Since childhood, Mark Gardner has enjoyed working with his hands. But there is something about working with wood that gives the renowned artist the most satisfaction.
The artist: Growing up in Cincinnati, Gardner started as a child working with wood, his father’s hobby. At 16, he enrolled in a furniture-making class at the University of Cincinnati, where he later earned a degree in theater design and production. After college, Gardner took a wood-turning class at Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn. That class helped him decide to focus on woodworking rather than theater. He moved to Saluda, N.C., to work with wood-turner and sculptor Stoney Lamar.
The company: Mark Gardner Studio opened in 2000 in Saluda. Gardner has created sculptural wood pieces, but is currently focused on utilitarian pieces, such as bowls and household items.
What’s popular: Bowls in five sizes and five colors: white (the top seller), yellow, blue, green and orange. Bowls ($50 to $300) are finished with a food-safe walnut oil and beeswax paste finish that Gardner makes himself.
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Other favorites: Cutting boards ($95) and mirrors ($195 to $500).
Where to buy: In Atlanta, at the American Craft Council Show (booth 910). See Gardner’s work at MarkGardnerStudio.com.
Annie Grimes Williams uses traditional metalsmithing techniques to create her contemporary, nature-inspired jewelry.
The artist: Grimes Williams grew up in Welcome, N.C., and studied metal design at East Carolina University.
After graduating in 2003, she made her jewelry on the side while working full time for another artist.
In 2009, she began teaching classes and workshops while starting her jewelry business.
The company: CopperTide Fine Metalwork and Enameling started in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 2011. It offers fine jewelry and metalwork using copper, vitreous enamel, sterling silver accents and findings (such as clasps, catches and ear wires).
What’s popular: Petal-shaped earrings ($40 to $150) in the Microcosm Collection, which feature pieces with torch-fired white enamel with organically inspired hand-drawn sgraffito (a form of decoration made by scratching) designs.
Other favorites: Chevron necklaces and dot earrings ($40 to $100) in the GeoChroma Collection, which includes simple geometric shapes with various color combinations. Many of the pieces are reversible.
Artist favorite: Pod forms in the SeaPods Collection ($100 to $300 with large cluster neckpieces ranging from $1,200 to $2,000).
Where to buy:CopperTide.net. In Atlanta, at the American Craft Council Show (booth 1308).
North Carolina’s Christine Kosiba became fascinated with ravens while living in Arizona. The striking black birds remain a central focus of the sculptor’s work.
The artist: Kosiba earned a master’s degree in education from North Georgia College (now the University of North Georgia). She taught in public schools for 12 years in Georgia and Arizona, often using clay as an enrichment tool while creating her art on the side. In 1997, the self-taught sculptor moved to Brevard, N.C.
The company: Christine Kosiba Sculpture started in Brevard in 2005 and primarily creates wildlife sculpture, using stoneware clay combined with a variety of surface treatments.
What’s popular: Ravens and crows ($350 to $800).
Other favorites: Foxes. A single fox ranges from $750 to $950. Also owls ($450 to $850).
Fun (or unusual) request: Create a “Krampus” for an “Edwardian Dreamscape,” an installation curated by artist Kirsten Stingle in 2015 at the Signature Shop & Gallery in Buckhead. After researching this medieval European folklore figure, Kosiba sculpted a 3-foot-tall rendition.
Claim to fame: Selected to create six bronze sculptures (five in Brevard and an installation of 16 frogs in downtown Blacksburg, Va.)
Where to buy: In Atlanta, at the American Craft Council Show (booth 114.) To see her work or commission a piece, visit ChristineKosiba.com.