Today we are relaxing and unwinding after a busy couple of days in Taylors, SC for the Made South Market!
I was so excited when Chris Thomas, creator of Made South, reached out to encourage me to apply for the Made South Market, and even more honored when I found out that Sea+Stone would be one of the featured makers.
My Southern heritage is such a huge part of the inspiration behind Sea+Stone jewelry. Southerners deeply revere land. There is a sort of sanctity associated with the soil we live on. Gerald O'Hara from Gone With the Wind perfectly demonstrates this when he said, "Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts."
More than anything, S+S jewelry is driven by an appreciation for the land I call home. I pull inspiration from the fauna + flora of the Red Hills Region and Forgotten Coast where I grew up (and where generations before me called home). And now, I find similar inspiration in my new home, the South Carolina Lowcountry. That's why I use so many natural elements in my jewelry- oysters, shells, antlers, wood, fossils, stone, etc. It's a sort of homage to this land and how it has shaped me as an artist and as a person.
The coolest part about Made South was meeting so many other makers + creatives, learning about their amazing products, and forming a tribe of entrepreneurs who have all chosen to plant roots for their businesses here in the South.
The market was held in Taylors Mill, an old textile factory in Taylors, South Carolina. The mill was built in 1924 and was home to The Bleachery + Print Works. The company was bought out in the 1960's and the mill was left mostly empty and forgotten for 50 years. In 2006, the Mill was purchased and redevelopment of the property and space began. The mill now hosts a coffee shop (Due South), many artist studios, and events including farmers markets (and Made South!). It really seems to foster creativity, craft, community and commerce in the area- so it was a perfect venue to host the Market.
I was joined at the market by the newest member of the S+S crew, Madison! She's a senior at College of Charleston- double majoring in Arts Management and Finance. Originally from Tennessee, she was an awesome help in preparing for the event since she has attended the Made South Markets in Franklin, TN and could dish out tips to a market rookie like myself. Amazon Prime and Target were also real MVPs in preparing for the market. We Amazon-primed this awesome backdrop for our booth days before the event (win!). And after
sweating our asses off developing a rather intense Southern-lady-glisten in the heat while setting up our booth, we found a Target five miles from the mill (#blessed) and acquired a box fan to add to our display.
Being part of the event was wonderful- crossing fingers that S+S can participate in the Franklin, TN holiday show too! One of the highlights of our experience was our neighbors. Having good neighbors makes life so much better- and likewise, it made the Market even better. Our booth was right nextdoor to Palmetto Distillery- the first producers of legal SC moonshine! Needless to say, they became very popular with market guests very quickly, and they even let us taste test some of their yummy concoctions before the show. My favorite was the bloody mary made with their White Lightning moonshine and homemade mix. It was delicious- but different from your average bloody mary! Sweet at first, with a body-warming, moonshine kick at the end. We all got a good laugh when we realized that their miniature shot glasses for tasting were actually plastic communion glasses from the Christian Bookstore. He joked he was waiting on the lightning to strike him- but I told him he brought so much happiness to the event that I'm sure God would cut him a break on the communion cups.
I also got to meet several makers that I've been following online in real life over the course of the event! Its always great being able to connect an actual face and person to the username! Some of the awesome vendors I was able to meet IRL this weekend included: Flannel & Floral, Sturdy Brothers, Doux South Specialties, and Old Whaling Company.
It was a great experience being a part of Made South- and we're looking forward to hopefully participating in more markets in the future. We got back to Charleston just in time for tropical storm, Bonnie! (Which actually made for some ideal post-market relaxation conditions). Hope y'all enjoy the rest of your weekend- rain or shine! Here are some images that we took throughout the event.