the influences of your faith in your work?  Are certain aspects of your creative processes influenced differently because of your faith?

BEKI: We just want to show love and represent God in everything our business does.  Sometimes that shows up in jewelry designs.  Sometimes that’s an encouraging social media update.  Sometimes that’s giving to a charity behind the scenes.  The questions are always, ‘Does this reflect God?’ and ‘Does this work well to benefit my family?’  If those answers are yes, then we’re on the right track.

Sarah: Do you have a mentor in your artistic process?

BEKI: I don’t really.  I just get ideas, sketch them out, and play around with materials until I can make something happen.

Sarah: You coordinated and started one of the largest art sales in Kansas – The Kansas Barn Sale.  How did that come about?

BEKI: As an artist I wanted to do a few shows so I could meet our buyers in person.  We have a beautiful property with a big barn so I decided to host my own [show], inviting other vendors and artists!  The Kansas Barn Sale is a craft & antique show and we were the first in the state.  Every vendor is hand selected so buyers know they’re getting the best of the best!  It’s definitely not the typical craft show.

Sarah: How have you grown your business?  What specific things, if any, have happened or worked that moved your business forward in a big way?

BEKI: It has actually been slow and steady.  I’ve just continued to focus on the three things I mentioned earlier:  being original, working hard and treating people well.  We’ve never taken any business loans and the business is debt free.  When we had a little extra income, we started running magazine ads.  We’ve worked with a lot of bloggers to build traffic.  I’ve also intentionally targeted celebrities that I would love to have our brand associated with.  Those things have really helped push us!

Sarah: What is your advice to fellow creatives working to realize their own artistic & creative dreams?

BEKI: Be willing to work hard, harder than you think.  Be determined, but have flexible dreams.  Different  opportunities may present themselves to you and you don’t want to be so close-minded that you miss them.  Be willing to vary your definition of success.  Success isn’t just being on top or beating the competition.  It may be that 5 sales a week is successful.  Or hitting $50,000 a year in sales is successful.  Or saving to take your family on a vacation once a year is successful.  Be flexible.

Photo Property of The Rusted Chain
I’m giving away one of my favorite Rusted Chain jewelry pieces – the Amazing Grace bracelet – to one lucky reader!   I’ll choose a winner using and notify the winner by email.  Enter by leaving a comment and using Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beki’s Inspired Playlist
1.Don’t Stop Believein’ – Journey  2. Consume Me – DC Talk  3. White Flag – Chris Tomlin  4. The Climb – Miley Cyrus  5.  Jolene – Dolly Pardon  6.  Hurt – Johnny Cash  7.  Ain’t No Sunshine – Al Green  8. Hold You In My Arms – Ray Lamontagne  9.  Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson  10.  Gravity – John Mayer  11. She’s A Lady – Tom Jones  12. Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars  13. O My Soul – Audrey Assad  14. Love Me – The Little Willies  15. You’ve Got My Heart – Audrianna Cole  16. Moondance – Van Morrison  17. I Am – Nichole Nordeman 18.  Homesick – Mercy Me  19. Safe & Sound – Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars  20. When Love Comes To Town – Joss Stone & Jonny Lang  21. Psycho Killer – The Talking Heads  22. Let It All Hang Out – The Hombres  23. You’ve Got Growin’ Up To Do – Joshua Radin & Patty Griffin  24. Lucky – Jason Mraz  25. The House That Built Me – Miranda Lambert  26. I Never Told You – Colbie Caillat  27. Simple Love Song – Anuhea

8 comments on “Creating Wearable Art – An Interview {& Giveaway!} With Beki of The Rusted Chain

    1. I’m so glad you’re liking it! For some reason with giveaways, I feel like no one enters –do I just need more readers? I feel like I give away fun stuff? You seem to the be the queen of giveaways – if you have insight, I’d love to hear it my friend! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

    1. So glad you liked it! (And hope you entered the giveaway 🙂 I’ve got a wonderful blogger, and a choreographer up next in these interviews! 🙂

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