The Shelter Collection

A couple weeks ago, my friend Erin Connelly over at The Commons in Charleston sent me some pics of something quite special....dare I say spectacular. Erin, along with her design and business partner, Kerry Clark Speake have produced their first collection of ceramic vessels and glassware. It's called The Shelter Collection and it is the only line of glassware manufactured exclusively in the South. 

Erin and Kerry were inspired by mud hut dwellings as they designed their simply stunning collection. Learning about their process I loved reading that the mud hut is "the strongest architectural shape using the least amount of materials." Together, Erin and Kerry work with local craftsmen and the nonprofit, STARworks in Star, North Carolina to see these beautiful vessels come to life. 

There are 14 different pieces in the Shelter Collection which include small, medium and large cups, glass pitchers, a coffee mug and tea (or beer) stein.

The pieces are made from clay sourced locally in Seagrove, North Carolina, the handmade pottery capital of the United States. This area pictured above is an historic pottery region known as the Michfield clay site, which has produced a light gray, chalky clay for hundreds of years. How wonderfully amazing is that? 

The pair experimented with dozens of glaze options before settling on this one. As stated on their site, "No detail was left unexplored from the finish of the ceramic glaze, selecting one that perfectly warms the hand with tea but does not burn, to the shape and feel of the glass opening and weight." 


What an accomplishment to set out to make your very own glassware collection that is locally sourced and made by hand here in the South. The NY Times recently featured their work in T of my favorites. This is inspiring work and a reminder that we can still make the South a thriving hub of beautiful, locally made goods. Learn more about The Shelter Collection, here. 


Images: The Commons, Sully Sullivan, Rinne Allen    Content: Sweet Peach 


The Nesting Trivet

A picture has power. Like this one, which is beautifully composed and highlights a product I can't help but want to know more about. I saw this on Instagram yesterday and knew I had to share. Turns out, Erin Connelly and Kerry Clark Speake of The Commons in Charleston recently collaborated with Durham based company, Arrowhead, to create these stunning walnut and brass nesting trivet sets.

As shared on their site, this trivet serves three functions; "As a classic trivet set for your hot pots, nested together to create a sculptural fruit bowl or simply as a decorative work of art on your kitchen table."

It's a beauty- and what a wonderful gift idea too. It's the type of household item to covet and use year after year after year. Incredible work guys. To continue to be awed by Erin and Kerry's originality, check out the beautiful goods they've created and curated for their impeccable shop, The Commons, here.


Images: Megumi Shauna Arai;   Content: Sweet Peach

The Commons (+ Heirloom Bookshop)

A few months ago, I made a trip to Charleston, South Carolina to spend time with my cousin and visit one of my favorite cities. The one place at the top of my list to check out was The Commons. As co-owner Erin Connelly shared, The Commons "expresses a modern point of view on home goods, grounded in our American roots." 

Erin and her business partner, Kerry Speake, seek out American artists that care deeply about their craft - curating high quality, well designed products that can stay in the family for generations. Erin, "We love the concept of handmade, earthy textures mixed with slick and contemporary design." 

This table lamp is a gem, made by Michael Moran of Moran Woodworked. Erin,"The conical bases are charred using an ancient Japanese technique that was developed to preserve wood against rotting and insects. The Moran's have mastered this technique and integrated it into their pieces, not only as a functional finish but to get a specific richness in color and texture." Erin (a clothing designer by trade) added, "I love how these lamps tie back to what is happening in the fashion world today, mimicking the color blocking and ombre trends." 

Last year, I blogged about The Great American Flask by Jacob Bromwell and I loved discovering his equally cool solid copper shot glasses inside their shop. Plus, the macrame...sigh. These two lovely pieces were made by Janelle Pietrzak of All Roads Design. Erin, "She has crafted these beautiful compositions out of vintage jute, cotton and silk, adding hand painted touches in gold leaf."

Erin is based in Charleston as Kerry helps curate the shop via her home base in Seattle. Erin (above) has done a beautiful job displaying all their found wares as there is so much to look at and appreciate - yet each piece gets its own territory to live and breathe in. And space is at a premium here, as The Commons is acutally situated inside another must-see gem of Charleston, The Heirloom Bookshop.

Carlye Jane Dougherty is the mastermind behind this incredible collection of rare and vintage cookbooks that exude a wealth of food knowledge and history-  and in their own special secondhand way, are fantastic conversation pieces. Erin, "Her clients range from home enthusiasts to world-renowned professional chefs." Which is why The Commons and Heirloom Bookshop complement each other so beautifully. As Erin shared, "Our customers understand the value of a cutting board carved from one piece of wood and the elegance of the most functional salt and pepper grinders. Our product mix is indicative of the lifestyle of our clientele." 

I'm a lover of books of all kinds, particularly vintage ones that speak to another time and place. My favorite of the bunch the day I visited was Corned Beef and Caviar. I was quickly drawn to the added info, "For the Live-Aloner" and "Author of Live Alone and Like It." That's just too good. 

The space for these two shop owners to mingle in is small, but Erin and Carlye utilize every square inch much like a master chef would. It's tidy, fluid, organized, enticing and full of really good surprises...

If you visit Charleston soon, I sure do hope that you make your way to The Commons and The Heirloom Bookshop, located down a sweet little alley way in downtown Charleston. Come curious and carefree for once inside, you'll be staying a while. Trust me...


Photos: Sweet Peach; First pic: Olivia Rae James     Content: Sweet Peach