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‘Bling picker:’ Cathy Sexton finds her niche with Catiques statement jewelry line

By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post

When it comes to jewelry-making supplies, Cathy Sexton admits to being a bit of a packrat.

She could be right.

It’s sort of out of control,” Cathy admits, walking down the halls of her rambling four-bedroom Salisbury home. Sure enough, there are jewelry supplies in her home office, and in not one, not two, but three of her bedrooms. If you look, you can even spy a few jars in the guest bathroom.

She has several work stations spread throughout the house and yes, she knows where everything is.

Cathy is the owner of Catiques, and she makes beaded flowers, tiaras, headbands, statement necklaces, sequined bracelets and embellished boxes. She sells her one-of-a-kind creations at the High Point furniture market twice a year. She’s having a trunk show as part of the grand opening of the Lettered Lily, a full-service graphic design studio co-owned by her daughter, Taylor.

A Grand Opening and Annual Jingle Mingle is set for 3-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the shop’s new location, 113 W. Fisher St. Besides Cathy’s jewelry, you’ll find $1 holiday photo cards and terrific store specials.

After working — and recovering from — the fall furniture market, Cathy is preparing for the trunk show.

I’ve always had an interest in quilting and ribbon work,” Cathy says. She also loves “upcycling,” finding new uses for vintage items. “I’ve always been a flea market person — like a bling picker.”

On a visit to the Metrolina Flea Market, she found a bunch of costume jewelry. She started working with it, and eventually bought out a vendor’s inventory. After visiting the furniture market, she decided she could take her own jewelry there to sale.

Her husband, Tom, a retired teacher and coach, suggested the name “Catiques.” After all, he reasoned, her name was Cathy, and she liked antiques, so what about Catiques? It worked for her.

Turns out creativity runs in the family. Tom and Cathy’s other daughter, Holly Guertin, is a print designer who lives with her husband Daniel and their boys Jack 2½, and Blaise, 9 months, in Philadelphia.

And Tom helps Cathy assemble some of her products, fashioning bases for headbands, adding ribbons to cuffs and crystals. He also makes decoupage bottles and metal message boards.

Don’t his coaching buddies rib him about it?

They don’t really know about it,” he says.

Um, until now.

Tom and Cathy met at Catawba College — he’s from Hollywood, Fla., she from Boca Raton — and graduated in 1979, the same year they got married. They’ve been here ever since. Cathy continues to work from home as a group account director. Her work requires some travel, and she usually manages to take an extra day to search for jewelry supplies.

Besides showing at market and The Lettered Lily, Cathy has pieces with about a dozen shop owners she’s met through market contacts. Interior designers are good customers, she says. “They like to wear different things. They like having one-of-a-kind jewelry.”

And Cathy’s not the kind of person, she says, to just sit around and watch TV at night. She always has a tray of jewelry on her lap.

I really enjoy doing it,” she says. “It’s a stress reliever. Between now and the April market, I’ll have time to do some new stuff.”

Cathy’s prices range from $80 to $250 for necklaces, and $80 to $100 for bracelets. You can see her work on her Catiques Facebook page and on Instagram.

I make money, then I can go buy more supplies,” Cathy says.

Hmm. She could be a packrat after all.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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