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Issue Date: February 2014

Key Player

by Kathy Ames Carr

Shelley Turk grasps a bronze skeleton key that dangles from a brass chain around her neck. The item unlocks a deeper meaning. "Keys open new doors and lead to new things," says the owner of Stitched & Wired, a line of minimalistic, vintage-inspired jewelry launched in 2011. Working from a closet-sized studio in the basement of her West Park colonial, Turk dispatches her pieces — a collection that includes hazelnut bauble necklaces and bronze chain chandelier earrings — to six stores throughout Northeast Ohio and Columbus. "I never thought it'd spin into what it is now," she says.

FAMILY TIES: Turk's dad drilled holes into pennies and made necklaces for her mom. "I was fascinated watching him tinker with his jewelry saw," she says. Now Turk carves her own jewelry-making path. "I make what I would wear," she says of the pieces, priced from $12.50 to $23. "I don't like a lot of flash."

TOOL TIME: A 5-foot-long, dark-stained wooden table serves as her workstation. Turk's tools of the trade — flat-nosed pliers and wire cutters — are scattered on the plywood surface. Storage boxes are stacked across the room, filled with beads collected since Turk was a child. "They're ready and awaiting the next phase," she says.

ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: She purchases parts online and in area craft stores. "My line is curated," she explains. "I don't sit down and solder out my own key. I'm experimenting with my hand tools and exploring metalsmithing, so I can hand forge a line ... from precious metals."

SELL OUT: Turk sells nearly 40 pieces a month on Etsy and in stores, such as Room Service in Ohio City and Harmony Studios in her native Willoughby. But a recent two-day holiday market doubled sales. "I was running out of merchandise, so I sat there and created 15 pairs of Aztec tribal earrings, which sold out," she recalls.

Red semiprecious stones dangle from an antique brass chain in Stitched & Wired's bib necklace ($23), designed to lay flat around the neckline. "Most women want that statement piece they can wear with high-neck or low-neck tops," Turk says.


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