You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Off to the races


Equestrian elegance

Drawing inspiration from his wife’s lifelong love of horses, South Carolina’s Lex Matthews created an equestrian line of jewelry. Since then, the third-generation goldsmith has expanded his classy collections to include oyster and sporting themes.

The designer & owner: At an early age, Matthews was exposed to the family jewelry business. His grandfather, a skilled watchmaker, owned a jewelry store in Lake City, S.C. His father opened his own store in nearby Florence. To hone his skills, Matthews headed for Bowman’s Technical School in Lancaster, Pa. After graduation, Matthews returned home, married his wife, Lisa, and crafted his first jewelry line, inspired by her riding gear.

The company: Mark Lexton, based in Florence, started in 2000. Matthews hand carves and casts jewelry and accessories – with outdoor themes — in sterling silver and gold. Pieces range from rings and necklaces to belt buckles and cuff links.

What’s popular: In the equestrian collection, the stirrup bangle ($295 and up) and the stirrup and pearl bracelet ($325 and up). In the oyster collection, the oyster clasp bracelets with freshwater pearls ($225 and up) and the oyster shell cuff links ($225 and up).

Other favorites: Triple crop ring ($525); oyster shell dangle earrings ($115 and up); the redfish cuff links ($250 and up) in the sporting collection.

Fun requests: To honor the memory of a beloved mare, a customer asked the company to match her blue saddle pad with a stone for a snaffle-bit ring. A faceted Swiss blue topaz matched perfectly.

Where to buy: www.marklexton.com

Born to rock

Alicia Williams used to ride horses. Now the North Carolina artist designs and builds heirloom-quality rocking horses.

The artist: She grew up in Michigan, where she started riding horses in the fifth grade and won awards for her charcoal horse drawings. After graduating from Houghton College (New York), she worked in the outdoor adventure and education field for six years. Then she worked for four years through AmeriCorps with Habitat for Humanity in Durham, N.C., as a construction site supervisor. She also took a few woodworking classes, where she built her first rocking horse.

The company: Heartwood Rocking Horses, based in Asheville, started in 2013. The rocking horses, with their expressive eyes and faces, are carved from native woods and reclaimed lumber and sealed with food-safe, non-petroleum oil and a wax finish. Horses often feature adjustable foot pegs, hand holds and a saddle.

What’s popular: Toddler rocking horse ($400) and the classic rocking horse ($1,600 to $1,800).

Other favorites: Stick horses ($45).

Fun request: A rocking dinosaur.

Claim to fame: Exhibiting member of the Piedmont Craftsmen since 2015.

Where to buy: HeartwoodRockingHorses.com

Hot to trot art

Kentucky’s Melissa Crase owns horses. The self-taught artist also paints them in bright, unexpected colors.

The artist: The Pennsylvania native has no formal art training, but has enjoyed painting her entire life. Crase graduated from Syracuse and the University of Kentucky. After college, she had careers in advertising and pharmaceutical sales before starting a full-time art business. She rides, competes in horse events and loves being in the horse barn.

The company: Melissa Crase Art, located in Winchester, started in 2016. Crase’s subject matter is largely equine, but she also paints botanicals and landscapes.

Materials: Mostly acrylics or mixed media on canvas, using palette knives, corks or her fingers (rarely a brush) to paint.

What’s popular: Equine art ($100 to $4,500). It helps to be in Kentucky, she said, where there are many horse events (besides the Derby) and horse enthusiasts.

Big break: The Lexington Gallery Hop, where she showed her work eight years ago at the urging of a friend.

Unusual request: Asked to sign one of her paintings where it hung on someone’s wall. The frame covered Crase’s original signature.

Where to buy: MelissaCraseArt.com



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Will ice stop a killer headache?

Q: My husband gets headaches that are sporadic but severe enough to make him vomit. When they happen and I ask what I can do for him, he has suggested I shoot him. We found that wrapping his head in ice seems to be the only thing that helps. (He refuses to see a doctor.) A: Your husband really needs to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. If...
Eyecatchers
Eyecatchers

BRIGHT EYED Give eyes a lift with two products from Lune + Aster. The Realglow Under-Eye Brightener ($28) firms, lifts and hides dark circles under eyes with ingredients including apple extract and vitamin E. The Lune + Aster Eyelid Primer ($22) evens discoloration on the eyelids and preps skin for makeup by preventing creases and improving staying...
Nintendo Switch emulator: It’s a scam, feds say
Nintendo Switch emulator: It’s a scam, feds say

Don’t slip on this banana peel, federal officials say; there is no Nintendo Switch emulator on which you can run Switch games on your desktop. “It’s a scam,” said the Federal Trade Commission. Online ads may come with Nintendo branding, but when you try to download an emulator, it can install nasty things such as phony...
Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old
Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old

Fiona — the world’s favorite prematurely born hippopotamus — turned 3 months old Monday. The early days of cuddling the tiny, fragile hippo are long gone, Jenna Wingate, the Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa keeper, told our media partner WCPO. Here are three updates about Fiona that Wingate shared with WCPO: 1. The ‘dung shower&rsquo...
Niki Phillips, 48, of Kennesaw, lost 57 pounds
Niki Phillips, 48, of Kennesaw, lost 57 pounds

Success Story Former weight: 189 pounds Current weight: 132 pounds Pounds lost: 57 pounds Height: 5 feet 8 inches Age: 48 How long she’s kept it off: She started in late 2013 and reached her current weight this month. Personal life: “I reside in Kennesaw. I am a single mom of two adult children. One is 28, and one is 24. I am part owner...
More Stories