Woodcraft of Toledo
5311 Airport Highway
Toledo, OH 43615
Woodworking comes naturally for Kelly with a father who has background in carpentry, furniture restorer, and miller as well as an uncle with a successful cabinet making business. Starting at age 15, Kelly has worked with both men, honing her talents and expanding her own woodworking skills.
After studying graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, she then completed two years of AmeriCorps service, where she fell in love with the idea of building and creating after working on a Habitat for Humanity home. When she returned home, she worked for her uncle at his cabinet shop.
A little later, Kelly began working at the Toledo Woodcraft store. “I learned so much working there! I learned how to turn, how to cut dovetails by hand, how to work with veneer, honed my teaching skills, etc. I probably did more reading up on different skill sets just looking up answers for customers than at any other point in my career.” After perfecting her turning skills, Kelly uses that knowledge in teaching bowl and bracelet turning at the Woodcraft store in Toledo.
Currently, Kelly works for her father at the sawmill. Kelly compares sawing up a tree to a treasure hunt. While working in her dad’s sawmill operation, Kelly said she loves finding curly maple or walnut and especially burls, which she uses for turning bowls and bracelets. The business cuts lumber from tree service and excavation companies to order, and then dries it in one of three kilns on-site.
As a mother to four-year-old Penny, Kelly said her woodworking interests vary from designing and building furniture, cabinetry, boxes, signs and toys, to turning bowls, bangle bracelets and rings. She also likes to lay and finish hardwood flooring.
Kelly said she loves to design as a need arises, such as finding storage solutions or better use for spaces in her home. “I frequent garage and estate sales looking for furniture/components I can repurpose. I am currently in the process of reworking some old school desks into end tables and/or an entertainment center,” she said. But mostly it’s her own curiosity that fuels her ambition. “Once I have an idea, I run after it feverishly. I recently was reading about ‘cerused oak’ and had no idea what that meant so I googled it. I had never tried this finishing method and I thought it looked really cool, so I immediately started thinking about incorporating it into my next project.”
Kelly and her father-in-law have teamed up on occasion to make kids' toys. "His dad was a woodworker and we inherited six boxes full of patterns, templates, woodworking supplies, and projects in random stages of completion. Every now and then we pick one of his old toy projects and try to re-create it in multiples for the grandkids, nieces, and nephews. Last year we did dog pull-toys. This year it was a toy barn."
Kelly lists some of her smaller items like bangles, cuff bracelets, rings, and bowls for sale on her Etsy shop "kellysparkles" and she occasionally does art shows and custom orders she receives through word of mouth or social media. She makes a lot of gifts for others with her talents as well.