Since 1993, Atlanta’s Christopher Moulder been designing, fabricating and installing one-of-a-kind lighting sculptures and a line of limited edition lighting fixtures that are both functional and decorative.
The founder/designer: Grew up in Jacksonville, Fla, where the sand, wind, clouds and electrical storms of his childhood influenced his later light work. He studied furniture design in Germany, and in 1997 received his MFA from SCAD in Savannah.
Best sellers: Schproket Pendant crafted from aluminum, nylon and stainless steel and available in silver metallic, red or white ($1,050 to $1,980); the Schproket Sconce ($700 to $1,740; and the “Rain, Drizzle, Droplet series of a pendant/sconce and chandeliers made from nickel-plate brass bead chain and stainless steel. Prices range from $295 to $6,000, depending on the number of droplets used.
Big break: Winning the Absolut Vodka Furniture competition (1997) with the Absolut Enlightenment Chandelier. This piece, created from Absolut Citron bottles, aluminum and stainless steel, is a conglomeration of Absolut bottles, in the shape of one large Absolut bottle.
Claim to fame: Mammatus, a one-of-a-kind lighting sculpture commissioned by the City of Atlanta for the Arrivals Hall in the International Terminal at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Inspired by clouds, the 3,000-pound piece is made with more than eight miles of nickel-plated bead chain.
What’s new: Two new collections: The Forest and The Royals. Both airy collections of limited-edition chandeliers, pendants and sconces, are characterized by integral light sources, sculptural silhouettes and shadow effects.
Where to buy: www.christophermoulder.com for made-to-order pieces.
In his Texas studio Keith Kreeger creates clean, contemporary and functional tableware and décor for restaurants, stores and your home.
The artist/designer: Originally from New York, Kreeger began working in clay at Skidmore College and later at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY. In 1999, he moved to Cape Cod to open his first studio. Ten years later, he relocated to Austin to further develop his high-fired porcelain work.
What’s popular: Hudson dinnerware ($52 to $375) and Gramercy bottles ($100 to $250). While the company uses a variety of glazes and banded rim treatments on its white table ware, the Linea design (an incised line filled with black glaze), is a best seller.
Big break: Moving to Austin. The town, which has a >>>collaborative and creative community, inspired Kreeger to do his first restaurant project. He thought it was going to be a fun and exciting side-note to his business. The hospitality side has become a huge part of what he does. His pieces can be found in more than two dozen restaurants, including some plates at Husk Nashville.
What’s new: Made more than 3,600 pieces for a restaurant opening later this year in New York City.
Claim to fame: Creating custom (and sometimes one-of-a-kind) plates for chefs, including Chef Edward Lee at 610 Magnolia in Louisville. He wanted a specific plate for a specific dish that include a skewer, sauce and garnish. “We’re bringing that plate to life in the studio right now.”
Where to buy: keithkreeger.com
Tennessee artist Lexie Armstrong enjoys painting individual place cards for guests at her dinner parties. But two years ago, she started selling her whimsical and sophisticated place cards for others to enjoy.
The artist: Grew up in Grosse Pointe, Mich., and graduated from Dartmouth College. She received an MFA at American University and studied art history in London. She lives with her family on a horse farm in Franklin, where she paints as well as raises her three boys, chickens and horses and works in her organic garden.
The goods: Sets of 12 printed place cards ($50) based on her original watercolors. Also, gift tags (six for $25) and note cards ($10 for $55) as well as “Stacked Animal” original watercolors ($175 to $395). (On the more serious side, Armstrong’s work ranges from her “ceiling” series, oversized oils abstracted from Baroque ceiling frescoes, to landscapes and animals.)
What’s popular: Turkey place cards, especially for Thanksgiving; fox and hound place cards; trout note cards; butterfly gift tags; plus botanical and elephant water colors.
Other favorites: Custom animal portraits ($250 to $1,250).
The Florida-based Wee Gallery knows that babies are stimulated by bold, black and white images. That is why the small family company designed a line of high-contrast cards and other gifts with whimsical animal images
The company: Wee Gallery, started in March 2003 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Since 2004, it has been based in St. Petersburg. The company designs animal-themed art cards, books, ceramics, nesting dolls, plus blankets and pillows.
The designers & founders: Surya Sajnani is the illustrator, designer and co-founder of Wee Gallery with her husband David Pinto. The couple started the company after their son was born, and as they learned about infant development.
What popular: Art Cards for Baby ($12.95 for box of six); temporary tattoos ($7.95 for 12 and often used as birthday favors); greeting cards ($4.95); and the activity books ($4.95), “32 Ways to Dress … a dog, bunny, fox, pig or bear.
Claim to fame: Art Cards for Baby are sold at Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.
Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller are modern businesswomen with a passion for the classic details of old-school letterpress printing. In their Virginia-based studio, they create unique and fine paper goods.
The company: Haute Papier Collections, based in Arlington, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
The owners/designers: Sarah Meyer Walsh grew up near Buffalo, NY. Erin Miller is from Durham, NC. They met at American University and worked in management for a DC-based restaurant group before starting Haute Papier.
What’s popular: Personalized letterpress note and enclosure cards (starting at $65 for 25); personalized stationery (starting at $75 for 50); and personalized letterpress gift tags (starting at $58 for 25).
Other favorites: Rose and yellow gold–handed scissors ($20) to brighten your desk (pictured below).Also any design from the Silk Stationery Collection, which features letterpress stationery housed in a handmade Thai silk box (starting at $100).
Fun request: Designing custom, holiday gift wrap for The White House, using Bo & Sunny, the Obamas’ dogs as inspiration.
Claim to fame: Letterpress coasters with different themes and sayings were chosen as one of Oprah’s favorite things in 2015. A box of 100 letterpress coasters (with 25 of four different designs) is $25. The company offers more than 40 boxed sets to suit any occasion (the Lake house set is pictured above).
What’s new: Personalized Desk Pads ($80) that are 12 inches by 18 inches and come with 52 sheets for a year of list making and desk organization.
Where to buy: www.hautepapier.com.
Ryan Akin grew up skateboarding and still enjoys the sport. But now he also designs and builds one-of-a-kind skateboards from reclaimed wood in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.
The company: Atlanta-based Lightboards started in the spring of 2014. It manufactures skateboard decks and sells them as complete skateboards with quality parts chosen to match their design and colors. Akin wanted to invest in his community in a practical way and started the small company to provide part-time employment and mentorship to young men in the neighborhood.
Founder & designer: Akin graduated from the University of Florida and earned a master’s degree from Georgia Tech in mechanical engineering. He is employed as an information technology consultant routinely works on Lightboards at night and on the weekends in a space at Studioplex.
What’s popular: The long-boards ($250 to $300). They are equipped with large wheels, wide trucks, and cut-out designs for a smooth ride.
Other favorites: Laminated skateboard decks made from local hardwoods, especially the ones with a kick-tail on the back and a hand-painted city skyline design. They sell around $250.
Materials: Wood from forest-free trees that came down in the Atlanta area or wood from reclaimed sources, such as a discarded kitchen table.
Fun request: Sold a skateboard to a woman who planned to give it to her husband for his 59th birthday.
Where to buy: www.lightboards.com
Atlanta perfumer Shelley Kyle creates custom fragrances using a mix of fresh herbs, fruits and spices that remind her of growing up in the South.
The company: Shelley Kyle Inc. started in 1992. The Atlanta-based company offers a luxury collection of fresh and unique fragrances for the body and home in containers and packaging that are reminiscent of the perfumer’s love of French Baroque elegance. Gift box sets range from $44 to $110.
The founder: A Tennessee native, Kyle began her fragrance journey 25 years ago when she started decorating perfume bottles with crystals and bobbles as a hobby. She later sold the pretty bottles to stores, including Bloomingdale’s. After being urged to fill the bottles with something, she apprenticed with a perfumer to learn the craft of making fragrances. Kyle started manufacturing, packaging and selling out of her Buckhead apartment before moving her operation to a Midtown warehouse.
The first: The light and crisp Shelley Kyle collection. It is now one of eight collections of perfumes, creams, powders and soaps in the company’s line.
Best sellers: Tiramani fragrance with its notes of Blood Orange, Madonna Lily, White Nectarine and more. Also the talc-free linen and body powders ($37 each), plus the shimmer powder ($23) and shimmer powder set ($39).
What’s new: Lorelei fragrance, which launched in June for the company’s 25th anniversary.
Where to buy: shelleykyle.com. In Atlanta, at several shops, including Julian’s Cosmetics + Skincare in Brookhaven (julianscosmetics.com) and The Office Party in Marietta (facebook: The Office Party).