To view Lauren Jones Worth’s mixed-media collages—unusual amalgams of acrylic paints, gels, handmade papers, magazine clippings, photographs, original drawings and organic materials on canvas—is to be captivated.

Her creations, a unique blend of abstraction and representation, explore the borders between the real and the imaginary and result in a special kind of magical realism. She has written: “It’s my goal as an artist to cultivate curiosity and encourage the discovery of beauty in the strangest of places. … I celebrate the hum of the earth—the dance and rhythm of life.”

She explains that her art has been influenced by the deeply spiritual and ritualistic quality of African art, ancient Japanese woodblock prints and artists such as Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee and Joan Miro. But she confesses the greatest influence on her work has been the late Ralph Wickiser (1910 – 1998), an acclaimed member of the New York School in the 1950s and 1960s, who exhibited in all the major museums. He’s also the father of her current New York City dealer, Walter Wickiser.


Worth has also started a design business named Second Act South. Using artwork from her studio, she prints her imagery onto both fabrics for pillows and tempered glass tops for coffee tables.

You can view her work in a current exhibition (through August 20) at the Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York City (Chelsea) and at ArtAspen (in the Walter Wickiser booth) in Aspen, Colorado (August 4 – 7). In North Carolina, she exhibits at the Tyler, White, O’Brien Gallery in Greensboro. Pillows embellished with her art are available at Printer’s Alley in Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina, and her tables can be purchased by contacting her directly.




Sometimes it’s permitted to gild the lily, as long as you honor the object that inspired you. (Consider the Christmas tree.) This way of thinking led two Charlestonians, both artists, to seek out beautiful shells from around the world and adorn them with tiny, sparkling crystals.

In 2011, friends Beth Brannan and Kathy Church were dazzled by some exotic shells they saw at an Atlanta gift market. That night, over a glass of wine, they conceived of a way to tastefully embellish them. The result: an elegant gift from the sea. They call their company Charleston Sea Jewels.

Today, they still sell their original “signature” line of shells, which range in color from soft pearlescent tones to kaleidoscopic patterns. (Consider the aqua and brown Turbo Burgess Banded, shown here.)


The line has grown to include products that are useful as well as beautiful— nightlights, wine bottle stoppers, place card holders, tissue boxes (in capiz) and small dishes for bureau or bath. We think they make ideal hostess presents.

Charleston Sea Jewels are sold online and in boutiques across the United States and around the world. Local vendors include One of a Kind in Charleston and Domain in Mount Pleasant.



The drink known as the “classic martini” has long been a symbol of elegance and simplicity. A similar aesthetic manifests itself at Shirtini, a Charleston shop that specializes in beautifully tailored women’s shirts.

Owners Lin and Kevin Isler opened Shirtini two years ago in a mid-19th-century building on Lower King Street. According to Lin, the tiny 350-square-foot space “combines our love of Parisian interiors with the concept of a crisp white shirt.” High ceilings, white walls with picture frame moldings, and dark wood floors set the stage for their study in minimalism.

And the shirts! At first glance they appear man-tailored, a flurry of angled collars and cuffs. But closer inspection reveals a variety of styles. There are graceful tunics and shirtdresses as well as tuxedo shirts and “boyfriend” shirts. A cropped white shirt begs for a pair of capris, while a sleeveless “swing” shirt promises to keep the wearer cool in the summer heat. Natural fabrics prevail: linen, cotton and silk.

The Islers source their shirts from all over the world. And they display creative details—like cuffs that can either be buttoned or worn with links. Visit Shirtini soon. These shirts go fast!




A recent stay at the Zero George Hotel transported us to Old Charleston. Its 19th-century buildings include three former Charleston residences and two brick carriage houses that overlook a tranquil garden area embellished with palms, white azaleas, oyster shell patios and brick walkways.

In keeping with the property’s historical character, guestrooms feature original architectural elements, including heart pine floors, high ceilings, period millwork details and classic piazzas. From our piazza, we could watch the sun rise over the Cooper River before going downstairs to a complimentary European continental breakfast that included house-made granola, quiche and biscuits—and more.

But Zero George is more than a place to spend the night. It’s an experience that encompasses the best of Charleston. The hotel offers a variety of bespoke “insider” experiences that keep guests busy throughout their stay. A two-night shopping package, for example, includes a customized excursion with a savvy fashion expert to Charleston’s best boutiques or, upon request, antiques stores and art galleries. Other packages include a photography tour with local photographers, a sunset sail and even sailing instruction.

The staff emphasizes that Zero George is “culinary-driven” and is proud that the hotel was named to Condé Nast’s Top 5 Foodie Hotels in the world. After enjoying a special dinner prepared by the hotel’s chef, Vinson Petrillo, and guest Irish chef Mark Moriarty (winner of the 2015 San Pellegrino young chef contest, where Petrillo was a finalist), we understood why Zero George received this recognition.

The menu, a creative blend of Ireland and the Lowcountry, reflected the talents of both chefs.

Besides special culinary events and a complimentary wine and cheese hour from 5 – 6 p.m. daily, Chef Petrillo offers daily five- and nine-course tasting menus paired with specialty craft cocktails as well as unique wines, ciders, beers and juices. Zero George’s twice-weekly cooking classes have been recognized by Food & Wine as among the best worldwide.

Book a stay here for a unique Charleston experience!