According to a recent survey, our readers value quality over quantity, hand-crafted over mass-produced and local over imported. Unfortunately, many local crafters suffer from a serious lack of exposure. They create wonderful products, yet many of us don’t realize they exist.
The CRAFTED IN THE LOWCOUNTRY AWARDS Presented by Hargray hope to change that. We invited six local experts to judge the best locally made products in six categories — food, drink, home, style, crafts and art. With more than 50 qualified entries, it wasn’t an easy task. Each judge picked a winner for his or her category, then all of the category winners were voted on to determine the grand-prize winner.
Special thanks to judges Nunzio Patruno of Nunzio Restaurant + Bar (food), Margaret Pearman of Charlie’s Coastal Bistro (drink), Beverly Serral of BESTNEST by Beverly Serral Vacation Rentals (home), Courtney Marine of River Dog Shop (style), Nancy Landwehr of The Spirited Hand (crafts) and Adrianne Lively of Camellia Art (art) for making this year’s contest a success. Please join us in congratulating and supporting all of the entrants. The greatest support we all can give is to visit their stores and websites, share on social media and purchase their original creations.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER AND LOCAL CRAFTS WINNER
Deb Staub Designs
The product: Unique stoneware
Where it’s crafted: Saint Helena Island
What makes it great: Each stoneware piece is unique and designed to bring awareness and appreciation of the biodiversity of the Lowcountry ecosystem. No patterns are used in creating these pieces; they are hand-built, textured and glazed to enhance the nuances of the clay.
Judging notes: “Her pottery is pretty phenomenal, and it’s got such a Lowcountry feel. She really makes a point of recreating the images, making them functional and trying to make it look like a basket for a boil. She’s an artist. It was innovative, clever, detailed, thoughtful and useful. I really like her style.” – Nancy Landwehr, owner of The Spirited Hand
Find it: Deb Staub Designs, debstaubdesigns.com
LOCAL FOOD WINNER
The product: Gourmet shortbread
Where it’s crafted: Hilton Head Island
What makes it great: These buttery-tasting cookies are a family tradition, handcrafted with care by Willow Cole. The recipe has been passed down through the generations. Only natural, pure ingredients are used, with no preservatives or additives, and each box and tin is presented as a gift representing abundance and wealth.
Judging notes: “I chose this because of the two different types of crunchy cookies. The original recipe is very good, and the stylish packaging is very nice.” – Nunzio Patruno, Owner and Executive Chef of Nunzio Restaurant + Bar
Find it: Pyramids and Pretty Papers on Hilton Head Island. heritageshortbread.com
LOCAL STYLE WINNER
The product: Handcrafted dog collars, leashes, harnesses and accessories
Where it’s crafted: Bluffton
What makes it great: The coastal-inspired products have been made in the Lowcountry since 2015, using the highest quality materials. The owners work with local artist Dana Rose to create stylish, custom and comfortable collar designs for dogs.
Judging notes: “I love the detail and vibrant colors on the dog collars. They would make any animal wearing them really stand out in a crowd.” – Courtney Marine, owner of River Dog Shop and hair and makeup artist
Find it: Locally and in stores across the U.S., beachbiscuit.com
LOCAL DRINK WINNER
Burnt Church Distillery
The product: Palmer’s Stretch Rye Whiskey
Where it’s crafted: Bluffton
What makes it great: This three-grain (rye, wheat and malted barley) whiskey is spicy yet smooth, going down with a smoky bite at the end. It’s a fitting homage to the beverage’s inspiration, black businessman George Bell Palmer, a majority landowner in Beaufort County in the late 1800s. Palmer’s Stretch Road (or Palmer’s Run) was a main connector to the major roadway to Hilton Head Island as well as where community-wide horse races were held every Thanksgiving.
Judging notes: “This hit three on all categories from me if we’re talking about well-made and crafted. There’s a whole story on its website about how Palmer’s Run played an important part in Bluffton’s history. I don’t really drink brown liquor, but it really was the best entry. It was very smooth and delicious.” – Margaret Pearman, co-owner of Charlie’s Coastal Bistro
Find it: Burnt Church Distillery (Bluffton Road), burntchurchdistillery.com
LOCAL ART WINNER
Southern Blonde Salt
The product: Locally inspired paintings
Where it’s crafted: Bluffton
What makes it great: Artist Emily Sewell uses acrylics on canvas for her Lowcountry oyster triptychs, depicting local scenery throughout her artwork. When enthusiasts gaze upon her work, they are inspired by subject matter reminiscent of fishing, shrimping, hunting and nature.
Judging notes: “I liked her perspective. I liked the idea of the unusual shape and composition of it.” – Adrianne Lively, owner of Camellia Art
Find it: Southern Blonde Salt, southernblondesalt.com
LOCAL HOME WINNER
Wild Wood Rescue and Designs
Product: Black River table
Where it’s crafted: Bluffton and Saint Helena Island
What makes it great: This tabletop was made from a live oak tree that fell during a storm. Roberto Rodriguez of Wild Wood Rescue and Designs rescued the log, cut it and dried it, and for two years worked the wood into a table. The Black River table got its name after a “river” was burned into it using a technique called the Litchenberg burn, which runs a high-voltage electrical current through the wood.
Judging notes: “The work exemplifies the Lowcountry: old, native natural wood, rescued, enhanced by personal strength and artistry into a new piece of beauty. I found its story and process and end result to fully communicate the natural beauty of our region.” – Beverly Serral, CEO and design lead with BESTNEST by Beverly Serral Vacation Rentals
Find it: wildwoodrescue.com
View all 2022 entries here