That’s how Kelly Ormsby '13 describes the jewelry she makes for her business, Turquoise Terrapin.
Her inspiration, and overall theme for her business stems from a backpacking trip she took with Associate Professor David Rockwell '95 during her freshman year at SUNY Corning Community College.
“When I got to SUNY CCC I was a general studies major looking for some kind of direction,” said Kelly. “I decided to go on a backpacking trip that introduced me to the idea of self-sufficiency, and the peace of mind associated with nature.”
Kelly quickly changed her major to outdoor recreation and became interested in travel and sustainability, all while maintaining her side-hustle of making jewelry. Soon enough, her jewelry began to reflect her new inspiration: nature.
“Taking outdoor recreation classes and learning how to be self-sufficient opened up my willingness to explore, often times on my own,” said Kelly. “I would observe natural landscapes and colors found in the wild, and use that inspiration to make my jewelry.”
Former SUNY CCC Assistant Professor, Molly Cagwin '97, took notice of Kelly’s unique style. A photographer herself, Molly asked Kelly to model for her.
“I was at the point where my jewelry was doing really well, but I needed something to help take it to the next level,” said the Corning, N.Y., native. “Having Molly take professional pictures of me and my jewelry helped establish my business. It introduced me to the idea of professional branding.”
Once she began to build her business into something tangible, Kelly was invited to attend Corning Glass Fest. She started attending outdoor art festivals and building relationships around the country.
“I started traveling to the west coast and selling my jewelry along the way,” said Kelly. “A lot of my jewelry now has a southwest influence, with vibrant color patterns and gemstones. I like to call it earthy, but sparkly.”
Kelly now owns her own studio in Painted Post, N.Y., where she creates commissioned pieces, as well as designs for museums, galleries, and boutiques.
In the next few years Kelly plans to attend more art festivals around the country and to continue building her portfolio.
“I’m looking forward to challenging myself as a designer,” said Kelly. “I love what I do every single day and I’m excited to see where this business is going to take me.”