How This Designer Conjured Up Metalsmithing Magic to Heal From Lyme Disease

How This Designer Conjured Up Metalsmithing Magic to Heal From Lyme Disease
Credit: Meredith Brower Photography. Provided courtesy of Beth McLacklan.

Beth McLacklan’s journey into metalsmithing and jewelry design started during a difficult time in her life, when she was recovering from Lyme disease and four other tick-borne illnesses. It was then that her mother would bring her boxes of costume jewelry from auctions, providing her with a source of comfort and distraction. “I would spend my days digging, sorting, designing, constructing and healing. Days with costume jewelry led me to pursue soldering and other metalworking techniques,” Beth said.

Although Beth’s passion for metalworking began as a therapeutic escape from her illness, it quickly grew into something much more. The allure of weathered metal and its hidden stories became her muse, fueling her creativity and sparking curiosity in others. With each piece she creates, Beth aims to capture the essence of mystery and possibility, inviting those who wear it to embark on a journey of exploration and imagination. Read on to learn more about Beth and the hidden treasures that lie beneath the surface.

Credit: Elizabeth Lee Artistry.

After experimenting with making jewelry as a hobby, when did you realize that you could launch a business?

When I began attending markets and started selling. My aesthetic is my aesthetic, but to have someone else understand, appreciate, and purchase your process and means of expression is when my artwork becomes a business.

How do you define success for your creative business?

Someone seeing my aesthetic, hearing me as an artist, and wanting to own it. I will never forget when I was at a market in Boston, and a man who spoke little English said to me, ‘Your work, your work is old, like antique?’ I said, ‘Oh no, I make all of this.’ He said, ‘Good job.’ We couldn’t fully communicate verbally, but he saw my work as an artist, he felt my aesthetic, and he heard the voice of my jewelry with his eyes—the best compliment ever.

Where do you find inspiration?

Sunken ships and long-lost treasures—worn metal—metal that has changed color and shape, vintage pearls and chains, stones that are ocean’esque, bravery, grace and that which belongs to the sea.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?

Keep your tax stuff organized! The artist in me needs to find the accountant in me. The ability to bounce between being creative and the responsibilities of owning and upholding a business are equally important. Setting aside time to do due diligence can save a lot of aggravation at the end of the tax season.

Credit: Elizabeth Lee Artistry.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start selling their art or creative product?

Go for it, go for it fully—don’t hold back; allow yourself to be vulnerable and brave, showcasing the uniqueness of you and your creative product.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I jumped a horse over a four-foot fence while I was riding and living in Germany in my early twenties. Though I had ridden since a young age, it was probably my second time jumping a horse; I sprained my thumb and galloped on.

As creatives, we can continuously refine our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

As a work in progress, a constant self-reminder that perfectionism has a place, but so do mistakes, failure and letting things lie. The process of making art and finishing art does not have an oven timer. Stepping away from a project can be just as productive as the process of creation—always needing a little yin and yang.

Credit: Elizabeth Lee Artistry.

What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?

How much support and opportunities there are for creative entrepreneurs.

What advice would you give to someone about handling the highs and lows of running a business?

It is part of the job description. Keep your mind steady and focused on your goal, be gentle with yourself, align with those who will rally for you and remember that running a business is filled with endless possibilities. The ups and downs are ever-present, but it’s the middle I try to hold onto as a means of self-sustaining.

Credit: Elizabeth Lee Artistry.

Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?

I remember hearing someone scoff at the price of a bracelet. Internally, I got defensive; externally, I smiled. It is hard to hear criticism or comments that may feel hurtful. I try to remind myself that my perception is my perception, and, equally so, someone else’s perception is their perception. It is what makes the world go round, the understanding that not all views are alike. Hold your head up, smile, remember who you are and let the world go round.

What’s a cause you are passionate about and why?

An organization that I am passionate about is the Brain Injury Association of RI. Having family members who have dealt with traumatic brain injuries, as well as my own walk with the effects of neurological tick-borne diseases, I understand the importance of brain health, the need to educate and the much-needed support that organizations, such as BIA of RI, provide.

Can you share the name of a supplier or vendor that you use for your business that you just love—one that makes running your business a bit easier?

I thoroughly enjoy using Harrison Casting in Johnston, RI for my casting needs!

Thanks, Elizabeth! You can learn more about the jewelry artist at

Editor’s Note: This interview was edited for length and style.

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