Made in the South Awards

2012 Style + Design Category

Dixie’s best in Home, Style + Design, Outdoors, and Food

Photo: Tara Donne

Sign Co.
Product: Marquee Signs
Made in: Nashville, TN
Est.: 2012

At six feet seven inches tall, Nashville-based graphic designer Luke Stockdale felt understandably confined sitting behind a desk all day. In early 2012, he traded his cramped cubicle for a converted garage studio where he could spread out and create the kind of large-scale, vintage-inspired signs he’d been envisioning. Made of salvaged wood and bent steel, each of Stockdale’s light-up marquee signs is wired, weathered, and built by hand. “I start with a typeface and then play around with it a bit,” Stockdale says. “I might add a spur or stretch it out. Then I try to picture what that sign might go through over a sixty-year life.” To achieve lettering that looks straight off a fifties-era Broadway billboard, Stockdale carefully distresses each piece using handmade tools of his design. Cautious not to overdo it, he creates work with the authenticity and soul of a period original. And with names such as Nike on Sideshow’s client list, it’s clear his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Price: From $380,

Runners-Up Style + Design

Product: Leather Carryalls
Made in: Lexington, KY
Est.: 2012

Eschewing the instantly recognizable logos favored by bag designers, Matthew Cook stamps his carryalls with a discreet born-on date. A single piece of vegetable-tanned leather constitutes the body of Cook’s Hoof Pick messenger bag—a primitive version of which he created during a research-heavy semester of grad school. “I was just looking for something to do with my hands,” Cook says. “But pretty soon I was up until two or three in the morning working on new designs—and the hobby was no longer a hobby.” The Kentucky native was poking around local tack shops looking for proper tools and hardware when he discovered a supply of the brass folding hoof picks—standard cavalry issue in the late nineteenth century—that would become the bag’s signature.

Price: $200,

Cobra Rock Boot Co.
Product: Boots
Made in: Marfa, TX
Est.: 2011

From heel to toe, it takes four full days to complete a pair of Cobra Rock’s South Highland boots—but the hybrid design has been years in the making. A fifth-generation Texas cattle rancher, craftsman Colt Miller gave guitar lessons in exchange for an apprenticeship with a boot maker. “But making custom boots meant he was tied to someone else’s vision,” says Logan Caldbeck, the other half of the Cobra Rock design duo. The pair’s signature shape is rooted in cowboy culture—oil-tanned leather combined with a traditional 1940s Western-style square toe and stacked-leather riding heel—but has the lace-up upper of a contemporary desert boot. The unorthodox style is quickly gaining a national following, with a presence in boutiques from Marfa to Malibu.

Price: $450,

Christina Jervey Jewelry
Product: Jewelry
Made in: Mount Pleasant, SC
Est.: 2008

Christina Jervey’s studio sits on a bluff overlooking the Charleston Harbor and the wild tangle of a garden gone to seed—and that’s just the way she likes it. Inspired by natural organic forms, the thirty-three-year-old metalsmith began making jewelry as a side gig. An eight-week immersion course at North Carolina’s Penland School of Crafts and a subsequent apprenticeship with a master goldsmith honed her craft, and in 2008 Jervey launched her own line of structural gold jewelry—casually elegant earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. But Jervey’s hammered-gold architectural cuffs, equal parts delicate and tough, are a particular favorite among fans. For each desired shape, a wax mold is made and then cast in brass, plated, and buffed to a shine.

Price: $50–$495,