Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



Looking for the perfect S.C. arts gift? Read on!

Posted 12/8/2011 6:32:00 PM

Need help in finding that perfect little piece of South Carolina to give your friends and relatives this year? Have we got a list for you!

Our Insider experts scoured the state, looking for holiday gifts to celebrate all the wonderful things about South Carolina.

Whether you’re looking for golf items, crafts, food or are buying for children, we’ve got a taste or experience for you.

Sweetgrass Baskets: I never saw a sweetgrass basket before I moved to South Carolina, but now they seem to best convey one of the things I love most about living here: the way that the traditions of the past are preserved, renewed and reinterpreted by the state’s talented artists and craftspeople.

This type of basketmaking began in West Africa, was carried to our shores by enslaved Africans, and the skills of those meticulous basketmakers were passed down throughout the generations.

In Charleston, head to the newly refurbished Historic Charleston City Market to buy baskets directly from the craftspeople who made them. You can purchase authentic baskets online here. Prices range from $38 for a 3” Princess Tray to more than $2,000 for a stunning 3’ tall Moses Basket. Expect to pay between $100-300 for a nice, midsized basket. The prices might seem steep, but remember that the baskets are entirely handmade and a single medium sized basket takes between 2-4 weeks of work.

Sixteenacrewood Cutting Boards: If you are lucky enough to have Santa put a Sixteenacrewood cutting board under your tree, I doubt you’ll ever have the heart to cut on it.

The thing that I really love about Sixteenacrewood is that all of the wood is reclaimed. When trees are removed by a local tree service, they call Woodworker Stephen Owen, who transforms the discarded black cherry, black walnut, mulberry, maple, and elm trees into smooth, rich, lovely works of art.

Sixteenacrewood is a regular at the Columbia All-Local Farmers’ Market. You can also find Owens online here, by phone at (803) 372-1381 or by emailing

One Eared Cow Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments: I love stopping by One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia. The showroom glows with colorful glass creations year round, but especially at Christmas time when their elegant, hand-blown Christmas ornaments take center stage. These magnificent ornaments certainly beat any Christmas doo-dad from a big box store holiday aisle, and though they look beautiful and delicate as they catch the light, they are surprisingly durable.

Stop by in person and you might get to see the artists spinning their magic creations out of 2,300-degree molten glass. Ornament prices range from $25-58, depending on size and style. If you can’t make it to Columbia, call (803) 254-2444 or email See more of One Ear Cow Glass’ designs at its website here.

Red Clay Soap: Rachel and John Palacino began raising goats in 1998 after realizing that family cow’s milk allergies would mean an end to delicious, creamy alfredo sauces. Their soaps (like their sauces) are made with 100 percent pure goat’s milk and are completely all natural, unprocessed and chemical free. I love the subtle fragrances like Oatmeal Honey and Rosemary Mint.

For the holidays, why not put together a set of holiday inspired soaps – a basket with bars of Christmas Cookie, Cranberry Potpourri and Pumpkin Spice would make a great gift. Each bar of soap is $5.25 and you can purchase it at Red Clay Soap’s online store.

Creche Christmas Cards: To me, one of the most magical spots in South Carolina is Mepkin Abbey, and that’s especially true around Christmas when the monks display a sampling of their amazing crèche collection. Sadly, the crèche festival only lasts a couple of weeks and ends before most of us have even opened the first doors of our advent calendars on Dec. 3.

However, Mepkin Abbey has put together a collection of six of their favorite nativity scenes as a set of Christmas cards. A 12-pack of cards costs $20; it’s a great way to support the Trappist monks who live at Mepkin Abbey. You can purchase the cards at the Mepkin Abbey online store. Take a look at some of the other Mepkin Abbey products; they are known for the oyster mushrooms they grow on the grounds and for their “drizzle,” a fruity concoction that is great over pork tenderloin.

Not shopping for arts lover? Check out our Insider gift lists for Outdoor lovers, Foodies, Golfers, Families or those who seek out the Less Traveled spots. We’ve got you covered for South Carolina stuff!