Made in the South Awards

2014 Home Category

Meg Callahan’s eye-catching quilts combine traditional techniques with modern designs

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Home Winner

M. Callahan Studio
Product: Quilts
Made in: Oklahoma City, OK
Est. 2012

Your first impulse with one of Meg Callahan’s quilts is to hang it on a wall instead of folding it at the foot of a bed. Go ahead—the modern geometric designs look right at home next to any piece of fine art, and each one comes with a sewn-in opening to accommodate a display-friendly hanging rod. It’s a feature that perfectly sums up the textile artist’s approach. “I try to strike a balance between working with tradition and challenging it,” Callahan says. For inspiration, she looks to the landscape of her native Oklahoma and its wild, wide-open sky; sometimes she hops in the car and watches as the countryside changes from plains to desert to mountains. You can choose from one of fourteen existing patterns that range in style from the bold red-and-white Navajo-inspired Spine quilt (shown here) to the classic patchwork Flax and Harrow designs. Or let Callahan create a one-of-a-kind composition for you. Each made-to-order twin, queen, king, or custom-size quilt is pieced together by Callahan, finished by a local craftswoman, then packaged and shipped out eight to ten weeks later. “There’s always a little bit of sadness to see them go,” Callahan says. “But hopefully they’re something special to someone else—an heirloom.”

Price: $600-$8,000

Home Category Runners-Up

Ann Ladson Stafford
Product: Utensils
Made in: Charleston, SC
Est. 2013

Though Ann Ladson Stafford hung up her apron years ago, the pastry chef turned jeweler—who wielded her whisk at the Charleston restaurants Peninsula Grill and FIG—hasn’t been able to shake the time she spent in the kitchen. Which is why she decided to apply her metalsmithing skills to tableware. “As a pastry chef, my most precious tool was a sterling silver spoon I carried in my chef coat,” she says. That favored utensil became the inspiration for her first collection of sculptural brass cooking instruments: a tasting spoon for soups and sauces, a finishing spoon for sprinkling salt or sugar, and an oyster spork with rounded tines and a slightly cupped shape to remove the bivalve from its shell while retaining just the right amount of the oyster’s liquor. Enjoying a dozen on the half shell never looked so good.

Price: $54-$225

Paper & Clay
Product: Pottery
Made in: Memphis, TN
Est. 2013

Minutes into her first ceramics class, Brit McDaniel fell in love with pottery, but it would take years before she realized it was her calling. The rest of us are catching on more quickly; she’s only been in business for a year, and already national retailers such as Anthropologie have taken notice of her midcentury American- and Scandinavian-inspired designs. Seated at her potter’s wheel inside a 170-square-foot studio in Memphis’s Cooper-Young neighborhood, McDaniel shapes each pitcher, cup, plate, and mug by hand using clay she ships in from Texas. But just because the designs are meticulously crafted doesn’t mean they won’t stand up to daily use. Most pieces are both dishwasher and microwave safe.“Practicality and function tied to a beautiful aesthetic is a very Southern concept for me,” McDaniel says.

Price: $24-$200

Heartwood Forge
Product: Cleaver
Made in: Jefferson, GA
Est. 2013

Carbon steel is one of the most durable metals on earth and, it turns out, there’s a lot of it to be found in the mountains near Will Manning’s North Georgia farm. The knife maker repurposes saw blades from Appalachian lumber mills that once dotted the rolling landscape and transforms them into hand-wrought cooking tools. Hammered to life one at a time in Manning’s backyard blacksmith shop, an old well house, each Heartwood Forge cleaver—perfect for breaking down ribs, chickens, even whole hogs—has a heavy forge finish designed to endure a lifetime. But it’s the beauty you notice as much as the brawn. Manning crafts the handles from reclaimed local wood, imbuing his cleavers with an even stronger sense of place. “If our region has waste,” he says,“why not turn it into something beautiful?”

Price: From $435