PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLISON POTTER
A Sheller’s Design
by SHANNON RAE GENTRY
Coming from a long line of shellers, Margaret Turner followed
her mother, grandmother and aunt’s footsteps as she grew
up along the North Carolina coast. Her home is filled with
shells from combing the sands of her favorite beaches,
which include Wrightsville Beach, Masonboro and Bald Head Island.
Because of the tides, her best shelling times follow a full or new
moon, but the shores are prime for picking after a heavy storm or
not that she wishes for another. Turner says after Irene
came ashore in 2011, she collected hundreds of perfect sand dollars,
sea urchins and more.
“It’s just like a treasure trove that washes up on the sand … every
time I found a sand dollar I felt like I found a piece of treasure,” she says.
Turner took photos of her ongoing collections and pinned them
to a board with other favorite hobbies and passions. Eventually,
Margaret Turner Designs came to fruition, combining her love of
shells and fashion sense into a line of beach-inspired scarves that
include cotton voile and silk.
“I always had this idea that I would design scarves and cardigans
one day, because I always have to have them to keep warm,”
With an MBA from Rice University, Turner says it took time and soul
searching to realize that scarves, the simplest form of cut and sew,
were the ideal pursuit.
“Once I made that first scarf everything moved forward,” she says.
Turner’s process begins with taking photographs of her shells,
which are digitally printed onto the fabrics in Durham, North Carolina,
and sent back to Turner, who cuts and sews the scarves herself. The
sand dollar is her favorite.
Turner’s scarves are currently sold at The Fisherman’s Wife on
Airlie Road and online at www.margaretturnerdesigns.com
Margaret Turner’s scarves, shown, photographed at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.