Made in the South
Chris Williams is a native of South Carolina.
Chris Williams, owner and founder of Williams Knife Company.
Chris Williams, owner and founder of Williams Knife Company, will be the featured artisan in Garden and Gun magazine’s inaugural Made in the South Weekend.
Some of Williams’ handiwork.
Charles Towne Landing will play host to a lively mix of sporting, shopping, food, music and art during the first Jubliee.
This event, being held Dec. 6-8, will be Garden and Gun’s first Made in the South Weekend, celebrating the best of the publication. There will be special dinners and live entertainment each day, and the weekend is expected to attract Garden and Gun readers from all over the country.
According to Jessica Hundhausen Derrick, vice president, brand development director, “the celebration is a continuation of our commitment to celebrating the best of Southern culture and promises to delight and inspire.”
Guests can attend with a one-day pass, a two-day or a three-day pass.
Fundamentally the installations and experiences are the same each day, but there is a portion of each day that is new and different.
This is the largest signature event the magazine has ever hosted and is designed to be a spirited gathering of people, products and personalities.
There will be a made in the South Marketplace, the Southern Food Pantry, Meet the Makers Trunks Shows, a Garden and Gun Sports Shop, Bob Intriguing Objects Antique Tent, as well as other surprises.
Derrick said the Made in the South Weekend is the heart of so much that the magazine does and will bring to life the extension of the magazine.
The setting is fitting for the events, from an oyster roast to Mississippi tamale tastings and an actual cabin being brought in from Kentucky.
The Made in the South Market place will feature all sorts of products made in the south or by southern designers
There will be a pop up diner by The Glass Onion.
The Boykin Spaniel Society will present their sporting pups and dogs, and a North Carolina Christmas Tree Farm will be on hand.
The weekend will be a feast for all of the senses. “If you come and purchase nothing you will still walk away feeling you had an incredible day,” said Derrick.
“Charleston is such a hot bed for creative talent and that aligns beautifully with what we’re doing with Jubilee.”
Jubilee is in line with Garden and Gun, she explained. “Those that know us get it and love it. We gave voice to this lifestyle in a way that was meaningful to so many people. It is only natural that jubilee is unique in that way.”
Charleston’s very own Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Company, based out of Charleston is the curator of the weekend’s beverage experience.
He will create a pop up bar experience using Jack Rudy Cocktail Company featuring your favorite southern distillers and beverage companies that produce mixers and garnishes for cocktails.
Those folks will not only have their specialties available, but they will be mixing them up for the guests as well.
It’s a way to feature the products, the people behind them and connect that to the customers.
Reitz is the current general manager at The Ordinary in Charleston but he founded Jack Rudy Cocktail company which is “inspired by the style of drinking our great-grandparents would have practiced.”
His company features a natural products like real fruit juices but tweaked and for the modern audience.
“When my great grandfather was making drinks, the accompaniments would have had been less processed. Back then you still had small companies producing things carefully and those companies would have owned that specific market for 50 to 60 years as opposed to the large companies of today.”
He said it is all about getting back to real cane sugar and all natural ingredients in things like grenadine and pomegranate juice. Over time natural ingredients gave way to artistically flavored juices dye he explained.
“What makes this event special is that there is a direct connection with those shopkeepers, producers and craftsman. You will be at an event where the person mixing your gin and tonic will be me or the person who actually makes the bloody mary mix. Or the person pouring your bourbon actually produced it.”
Chris Williams, craftsman
As a boy, South Carolina native Chris Williams’ grandfather told him “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” He took that advice to heart in 2010 when he traded 13 years as a successful investment banker for fulltime knife making, using the skills his grandfather had first taught him in a shop behind his house decades earlier.
As a young boy, Williams spent countless hours with his grandfather learning the art of knife making. When he left for college and later became an investment banker, Williams had to abandon his hobby in pursuit of his career.
Williams eventually returned to his hobby and devoted an increasing amount of time to creating knives for his family and friends. He experimented with different steels, exotic woods and innovative designs. Williams emphasized form and function, as well as attention to detail, in the handmade knives. Word of Williams’ custom knives and superior craftsmanship quickly spread and he found himself receiving numerous orders from individuals around the country who wanted something special.
By 2010, Williams realized he could turn his hobby into a new career. He moved to Johns Island and gained retail distribution. His first break came in 2011, when he received Garden & Gun’s “Made in the South Award” for his Edisto oyster knife. In 2012, U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain Davis Love III commissioned Williams to create knives for his team to commemorate the international golf event.
He is excited to participate in jubilee. “It is long overdue. It is going to be quite grand with quite the swagger.”
On Thursday at the opening gala and oyster roast, William’s Knife Company will be the featured artisan showcasing the product, talking to customers and showing folks how to open oysters.
Currently, Williams Knife Co. creates 50 to 75 knives a week and the wait time ranges from four months to one year. Chris Williams continues to walk into his shop each day knowing that he is doing what he loves, and each handcrafted piece that leaves his shop reflects his passion for creation and craftsmanship.
Williams creates handcrafted, specialty knives for hunting, fishing, the kitchen and general-purpose use. Each creation that leaves his shop must meet his standards with an emphasis on form and function, as well as attention to detail. Williams hand-makes each knife from blade to sheath and he is constantly experimenting with new materials, patterns and techniques with the goal of continually improving his products. Knives come in any kind of wood imaginable, both domestic and exotic, with handle materials in mother of pearl, abalone and many types of bone, antler and stag. All knife sheaths are hand sewn and made from 100 percent genuine leather that customers have the option to personalize.
Currently, Williams Knife Co. knives are available in 23 stock options ranging from $150 to $850. Custom knife pieces are available upon customer request. Knives may be ordered online at www.williamsknife.com.