Many people talk of quitting their job and moving to a quiet island. Chase Allen actually did it. He moved to bridge-less Daufuskie Island to work as a metal artist and sculptor.
The designer and studio: A Charlotte, N.C., native, Allen graduated from UNC Wilmington with a marketing degree and worked as a real estate agent before quitting to follow his passion. In 2001, the self-taught artist opened the South Carolina-based Iron Fish Gallery & Studio, which specializes in hand-crafted coastal sculptures made from 16 and 20 gauge sheets of steel.
What’s popular: Mermaid sculptures ($365-$1,195), ranging in three sizes: 3, 5 and 7 feet.
Other favorites: Crab and stingray sculptures ($185-$1,575).
Fun requests: Working on my first installation, which will consist of more than 100 sculptures for a nature center at Palmetto Bluff’s new Moreland Village development. Also, getting orders from as far away as Australia.
Claim to fame: Won the nationwide American Made audience choice award contest sponsored by Martha Stewart, who also owns a mermaid sculpture. Also featured in various magazines, including Coastal Living and Southern Living.
What’s new: The “back lit” framed series of pieces, which have hundreds of tiny torch cuts in the steel, hand-hammered canvas. “At night, light streams through the little cuts creating a stunning effect.”
Where to buy: www.IronFishArt.com or catch the ferry to the beach studio and gallery on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island, situated between Hilton Head Island and Tybee Island.
Growing up in Palm Beach, Fla., fashion designer Amanda Boalt Coleman was influenced by the colorful world of her grandparents, especially her grandmother: Lilly Pulitzer, the socialite and designer of resort clothing for women. Drawn to fashion but wanting to create a legacy of her own, Boalt Coleman created a men’s line of luxury resort wear.
The designer: She graduated from the College of Charleston with a business degree and worked as a menswear buyer for Ralph Lauren. For two years, she learned the corporate side of fashion before deciding to design for “men who don’t take themselves too seriously but are seriously well dressed.”
The company: Strong Boalt started in 2009 in Palm Beach. The company produces a men’s resort wear collection that includes classic and sporty board shorts, swim trunks, polos and sun shirts in bright colors and seasonal, island-inspired prints.
What’s popular: Classic Boardshort in Jungle Cat Navy ($130 and featured on model in image).
Other favorites: Sky Urchin bathing suit ($130).
Where to buy: www.strongboalt.com
On the half shell
Louisiana’s Robin Pannagl started making soy oyster candles as gifts more than 20 years ago. But after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, she thought it was important to sell them and promote the state’s oyster industry, which was in jeopardy.
The company: InHabit started in 2008 in Fairhope, Ala. It is now based in New Orleans, where the soy oyster candles are poured ($10-$24, depending on size and boxes).
The founder: Pannagl earned degrees in fashion merchandising and a master’s in social work from Tulane. After moving to a plantation home on the river in Plaquemines Parish, she discovered the area scattered with discarded shells and started collecting shells and making candles. She works full time as a social worker and runs her Candles on the Half Shell business on the side.
What’s popular: The “purse box” candle ($10-$12) with seasonal ribbons.
What’s next: A website, plus new package information about Louisiana coastal concerns, including the oyster industry.