Monday, March 11, 2013

Chain Maille, Seed Beads, and Rob Zombie

Have you ever heard the expression that everybody has a story to tell? Well, I have a similar saying: Everybody has a freak flag, you just have to find it. Freak flag is a phrase that came about in the 60's referring to unconventional behavior that goes against what is considered normal. An example of this was men having long hair in the 60's. I remember my Dad telling me that he had long hair growing up and there were places that wouldn't hire him for work because of his long hair. It is crazy that something as simple as long hair can be considered unconventional. God help those like me that have a different hair color every few months.

I don't know why, but when I heard the term freak flag I fell in love with it. I liked that, in so many ways, it described my personality and my appearance. I liked that it could be used to describe my pierced and tattooed friends. I liked that it took something that a lot of people see as unusual and turned it into something empowering. It was great to see that I had so many friends that dared to be different and let their freak flags fly. 

I started using this term in a slightly different way. I would use it do describe something about someone that you wouldn't be able to assume on looks alone. I have a friend that pretty much looks like a homeless man that may or may not be a serial killer and in reality he is a huge animal rights activist. Several days a week he is working with an animal rescue team on top of another job. His soft spot for animals is his freak flag because you wouldn't guess that about him in a million years. I have another friend that is young, covered from head to toe in piercings and tattoos and looks like she could win a bar fight in a biker bar. She is a new mom with an on-line business that is doing very well and that is her freak flag. 

This post is about a girl I met through Etsy and she has a freak flag too. She makes amazing jewelry. She is pretty much a ninja when it comes to beading. Now, since I have never met her in person, I began making assumptions about her based on her work. At first glance I assumed she is a beach lover who enjoys sporting events, and a night out with family and friends. Then, I decided to check out her favorites. This girl loves horror! I was tickled pink by this. This is like meeting a friends sweet mother who is your typical Martha Stewart type and then finding out she is the human pin cushion at the circus. How freaking cool would that be!?!! So I am very excited to let you get to know a bit more about this lovely lady, Katie, her shop, and her freak flag when it comes to horror!

Hi, My name is Katie and I live in the Berkshires in Western MA. My husband and I just got married last July 4th. I work for my husband in his locksmith business 2 day a week so I have the rest of my time for my jewelry work..In the small amount of spare time I have, I love to read, watch movies and spend time outside when the weather is nice.

1. What types of items do you make and sell?

I make chain maille and hand woven seed beaded jewelry. My chain maille is all aluminum so it's light weight and easy to wear. The seed beads I use are all glass beads and I love to pair the necklaces with both natural and dyed stones. I also recently added key chains and Para Cord to my work.

2. How long have you been making jewelry and how did you get started?

I started making jewelry in 2006 as gifts for friends and family. I worked at a craft store back then and was in charge of the beading department. We had just put a bunch of products on clearance so I picked up quite a bit along with some books. When the new products came in, I fell in love with them. As I was working/ shopping, I became friends with one of my regular customers and the more I talked with her the more I knew jewelry was what I needed to be doing.

3. I know that chain maille jewelry has becoming a popular trend. What about this type of jewelry making appeals to you the most?

I love making chain maille because there is so much variation with it. There are so many different weave and ways to add color to it. I am always trying different techniques with it and getting great results.

4. One thing that makes your necklaces stand out are the chains and ropes that make up necklaces themselves. The pendants seem to be the color inspiration for the necklaces they hang on. Apart from having a pendant to work off of, where else do you pull inspiration from?

Aside from the pendants I use, I draw inspiration from just about anything that catches my eye. The area I live in is wonderful for natural colors, the fall foliage is great. Also, when ever I am out shopping, I look for anything that has great color. Even if I don't buy it, I make a mental note of it and when I get home I translate the colors into my jewelry.

5. The spiral rope necklaces are very impressive. How long does it typically take to make one?

The spiral rope chain is one of my favorite bead weaving techniques. On average an 18 inch necklace will take me about 6-8 working hours. I usually need a break at least once but I can get one done over a day or so.

6. Is there any other type of jewelry making techniques or supplies that you haven't tried out yet, but are looking into? Tell us more.

I am always looking to work with new materials. Right now I am thinking about working with Polymer clay. I want to start making some of my own beads and pendants. I love to create and I would love to add another one of a kind aspect to my jewelry.

7. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making jewelry?

My advice to anyone looking into starting jewelry making is to never give up, keep learning and find a niche that you love, In the 7 years I have been making jewelry, I have learned so much and I know I need to just keep learning.

8. Etsy is filled with amazing shops filled with one of a kind items, jewelry included. What do you try to do as an Etsy seller and crafter to make your items stand out?

I try to stand out on Etsy by having a little something for everyone. From teens to adults, men and women. I have fun, funky necklaces and earrings, delicate looking bead work, Para Cord for the survivalists and chain maille necklaces for men and women.

9. So I decided to get to know more about you prior to this interview by checking out your Etsy profile and your favorites. I noticed coffins, skull charms, a haunted pillow, and Nightmare Before Xmas stuff.This goes to show that my theory that "Everyone has a freak flag, you just have to find it" is true. What else would I be surprised to know about you if I had to base a judgment of your personality and interests solely on your handmade jewelry?

A surprising thing about myself would be that I have a zoo at home. I have 2 bearded dragons, Gwen and Ringo, and 3 ball pythons, Miss Diva, Stryker and Samhein, my Piedbald. They are a huge passion of mine. Also, I have 4 dogs, Molly, a yellow lab, Lady, a Golden Retriever, Jack, an Olde English Bulldog and Shadow, a blue nose pit. And last but not least, I have Smokey, my Maine Coon/ Siamese cat.

10. In case you didn't know, you don't get to be interviewed by A Ghouls Best Friend without a horror related question or two. What is your favorite part about Halloween and why?

Being part Irish, I find the Celtic influence on Halloween awesome. Particularly the history and lore of why we celebrate Halloween the way we do. Also, seeing the trick or treaters is pretty cool too.

11. What is your most favorite scary movie and why? It's okay if you can't name just one, lord knows I can't!

At the top of my favorite scary movie list are House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. Rob Zombie is one of my favorite guys out there. Also, I can never decide but I love Stephen King so any movie made from his books. I always read the books and then watch the movies to see how the books were translated into movie form.

Here is a quick word from Katie on how to get in touch with her and get the 411 on her shop!

Thank you for taking a few moments to get to know me better. You can keep up with me on Facebook at
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And check out my own jewelry site at

 If you like what you read or have a question, leave a comment!


  1. Very interesting interview! I love the chain maille and the fact that Katie has reptiles :D

  2. One of my fave lines "why don't you ask me what it feels like to be a freak?!" :)