Local artist’s jewelry makes its way to TV

FAMOUS WORK Morgan Hill resident Sharon Winchester has created a variety of jewelry for a number of TV shows and movies. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Felicity Smoak, sitting behind an endless supply of monitors and typing furiously, must use her hacking skills to thwart an attack on Star City by a terrorist known as Cayden James.

Months later, Smoak, with the assistance of a team of heroes, takes down a mobster who is bent on destroying her family.

All the while looking stylish thanks to a Morgan Hill jewelry artist.

Sharon Winchester, who runs her jewelry company The Sleek Kitty, has seen a number of her pieces on TV shows and movies, including the aforementioned CW show Arrow, whose star Emily Bett Rickards has worn her necklaces on a number of different episodes.

“It just validation to see a piece on a show or on a celebrity,” Winchester said. “It sets you apart from all the other makers. I am happy to donate pieces to any costume designer who thinks I will be a fit.”

Through her online business, Winchester crafts custom jewelry orders, everything from necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more. She has shipped to nearly every state, and has shipped her work to countries such as Canada, Germany and France. Made to order, Winchester’s website features a “As Seen on TV” section, where customers can order jewelry worn by the actresses.

Winchester began her business in 2013 (named on the suggestion of her two cat-obsessed daughters), following her and her family’s move to Morgan Hill from Michigan in 2012.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Mich., while she had dabbled in jewelry since she was a child, it wasn’t until recently that Winchester took it to the next level. Realizing she was “bored” with her position at a commercial title insurance company, Winchester took a year off. It was during this time that she crafted Christmas wreaths and dog tags, when inspiration struck.

“It just kind of evolved,” she said. “I still do the holiday craft stuff, but jewelry became my passion.

“I love the fact that you can take gold and silver and do something different from it. It’s really cool to tap into that side of my brain.”

Looking to “put myself out there,” Winchester applied for the invitation-only The Artisan Group in 2015, and was later approved.

The group markets its members’ works to production companies and celebrities. According to The Artisan Group, it has placed more than 1,000 products created by its members on more than 70 television shows since it was founded nearly a decade ago by Valerie Guerrero of Santa Cruz.

“They pound the pavement, so we can focus on what we love,” Winchester said. “I’m so glad The Artisan Guild is there and gave me an opportunity.”

Members of The Artisan Group, who reside all over the world, showcase an array of handcrafted products, including jewelry, designer stationery and paper goods, crocheted and knitted accessories, purses, fine art photography, hair accessories, pet accessories and many other crafts.

In addition to Arrow, Winchester’s work has appeared on other CW shows, Riverdale and All American. Her pieces were also worn on three holiday movies: The Road Home for Christmas on Lifetime, as well as Check Inn for Christmas and Holiday for Heroes on the Hallmark Channel.

Seeing her work on screen never gets old. Her typical reaction?

“Oh my gosh, that’s my necklace!” she recalls. “I’m on TV.”

Winchester is also working on adding her jewelry to a “swag bag” that will be handed out to celebrities during the Academy Awards in February. It’s part of a partnership The Artisan Group has with the Oscars and other award shows, and members have the chance to get their work photographed with celebrities.

In a recent interview, Winchester named off a laundry list of celebrities who have worn her work. Ginger Zee of Good Morning America has worn one of Winchester’s necklaces, and she also got a shout-out over social media from Jaime-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos fame, among others.

The process consists of “a lot of waiting,” Winchester said. The Artisan Group reaches out to its members with opportunities from costume designers, and those instructions can be fairly vague and open to interpretation. Designers look for anything from gold and silver pieces, to modern and eclectic, simple or bold.

Winchester said some of her work has taken two years from inception to showing up on screen.

She said her jewelry style gears toward the simple and modern. A review on her website illustrates this perfectly: “Beautiful, minimal and classic,” wrote a reviewer named Melissa. “Wear with anything. Great quality.”

Winchester encourages other artists looking for exposure for their work to not give up. 

“Stay with it,” she said. “Take it and run with your vision. It’s worth it.”

To view Winchester’s work, visit thesleekkitty.com.

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