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Keeneland Mercantile, Keeneland Magazine Name Southern Pine Swing Overall Winner of Inaugural Masters of Craft Awards Competition

May 10, 2022

Online voting for Patrons’ Pick selection now open 

Keeneland Mercantile, the one-of-a-kind retail experience in downtown Lexington, and Keeneland magazine, the quarterly publication that celebrates the Bluegrass lifestyle, have named “The 42 Twin” Tree Swing produced by Southern Pine Swing Company of Jacksonville, Florida, the overall winner of the first Masters of Craft Awards competition to recognize handcrafted products made in the U.S.

Southern Pine Swing (southernpineswingcompany.com), owned by Zac West, will receive $5,000.

“The inaugural Masters of Craft Awards program was a very rewarding experience for our team,” Keeneland Director of Retail Kyle Cassin said. “The opportunity to showcase these makers and their stories from all over the U.S. is at the heart of what we stand for at Keeneland Mercantile, showcasing our traditions, our region and our craftsmen. We are truly honored for Zac and Southern Pine Swing to have been selected as our first overall winner of this award. “

“The 42 Twin” Tree Swing, designed to be hung in a tree, on a deck or off a dock, features a handmade seat of 42 inches of Southern Pine with hand-braided rope and custom stain. Southern Pine Swings also has a philanthropic component through partnerships with a non-profit in Jacksonville that helps refugees get on their feet and an organization in Tanzania – original home of West’s adopted daughter, Zara – that plants a tree for every swing sold. 

West notes the photos he has seen of happy people enjoying their tree swings from Southern Pine Swing. 

“It inspires people to be together, side by side, flying through the air,” he said. “The fact that my swings are bringing joy to families is what it’s all about.”

Southern Pine Swing

Southern Pine Swings won the Handmade category, one of four divisions in the Masters of Craft competition. Winners of the other categories are:

Food & Drink – Briar Patch Brew from Piper and Leaf Tea Company of Lacey’s Springs, Alabama (piperandleaf.com). This gourmet tea is a mixture of real fruit (blueberries, blackberries, elderberries and currants) complemented by hibiscus, sage and lemongrass.

Home Goods – No. 12 Rocks Glass from Terrane Glass Co. of Spruce Pine, North Carolina (terraneglass.com). This glass is from Colin O’Reilley’s small production studio that specializes in hand-blown barware.

Wears – Up-Cycled Ruffle Romper from Rachel Visser’s June Baby Clothes of Grand Rapids, Michigan (sold on Etsy). Each piece in this line of baby clothing is designed from treasured, donated or discarded textiles. 

The winners and the candidates for the Patrons Pick Award will be featured in the summer issue of Keeneland magazine.

“We are excited to showcase these talented artisans and their unique products in our summer issue,” said editor Jacqueline Duke. “The Masters of Craft initiative fits perfectly with Keeneland magazine’s mission and our reader interest.”

Serving as judges of the Masters of Craft Awards were Allison “Al” and Mike Barker, founders of Made Market, Louisville’s finest curated handmade market; Dixon Dedman, winner of a Garden & Gun Made in the South Award and a James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classic Award, whose family owns Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky; Emile “Emmie” Howard of Atlanta, founder of Southern Proper and president of Onward Reserve, two popular apparel lines; Ashley Smith, CEO of Black Soil KY, an agritourism social enterprise that fosters a greater market share for Black farmers, growers and producers in Kentucky; and Chris Thomas of Franklin, Tennessee, founder/CEO of Made South, which is focused on creating events that celebrate the South’s best makers and artisans.

Patrons’ Pick competition now open online

Now through June 1, you are invited to participate in the Masters of Craft Awards’ online competition available through KeenelandMercantile.com to select the recipient of the Patrons Pick Award from 12 semifinalists, which include the above winners. The winner, who will be announced July 1, will receive $1,000.

Candidates are:

Food & Drink – Briar Patch Brew from Piper and Leaf (judges’ selection in the category); Alcohol Infusion Kits from InBooze of Grandville, Michigan; Cucumber Aloe Margarita Mix from Modica of Louisville.

Handmade – “The 42 Twin” Tree Swing from Southern Pine Swing (judges’ selection in the category and overall winner); Hammered Mint Julep Cup from S.R. Blackinton of Smithfield, Rhode Island; The Original Glass Flask from Clayton & Crume of Louisville.

Home Goods – No, 12 Rocks Glass from Terrane Glass Co. (judges’ selection in the category); Hand-Carved Selenite Lamps from Aura at Home of Versailles, Kentucky; Ironware Cookware from Smithey of Charleston, South Carolina.

Wears – Up-Cycled Ruffle Romper from June Baby Clothes (judges’ selection in the category); Venus Dangle from Babaloo Jewelry of Lexington; Old Friends Pendant from Darren K. Moore Jewelry of Anthem, Arizona.

Click here to vote on the Patrons’ Pick Award.

Select products – including the Masters of Craft overall winner, the Twin Tree Swing from Southern Pine Swing, and the winner of the Patrons’ Pick – will be available for purchase this summer at Keeneland Mercantile.