Farmer’s Market Stories
by Heidi Grieser
Bryan and Amy Cox are always on the lookout for new artists that meet the two-and-a-half criteria necessary to be featured in their cases. One–you have to currently live in Utah; two–the jewelry must be hand assembled, and the half criteria is that they don’t duplicate genres in the store, so artists may have to be on a waiting list until chosen as the best representative of that style.
As a result of this extra half criteria, Beloved Artisan Jewelry has some of the most unique jewelry in Utah. About 20 artists are featured in the store at a time, and Brian and Amy can tell you the story of every one. “We love artists that find what they like to make and have a clear vision,” said Amy. One of their artists, Michael Moore, is a clear example of someone who takes their passion and translates it into art. Moore has been inspired by science fiction and makes rings that reflect his love of books and films like The Matrix and War of the Worlds.
Other artists find a process or material they like to work with. Jodi McRaney Rusho loves to recycle old glass she scavenges at construction demos and never turns anything away people give her. Rusho has an industrial line of “Glass with a Past,” which includes tiles, light fixtures, and other products for the home, but uses some of the most unique colors and designs she finds to create beautiful earrings and necklaces.
The Coxes see a lot of ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude in Utah, but they said Trolley is a unique mall that can attract customers looking for real artistry. They have jewelry in all price ranges and encourage their artists to ask a fair wage.
Bryan and Amy began their jewelry business by traveling to weekend art festivals and farmers markets to sell chain-mail necklaces and jewelry. Bryan makes hundreds of tiny identical links and Amy assembles them. One of their biggest creations yet is a 1,200 ring necklace that will be representing the genre in the upcoming Best of America book series jewelry edition from Kennedy Publishing.
The Coxes say they have outgrown the festivals and now want to provide spaces for up and coming artists to fill. At one weekend show someone came up to Bryan and said, “I have a gallery and I’d like to have your jewelry in it.” Bryan said it gave him such a “warm fuzzy feeling” that someone wanted to give them recognition, so that is what they are trying to do with their store now.
In addition to running Beloved, the Coxes will still be selling at the downtown farmers market this summer. They love Trolley and venues like the farmers market because they want to show tourists and locals alike what Utah has to offer.
About our Farmer’s Market Story Series: Since Utah Stories was launched as a pamphlet distributed to the patrons of the downtown Salt Lake City farmers market, it’s appropriate that we continue our coverage of the market, which has become an incubator and test market for small business owners, artists and entrepreneurs in Utah. Whether well established or just starting out, we will be profiling the inspiring, passionate folks who have made our farmers markets so successful in Utah. Be sure to nominate your favorites at UtahStories.com