Garden & Gun celebrates Southern artisans with Jubilee marketplace
Garden & Gun, the Charleston-based lifestyle magazine, introduced its Made in the South competition four years ago. It was a way to “augment, applaud and support Southern artisans and craftsmen,” according to Jessica Hundhausen Derrick, the magazine’s vice president and brand development director.
If you go
WHAT: Garden & Gun Jubilee 2013
WHEN: Dec. 6-8
WHERE: Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road
COST: $85 for one-day pass; $150 for two-day pass; $225 for three-day pass (includes market preview and breakfast with the editors); $155 for Alabama Chanin workshop
MORE INFO: For tickets and more information, visit http:// gardenandgunjubilee.com.
Made in the South is more than a competition that recognizes a particular artisan. It’s also a magazine feature, appearing in each of Garden & Gun’s six annual issues and shining a spotlight on people throughout the region who pursue a certain down-home, manual, creative enterprise that results in limited productions of, say, furniture or cheese or knives.
And now Made in the South is a marketplace, too.
Garden & Gun is preparing for a three-day Jubilee event, scheduled for Dec. 6-8 at Charles Towne Landing. Jubilee 2013 is a natural extension of Made in the South, and an idea that first came up a couple of years ago, Derrick said.
It was realized this year thanks to the Charleston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which wanted to sponsor an event in town that celebrates Southern tastes, culture, sport and crafts.
“We are committed to doing it annually in Charleston, Derrick said. “We hope it will become one of those signature events that people will put on their calendars.”
More than 100 vendors will participate in the event, selling their goods, distributing samples and offering various demonstrations on site. Charles Towne Landing will play host to an antiques tent, trunk shows, a pig roast and sports shop.
The retailers, sportsmen and -women, food producers, chefs, musicians and others who will be in attendance were “curated,” Derrick said, invited because of their reputations and backstories.
For this is not only about selling merchandise; this is about people and what they do. It’s about the history of craft-making, the personal stories that drive artisans to make beautiful things. It is meant to contribute to the Southern narrative, to pay tribute to talent, perseverance and heritage.
“If someone comes and they purchase nothing, I want them to think they have had an incredible day,” Derrick said. “Without the narrative, it basically is just about a bunch of stuff.”
Natalie Chanin will be there. She runs Alabama Chanin, a “lifestyle company” started in 2006 that specializes in cotton clothing.
Chanin said her boutique store is “having a good moment.” It’s riding a wave of enthusiasm for artisanal products sourced and made in the region.
“Our company is about community and job revitalization and, on a deeper level, sustaining these crafts, this handiwork,” she said.
The making of the textiles and the hand embroidery that decorates them isn’t the only part of the process that qualifies as artisan. Producing the organic cotton crop itself requires the same sort of commitment and love, she said.
“Cotton has a long growing season, a lot of time where things can go wrong,” Chanin said. “It’s a real labor of love. There’s an artistry to it.”
As awareness is raised and consumers demand quality, sustainably produced goods, stores such as hers likely will grow and multiply, she said.
“We’ve reached an era of saturation, when we realize what machine manufacturing looks like.”
Some of it’s good, some of it’s ugly, Chanin said. “Very slowly, very methodically, people are looking for a balance. The pendulum is swinging back. ... People are looking for answers. How can you manufacture on global scale but do it responsibly? Big corporations are starting to ask those questions.”
At the little shop on Church Street called goat.sheep.cow, Trudi Wagner and Patty Cohen sell artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and a few bottles of small-production wine.
They will set up at the Jubilee and promote a couple of regional cheesemakers, Charleston Cheese House and Sequatchie Cove Creamery, located in Tennessee.
Wagner and Cohen have done some catering for Garden & Gun, and that helped lead to an invitation to join the Jubilee, Wagner said.
“We happily embraced the opportunity,” she said.
The fromagerie is a result of a perceived retail void in Charleston, Wagner said. When they arrived from New York in 2009, there were plenty of wine shops and a couple of stores that sold good charcuterie, but quality cheese seemed to be in short supply, especially on the peninsula.
Now they are beating the drum for artisan producers.
“I think it’s really catching on,” Wagner said. “You see a lot more awareness of Southern cheese.”
Because the South is warm, humid and buggy, it can be hard to run an effective creamery, especially one that produces cheese from cow’s milk, she said. So Southern cheese tends to be made from goat’s and sheep’s milk.
Wagner said she’s excited about the Jubilee and looks forward to mingling with Charleston producers and tastemakers, such as the Beer Exchange, Croghan’s Jewel Box, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., the Gin Joint and others.
“(Garden & Gun is) going to bring Made in the South to life. We’re certainly in good company.”
Reach Adam Parker at 937-5902.