SC State Museum to exhibit Quintin Middleton’s knives

Red wood dust coats most ot the work shed where Quintin Middleton makes his knives and wooden handles. (Grace Beahm/postandcourier.com)

The South Carolina State Museum just six years ago mounted an exhibit devoted exclusively to the state’s knife makers, so chief curator Paul Matheny didn’t want to include too many blades in Carolina Makers, a new exhibit featuring contemporary handmade objects from across South Carolina. But he made an exception for Quintin Middleton.

“The craftsmanship and quality of his knives is unbelievable,” Matheny says. “It fit perfectly in the show.”

Middleton created a paring knife and an eight-inch chef’s knife for the exhibit. Other objects in the show include mandolins, tables, baskets and lamps. Along with Middleton, the Lowcountry is represented by Capers Cauthen of Landrum Tables; milliner Leigh Magar; Brackish Bowties; furniture maker Mike Murphy and jeweler Jocelyn Chateauvert. Magar will be setting up a makeshift studio in the museum where she plans to produce a South Carolina flag quilt.

“We were looking for people making things that the everyday public might not realize are in their backyard,” Matheny says.

Although Middleton is well known in chef circles, Matheny anticipates many museum visitors will encounter his knives for the first time at the exhibit.

“They’re simple but sophisticated,” Middleton says of the knives he created for Carolina Makers. “There’s beauty in simplicity.”

Carolina Makers opens at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia on Apr. 18. One of the programs scheduled in conjunction with the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 7, 2016, is a July 30 dinner featuring “live music provided by the makers themselves and usable dining objects produced by the makers.” For more information, visit scmuseum.org.