The Folly Art Village promotes local artisans, hosts Puppy Parade

by Miranda Steadman | Contributing Writer

From the sea to the shore and the local characters galore, Folly is as funky and unique as the art it influences. For the last two years, The Folly Art Village has attracted local painters, photographers, jewelry and clothing designers, carpenters, and farmers. Nestled in The Washout parking lot located on Center Street, the village showcases a rotating crew of local artisans every Wednesday and Sunday from 5-9 p.m. in the evening.

Masterminds behind The Folly Art Village, Angie Cason and Giovanni Richardson, first hosted The Folly Art Village at The Washout two years ago. The Folly Arts Village operates from March through December, with holiday markets (with special guest Santa!) around Christmastime.

Cason runs Plot To Pot, a small batch cannery of gourmet goods, including jams, jellies, pickles, and produce. Ingredients are carefully selected to ensure the taste and quality of each offering, with fresh batches produced each season. Cason grew up on her father’s farm in Carrollton, Ga., where he raised cattle, goats, and chickens.

Now, Cason is a farmer of her own, growing tomatoes, peppers- both sweet and hot, squash, zucchini, collards, broccoli, green beans, heirloom lettuce, cucumbers for pickling, and flowers for arrangements that she sells at local markets. Plot To Pot uses all organic practices and Cason composts her own fertilizer as well.

Richardson grew up locally and is passionate about the local Gullah culture. She’s an oral historian and deeply involved in the local Gullah/Geechee community.

Richardson and Cason both prefer to get most of the produce sold at the village from local farms, such as watermelon and cantaloupe from Bernard Freeman’s farm on John’s Island or strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and tomatoes from Ambrose Farms and peaches from McLeod farms.

In the fall The Folly Art Village  features apples from the Henderson Apple Festival in North Carolina. Also, fall brings football tailgating and oyster roasts at The Folly Art Village. When Halloween rolls around, pumpkins are brought in from Cotton Hills Farms.

In addition to gourmet goodies, the village showcases a wide array of local eclectic artists with intriguing works on display to satisfy all the senses.

Artisan Tanesha Johnson sells her Exalted Skin Care products including natural and organic handmade soaps, whipped body butter, and bubble gum-flavored chapstick.

A fairly new vendor, Jake Wexler of Well Designed Wood, designs beer drinking accessories made out of an array of woods. His handmade party accessories range from wooden koozies, coasters, bottle openers, and shot glasses.

Wexler uses recycled materials and utilizes a laser engraver to personalize his products. Beyond barware, his woodwork ranges from trays and wall hangings to benches and Steampunk-style lamps made from recycled wood, pipes, and resin.

Wexler experiments with a microwave transformer to send volts of electricity through wood, creating an intricate branching effect.

Local artist and head of Folly Beach Arts & Crafts Guild Grady Brown, owns Browns Designs and crafts jewelry from flatware.

Gypsy Castaway uses locally-found shark teeth and sea glass when creating jewelry.

Southcentric recycles fabric and other materials to create whimsical and humorous art with a tad of nonsense tucked in.

Far Away Places features all fair trade clothing created by women co-ops from countries all over the world, including Ghana.

Another global vendor, Beaded Venus, buys beads from all around the world

Photographer Tom Raleigh showcases an assortment of images of Folly Beach at his tent, Art From The Edge.

Mikee Rawlings is a local painter and new father, who enjoys painting scenes of the Morris Island Lighthouse from his memories of growing up down the island, just past the washout on the East side. Rawlings, who was previously a professional skateboarder and surfer, now operates under his business Coffin Island Creations. He uses the same bright, neon colors of the Folly sunset to enchant and intrigue viewers.

“Many vendors who are artists are also teachers,” says Cason, adding that she and Richardson have really enjoyed creating a launch pad for up and coming artists, such as Jake of Well Designed Wood.

Both Cason and Richardson are plannning an event for The South Carolina Art Therapy Association at the Village this Labor Day Weekend. They also hold fundraising events for EarthHeart Growers, who promote sustainable farming and serve fresh food to underprivileged communities.

Last fall, around Thanksgiving Cason and Richardson donated more than 300 pounds of food to The James Island Pantry, Lowcountry Food Bank, and The Folly Soup Kitchen, collectively, with the help of other Folly businesses.

This Wednesday, Sept. 4, the second annual Puppy Parade will take place during The Folly Art Village to benefit local non-profit Pet Helpers. Participants will receive prizes for their pup’s costumes and tricks. Register your furry friend in advance at The Washout or the day of at 5 p.m. before the parade starts at 6:30 p.m.

Puppy Parade prizes will be awarded based on applause from the crowd. Eunoia Pet Rescue will be in attendance with local pets up for adoption.

Following Labor Day Weekend this year, The Folly Art Village will move its Sunday hours to  12-4 p.m. in the afternoon, giving Folly goers and families a fun activity on Sunday after church and beach bliss outs.

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