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Francis + Benedict founder Katie Walters envisions a bright future for the women of Togo, West Africa.



The bright fabrics of Francis + Benedict’s skirt collections bring new color to the fashion world.



One Lowcountry man is determined to make his mark while educating the public on an age-old crop.

Freshly Plated A delicious dish at Charleston's Basic Kitchen

Photo by Steven Freihon


Spring 2019



Basic Kitchen is bringing in new players and planting inspiration just steps away from King St.


/ Spring 2019


31 06 Editor’s Letter 10 Contributors FIELD GUIDE 15 Table Topper 16 Landscape 19 Literature 20 Landscape 22 Etiquette Dress Codes 23 Outdoor




SOUTHERN LIFE 25 Southern Spotlight - Craft 31 Southern Spotlight - Artisan 37 Southern Spotlight - Art On The Cover: Fabulous fashion from Francis + Benedict's Statement Collection. Photo by Caroline Ro 8


37 COLUMNS 45 Natural Woman by Susan Frampton 49 Kids These Days by Tara Bailey 53 Life & Faith by Lili Hiser 80 THE VILLAGE POET - That Spring

A place where neighbors smile, wave and call you by name. At Carnes Crossroads, you’ll find a thoughtfully planned community where charming neighborhoods are situated among beautiful parks and lakes. Shops, restaurants and conveniences are emerging within a growing town. And homes from four award-winning builders reflect today’s modern lifestyles and the timeless grace of Lowcountry living.

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Performing & Visual Arts

Student Life

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It's Never Too Early It has been a trying winter for me and my family. My mother and grandmother are both suffering from dementia. Over the past few months, they have both moved into memory care facilities; my grandmother doesn’t recognize us and my mother is only able to form a few words, so we are not sure if she knows who we are or not. Over Thanksgiving, we took my mother to see my ninety-seven-year-old grandmother. My grandmother sat in her favorite chair, telling us of her life as if she was meeting us for the first time. I thought, does my mother even recognize her mother? If so, does she understand that this might be the last time she may see her? When we were saying our goodbyes, I told my mother to give her mother another hug, hoping it might spark a memory, and maybe the magnitude of the moment might miraculously become clear, even if for only a brief time. Although this might be the last time a mother and daughter would be together, I was trying to keep things light for the benefit of all of us who were doing their best to make this a happy memory. When it was my time to say goodbye to my grandmother, I bent down and hugged her frail body. She returned the hug gently at first, but then something changed. She turned her head and pressed her head firm to me, kissing my neck. Although she didn’t recognize me, for a brief moment she knew that she was supposed to. I couldn’t help but become overwhelmed with emotion. Questions filled my mind. Had I said everything I wanted to? Did they know how much I loved them? Was this the last time I would ever see my grandmother? I couldn’t get those questions out of my mind. They spun around in my brain for weeks, like a cloud of bugs at a street lamp. It was too late...too late for me to say all the things I had left unsaid. I couldn’t let that happen again. This past Christmas, I wrote both of my children letters and put them in envelopes under the tree. I told them how much I loved them, how proud I was of them, and how they could always come to me with anything: I would love them regardless of any circumstance. I can only hope that my mother and grandmother knew how much they meant to me, but for the rest of my loved ones, I am determined that they always know exactly how I feel about them. Will Rizzo Editor In Chief

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Will Rizzo Editor in Chief Dottie Rizzo Managing Editor Susan Frampton Senior Editor Jana Riley Senior Editor & Copy Editor Lewis Frampton Distribution Manager Contributors Tara Bailey Virgil Bunao MacKenzie Collier Elizabeth Donehue Susan Frampton Lili Hiser Ellen Hyatt Jana Riley Caroline Ro Steven Freihon Jason Wagener Pamela J. Browning Publisher Chris Zoeller Chief Marketing Off icer Advertising Inquiries Misty Simmons 843.937.5922

Subscribe *Available for $16.99 a year (4 Issues). Visit for details. Azalea Magazine is a division of:

Azalea Media

114B E. Richardson Ave. Summerville, SC 29483 843.478.7717



Yo u r P u p p y D o g E y e s Excess, drooping skin of the eyelids can impair our vision or make us look tired - even though we have lots of energy. If you’re curious, or even considering eyelid surgery, schedule an appointment with us at Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery. There are so many wonderful options today to make subtle e or more mo e dramatic changes to improve your self-confidenc nce. e Do it for you.

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JANA RILEY Writer & Editor


JASON WAGENER llustrator

SUSAN FRAMPTON Writer & Editor


Jana Riley alternates her working time between interviewing people about their passions, writing inspiring stories as quickly as her fingers can type, and editing some of the most interesting magazines she has ever read. The rest of the time, you can find her immersed in love for her family while exploring places near and far.

Lili Gresham Hiser was born in Charleston, SC and raised in both the Lowcountry and Central Florida. She invested more than ten years of service in the non-profit/higher education sector. She and her husband enjoy re-experiencing life in the South through the eyes of their young children.

Jason started his illustrious art career when he won a coloring contest in third grade, subsequently entitling him the proud owner of a Mickey Mouse dry erase board. He moved to the Lowcountry in 1990, before attending The Savannah College of Art and Design.

Never dreaming that anyone would read her ramblings, Susan Frampton scribbled her way through two wildly different careers before accidently becoming a writer. These days, when away from the keyboard, she follows the antics of her accident-prone husband, nurses pine-coneswallowing wiener dogs, reads late into the night, and counts her many blessings.

Tara Bailey lives in Summerville with her husband and three daughters, assuming the one in college comes home to visit. She has worked as a naturalist, a teacher, a writer, and an editor, balancing her love of the outdoors with her compulsion to alter sentences. She enjoys natural history, horror movies, and reads anything in print. She can usually be found on her bike or behind a coffee mug.

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Table Topper After more than thirty years as a custom home builder, Summerville's Myron Hinton is channeling his creativity into custom-made furniture. "The Lexington" Available at $350

Featuring: Table Topper pg. 15 / Landscape pg. 16 / Literature: State of the Heart pg. 19 / Etiquette: Dress Codes pg. 22 / Landscape pg. 16 / Outdoor: Bradford Beavers pg. 23





Magnolia Plantation Photographed By

Dottie Rizzo Through his Slave Dwelling Project, Joseph McGill is on a quest to save the South’s slave dwellings and the legacies that reside there.





Y- S E





Over 350 Arts & Crafts Vendors • Specialty Gourmet Food Farmer’s Market • Entertainment • Food Trucks • Children’s Jubilee The Taste of Summerville • Business & Civic Booths

April 5, 6 & 7 2019 Downtown Summerville, SC


Contributors including Tom Poland, Nikky Finney, Cassandra King, Ron Aiken, Mary Whyte, Walter Edgar, Marjory Wentworth, the Lee Brothers, John Jakes, Patti Callahan Henry, and CJ Lyons, reflect on their South Carolina hometowns, family beach vacations, churches and churchyards, backyards, front porches, libraries, and places that are gone except in the memories of the writers who loved them. Amble across South Carolina with them for a chance to see the Palmetto State as they have come to know it.

Local Love State of the Heart is an artful love letter to South Carolina from a pantheon of nationally and regionally recognized writers who have contributed short stories, poems, recipes, and essays about the places that they cherish, from the well-known to the far-flung. Available in hardcover and paperback through booksellers everywhere and from the University of South Carolina Press online at Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM




Charleston Photographed By

Virgil Bunao Using his drone, Bunao captures a stunning birds-eye view of the Charleston peninsula.




“Meet Elizabeth... arbiter of social graces. Passionate volunteer with a heart for hospitality and cultivating community. She lives in Summerville with her husband and two boys (and another on the way)!�

" Dressing well is a form of good manners.

" Tom Ford




What To Wear? An invitation arrives in the mail requesting your presence at an event. But, what to wear? These common dress codes have specific expectations behind them. Allow me to expound: Black Tie Formal, and usually reserved for evening affairs. Men wear a tuxedo; women, a long gown. Black Tie Optional Slightly less formal than black tie. Men don a tuxedo or dark suit and tie. Women should wear a long gown, a cocktail dress, or dressy separates. Cocktail Festive and fun. For guys, this dress code calls for dark suits with a tie. For women, short dresses. Festive A dress code that tends to pop up around the holidays, festive attire is similar to cocktail attire, but with a holiday bent of added sparkle or color. Business The idea is to wear something business appropriate which also feels dressed up. A suit and tie for the guys, and a tailored dress or suit for women will do the trick.

Business Casual Casual but work appropriate. Guys can wear slacks and a collared shirt. For women, pants and a blazer or a pencil skirt and blouse will have you covered. No jeans or sneakers allowed. Garden Party Think colorful and lightweight. Men, choose slacks, an Oxford shirt and sport coat, or a light-colored suit. For ladies, a dress and flats or wedges to avoid sinking into the grass will make for a comfortable event. Casual Anything goes, but be tasteful. I suggest khakis and a button down or polo for the Southern gentlemen. For the ladies, a dress, skirt or pants with a pretty top will have you looking both casual and polished. When in doubt, it is certainly appropriate to contact the host to clarify what they expect party guests to wear. AM


After winning 2017’s lower-tier Costa FLW Series Championship and racking up a run of top 10 finishes last year, Summerville’s Bradford Beavers has earned his place as one of 170 pro anglers on the 2019 Fishing League Worldwide Tour.

Water Boy

Pro bass fisherman Bradford Beavers

Leave it to Beavers When we last caught up with Summerville’s Bradford Beavers, he was betting on the bass to earn his place in the pros. Now that he’s on the pro tour, he has set his hook for the title of 2019 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year. Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM


Southern L I F E & C U L T U R E from O U R L I T T L E S L I C E of T H E S O U T H

Super Bowls

A hand-turned maple bowl created by Kevin Szostak

Turning Point The beautiful shapes emerging from the spinning wood lathe in Kevin Szostak’s workshop point to bowlfuls of natural ability in one of Summerville’s own. by Susan Frampton photos by WIll Rizzo

Featuring: Turning Point pg. 25 / Heart of Clay pg. 31 / Patchwork Stories pg. 37 / Natural Woman pg. 45 / Kids These Days pg. 49 / Life & Faith pg. 53



Turning Point


tanding in his woodworking shop surrounded by saws, handplaners, and a world of other interesting tools, Kevin Szostak is at a turning point. In his professional life, the Summerville native is on a solid path as Director of Investor Services at Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce, where he has found the perfect niche for his Business Economics Degree from Wofford University: no turns necessary. But here in his woodworking shop, with his finger poised over the start switch of his brand new wood lathe, Szostak is at a literal, critical turning point: a moment that separates a tinkerer from a craftsman, and one that might send a shiver down the back of one less confident. Though he is mainly self-educated in the craft, Szostak’s interest in woodworking began early. His grandfather enjoyed carving, and he treasures a small owl his grandfather carved for him. He grew up surrounded by an impromptu artisan village on his parents’ Quail Arbor street. One neighbor is a cabinetmaker, another is a wood hobbyist, and yet another builds items of a quality to warrant their sale at Middleton Plantation. In addition to this exposure, he learned more of the basic tenants of woodworking when he took an interim class in college that included a visit to a folk art school where he was taught woodturning. Bitten by the bug, he and fellow students returned to school to form a club called the Wofford Woodpeckers. Woodturning, the craft of using a lathe along with hand-held tools to 28 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019

Carving a Legacy This page, clockwise: Szostak in his workshop; bowls made from locallyfound maple, sycamore, and pear; one of Szostak's most treasured tools, a 1902 Stanley Router Plane.

cut a symmetrical shape around an incredibly fast axis of rotation, is a time-honored form of woodworking used to craft spindles, bowls, and all manner of round-shaped items from wood—much like a potter’s wheel is used to shape clay, except with a vision-blurring speed. It is an often unforgiving tool that requires a steady hand and one that can be daunting to less experienced craftsmen. Donning protective safety glasses and tying a canvas apron over his clothes, Szostak flips a switch on the state-of-the-art machine that immediately sends curled ribbons of wood flying from the spinning form he has previously locked into place. His hand is steady as a rounded edge begins to emerge from the whirling block, and a

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A Close Shave This page, clockwise: wood shavings tell the tales of Szostak's many creations; the artist holds a bowl gouge to his wood lathe; a hand-built tool chest showcases Szostak's carefully-maintained tools.

triumphant grin splits his youthful face. As the lathe begins to slow from the revolutions per minute that produce the high whine of great speed, Szostak brushes wood shavings from his hair and points to the gentle curve he has begun to uncover in only a few brief seconds. Behind him on the worktable, dozens of wooden bowls display the range of work the craftsman has created on an older, slower lathe, using wood that ranges from Bradford Pear to red oak and everything in between. Each is as unique as the tree from which it grew. Imperfections only add to the personality and character, with the swirling grain of the wood telling the story of years of wind and weather. The tools he has collected are hung on the wall or housed in a handbuilt chest with compartments and spaces tailor-made for each piece. Most are antiques, and each is a work of art in its own right. Szostak knows the purpose and history of each tool, and he has restored each to perfect working order. He understands and appreciates them as symbolic of a time when craftsmen repaired rather than replaced the tools of their trade. As worthy as they are, it is the hand of a craftsman that gives any tool its real value, and in Szostak, they find that value in spades. Though he has no plans to make woodworking a full-time endeavor, it is a passion that fits perfectly into the lifestyle of an up-and-coming executive. While he lives in an apartment, his workspace is currently limited to a corner of his parents’ garage, but he hopes to find a fixer-upper in town where he can create a workshop to house all the projects he currently keeps in his head. One can only imagine the possibilities this new lathe will bring. Szostak says he would like to one day to turn woodworking into a business, but he knows that dream is down the road. For now, with a job he loves at The Chamber of Commerce offering him the opportunity to help create a vibrant and robust community, the talented woodworker couldn’t be happier to find himself here in his spare time; covered in sawdust amidst curling ribbons of fragrant wood, with the whine of the wood lathe turning and a big smile on his face. AM






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Red Hot Geoff Rhyne is the genius behind the spice; the packaging of Red Clay Hot Sauce reflects it simple yet powerful punch.


Heart of Clay Using the freshest ingredients and the principles learned in the red clay fields of Georgia, Chef Geoff Rhyne has bottled more than flavor in his Southern hot sauce. by Jana Riley


f you’re from the South, you know a little bit about red clay. You know that it sticks to your shoes, and makes your flowerbed a stone-cold mess. It makes for a road as slick as glass and leaves a stain that will still be there long after you’re gone. Chef Geoff Rhyne knows about the stuff first-hand because he spent much of his youth on a 1,300-acre red clay farm near Americus, GA, alongside his Granddaddy Jack and Grandma Mary Gilchrist. He was working as a chef de cuisine at The Ordinary in Charleston when, at the urging of executive chef and owner Mike Lata (one of the more influential people in his career), he began to dabble with fresh ingredients to create a sauce to accompany oysters. Rhyne’s idea wasn’t the typical ‘hotter than heck’ kind of sauce, but rather one that would complement seafood, fried chicken, and the many other dishes that Southerners like to jazz up. He experimented with different

peppers and vinegars, but didn’t want to fall prey to the traditional distilled vinegar-based concoction. “Distilled vinegar is great for cleaning your floors, but it doesn’t have the kind of flavor you want in a sauce.” Using white wine vinegar, Fresno peppers, and a distinctive salt, the color of the mixture he stirred up reminded him of the happy days of a childhood where his grandfather, a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot, was the father-figure that helped shape his life. “It made me think of that red clay,” he says of his recipe. The significance of that color was not lost on the chef since at the time, his elderly grandfather’s health had begun to fail. The hours tagging along with his grandparents, who were journalists for several farm magazines, instilled in him an appreciation of fresh ingredients, and the philosophy of using whatever you happened to have on hand. The chef once put that philosophy to the Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM


Heart of Clay

Sweet and Spicy

Red Clay Hot Honey sauce is the perfect complement to spicy fried chicken.

recognized the marketability of the sassy sauce. At the suggestion of that customer, he decided to take the plunge, but it took about a year and a half of market research, ingredient sourcing, and pH testing to convert a restaurant kitchen pantry item into a product to be bottled and sold. Aging it in sorghum whiskey barrels was the pièce de résistance, adding signature richness, complexity, and a touch of sweetness to the sauce. Just before the birth of his first son, Rhyne left The Ordinary to work with his friend Brooks Reitz at Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop, securing a schedule better suited for a new father and budding entrepreneur. It was the right place and perfect timing to launch the new brand. Leon’s quickly became a darling of the media, and Reitz encouraged Red Clay to piggyback on that popularity. Today, the Red Clay brand is hot as a proverbial pepper, and somewhat of a media darling on its own, earning it a spot on Southern Living’s coveted Top 10 Favorite Hot Sauces, and positioning it on the menus and shelves of the hottest restaurants and retailers across the country.

ultimate test, when as a participant in a Bizarre Basket-themed episode of the popular television show “Chopped” the ingredients he was required to work with included a goat head and a container of lox ice cream. Their influence also turned him into a stubborn chef. “I never use anything but fresh, quality ingredients because of what I grew up eating. They practiced farm-to-table long before it was cool,” he says of the couple. “As a chef, the moment I began developing relationships with farmers, I knew that was the only way I would go. There is so much that 34


I respect about the work ethic and principle and values of farmers and what they produce.” His hot sauce creation, which became a tabletop staple at The Ordinary, began to disappear into the purses and pockets of diners who couldn’t get enough of the flavorful condiment. Chef Rhyne says it got a little awkward to ask, “Ahem…could you please return the sauce you just slipped off the table?” When it started disappearing at a rate of one or two bottles a night, one of their customers

“We’re completely hands-on, from preparing the peppers to shrink-wrapping the bottles,” the chef says of the Red Clay brand production and bottling process. “It’s too time-intense for a big commercial packer.” Now offering an array of flavor profiles, hot sauce connoisseurs may choose from the original flavor, a Carolina Hot variety made with Carolina Reaper peppers, Verde for the jalapeno crowd, or Hot Honey, a sauce flavored with raw, wildflower honey and a fermented pepper mash. As his family and the business have grown, the discipline his grandparents taught him has been invaluable both personally and professionally. Grandpa Jack passed away at the age of 92, but not before approving of both the sauce and Jackson, his grandson and namesake. The logo on Chef Rhyne’s hot sauce bottles reads, “The Red Clay Changes You.” The words and the sentiment behind them are proof that red clay not only sticks to your shoes, what it leaves behind will still be there long after you’re gone. AM

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Summerville & Goose Creek


Oyster Cups 20 raw oysters, removed from shell 2 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup corn starch 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup Blue Point Shore Thing beer Approximately 8 cups of Canola Oil Put oil in large pot on medium heat. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Dip oysters in dry, then wet, then dry. Fry for about four minutes. Remove and place on paper towel. Season with salt to taste. Egg Salad: 12 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped 1 cup Duke's mayonnaise ½ cup sliced scallion 1 tablespoon salt ½ tablespoon black pepper Mix ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate. Pickled Carrot: 3 pounds carrot shredded in food processor or sliced thin 2 quart water 1 quart cider vinegar ¾ cup salt Sachet: 6 bay leaves 1 tablespoon fennel seed 1 tablespoon coriander 1 teaspoon celery seed 6 whole clove Combine water, vinegar, salt and sachet in steel pot. Bring to boil. Pour over carrots and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. This recipe will keep for 2 weeks. Combine all ingredients: 20 Fried Oysters Egg salad 20 Bib Lettuce Leaves Pickled Carrot Place a spoonful of egg salad in each bib leaf, top with an oyster, and finish with pickled carrot. Enjoy!


Chris Stewart Owner and Executive Chef at The Glass Onion in West Ashley

Labor of Love: One of Peggie Hartwell's collaborations with the students at Summerville High School, depicting a vibrant outdoor market.


Patchwork Stories Using bits of fabric, artist Peggie Hartwell lends her talents to amplify voices that need to be heard.


by Jana Riley

oday’s world is filled with conversation. Social media allows people to say whatever is on their mind, whenever they want to say it, and so they put it out into the world, often multiple times a day. The twenty-four-hour news cycle ensures that there is always someone talking when you turn on your television or radio, whether you like it or not. There are seemingly limitless ways to add your thoughts, opinions,

and stories to society, but for some, theirs get lost among the louder, the bolder, or the more well-connected. A talented artist and compassionate person, Summerville resident Peggie Hartwell is dedicated to assisting those whose voices are often unheard, telling their stories through intricate narrative quilts. Peggie Hartwell’s introduction to the world of quilting and storytelling began at an early age. Growing up on a farm in rural Springfield, South Carolina, Hartwell was surrounded by her extended family. Some of her first memories include all of the women in her family sitting around quilting together, spending their days creating a usable work of art, which they would eventually gift to someone in need within the community. She looked up to her grandfather, who, in her mind, was the greatest storyteller in the world, weaving grand tales with his family gathered around him, hanging onto every word. When the family took part in the Great Migration of the 1940s and 50s, they moved north, settling in Brooklyn, New York. Hartwell was just six years old, and her prior education occured in a three-room country schoolhouse. This new world was filled with immigrants from countless countries, exposing young Hartwell to a host of cultures, customs, and cuisines. Surrounded by people all living in unfamiliar territory, Hartwell began to understand how easy it is to feel voiceless, as she herself struggled with feeling connected to her new home in the big city. Looking back on those early days, Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM


Patchwork Stories

Hartwell sees them now as inspirational to what became her lifelong mission: to advocate for those who could use a little more attention. Hartwell went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from Queens College, and spent eight years traveling the world and performing a variety of dance techniques. Through her travels during this time and later in life, she acquired an even deeper perspective regarding stories that must be told, including those of refugees, homeless people, and orphans. These stories began to take root in her mind, and eventually found an unlikely outlet: through quilts inspired by those she saw created in her youth. Hartwell worked diligently to become increasingly more skilled at her craft, and today, she is one of the most highly-regarded narrative storytelling quilters in the country. She has been the subject of profiles by the Smithsonian Institute and featured on the hit television program “Reading Rainbow,” and her work has been hung in galleries and museums all over the America. Hartwell is a founding member of the Women of Color Quilters’ Network, and is a member of many other quilting organizations, consistently striving to connect and collaborate with as many like-minded people as possible. Eventually, Peggie Hartwell moved back down south, always feeling connected to

the place of her youth. Here, she works out of her home, piecing together quilts that at first glance, seem to be simply beautiful pieces of art. A longer study, however, reveals astonishing layers of detail. A single quilt crafted by Peggie Hartwell can contain a world’s worth of symbolism, with every element of the piece carefully considered and constructed. Through her work, she tackles difficult subjects and brings to light injustices of the world, encouraging reflection and discourse. Hartwell uses her art to explore her memories, as well as cultural differences and similarities, familial bonds, folk history, the wisdom of the ages, and the plight of those often overlooked, among many other themes. Truly, she follows her heart, listening to her conscience and allowing her spirit to be pulled toward meaningful projects, which she undertakes with immense care and attention.

Ever the humanitarian, Hartwell devotes most of her time toward using her craft to help others, an effort made most clear through her quilt art programs. The programs engage participants of all backgrounds, educating and inspiring them as they work together to create quilted art. Through one curriculum called “Voices on Cloth,” Hartwell connects with students who have special needs, giving them an opportunity to practice and showcase their creative minds. Since 2007,

Head of the Class: Hartwell enjoys working with the talented students at Summerville High School. 40 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019



Shop, dine, and play in downtown Summerville, where charm and Southern hospitality blend gracefully with a modern, forward-thinking sensibility. Our lovingly preserved downtown, complete with beautiful public art, a friendly town square, and an array of businesses from boutiques to brewhouses, is the hub of activity in Summerville.

For info about Downtown Summerville, visit

Hanebrink Jewelers Sterling Silver Arthur Ravenel Bridge Necklace Handmade in Mt. Pleasant. Also available in gold! $150 112 S. Main St.

People Places & Quilts Sewing and Fabric Emporium Fabric • Patterns • Books • Notions Quilts • Gifts • Sewing Machines Instruction • Clubs 129 W. Richardson Ave.

Antiques and Artisans Ceramic coasters with images from SC and Summerville, past and present. $6.95 140 W. Richardson Ave. Every Thing Chic~ETC BLO Vintage whistle necklaces. Some are vintage, some are from the new Spring line. Prices vary. 126 S. Main St.


Art Central Magnolias in the Backyard 28” x 23” by Delbert Zimmerman 130 Central Ave.

Piazza Home New line of ZENZII jewelry that includes a vast selection of statement necklaces, stackable bracelets, trendy earrings and handmade jewelry. 127 Central Ave.

Millie Lewis Models & Talent Training models and actors for placement assistance in local and major markets. 217 S Cedar St.



Patchwork Stories

"Working with Peggie Hartwell and her Voices on Cloth project showcases how capable these students are of producing beautiful, creative art," says teacher Margaret Hayden. Culture Pop: The quilts Hartwell creates with her students tell stories through imagery and fabric.

the artist has worked with Margaret Hayden, the department head for the special education program at Summerville High School, to offer the program to local students. Each year, students learn from “Ms. Peggie” as she teaches them narrative storytelling through art, working with her to create genuine masterpieces of which they can be proud. This year, Ms. Hayden’s class of twelve students have brought an impressive sense of dedication and passion to their many quilting projects, and with each project, they become more skilled and more focused. For Hayden, the collaboration with Hartwell was a no-brainer.

“I want this to be an environment that feels warm and welcoming,” says Hayden. “Working with Peggie Hartwell and her Voices on Cloth project, the students experience a noticeable boost in their confidence. It also gives them the opportunity to get recognition that they may not get otherwise; it allows them to be present in their community and showcases how capable they are of producing beautiful, creative art.” The process begins with a pattern, which Hartwell enlarges to the size it will be and sketches onto freezer paper. She brings it to the students,



Patchwork Stories

explaining that they are going to tell a story using fabric and color rather than words. Some of the students cut out pieces of the pattern, and they all take turns carefully selecting patterns and colors and trying them out in the various parts of the piece. Hartwell takes her time with this step in the process, as she believes it is the most important. “Colors can say so much,” explains Hartwell. “They can be nouns, adjectives, action words; it is all in how you use them; they truly make the piece. The students are so intentional about their choices. For example, if they are selecting a fabric for a woman in the scene who I tell them speaks her mind, they will almost always choose bold elements like red or polka dot. They lend their voices to the quilts by choosing fabrics that will speak to the viewer, and it always turns out beautifully.” After their selections are made and cut out, Hartwell begins to piece the quilt together, and many students are thrilled to assist. After they have done all they can together at Summerville High School, Hartwell takes the piece home to finish it, and when she is done, she brings it right back to the school so the students can see the final product. The students are often thrilled, and rightfully so: their collaborative work is showstopping, worthy of exhibition anywhere. Still, the idea of their work being displayed publicly seemed like a lofty dream until this past September, when their work was featured at an exhibition at the Charleston County Library downtown Charleston. For one month, the quilts created through Hartwell’s Voices on Cloth series in collaboration with local high school students hung for visitors from all over the world to see. Peggie Hartwell smiles when she remembers the opening reception. “The most beautiful part of that event was not hanging on the wall,” Hartwell remembers. “It was happening in the room as the students talked to visitors about their work. They felt important, as they should, and it showed. It was such a joy to see.”



It’s a big world out there… are you protected? When asked to recall that evening, many of the students grin, their joy and pride continuing to radiate months later. One student, Moriah Morgan, remembers the evening quite fondly, and enjoys her work with Hartwell immensely. “Lots of people came,” she recalls. “I was happy to see crowds were there. It makes me happy to be a good student and I like to help Ms. Peggie; she is one of the coolest teachers I have ever had.”

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Another student, Noah Lisle, shares similar sentiments. “The quilts are fun to make, and I liked going to the exhibit and seeing the finished product,” he says. “It was really fun.” When they aren’t working on quilts, Hartwell leads the class in other forms of fiber arts. Last Christmas, they worked together to make cards for Meals on Wheels recipients, and this spring, they will create batik fabric and paint on silk. Hartwell hopes that the Charleston Library exhibition was only one of many, aspiring to find more venues who will display the art. Wherever the program takes her and her students, Hartwell is humble when discussing her role in their education.

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“I just want to make sure that they understand they have a voice in their lives,” says Hartwell. “Not just in their art, but in their life in general. My philosophy is that if you have a talent, you have a responsibility to share it, and I like sharing it with people who may not always be listened to. So I am just following through on what I feel I am supposed to do, and wonderfully, I think we are actually inspiring each other. Through working with these students, I learn how to look, and learn how to see; by teaching them, I become the student. It is beautiful that our work together can be so collaborative.” AM To learn more about Peggie Hartwell and the Voices on Cloth program, visit





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Demolition Man


by Susan Frampton

ou know that recurring nightmare you have? The one where you’re sitting in the den with the dog in your lap, binge-watching Downton Abbey, contentedly sipping hot tea and pondering 19th Century England; when suddenly the doorbell in the foyer (the one with the long chimes that looks and sounds like Big Ben) flies off the wall? In your dream, it hits the flagstone floor, and water starts shooting out of the hole in the wall where it was attached, banging and clanging, flooding said foyer. I recently had it, except that it wasn’t a dream. The dog ran under the sofa, and in slow motion, I mentally reviewed my entire life —both of us sure that it was the apocalypse. It was on the third

Hail Mary that I remembered I’m not Catholic, and realized that the whirring sound I could barely hear over the rushing water was the upstairs whirlpool bathtub. I ran to the stairs repeatedly yelling, “Whatever it is you’re doing, stop!” Submerged in an agitating Epsom salts sea, the occupant of the whirlpool didn’t hear any of the commotion and was understandably alarmed when I sailed into the bathroom, à la Seinfeld’s Kramer, and dove for the tub’s off switch. “What?” my startled husband yelped. “You’ve blown up the whirlpool!” I shouted, grabbing a stack of towels and running out.




That may appear to be a rather harsh judgment to hand down to an innocent victim of circumstance, but save your indignation. This alleged victim has a prior record a mile long, with an even longer list of electrical and mechanical devices attached. Were the term ‘domestic terrorist’ not already attached to actual bad guys, you might find it in the job description section of my husband’s residential résumé. My grandfather, rest his soul, mowed a yard of close to an acre with the same push lawn mower for close to fifty years. Obsessive about his lawn, he quite literally raked with such frequency that the grass trembled at the sight of him, much of it unable to cling to the soil against the onslaught of a rake that may well have pre-dated my grandmother. Both mower and rake were in top form when he passed away, and I can say with high confidence that not once in their 50+ years of marriage did he ever say to my grandmother, “Sula, I blew up the lawn mower.” I know they don’t make things like they used to, but I’d need more digits than those on my hands to count the number of times I’ve heard the sentence applied to riding mowers, self-propelled mowers, regular mowers, and the kind of mowers that don’t even have motors. The sight of my husband walking across the yard with some unidentifiable piece of a lawn mower in his hand is so commonplace that neighbors look up from their own yard work and nonchalantly remark, “Look-y there, he blew up another one.” I’ve never known a harder worker or one with a broader range of skills, but even an anvil’s life expectancy is uncertain in my beloved’s possession. Leaf blowers, weed eaters, and pressure washers regularly surrender with a bang, a phenomenon that he attributes to ethanol gas, and swears is a con48 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019

spiracy between lawn equipment manufacturers and the oil industry. That may or may not be true, but either way, it doesn’t explain why electric power tools rarely die of old age at our house.

For those who worry that I abuse my good-natured husband with these and past revelations, rest assured that though I might tell them anyway, and do so with great glee, they are delivered with his full knowledge and admission that they are rooted in truth. Fortunately, both the metaphorical and actual blue smoke surrounding the “I blew up the (fill in the blank)” announcement is quite often soon replaced by the euphoric restoration of the wounded. To his credit, he is often able to repair many of his casualties, and they rise like Lazarus from the tomb. They may or may not live to explode another day. For those who worry that I abuse my good-natured husband with Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM



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these and past revelations, rest assured that though I might tell them anyway, and do so with great glee, they are delivered with his full knowledge and admission that they are rooted in truth. While I might occasionally indulge in hyperbole, there is no denying the cemetery of dearly departed yard equipment and power tools in our garage. The doorbell’s missing parts and out-of-tune ring and the water stains on the wall spin their own tale.

Though it sometimes takes more than a day or two, I pride myself in finding the humor in moments when the drill doesn’t work or none of the five lawn mowers will start. Though it sometimes takes more than a day or two, I pride myself in finding the humor in moments when the drill doesn’t work or none of the five lawn mowers will start. I am not always successful, but most stories end with little or no harm done. Not all of us take it so well. If you’re dropping by my house, please knock. If you use the doorbell, it will take a day to get the traumatized dog from under the sofa. To date, the evidence in the case of the exploding whirlpool is circumstantial and has yet to prove that the crime was due to any action or non-action on the part of the whirl-ee. The final judgment will be made by the appliance repair professional required to determine the facts. If called upon, I’ll most likely testify for the defense. It’s probably the plumber’s fault, but jeez, where’s the fun in that? AM

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Beauty is Only Skin Deep by Tara Bailey


remember being horrified a few years ago when a coworker told me a chilling but apparently common story. Her thirteen-year-old niece had posted several photos of herself on social media along with the caption: rate me. As instructed, her peers cast their opinions of her images in number form, none terribly high. So she decided she was ugly and worthless. The resulting emotional devastation led to attempts at self harm followed by hospitalization. I’ve never met this child but was heartbroken for her and also for her family, who desperately wanted this girl to love herself as much as they did. I don’t know how she is doing today, but I have thought about her many times, hoping she has the kind of peace that comes from recognizing one’s self-worth. But that kind of peace often doesn’t arrive until adulthood. Until then, we parents have to remain vigilant in helping our kids avoid falling into traps set by this new digital world we didn’t grow up in and are often unfamiliar with.

Not that I am Luddite by any means. I love social media and admit to groaning when other people post photos of me that I didn’t personally curate. While I have no use for filters, which I’ve always thought give people a somewhat anime quality, I do make a face in pictures that my husband calls the “middle-aged smile.” It seems I open my eyes wider than is natural in order to avoid the appearance of crow’s feet in photos. I don’t even realize that I do this until I see the pictures. The result is as charming as it sounds, and he swears that everyone in my demographic does this. I also suck in my gut, for what it’s worth. All that said, I really don’t care how I look in pictures­—or in reality. I recently went to the grocery store directly after getting a massage, looking as oily as a freshly-opened can of sardines, and I ran into my local senator. Did I care? Nope. Did he? Doubtful. That’s because we’re at a stage in life where the main goal is to get through the day

ILLUS TRAT ION BY Jas o n Wa g e n e r Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM




intact. That’s not always easy, hence the massage. Our children don’t have the luxury of forty-something wisdom and apathy yet, but they do have the luxury of smart phones and constant access to their peers. They also have cameras, apps, filters, group chats, and peer pressure that makes my own adolescence look like the spring awakening scene from Bambi. All of this creates the perfect storm for something called “Snapchat dysmorphia,” which is the feeling of inadequacy after constantly comparing oneself to filtered photos of others and was described recently on radio station WBUR of Boston, a National Public Radio affiliate. This phenomenon hit home not long ago when I heard my youngest daughter, age thirteen, crying from her room. She didn’t sound sad, but distraught. I ran up the stairs to find my husband already holding her. “I’m ugly,” she cried. The child whose pink, wrinkly, screaming body was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen from the day I met her, the child who continues to take my breath way with each day of her life, the child I can’t wait to see each morning when she wakes up, hated her hair, her skin, her shape, her eyes—herself. My heart ached. “Why do you think this? Did somebody tell you that?” “No. I just am. I can see myself.” She went on. “I deleted my Instagram because everyone always looked so beautiful and I didn’t. So I went on Snapchat because I still wanted to talk to my friends, but I still felt ugly. Everyone else looks so much better than I do.” I commended her on deleting her



Instagram account and reminded her that posted photos of other people aren’t real; the images are captured instances, using filters, and for each posted photo, probably thirty were taken, rejected, and deleted. And many of the people posting photos of themselves do it because they, too, are unsure of themselves and seek other people’s opinions, hoping they are better than their own. She was unmoved and said she still felt pressure to look a certain way each moment she was in public. I can remember feeling deeply selfconscious and insecure when I was her age, but not to this level. And I’m still not immune. I recently watched a documentary on social media influencers and thought, “Wow, those people are gorgeous.” Then the film delved into their loneliness and insecurity. When it was over I couldn’t stop thinking of the term, “influencer,” and how my funny, creative daughter was so harmfully influenced by these meaningless snaps of time. We are still in the woods but working with our child on defining value in terms of depth, sincerity, and honesty. Is she friends with people because of their pictures or because of a connection that goes beyond the screen and into their essence? Is it more fun to laugh with your friends or look at them? I never realized the importance of monitoring this aspect of digital use. I had always been concerned with secrecy, strangers, and inappropriate content, but all of that distracted me from the harm that was happening despite my diligence. I still have no answer other than to limit the use of phones and engage more in the physical world. After all, no app can improve the sighting of a barred owl or the presence of loved ones. So for now, we will focus more on life as it was meant to be lived: unfiltered. AM




Goodness in the Grief by Lili Hiser


was family.

y brother and his wife, Courtney, have no children, but their five-year-old Boston Terrier, Emmie, was their spoiled furbaby. They threw her birthday celebrations, dressed her in adorable outfits (including a special life jacket for boating), and even included her in their bridal portraits. Emmie

Recently, Emmie died suddenly and tragically. Upon coming home from work, Courtney walked into the house to find Emmie’s lifeless body. Emmie’s collar had caught on her crate, resulting in strangulation. The accident left Courtney and my brother crushed.

Courtney, who rarely shares intimate details on social media, bravely poured her heart into a Facebook post sharing her heartbreak. More importantly, she sought to bring urgent attention to the dangers of collars on unsupervised pets. Within hours, her story, that occurred in the Lowcountry, became a viral post and spread around the world. Nearly 35,000 people shared her post, with tens of thousands reading about Emmie’s tragic death and Courtney’s pleas for prevention. Courtney was showered with condolences from other pet-lovers thanking her for bringing attention to this danger. Unfortunately, as often comes sharing such vulnerable information, a small percentage expressed hurtful opinions. Courtney read these hateful comments in her grief, but with grace she never argued or acknowledged any of them.



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Witnessing harsh rhetoric thrown at my sister-in-law during her pain raised questions in my mind about humanity. Are kindness and empathy endangered? Are the screens that cover our faces uncovering something ugly about ourselves? Would we talk to someone’s face the same way we would type? While the forms of communication have changed, the receivers are still flesh. No matter what the old schoolyard chant says—“sticks and stones may break bones but words can never hurt me”—words can indeed hurt terribly. The tongue is sharp, but the keyboard is piercing. Communicating via social media, email, or text messaging can easily lull the communicator into a false sense of security and turn what otherwise might have been a fruitful face-to-face conversation into emotional statements full of words later regretted. At the very least, how easy it is to misunderstand the tone of a typed message! Add to that the public forum of social media and you can have a recipe for disaster.

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We all have our “hot topics” that really get our fingers smoking: politics, religion, human rights, environmentalism, etc. We all have our “hot topics” that really get our fingers smoking: politics, religion, human rights, environmentalism, etc. When these topics come up, I believe we would all be better off remembering the Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM



advice from a 1942 Disney rabbit, Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Better yet, try focusing on sharing words of encouragement, positivity, or support. Using your typing energy to spread goodness can be more powerful than you can imagine.

With tears streaming down her face, Courtney knew the loving words from this stranger were sent from God.

In the days following Emmie’s death, Courtney and Brent’s home filled with the deafening silence pet-lovers know all too well in the mourning process. But in the stagnant darkness came a light. A week after Courtney typed the viral post, it continued to receive ample attention and replies from thousands. One specific comment from a lady stood out to Courtney; it read, “I know this may be hard to see right now, but I hope this verse may bring you some comfort, Courtney. ‘I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.’ Isaiah 66:9’” With tears streaming down her face, Courtney knew the loving words from this stranger were sent from God. This Bible verse, kindly shared by this unknowing person, helped them though their grief as something new is indeed coming…Only a few hours prior, Courtney had learned some unexpected news. Their home will not remain painfully silent for long, for in early spring Courtney and Brent will welcome another “baby” into their home, their daughter. AM

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F E AT U R E S Flower Power

Francis + Benedict skirts are stunning and versatile.



CROP R O T AT I O N p g. 6 8


Photo by Caroline Ro

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The Seven Seamstresses

In the billowing folds of brightly-colored African textiles, Francis + Benedict founder Katie Walters envisions a future of dignity and sustainability for the women of Togo, West Africa. by SUSA N FRAMP TON photos by CAROLI NE RO

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Sewing the Seeds of Love This page: a seamstress guides fabric through her machine. Opposite: Katie Walters visits a village in Togo, West Africa Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM



ust after dawn in Togo, West Africa, Ayékinam steps from her new home. She walks miles of dirt road to her job, with her head held high and her face raised to heaven. The widow remembers well what life was like a short time ago, when she and her five children lived in a ramshackle house made from pieces of tin, with only a thin fabric curtain between them and the world. Destitute, and with little hope, she once begged for food most days to keep her children alive. But as they do every morning when she arrives at work, she and her co-workers will lift their hands in prayer before sitting down to their sewing machines. Like Ayékinam, each knows that every stitch they sew in the yards of colorful African wax print fabric to create the sought-after skirts of Francis + Benedict, stitches together a better life for them and their families. A world away, Katie Walters also lifts her hands in prayer. From her Charleston home, Walters thanks God for the miracle that brought together the suburban mother of six, and the seven seamstresses of Francis + Benedict, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization she created to empower and equip skilled Togolese seamstresses to provide them with dignified and sustainable employment. Technicolor Dreams Katie Walters has been called a visionary, a term often used to

describe a person with original ideas about the future. And while that is an apt description, in her case, the word also has a much more literal meaning, because it was after a mission trip to Togo in West Africa that Katie Walters began to dream. Some years earlier, Walters’ graduate degree in counseling had led her to create a counseling program at Seacoast Church, where her husband Josh serves as Campus Pastor, and she serves as a counselor on the church’s Care Team. “We wanted to take the program to Togo, a place where the church had been working for over 15 years. I had wanted to go to Africa since I was about 12, but I knew nothing about Togo. I knew I needed to go there to learn about it before launching a program there.” She discovered a poor country that ranked 136th out of 138 in the world in terms of need, where fewer than 3 million of the nation’s 8.19 million population has electricity or running water. About twice the size of West Virginia, most of the community consists of uneducated day laborers. She traveled with a group of business leaders who talked about creating a sustainable business for Togo, and Walters admits she knew little about what that might entail. She was introduced to Francis and Benedict Avoyi, a local couple that the church had been working with for over a decade, and she was taken by the determination and joy of the two people, and also by the significant change they had made possible in a challenging environment. Among their accomplishments in the

community primarily populated by widows and orphans, they had established two homes for street children, provided aid to widows, and funded and built a well for their neighborhood. They were proof of what she had been told about the spirit of Togo: “You go to Togo for the people­—then you never stop going.”

All around her she saw the brilliantly-colored Ankara, the African wax prints worn by the women of the country, and learned of its history as a kind of nonverbal communication throughout Africa. All around her she saw the brilliantly-colored Ankara, the African wax prints worn by the women of the country, and learned of its history as a kind of nonverbal communication throughout Africa. She also observed that almost all the women she encountered knew how to sew. An idea began to form in her head of how those skills might be paired with the iconic textiles to tell a story and create a lucrative and sustainable business for the community. Returning home, Walters, a woman of great faith, began to have

vivid dreams about a new business for Togolese women. “I had always loved fashion, and I dreamed about using it to make a lasting global impact, using the skills and the materials these people already possessed.” God ignited her heart for the women of Togo. Her dreams were detailed and specific, and built around creating clothing for modern women that could actually change communities. “I saw these colorful skirts. I saw the brand name and the label. I saw racial reconciliation, with ads that showed African women and white women wearing the same clothes. I literally saw us at Charleston Fashion Week.” Sewing and Reaping Walters talked to Seacoast’s Missions Minister, she spoke to friends, and she prayed. God answered with a plan that would marry her love for well-made, fashion-forward clothing with her faith in what God wanted for her and the women of Togo. She began to design a collection. Enlisting Francis and Benedict Avoyi as her Togolese partners, the Francis + Benedict brand was born; named for the couple who inspired her with their faith in God and their selfless support of those less fortunate. Cultural Affair Left to right: A seamstress carries textiles through the workspace; bolts of fabric ready to be turned into beautiful skirts; the children of the seamstresses are inspired and uplifted by the hard work of their mothers; collaboration and education are part of the fabric of Walters' company.



The Magnificent Seven The seven seamstresses of Francis + Benedict work diligently and faithfully to achieve their dreams.

The next step was to train the Togolese women, who all knew how to run a sewing machine, but knew little of the skills needed to be true seamstresses. “They could all look at you and make you a lovely garment, but they couldn’t make the same thing in a different size,” Walters explains. Along with the Avoyis, she implemented a plan to teach a group of women to create and cut patterns, create a uniform sizing system, and sew the skirts she designed. If the project went according to plan, profit from selling the brand in the US offered a path to better the lives of the women and children of the impoverished country. At first, the learning curve was steep. Of the first 400 skirts shipped, 320 had to be reworked once they arrived in the US. But progress was quickly made as the women were trained, equipped, and resourced to exceed goals and earn rewards in addition to their fair wage at the Francis + Benedict workshop. They began reaping benefits they had never imagined possible from their sewing, like the opportunity to pay into a health savings plan, and a housing plan that put home ownership within their reach. Their efforts also allowed their children, once hungry and relegated to a school system of controlled chaos, to attend privately operated

schools with breakfast and lunch provided. As the women honed their sewing skills, on the other side of the world, Walters honed her business skills. “I began trying to educate myself. I ought to have a degree in Audiobooks," she says with a laugh, "Because I listened to everything I could find on creating a product, starting a business, and marketing.” Soon, the Francis + Benedict mission began to change the lives of women in Togo in tangible ways. Walters beams with understandable pride. "It didn't take long until in an order of 1,500 skirts, maybe 10 will need to be tweaked.” The Seven Seamstresses For those who know the hearts of those involved with the Francis + Benedict brand, it is not coincidental that there are seven seamstresses who are the backbone of the business, since the number seven signifies completeness and achievement in Biblical scriptures. Each woman is evidence of the determination, dignity, faith, and indomitable human spirit that has brought them full circle to a life of accomplishment and justifiable pride.



68 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019

Benedict, the mother figure who leads the seamstresses in a devotional each morning, remembers walking 17 miles each day to learn how to sew. A wife and mother of 3, she is a loving, generous, and hospitable leader in her neighborhood, her community and all over Togo. Ayékinam’s future was bleak after her husband's passing. She never imagined a home of her own. Today, she and each of her five children step out the door of their house into a world of possibilities. Juliette was still in school when she decided to learn to sew as a way to help support her parents and two siblings. Working with intricate patterns and embellishing garments with beading at the F+B workshop, she now hopes that her job will one day lead to her dream of opening her own sewing shop. Jeannette felt her world crumble after her husband’s sudden death. Overwhelmed by negative thoughts, she struggled to support herself and her son. Her life was changed by the prayers, love, and the daily encouragement that the F+B family gives her each day, and her passion for sewing fills her days with joy. Celestine, the sole provider for her two children and her siblings, worked diligently to learn how to sew, but struggled for years to find a job. Working with F+B has dramatically changed the trajectory of her life, and she hopes that anyone wearing one of the skirts she makes feels as happy as she is. Lili lives with her in-laws, but the burden of caring for her two children falls solely on her. Her home life is difficult, but she has a second home at F + B, one where she and her children are seen, known, and loved. Roukiya’s parents are elderly and unable to work to provide for her family, so she began earning income for the family as a teenager. The young seamstress came to F+B with incredible skills and dreams of learning even more. She was the first to decide she wanted to go on to become a shop owner herself. Skirting the Issue Walters’ enthusiasm is contagious, and her determination to wake up every day to

change lives for the better is an inspiration to those around her as well as those a world away. Her concept of creating a design that celebrates every fashion style and highlights the beauty of each woman’s personal touch on their product is as simple and elegant as the skirts created by Francis + Benedict. From minis to midis to elegant maxi skirts, each flattering statement piece is chameleon-like in its ability to move effortlessly from casual and boho, to edgy and urban, or sophisticated and chic.

Color of Love Opposite, clockwise from top: the women of Togo are hard workers and caring mothers; a seamstress gives undivided attention to the details; a celebratory cry of joy; precision is key. This page, top to bottom: Katie Walters is radiant; consulting on product choices; faith is an important part of the Francis + Benedict brand.

Available in sizes that range from XS to XL, Francis + Benedict releases 4 collections each year. The latest, The Flourish Collection, launches this spring, and is a fitting commentary on the status of the blossoming business. The skirts are available online or through Francis + Benedict Advocates, which are people who help support the livelihoods of the seamstresses and their families by facilitating home shows and pop-up shops. These generous patrons of the Francis + Benedict brand make a meaningful difference in each of their own communities by helping make women feel beautiful, loved, and connected to the world around them. Walters’ dream of appearing at Charleston Fashion Week became a reality within a year of that first trip to Togo, and the colorful textiles of Francis + Benedict now brighten the lives of women around the world. All profits and donations go towards continuing the vision of helping support those in need in Togo, West Africa. If you are interested in making the world a more beautiful place, consider purchasing a skirt, becoming an advocate, or donating to Francis + Benedict, or reach out to Katie Walters and her stateside team to find out how you can help Francis + Benedict sew futures from the fabric of a dream.




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Pattern Perfect Mixing patterns creates a fun, trendy look perfect for any occasion.

From a distant dream in Togo, West Africa to a stylish reality across the globe, the bright fabrics of Francis + Benedict’s skirt collections brings bold choices to the fashion world. Photos by




Creating A Stir This vibrant maxi skirt is a bold choice that can be dressed up or down.



Natural Wonders Clockwise: aquamarine makes a punchy statement; a diamond pattern in unexpected colors gives this skirt a pop; a Celestine collection skirt offers a modern vibe; keep it casual by mixing muted tones and bold colors.

Bright and Breezy This page, clockwise: pastels are ideal for a nice spring day; nautical colors set the stage for a fashionable day on the water; Francis + Benedict skirts are as comfortable as they are beautiful; patterns are a creative way to express your personal style. Opposite: this skirt from the Advocate collection is fit for any day in the Carolina sun.




Bright Side Opposite: Beautifully composed, each dish at Basic Kitchen tastes as good as it looks. This page: The eclectic interior of the restaurant is a welcome retreat during a busy day.


One of Charleston’s most crowd-friendly restaurants is switching up its game, bringing in new players and planting inspiration just steps away from King Street. Photos by Dottie by J A N A R I L E Y photos by S T E V E N F R E I H O N & D O T T I E A N D W I L L R I Z Z O


Power Plant Simple Brussels sprouts are an oft-overlooked treasure of the cooler months

"Having the gardens on site empowers the cooks in the kitchen to get creative and be inspired."

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

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here are countless reasons to love living in the Lowcountry, but one of the most rewarding is its long growing season, allowing for green thumbs to harvest a backyard bounty every month of the year. At Basic Kitchen Downtown Charleston, the team takes advantage of South Carolina’s plentiful produce, nourishing and inspiring all who enter. Since the Basic Kitchen team overhauled the old Andolini’s Pizza building on Wentworth Street downtown and opened their venture in late 2017, Basic Kitchen has been a jewel in the downtown restaurant landscape, and a favorite of foodies everywhere. On any given night, a veritable who’s who of Charleston residents and out-of-town visitors can be found in the swanky space, sipping creative cocktails and sampling dishes from an everevolving menu. Conceived by entrepreneurs Kate and Ben Towill, the restaurant is a multi-sensory culmination of their travels, and brings together her experience in movie and television set design and his experience opening popular New York City restaurants including The Fat Radish, Ruschmeyers, The Leadbelly, and The East Pole. The result is a bright, airy restaurant unlike any other found in the Deep South; brimming with healthy options while not feeling at all like a typical healthy restaurant, Basic Kitchen is simply a delight. Last year, Basic Kitchen experienced a bit of a refresh, becoming incorporated under The Fat Radish banner and gaining the expertise of Fat Radish partners such as Natalie Freihon. Executive Chef of the New York City restaurant, Nicholas Wilber, also joined the team down South, bringing with him well over a decade of experience in renowned restaurants all over the world. The chef ’s outside perspective benefits diners in at least two ways: Wilber has a strong and palpable appreciation for the traditional dishes of the South, and he is skilled and experienced enough to present them in novel ways. “Our motto here at Basic Kitchen is ‘cleaner food, longer adventures,’” explains Wilber. “I like to think of it as during the day, during our lunch service, we offer the clean fuel, and in the evening, during our dinner service, we share what we brought back from our adventures, both locally and globally. With that, we have a whole new dinner menu that features a lot

Garden Party Opposite, clockwise: The interior at Basic Kitchen is warm yet clean and modern; owners and entrepreneurs Kate and Ben Towill are a dream team, combining their complementary talents to create beautiful things. ; delectable dishes; Chef Nick Wilber.

of southern-inspired, international elements and an amazing wine list to accompany it.” With the refresh came an overhaul of the menu, expanding the options for diners of any dietary persuasion: whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore, eat gluten-free, or anywhere in between, there is something for you on the menu at Basic Kitchen. A solid cocktail menu accompanies the selections, and the dessert options never disappoint. The most notable change, however, came from a collaboration with Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest, who installed four 4x5 raised beds in the restaurant’s courtyard dining space, as well as fruit trees in planters around the outdoor gathering area, and assisted the team in learning how to maintain and cultivate their own crops for use in the kitchen. “Having the gardens on site empowers the cooks in the kitchen to get creative and be inspired,” says Natalie Freihon. “It also creates this ambiance where guests interact with the ingredients that make up their meals on a different level. Working with Rita’s Roots, as well as other local growers such as Fresh Future Farm, enables us to provide really fresh seasonal dishes while supporting our community and supporting our environment. That’s what our core values are all about.” Rita Bachmann, owner of Rita’s Roots, is thrilled to be a part of the endeavor. “It is such a wonderful thing to connect the growing process of the produce with what is happening in the kitchen,” she says. “It is something really special that is beneficial for the chefs, the menu, the customers—really, for everyone!” For Chef Nick Wilber, the opportunity to be inspired by his new home is one he approaches with respect and care. As he gathers greens for the night’s dinner service, he offers a word of advice for home cooks looking to branch out. “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect,” Wilber suggests. “Go to a farmer’s market, get a couple of things you’re familiar with, and then choose something that is unfamiliar. Then, Google is your best friend. You may make mistakes as you’re learning, but if you have fun with it, that’s all that matters.”

80 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019

Great Pick This page: Harvesting ingredients on-site. Opposite Fresh and bold, this falafel dish packs in the flavor



Fresh and Clean The bar is the perfect place to grab a cocktail before dinner; Chef Nick Wilber shares some of his most recent creations.

“Our motto here at Basic Kitchen is ‘cleaner food, longer adventures,’” explains Wilber.

Garden Miso Soup with Turnips and Bok Choy (Serves 4) Ingredients: 750ml vegetable stock 2 medium turnips, ends removed and cut into eighths 1 inch peeled fresh ginger, julienned 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and chopped 2 tablespoons white miso paste 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 1 head bok choy, chopped 2 scallions, chopped ¼ cup dried wakame seaweed 1 tablespoon sesame seed ¼ cup pickled ginger 4 whole eggs (for soft boiling) Olive oil Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss turnips in a bowl with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place turnips on a sheet tray and bake for 20 minutes until lightly brown and tender. Remove and set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Gently place the whole eggs in and boil for 6 minutes, 35 seconds. While boiling, prepare a bowl of ice water, and when the eggs are done, use a slotted spoon to lower them into the ice water to quickly cool them off. Crack shell with a spoon, then peel. Set aside. Pour the stock into a pan and bring to a boil. Add fresh ginger, garlic, and chili, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir miso paste and a splash of soy sauce into the stock, then turn off the heat. Add chopped bok choy and wakame seaweed into the broth, and allow two minutes for the bok choy to soften and the seaweed to re-hydrate. Ladle soup in bowls. Top with egg, garnish with scallions, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds.

Rustic Italian Bean Stew (Serves 6-8) Ingredients: 1 pound of sea island red peas, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed 2 stalks of celery, chopped 2 bunches of kale or collards 1 carrot, chopped 1 onion, diced 8 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 cup of tomato paste ¾ cup fresh rosemary, stems removed and chopped 1 teaspoon chili flakes 1 teaspoon fennel seeds ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 3 quarts vegetable stock ½ loaf rustic bread Salt and pepper to taste Optional: parmesan or pecorino cheese Instructions: In a heavy bottomed pot, gently heat oil over low to medium heat with garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary, and chili flakes until it becomes fragrant. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add beans and vegetable stock, then simmer on low heat for 45 minutes until beans are tender. While the stew cooks, strip the kale from the stem and rip into large pieces. You can also rip your rustic bread into large pieces. Once beans are tender, remove from heat and season with salt to taste. Stir in the kale while the stew is hot, and serve over chunks of rustic bread. Top with parmesan or pecorino cheese if you’d like, and enjoy! AM

Power Plant This page: David Bulick on his farm in Ridgeville. Opposite: An industrial hemp plant.

Taking a huge leap into a newly-revived industry, one Lowcountry man is determined to make his mark while educating the public and bettering the lives of his customers.



n the realm of misunderstandings, perhaps no crop has encountered so much bad press as hemp, a variety of the cannabis sativa plant grown for a wealth of industrial uses. Historically, hemp was widely recognized for its applications in fabrics, cordage, paper, clothing, and more, but a number of events including taxation, imported synthetic fabrics, and more than a few laws lumping industrial hemp in with its psychoactive cousin, marijuana, all but eradicated this variety of cannabis from its oncehigh perch as a staple crop of American agriculture. Today, a new wave of understanding is sweeping the nation, and South Carolina is on board, working with a handful of farmers to reestablish a historicallyproven industry that is sure to benefit the Palmetto State. The hemp industry is one of the oldest on the planet, dating back well over 10,000 years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World lists a piece of hemp fabric as the oldest relic of human industry, dated around 8,000 BC. Its origins in the United States begin nearly 400 years ago, when the Puritans departed Plymouth, England and set sail for a new land, their ships fitted with lines, sails, and caulking made from hemp. Below deck, barrels of hemp seed awaited planting, promising a future harvest that would prove useful for establishing their new home. Once they landed, laws were written to compel settlers to grow hemp, making it illegal not to cultivate the crop in Jamestown, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. By the 1700s, hemp had made its way down South, and farmers all over South Carolina grew the crop alongside cotton and indigo for use in dozens of applications. The founding fathers not only grew and advocated for hemp, Thomas Jefferson even drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, and many historians believe that the first American Flag in 1776 was made from hemp, due to its ability to withstand the salty air of naval ships. For hundreds of years, hemp was in its heyday, but a shift began to occur when Congress passed the Marihuana tax act in 1937. Aimed at regulating hemp’s narcotic cousin, marijuana (then spelled marihuana), the act extended to everything cannabis, including industrial hemp. With new taxes and licensing regulations, growing industrial hemp became a burden for farmers, who shifted away from the crop as the country embraced newly-imported, cheap, synthetic fabrics that rose in popularity over the next few decades. Despite the tax act lumping all varieties together, the United States Government still recognized the distinctions between marijuana and industrial hemp, an understanding made evident when the USDA produced a “Hemp for Victory” film during World War II, when textile imports from the Philippines were cut off. The film encouraged farmers to grow industrial hemp for the war effort, while the government formed a War Hemp Industries Department and subsidised hemp cultivation. The effort was successful, leading to the establishment of a million acres of hemp across the midwest; however, these fields were shut down after the war ended. In 1970, industrial hemp was once again lumped into a piece of legislation called the Controlled Substances Act, which declared all cannabis varieties as Schedule I controlled substances. For decades afterward, hemp remained misunderstood, its historical significance largely forgotten. In 2014, everything changed once again with the passing of the Farm Bill of 2013, which made a distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana, and authorized states, in conjunction with institutions of higher education, to conduct research and pilot programs regarding hemp cultivation. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture jumped on board, drafting applications and regulations for farmers and partnering with accredited universities across the state to create an industrial hemp farming pilot program that officially began in 2018. 86 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019

After opening up the application process, 20 farmers were selected to grow up to 20 acres of industrial hemp, and all but one of them reapplied for the 2019 program, joining a pool of 162 applicants vying for 40 spots. In 2019, these 40 farmers across South Carolina will grow up to 40 acres of industrial hemp each, representing 24 counties throughout the state and each working with an accredited university including the University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Clemson University, USC Beaufort, Furman University and College of Charleston.

The Farm Bill allowed a sister enterprise to quietly grow; the CBD industry, built through the work of farmers in industrial hemp pilot programs across the United States, is one to watch: a sleeping giant that holds promise of a bright future for both farmers and consumers. Within the cannabis species, there are two major classifications: indica and sativa. Marijuana can be from either of these two classifications, but hemp is generally only grown from cannabis sativa. Because hemp and marijuana come from the same family, they can look visually similar, but their biological makeup has several crucial distinctions. The most important difference is that the marijuana plant is abundant in a compound, or cannabinoid, called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, while the hemp plant is abundant in a cannabinoid called cannabidiol, or CBD. Both cannabinoids impact the body in different ways: THC is known for its health benefits but can also induce narcotic or psychoactive effects, and is the property within the plant that gets a user “high.” In contrast, CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties, and preliminary clinical research suggests that it has positive effects on the management of anxiety, migraines, inflammation, nausea, and certain types of epilepsy, while anecdotal evidence supports even more benefits. Marijuana contains high levels of THC, while hemp can contain high levels of CBD and is required by law to have extremely low, non-intoxicating levels of THC; it cannot get a consumer high. While the medical and recreational marijuana industries are both thriving and throttled in different areas of the country, the Farm Bill allowed a sister enterprise to quietly grow; the CBD industry, built through the work of farmers in industrial hemp pilot programs across the United States, is one to watch: a sleeping giant that holds promise of a bright future for both farmers and consumers. When the South Carolina Department of Agriculture announced its industrial hemp program for 2018, 131 hopeful pioneers responded. Because of prior legal hurdles, all of them were taking a gamble, willfully entering into an age-old, yet somehow brand-new industry, armed more with hope and determination than expertise and knowledge about growing industrial hemp. Twenty were chosen, and all of them set right to work, partnering with universities and working through the challenges of growing an unfamiliar plant. The planting pioneers were successful in growing their high-cbd plants, despite regulations

Farm Hand David Bulick shares what harvested hemp plants look like before they are processed into CBD products at his facility.

Cream of the Crop Clockwise: Hemp before being processed; part of Bulick's renovated processing plant in Ridgeville; crude CBD oil waiting to be implemented into products; Bulick describes his process. Opposite: CBD oil in tincture form.

that prohibited chemical fertilizers and pesticides, copious amounts of weather issues, and an inability to acquire crop insurance for their ventures. Their crop established, they next looked to processing, and it quickly became clear that the Lowcountry needed a hemp processing facility of its very own. Enter David Bulick, a Summerville resident, owner of Lowcountry Nursery in Awendaw, and one of the first to apply for (and be accepted into) the 2018 industrial hemp pilot program. A serial success story, Bulick utilizes his impressive background in hospitality, marketing, horticulture, business, and sales as he works toward his goal of producing the purest CBD grown in America. At the acreage allowed through the pilot program, the most financially beneficial use for the hemp is processing it into CBD oil, which can taken as a tincture or blended into various other products. True to his nature, Bulick devoured information about CBD, became an expert on the product, and then threw everything he had into his first harvest, which he grew out on his farm in Awendaw. When he was accepted into the 2019 program, he put a new plan in action, clearing out land in Ridgeville to make space for a CBD oil processing facility and seven greenhouses, calling his venture Charleston Hemp Company. He also surrounded himself with experts: the company as a whole is aligned with the Medical University of South Carolina for research and development projects, and on his team, there are multiple doctors who have been conducting related research for decades and assist in researching, developing, and testing the CBD oil and other products. One consultant to Charleston Hemp Company is one of the nation’s preeminent medical botanists. There are also skilled farmers, who do everything from tending the crops to processing the harvest and more, and hemp ambassadors, who work diligently on educating the public and connecting with the medical community to further the understanding of the benefits of CBD products. Together, Charleston Hemp Company is a well-oiled machine, full of knowledge, passion, and dedication to excellence. Today, Charleston Hemp Company works with dozens of industrial hemp growers all over the Southeast and beyond, including the Carolinas, Virginia, and Kentucky. After the farmers harvest their hemp, they ship it to Bulick and his team, who use a state-of-the-art ethanol extraction process to extract the desired properties from the entirety of the hemp plant. The extraction is then used to create products, crafted with care in small batches. All of the machines are calibrated regularly, and the products are religiously tested, including multiple times during the processing cycle and once by an independent, thirdparty laboratory. The result is a consistent, reliable, quality product every time, something Bulick and the team are quite proud of. Much of what Charleston Hemp Company creates is released under their brand name and packaging, but they also offer a white label opportunity, where the team manufactures, extracts, produces, labels, and packages products for other brands, allowing customization and flexibility under a private label. Charleston Hemp Company products include scented and unscented salves and lip balms, disposable vape pens, full-spectrum vape oil, full-spectrum CBD oil, and more, and the team is always working on developing the highest-quality, most beneficial items. Locally, Charleston Hemp Company products can be found at specialty boutiques and stores across the Lowcountry and at farmers markets, festivals, and concerts, but the majority of their sales come from their website. David Bulick has to be careful when discussing the benefits of CBD,

as FDA laws prohibit companies from making medical claims before extensive testing and research has been done. Bulick knows that eventually, with a lot of time and money, research and tests will support the benefits that he and others across the world have seen, but for now, he must be cautious about making official statements. So, rather than telling people that CBD manages anxiety, attention deficit disorders, seizure disorders, crohn's disease, pain, inflammation, and more, he tells the stories of people whose symptoms greatly subsided or were completely eradicated once they began taking CBD. Through his work, Bulick has witnessed countless people experience a better quality of life after incorporating the non-intoxicating cannabis compound into their daily lives. Some report recurring daily migraines dropping to one or two a week, while others report a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms. Pet owners regale members of the Charleston Hemp Company team about how their dogs no longer tremble and shake during fireworks or other stressful events; claiming that a little CBD oil calms them right down. Then, there are the extreme success stories Bulick hears and shares, like the children whose daily dozens of seizures decrease to less than a handful weekly after taking CBD oil. Though Bulick cannot legally make any promises, he does report that in all of his time working with the product, he has never run across an instance where it hasn’t had positive results; in every case he has heard, people found relief of some sort. Currently, one of the biggest challenges for Charleston Hemp Company, as well as anyone invested in or interested in educating others about CBD, is overcoming the hurdle of decades of misinformation and misunderstanding. Each booth setup at farmers markets, concerts, and festivals finds Bulick’s team patiently explaining, again and again, the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana, and how you cannot, in fact, get high using their products. Still, Bulick reports a positive shift in the overall public perception just since he started his endeavor, and even counts several law enforcement contacts as friends of the farm; once they understand what the product is and the important distinctions between industrial hemp and marijuana, they are totally on board with the operation. In 2018, another Farm Bill was passed, this one allowing hemp cultivation to occur more broadly without the need for pilot programs, and permitting hemp products to be transferred across state lines. Additionally, the language of the bill makes it clear that federally, there are no legal issues with selling, transporting, or possessing hemp-derived products, as long as they are produced in a manner consistent with the law. These measures validate the work that the new pioneers are doing, and serve as encouragement for all interested in CBD and the many uses of hemp. A man full of ideas, Bulick is ready to expand beyond the farm and into the educational realm, envisioning a future where he can work with institutes of higher learning, such as the Medical University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston, in a collaborative effort educating high school and college students about growing, processing, testing, and researching industrial hemp. Determined, he works diligently toward that goal, taking each challenge as it comes, assessing it through the lens of a man experienced in following, meeting, and exceeding his dreams. If the past is any indication, one thing is for sure: David Bulick will make a lasting impression on a burgeoning, historically-proven industry, sure to benefit South Carolina for years to come. AM Spring 2019 AZALEAMAG.COM



That Spring by Ellen E. Hyatt

During hog-killin' Saturdays at Barking Cat farm, we kids in nearby houses were sent away to play. After our ears were pained once from pigspeak, nightmares got inside our heads for weeks, replacing any remnants of sugarplums dancing there. Mind you, none of us knew for sure slaughter was happening, but it certainly sounded like it. We felt any situation changing a cat's soft mew into a bark had to be "worse than ba-a-a-ad." So, we mixed in some grown-up words with our child sense and declared: "We, therefore, 'decry' here (I'm sure we meant to say 'decree') to pledge now no bacon or Bar-B-Q to be eaten hereby." Lucyanne said she heard on "good authority" (from a TV court show at her great-auntie's house) that "hereby" had to be said in there somewhere. That's why we threw it in at the end. How long did our "decry" last? How long does a child's past last? I'm not sure, but that spring I am sure I learned from you how the earth keeps giving. Your daddy sent you from Barking Cat to my house with something called Asparagus. (You warned, "Keep the Church Ladies 'un-aghast' by not stressing the 'as.') Then, cauliflower and carrots, beets, beans, spinach, squash—all from your family's farm to my family's table . . . that spring.

90 AZALEAMAG.COM Spring 2019

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Azalea Magazine Spring 2019