Welcome to the second installment of The heART Series, a monthly series in which we'll discover and explore some of the lesser-known, or maybe even lesser-appreciated creative arts, and will examine how the arts and faith are intertwined.
Each artist interviewed in this series is a Christian woman, whether or not her work is centered around her faith. We'll hear from painters, writers, photographers, graphic artists, dancers, stitchers, calligraphers, fashion designers, leather workers, and more.
I am beyond excited about this project, and because I want you to be just as excited as I am, if you haven't already, I really recommend reading more about the heart behind The heART Series ⟶here⟵.
You can also read the first installment ⟶here⟵.
So, is everyone all caught up and ready to go? Me too! Let's get started with our second artist!
Rebecca Kemp of Grace and Salt Ink
Rebecca lives in the north of England, has been married to her University sweetheart for over seven years, and has a not-quite-two year old daughter! She has a serious craft addiction, has been a Sci-Fi nerd since childhood, and has a serious love for Boston Terriers (although she doesn't own one; she just stalks them on Instagram).
Rebecca started a small business in March called “Grace and Salt Ink”. The name was inspired by Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” [ESV] The business itself was birthed out of creative worship with her journaling Bible, and the aim of Grace and Salt Ink is to help you saturate your life with the Word through all things paper and ink! The shop primarily features journals, with the recent introduction of Midori-style leather wraps to keep pocket Moleskine/Fieldnote-sized journals in.
If Rebecca says "let's go for a coffee," what she actually means is "you can have a coffee If you like, I'm going to have a hot chocolate with whipped cream and a piece of cake." Her favourite ice cream is Benny & Jerry's cookie dough, or failing that, Hagen Daz Strawberry Cheesecake -- and this is important: she would rather have no ice cream than have soft-scoop!
the life in between: When did you first learn to (or realize that you could!) dance, paint, sew, write, style, photograph, etc. What is your heART story?
Rebecca: I’ve always been creative. I remember around the age of six realising that I was able to express myself a lot better through art than words, and although I couldn’t keep up with my classmates on spelling or learning timetables, none of them could draw as well as I could. After being aware of my short-comings for so long, it gave me a massive encouragement to find something I was really good at.
tlib: While you're immersed in a project or a piece, what are some things going through your mind? Do you pray? Do you praise?
Rebecca: When I am lettering a journal I like to pray for its recipient and the journey God will take them on as they use it -- that really excites me. If it’s a personal project, lettering in my journaling Bible, for example, I will quite often have on a worship CD [usually Bethel Music] and be praising both through the art and song. When I’m sewing I’ll always have a podcast sermon on.
tlib: Tell us about your creative process. What inspires you to get started? Can you turn your creativity on and off?
Rebecca: In my journaling Bible I will read through the whole page highlighting things that really speak to me, I might make notes in a seperate journal, then I will usually take the thing that has spoken most to me and letter it out on the side nice and big -- as I letter it out, it gives me time to really meditate on the verse and have it sink in. Can I turn it on or off? I think it’s impossible to turn creativity off, it’s always there brewing away!
tlib: Do you prefer to share your work or do you like to keep it just between yourself and God? Why?
Rebecca: I felt God ask me to share some of my journaling Bible creations on Instagram last year. It was like a prophetic outlet -- I felt there were specific verses He wanted me to share, and I was amazed at the responses I received, from simple short comments of “thanks, I needed that today” to long private messages explaining how the verse had really encouraged them in tough personal circumstances going on in their lives which I had no idea about. At Christmas I felt the Lord ask me to open my Instagram up to be ‘public’ so more people could see these posts. This was a challenge to me, as I am quite a private person, but after praying about it and feeling sure it was right, I did it and was simply blown away by the responses that came from that. I read more stories of how verses had really spoken to people, and there has been so much joy that has come from being part of the online Bible journaling community.
tlib: If you share your work, how do you promote your art in a way that glorifies God?
Rebecca: I try and write my personal reflections on the verse underneath photos of my journaling Bible, things God may have said to me through it, in the hope that it may inspire others.
tlib: How do you take compliments? How do you stay humble without denying your unique skill?
Rebecca: This is an interesting question and one I have been challenged on repeatedly. Someone dear to me has asked several times when I upload journaling Bible images to Instagram [once ‘public’] if I am just doing it to see how many likes I get. The question did shake me -- am I?! Am I only doing this to see how many likes I get?! -- I cannot deny that when I went from around 200 follows whilst ‘private' to 1000 once ‘public’ there was a moment of ‘hey, check me out’. But I can honestly say thatwhen reading the comments, I am happiest when people comment with how a verse has spoken to them, or when a client says they are pleased with their new journal and the service they have received.
tlib: Do you believe that God can be glorified through secular art? How can secular work still point to Jesus?
Rebecca: In my business I try and focus on customer service -- inspired by Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for man." I decided early on that I would put as much love, effort, and attention into the smallest order as I would into a huge order. I want to make sure everyone feels special and is really blessed by their order. It’s the reason I hand-letter and paint-splatter all packages for free, which other businesses charge for.
tlib: What is a dream or vision you have in regards to how your work may impact hearts and souls for Christ?
Rebecca: If I can encourage people to journal their journey with God and immerse their lives in the Word, I have achieved my goal! In my personal experience, the more time I spend in the Word and listening to God, the happier I am, and the more ready and productive I am for Kingdom purposes.
tlib: Lastly, for fun, who (living or dead, and besides God) are you most inspired by when it comes to your art?
Rebecca: April Crosier of @Marine_Parents on Instagram is the first Bible journaler I ever came across, and has definitely been a huge inspiration through my whole art journaling journey. I love her work and her heart for God. Through the #journalingBible hashtag I have also “met” an amazing community of people from all around the world who inspire and encourage me in this journey.
Rebecca, my dear "Insta-friend", thank you so much for opening your heart up to us here for The heART Series! I have absolutely loved hearing from you, and am so inspired by your heart for Christ.
READERS: What did you take away from this interview with Rebecca? Do you have any questions or comments about The heART Series? Let me know! ⤵︎