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Dot and Army

Georgia’s Jennifer Zamudio started sewing cloth napkins years ago as a creative outlet. And a practical one.

The owner & inspiration
: Originally from California, Zamudio worked as an art education teacher for more than 10 years in the San Diego. On the side, the eco-conscious mother sewed cloth napkins to use at family meals and as gifts for friends. Fifteen years ago, she and her family moved to Georgia.

The company: Dot and Army started in 2009 in Brunswick. The company, named for Zamudio’s maternal grandparents (Dot and Army), produces reusable table and kitchen linens, including napkins for all occasions and elastic bowl covers ($14).

What’s popular: A set of 10 seersucker napkins ($50). The 18-inch napkins can be ordered in any combination of colors, but many customers order a mixed set of colors, including khaki, red, gray, blue, orange, green, navy blue, aqua and yellow.

Other favorites: The Unpaper Towels (set of 12 for $40). Use (and reuse) instead of paper towels.

Big breaks: Being part of the Food52 team ( and featured in Southern Living’s Christmas Gift Guide in 2016.

Where to buy: and in Atlanta at Steve McKenzie’s, 999 Brady Ave NW, (


table art


Tennessee ceramicist Leanne Moe-McQueen crafts a simple yet sophisticated line of dinnerware designed to make even an everyday meal look good.

The artist & owner: Grew up in North Dakota and graduated in 2009 with a degree in ceramics from the University of Tennessee and started working as a potter in small shop om an old brownstone in downtown Maryville. Three years later, McQueen moved next door to a larger space and opened a teaching studio. In 2014, she founded McQueen Pottery.

The company: McQueen Pottery in Maryville, Tenn., makes hand-formed dinnerware with a modern shape and fresh look.

What’s popular: Five-piece place setting ($190). A set includes a dinner, salad, and bread plate, plus a pasta bowl and mug.

Other favorites: Bud vases ($24), often in a grouping of three.

Fun requests: Working with chefs, including Sean Brock, Cassidee Dabney and Joseph Lenn, on dish collections for their restaurants.

Claim to fame: Selected by Garden & Gun magazine for a 2016 “Made in the South Award.”

Where to buy: www.mcqueenpottery.comBandT_20150926_0005 (1)

the candle buzz


Texas native Christine Flores knows bees are important to the planet — and her family business.

The company: The Beeswax Co, based in Dripping Springs (a suburb of Austin) started in 1997. It was bought by Flores’ father (John Austin) in 2010. The company produces 100 percent beeswax candles and bulk beeswax from selected growers.

The background: Christine, who runs the company, took an interest in honey bees at an early age. Her great-grandfather was a vegetarian cattle rancher, who grew organic gardens and raised bees. His legacy remains. Christine uses the same simple beekeeping tools, which he used to harvest his honey, to hand finish the candles.

What’s popular: Pillars in various sizes ($15 to $200) are burnished by hand to give the candles their unique finish.

Other favorites: Tea lights ($7 to $24) and standard votives ($12 to $36) for parties and weddings. Also hand-poured container candles ($16 to $38) for travel or as a decorative touch in a space.

Where to buy:


branching out


In his colorful, natural-looking branch art, Georgia’s Tom Chambers brings the outdoors in.

The artist: Chambers’ interest in art began in an Orlando high school, where his first art class was taught by his football and track team coach. At the University of Tampa, where he attended college on a football scholarship, Chambers studied sculpture, drawing and painting. He put his art on hold after he married, began a family and entered the business world. In 2007, he took an early retirement to pursue his love of art full-time

The company: Branching Out, based in Blairsville, produces wall and free-standing sculpture using a combination of wood and acrylic. Chambers began creating his art in 1994, but went full time in 2007 after he and his wife moved from Florida to a cabin in the north Georgia mountains.

What’s popular: Custom designs ($75 to $3,000), often in bright colors and incorporating Asian Willow or Japanese Mulberry branches.

Fun requests:  In 2010, asked to create a centerpiece sculpture, “Lady in Red” for the Southeastern Horticulture Show in Atlanta. The five-foot tall red ball gown was made entirely of tree branches. Also “The Bull,” a six-foot-tall sculpture created for a financial firm in Orlando.

Where to buy: Also at Atlanta-area art shows, including the Piedmont Park Art Festival (August 19-20) in Atlanta and Art in the Park (Sept. 2-4) in Marietta.


In the Grove

made to last


Georgia-based Sturdy Brothers makes new, made-to-last goods with old-fashioned quality and craftsmanship.

The company: Sturdy Brothers, started in Thomasville, in 2013. The company makes (cuts, sews and waxes) waxed canvas aprons, tote bags, duffle bags, plus leather wallets and purses.

The owners: Benjamin and Spencer Young grew up in Tifton, and prior to starting their business, they worked in the coffee industry — in different places. Spencer, a graduate of Georgia College and State, started Grassroots coffee company in Thomasville. Ben work at Jubala coffee company in Raleigh, NC. Needing a hard-working apron on the job, the barista brothers also had a desire to make useful and durable hand-crafted goods

What’s popular: The Charles waxed canvas apron ($162) and the Craft tote bag ($159) are best sellers.

Another favorite: The Orville waxed canvas tool roll ($76).

Where to buy: In Atlanta, find Sturdy Brothers goods at Brick + Mortar, 1170 Howell Mill Road, in Westside Provisions District.


a modern mood


Award-winning artist Renee Dinauer creates contemporary, free-form steam-bent wood sculpture for city-chic homes, hotels and corporate spaces.

The company: Renee Dinauer Sculpture started in 2003 in Santa Rosa, Calif. The artist, who also has a studio in Palm Bay, Fla, has been designing and producing freeform wall and free-hanging wood sculpture since 1990.

The artist
: A graduate of UCLA, Dinauer’s art career began at college, strolling through its sculpture gardens. She experimented with various forms, designs and processes before learning to use white ash to create her fluid, bent wood pieces.

What’s popular: Light-weight wood sculpture in subtle naturals or vibrant colors. Prices for custom, residential-sized pieces usually range from $600 to $3,500.

Big break: Created a large sculpture for the Carmel Valley Ranch Resort in Carmel, Calif.

What’s next: Creating a large, suspended, cloud-like sculpture, comprised of numerous pieces, for Inwood Station in Dallas, Texas.

Where to buy:



sweet design


Daniel Kelly uses pecky cypress with its distinctive look to craft his modern furniture.

The company: Sugarbone started in Jackson, La, in 2013, and relocated to Raleigh in 2016. It produces furniture using pecky cypress and reclaimed hardwoods.

What is pecky cypress: The wood, found in Louisiana and some Gulf states, features network of naturally occurring air pockets and holes, limiting the wood’s use a furniture material. But Kelly found a way to fill the wood’s holes and burrows with a polyester resin that makes the material strong, functional and stylish.

The artist/designer: Kelly graduated from North Carolina State University with an art and design degree and later earned a master’s degree in painting from the University of New Orleans. He has worked with architecture firms fabricating large-scale sculpture and creating smaller interior pieces from different materials.

What’s popular: Media cabinets ($2,500 to $3,200).

Other favorites: Consoles ($1,500 to $1,800) because of their versatility.

Fun (or unusual) request: A custom Murphy bed for an architectural firm.

Big break: Figuring out the perfect “recipe” for filling the pecky cypress pockets.

Where to buy: