If you aren’t acquainted with the unusual bow ties made by Brackish, one of Charleston’s most successful entrepreneurial companies, this gift-giving season is the perfect time to seek them out. Founders Ben Ross and Jeff Plotner create ties for men who won’t settle for ordinary accessories. Their handcrafted all-feather bow ties are truly “wearable works of art.” Every feather is selected by hand, so no two ties are exactly alike.
The company, which is celebrating its fifth year in business, obtains its feathers in humane ways—through birds’ natural molting and farmers who raise free-range birds whose feathers would otherwise be discarded.
Over the years, the company has expanded its product lines. In addition to bow ties, Brackish sells matching lapel pins, cummerbunds, sets of cuff links and studs, and men’s and women’s loafers. This year the company is introducing a new line of pocket squares.
It’s not surprising to learn that Ross works closely with brides and grooms to create wedding packages (that even include custom pieces for the ladies). After all, Ross designed the first Brackish ties in 2007 as gifts for his groomsmen.
Be sure to check out the company’s second annual Holiday Capsule Collection at the end of November. In Charleston, you’ll find Brackish at Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant, Grady Ervin, the Preservation Society of Charleston’s gift shop, and at the company’s West Ashley showroom. If you happen to be in London, find them at Harrods. brackishbow ties.com.
RETIRE IN STYLE
Opening in winter 2017, Wellmore of Daniel Island will be a premier luxury healthcare retirement community that offers a laid-back lifestyle and resort-style amenities, such as a full-service spa and salon and multiple dining venues.
The 205,000-square-foot property, adjacent to the Daniel Island Club, will include residential accommodations and a 28,000-square-foot clubhouse and wellness center. To learn more call 843-566-1000 or visit Wellmore’s website. well-more.com.
ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The month of October is big at Mitchell Hill Gallery on King Street. Opening the fall season is a solo show for Sara Pittman, an Alabama native who relocated to Charleston after being accepted into the Redux Contemporary Art Center. Just one year after joining Mitchell Hill, Pittman is ready to debut her latest, and largest, body of work: a series of abstracts on canvas, most of which stretch 8 feet tall. Pittman says, “I’ve made it a point to really challenge myself and not get stuck in a ‘safe’ place.” That challenge for Pittman translated to “buying an 8-foot canvas, standing small in front of it and attempting to figure out where to begin.” It was a big feat for the 5-foot-2 painter, who claims abstract expressionism has always felt like a natural style of painting for her.
Working primarily with oils and acrylics, Pittman likes to explore unusual combinations of muted and bright colors. It’s easy to get lost in her multilayered paintings, where mists of color, both bold and soft, obscure hints of a harder edged reality below. Working larger has altered Pittman’s routine and process, allowing her to experiment with new techniques. A welcomed change for the budding artist.
At this top gallery and design studio, you’ll also discover works by more than 20 nationally known artists as well as high-quality furnishings and accessories sourced by owners Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill. Both designers are excited about the spring 2018 launch of the Mitchell Hill Collection for Avrett, a local lighting and furniture manufacturer. In addition to designing beautiful interiors, they support a variety of nonprofit organizations through annual fundraising events. mitchellhillinc.com.
AVANT-GARDE IN AMERICA
This fall the Gibbes Museum of Art is offering an exciting new exhibition, Pan American Modernism: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America and the United States (through January 7, 2018). Showcasing more than 70 important works of art from 1919 – 1979, the exhibit examines modernism as an intercontinental phenomenon.
Both American and Latin American artists, including those from Cuba, are included in the exhibition. “We’re thrilled to offer visitors a glimpse into the international artistic exchanges that occurred during this important span of 60 years,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the museum.
Pan American Modernism was originally developed as a traveling exhibition by the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami. It’s accompanied by a full-color catalog. Throughout the exhibition the Gibbes will offer bilingual tours, educational programs and a variety of special events.
Just last year, the museum reopened its doors after a $13.5 million renovation. Expanded exhibition spaces, classrooms, artist studios and a ground floor café are but a few of the improvements. One of the oldest museums in the country, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of art, including American paintings, sculptures, works on paper and decorative art objects from the 18th century to the present. When you’re there, be sure to see other current exhibits. gibbesmuseum.org.
THE BEST GIFTS
Next time you’re on King Street, be sure to drop by the Preservation Society of Charleston Shop, a nonprofit retail space where local producers showcase their products, and customers explore the best of what is being designed and handcrafted in Charleston. In the shop’s reading room you can relax, peruse a book and enjoy a complimentary cup of King Bean Coffee. All proceeds go to support the Preservation Society’s work.
Besides fascinating books— including local, regional and national titles—you’ll find wonderful products, such as Brackish feather bow ties; J. Stark’s nationally recognized handmade leather bags, totes and wallets; one-of-a kind repurposed Landrum wood tables from Capers Cauthen; Henrietta Snype’s sweetgrass baskets; and photographs of Charleston’s architecture by Ron Rocz.
In addition to preserving and advocating for Charleston’s and the Lowcountry’s historic places, distinctive character and quality of life, the Society offers educational outings that include lectures and tours of historic properties. In sum, the organization helps connect citizens to the community and to each other. preservationsociety.org.