First Annual Made in the South Awards

See the winners from G&G's first contest for craftsmen in the South

  • + Expand Caption

    OVERALL WINNER

    Jay Lichty

    Product:
    Guitars
    Made in: Tryon, North Carolina


    Click here to read Jay Lichty's story.

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Etc.

    JASON LaFERRERA
    Product: Giclee Prints
    Made: Mechanicsville, VA


    At first glance, digital artist Jason LaFerrera’s pieces may look like straightforward field-guide renderings. But look closer and you’ll see that his birds, stags, snakes, foxes, rabbits, and others are constructed from old maps of the places they hail from. Highways run through wings, map legends perch on tails, lakes and rivers dot beaks and feet. “When I started, I felt like all digital art looked the same,” LaFerrera says. “With my work, I’m striving very hard to give the pieces a handmade quality.” Tapping into the vast catalog of historic maps available online, LaFerrera has created more than two hundred giclee prints, on watercolor paper, of his digital collages. And currently he’s hard at work on a series depicting state birds using state maps. John James Audubon would be proud.
    $40-$300; laferrera.com

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Etc.

    RED BIRD INK
    Product:  Letterpress stationery
    Made in: Conyers, GA


    Blame it on the advent of soulless e-mail messages, perhaps, but the centuries-old letterpress stationery technique is experiencing a renaissance. And Julia Farill is making some of the South’s most beautiful examples in the storefront of an old candy shop in Conyers, Georgia. Four years ago, she and her industrial designer husband, Collin, drove 1,800 miles to buy a Chandler & Price press, hauled the antique machine back home in a borrowed trailer, and slowly brought it back to life. Now, working the press by hand to create everything from custom wedding invitations to coasters made from antique wooden type is all in a day’s work. “For me the meditative quality of letterpress printing works as a counterbalance to the intensity of design,” Farill says. “From the first moment I got to use the press, I was hooked.”
    $4-$1,000; redbirdink.com

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Etc.

    CARR AMPLIFIERS
    Product: Guitar Amplifiers
    Made in: Pittsboro, NC


    Sure, it’s a perk that custom Carr amps have the retro good looks of the Elvis era, but at the end of the day, the crystal-clear sound is what really matters. That’s exactly why Ed King of Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Fogerty, and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco are all owners of this boutique brand of guitar amplifiers hand made below the Mason-Dixon. Unlike exact mid-century reproduction amps, Carr amplifiers marry nuanced vintage sound with updated technologies, giving players the best of both worlds. “We try to figure out the great things about forties, fifties, and sixties amps and throw in some new twists,” says founder Steve Carr. “But our amps don’t have a whole lot of knobs or switches. They’re super-useful but very simple.”
    $1,250-$3,290; carramps.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    CATEGORY WINNER, FOOD

    ROOBIE RED TEA
    Product: Organic bottled tea
    Made in: Louisville, KY


    Jeff Stum had worked in the Louisville spirits industry for six years when he changed direction. “I’d decided I wanted to make my own brand,” the former Brown-Forman executive says. And he wanted that brand to be a variety of teas spiked with alcohol. That was in 2006, and after a year of experimentation, Stum felt he’d hit a wall. Ironically, he discovered that if he left the alcohol out of the tea, the stuff tasted great. “So I decided to create a brand around bottled organic teas,” he says, “and I got right down to work.”The first bottles of Rooibee Red Tea rolled out in November 2009, after Stum partnered with a packager in his own backyard who could be cleared for stringent organic bottling certifications. Seven flavors and multiple Southeastern distributors later, the stuff is developing a devoted fan base. “But it’s not like we’re completely out of the woods yet,” says Heather Howell, Stum’s newly appointed CEO. “Every weekend, we visit farmers’ markets with our product, to let people try it out.” That grassroots campaign only adds to the homegrown charm in every bottle.
    $18 for a twelve-pack; rooibeeredtea.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Food

    PIE SHOP
    Product:
    Old-fashioned pies
    Made in:
    Decatur, GA


    Every pie baked by Mims Bledsoe at the Pie Shop arrives in a peach-colored box tied with a white bow and calls to mind old-fashioned diner offerings, right down to the hand-decorated crusts. “I opened the Pie Shop because I wanted to work with my hands; I wanted to do something basic and craft-based,” Bledsoe says. “I most enjoy making things that seem new or novel but are really old recipes that have been forgotten.” That includes reviving nostalgic Southern pies such as Appalachian chestnut, butterscotch, sweet potato, and white Christmas. Bledsoe assembles the hearty confections from fresh, seasonal ingredients, which keep the made-from-scratch flavor authentic. We’d gladly eat any of her pies—but when summer comes back around, try the blackberry.
    $4-$28; the-pie-shop.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Food

    SALLIE'S GREATEST
    Product: Herbal Jam
    Made in: Cameron, SC


    Trust us, when you open a jar of Sallie Dent Porth’s fresh-from-a-South-Carolina-field Strawberry Basil Jam, you’ll want to slather it all over everything from Camembert and crackers to hot biscuits at breakfast. Porth grew up in one of the South’s oldest farming communities and returned to her roots a few years ago after a fast-track corporate career. “My mother-in-law taught me how to can, and I got addicted to it,” she says. “And when you live in the country, you can’t just run to a gourmet grocery for herbs, so I planted an herb garden and started experimenting with flavors.” So far, every single jam she’s come up with is just as delicious as the one that started it all. We especially like Porth’s latest concoction: Fig, Sweet Onion, and Rosemary.
    $6-$11; salliesgreatest.com

    Winnie Lee

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Food

    CATOCTIN CREEK
    Product: Organic spirits
    Made in: Purcellville, VA


    After years of plotting his escape from life as a software engineer, Scott Harris finally made his dream of distilling handmade spirits in the country happen. Almost two years later, business is booming at he and his wife Becky’s distillery in the Blue Ridge Mountains, now producing organic gin, rye, and a white whiskey called Mosby’s Spirit (named for rogue Confederate colonel John S. Mosby). The distillery sits on the north fork of Catoctin Creek, the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since Prohibition. Try the gin with tonic and cucumber,the rye neat, and Mosby’s Spirit with sweet tea.
    $35-$42; catoctincreekdistilling.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    CATEGORY WINNER, SPORTING

    OYSTER FLY RODS
    Product: Bamboo fly rods
    Made in: Blue Ridge, GA


    A Bill Oyster fly rod is not only American-made: Every one of the forty custom rods he makes each year, Oyster makes by hand from imported bamboo at his shop in Blue Ridge, Georgia. “I split each twelve-foot length of cane into six strips,” Oyster says. “Then, depending on the length, number of pieces, and action wanted, I plane each strip of cane to thousandths of an inch. I also engrave all the nickel and silver hardware, which takes as long as the actual creation of the rod.”What emerges is a form of functional American art. With their distinctive engravings and elegant rattan grips, plus an action faster than a typical cane rod’s, every Oyster fly rod is both elegant and remarkably fishable. “We’re making a faster rod,” Oyster says, “with action more like a graphite rod.”While Oyster says that he builds at least 90 percent of his rods for custom orders, he also makes a few standardized models. “Problem is, when I put rods out for sale in the shop, they sell pretty fast. But I guess that’s a good problem to have.”
    $1,840-$10,000; oysterbamboo.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Sporting

    FISK KNIVES
    Product: Hand-forged Knives
    Made in: Nashville, AR


    How’s this for dedication to your art? At his wedding in October, master bladesmith Jerry Fisk walked under a procession of crossed bowie knives held by friends and former apprentices in his shop. That level of dedication spans a thirty-year career and numerous titles, accolades, and high-profile clients. And Fisk is still hammering metal most days of the week, finishing hunting knives with mammoth-bone handles, dirks with intricate gold wire inlay, and even heritage sets of knives decorated with Damascus steel custom-engraved for three generations of one family. “My guess is that I’ll fall dead in my shop of old age trying to get out my last order,” he says. “This is what I do because it’s what I love.”
    $1,100-$36,000; fisk-knives.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Sporting

    CARIBIANA SEA SKIFFS
    Product: Fiberglass and teak boats
    Made in: Pensacola, FL


    Classic teak detailing and a graceful hull may disguise the versatile, hardworking machine beneath, but a Caribiana Sea Skiff is just as equipped for hard-core fishing in the shallows as it is for taking in a sunset with the grandkids. “I grew up in the Delta riding around in a duck boat,” says company owner Curt Morse. “That’s what this boat is. It is a boat that doesn’t require a huge skill set, that anyone can get on and go anywhere.” The small-batch company has made it through Hurricane Katrina, relocation to Florida, and the more recent disaster in the Gulf without compromising quality, and there’s little doubt that its boats will go the distance, too.
    $23,900-$70,000; caribiana.com

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Sporting

    FRITZ ORR CANOE
    Product: Wooden canoe Paddles
    Made in: Cedar Mountain, NC


    Fritz Orr III grew up surrounded by one of the best paddling cultures in the South, on the grounds of western North Carolina’s Camp Merrie-Woode, so it’s little surprise that he went on to earn four national whitewater canoe championship titles. Along the way, Orr occasionally built boats and paddles to finance his career, but three years ago he returned to the boat shop near his childhood home to build gorgeous, vintage-style paddles from all manner of hard- and softwoods. He makes heirloom-quality designs for slow water and mounting over the mantel, too.
    $280-$480; 864-230-4921

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    CATEGORY WINNER, HOME

    LOWCOUNTRY ORIGINALS
    Product: Lighting
    Made in: Bluffton, SC


    In September 2009, two childhood friends got together and realized they had the same problem. Becky Brackett, a lighting company executive in Bluffton, South Carolina, and Libby Boyden, an interior designer from Savannah, Georgia, both concluded that all the commercial lighting for sale suddenly “looked the same,” Brackett says. “They all looked like they’d been made in China. We decided it was time for something new.” And so Lowcountry Originals was born. Using Lowcountry staples such as oyster shells, driftwood, and marsh reeds, each of the company’s fixtures is unique. With pieces influenced by both traditional and contemporary shapes, the line attracts a broad audience. In fact, by last April, when Brackett and Boyden took their lighting designs to the interior design show at High Point, North Carolina, they could barely keep up with demand. “I think what made them appealing is that these things were all made by hand—and made locally,” Brackett says. “For Libby and me, the idea has succeeded far faster than we’d ever dreamed.”
    $500-$5,000; lowcountryoriginals.net

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Home

    FORT REMINGTON SPOONS
    Product: Wooden Spoons
    Made in: Oxford, FL


    When DJ Remington realized her husband needed a better cooking paddle to stir his chicken pirlou, she went out back and made him one. “We were both sick of the cheap utensils you get at big-box stores, and I knew I could make something better that would last,” says the former secretary and fifth-generation woodworker. Remington keeps her sources local, using woods harvested near her wood shop, including favorites like Southern cherry and pieces salvaged last year from her grandmother’s fallen pecan tree. From Remington’s crepe spatulas to her long and skinny sweet-tea spoons, her pieces are the perfect accessories for the Southern gourmand.
    $7-$70; fortremington.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Home

    STAR PROVISIONS FURNITURE
    Product: Farm tables
    Made in: Cartersville, GA


    Salvaged-wood furniture is a thing of beauty, and that goes for the antique heart-pine-and-metal tables dreamed up by Atlanta restaurateur Anne Quatrano and craftsman Frederick Knight. “You have to go where the wood takes you, nail holes and all,” says Knight, who builds the pieces for sale at Quatrano’s eatery and shop Star Provisions. Knight tops each table with hardwoods rescued from a defunct textile factory, then layers on a coat of spar varnish or wax to seal in dings, dents, and occasional paint flecks. Whether you plop one down in a kitchen or on a screened porch, it has the kind of patina that gets better with every meal.
    $300-$2,500; starprovisions.com

    Emily Followill

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Home

    HOLLER DESIGN
    Product: Rocking chairs
    Made in: Lascassas, TN

    It’s no easy feat to improve on a classic like the Southern rocking chair, but husband-and-wife design duo Matt and Melissa Alexander did just that, creating a sleeker, clean-lined version of the original. “It’s our way of reinterpreting a traditional form through a contemporary lens,” Matt says. Their workshop is located on the farm Matt grew up on, and each piece is made using a digital CNC router—technology that makes milling the modern shape possible. But don’t take the word modern to mean uncomfortable—the rockers are ideal for porch sitting.
    $1,500-$1,950; hollerdesign.us

  • + Expand Caption

    CATEGORY WINNER, STYLE

    EMIL ERWIN
    Product: Canvas and leather bags
    Made in: Nashville, TN


    Like some sort of multitasking superhero, Emil Congdon—a thirty-year-old husband and father of two—works by day as a salesman for Dell computer in Nashville, but on nights and weekends, he has a second life. “I have this detached garage at the house,” he says, “and that’s where my workshop is.”Congdon makes each elegantly simple Emil Erwin bag by hand, using rich, heavy leather, waxed canvas, or both. It hasn’t taken long for the bags to attract a national following, including a starring role in the J.Crew men’s boutique in New York, for a bag Congdon designed with the Nashville blue-jean atelier Imogene + Willie. “I guess I get my inspiration from my grandfather’s workshop, back out in the country,” Congdon says. “I spent a lot of time there. Everything inside that shop was made in that American tradition: very practical, very sturdy. I make each bag myself. I get my hands dirty. I’m always thinking, If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all. With every bag, that’s what’s on my mind.”
    $400-$800; emilerwin.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Style

    GABRIELLE JEWELRY
    Product: Cast-Metal Jewelry
    Made in: Charleston, SC


    Twenty-two-year-old metalsmith Gabrielle Bratton’s cast-lace jewels are a study in ancient artistry. To create each piece, Bratton soaks bits of lace in hot wax to make a mold, or cast, before pouring molten metal into the cavity to set the design. The soaking process allows every detail of the delicate lace stitching to come through, imparting her work with a look that’s equal parts tough and feminine. And so her necklaces and cuffs complement jeans as well as they do ball gowns.
    $45-$1,200; gabriellejewelry.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Style

    HASTINGS CREATIONS
    Product: Lapel and hat pins
    Made in: Birmingham, AL


    For years, award-winning Birmingham chef Chris Hastings made a tradition of giving his woodcock feather pins as tokens of thanks. Now he’s sharing them with the rest of us. “I enjoy working with my hands and doing something other than cooking as a creative outlet,” Hastings says. This year, he ushered in a second business, making custom pins out of materials gleaned during his hunts in Nova Scotia. The rugged designs bring casual elegance to a tweed lapel or the brim of a hat.
    $100; 205-873-1753

    Becky Stayner

  • + Expand Caption

    Runner-up, Style

    MAGAR HATWORKS
    Product: Custom hats
    Made in: Charleston, SC


    Whether you’re in the market for a simple fedora or something theatrical for the Kentucky Derby, Southern milliner Leigh Magar can create it. Although Magar is known in the ranks of high fashion, with luxury retailers such as Barneys New York selling her wares, she’s based in Charleston, South Carolina, in a region that champions taking the time to make things by hand. “I’m rooted here,” Magar says. “And I’m constantly inspired by the South.”
    $200-$600; magarhatworks.com

    Brian Woodcock

  • + Expand Caption


    TAIGAN.COM

From modern rocking chairs to strawberry jam, the winners of our first contest for craftsmen exemplify the South’s entrepreneurial spirit and a tradition of goods made right
 

Comments