Southern artisans who recycle

Grass-fed jewelry

Atlanta native Madeline Burdine is known for her original jewelry designs. In her East Cobb studio, the metal artist hand cuts copper and silver to create her textured and detailed necklaces, earrings and cuffs. Often she takes design cues from leaves, rocks and feathers found in her backyard. But on a farm tour two years ago, the University of Georgia grad found a new inspiration: animal bone.

Burdine and her fiancé took a tour of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton to learn more about local, sustainable food, a passion they share. The fifth-generation farm in South Georgia offers grass-fed beef and free-range poultry.

On the tour, which included a visit to the bone yard, Burdine learned about the farm’s nose-to-tail, zero-waste concept. Burdine decided then that bone was the perfect reclaimed material for her eco-friendly line of jewelry.

Periodically, Burdine heads for the farm to collect bones and haul them home to be cleaned, cut, shaped and sanded. The grass-fed line of jewelry ranges from $119 to $225 and up. But there are other popular pieces, including the warrior poet earrings ($157.50) and cuff ($97.50); the Shasta daisy necklace and earrings ($68 each); and the silver swallowtail earrings ($200).

Find her designs at her online store, Also swing by her booth at the Norcross Art Fest (Oct. 5-6).

Bowls that rock

As a music and art lover, Sean Zeph couldn’t bear to part with his vinyl albums. But after a Google search, he found a clever and creative way to recycle them.

Two years ago, Zeph started Brushed-Up Bowls in Raleigh, N.C. Using scratched and discarded vinyl records, he paints, melts and shapes the record into a colorful and functional bowl. His first painted vinyl bowl was a hit. It featured a Rolling Stones album with the famous red tongue and lip logo in the center.

Since then, Zeph has found fans at music and art festivals, like Bonnaroo in Tennessee. Record bowls by the Beatles, Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd are best-sellers. In the South, soul and classic rock are tops.

Choose the colors and the style of music you like. Also ask about a custom order of a favorite or prized album in your collection. Repurposed bowls range from $50 to $75. Visit

Red, white & you

Three years ago, Texas native Chris Gray took up woodworking as a hobby. His first projects included a crib, dresser and changing table for his son. Some artwork he made sold on eBay. Gray never intended to turn his garage hobby into a business.

But after he was laid off last year, the longtime Web designer started Rustic Post Trading Co. in McKinney, Texas. In his workshop, Gray makes home décor and wall art. Using cedar wood from Texas, he hand paints, stains and distresses the wood planks to give them an aged look. The process makes each piece slightly different and unique.

The company’s most popular piece is the ready-to-hang American flag, which is available in three sizes and two color options: color and monochrome. Other top choices: a whitewashed USA and Texas map. Prices range from $35 to $250. To order, visit or

Best of the South

Do you have favorite finds from around the South that you give as gifts, buy for your home or rave about to friends? If so, please share them with us. Send your suggestions to: Please include your name and contact number. Also, find more Southern-made products, featured in the AJC, at Southernfinds on Facebook.

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