Conservation // 6 min Read

Field + Fire / Talent I

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Dec 29, 2017

The talent behind Field + Fire is some of the best in the South. Artisans, purveyors, callers, casters and sharpshooters bring together a well-rounded group for this sporting life weekend. Here’s a sneak peak at what’s in store for Field + Fire beginning January 19 through January 21, 2018.

Bay Street Outfitters

For more than 21 years, Bay Street Outfitters has been guiding and outfitting sportsmen and women in the Lowcountry. Owner and hands-on manager, Tony Royal has fly fished and shot all over the world, and has carefully curated an inventory that is right for every level of expertise. Tony has gathered a staff and guides that have also fished all over the world, spent countless hours testing knots and rigging techniques, and have taken time to study and use all of the equipment they have in the shop. Bay Street Outfitters is an Orvis dealer and conducts numerous Orvis fishing schools that are tailored just for the Lowcountry salt and freshwater species.

Carley Abner

While the name “First Mountain” has only been around for a few years, the owner Carley Abner, has been creating art from wood for more than 50 years. You could call it a lifelong passion, or possibly an obsession but it all started in his father’s cabinet shop over 50 years ago. Carley has made everything from roll-top desks and kitchen cabinets to hand-carved life-like decoys. Carley says, “if it can be made from wood, we will give it a try”. Much of the wood used by First Mountain is salvaged from older wood or, in lots of cases, from trees that have died and fell or blown down from storms. Some woods we have to purchase but regardless of the source we try to get the most out of each piece.

Carley makes a variety of unique items such as wooden snowmen, wooden rings, ink pens, and Cowboy hats. But nothing has consumed him quite like the thought of building canoes and kayaks. This idea came after a conversation with his brother Steve in 2010 who had been wanting to build a strip canoe. “Building boats is really working with wood at a whole new level,” he says. “I discovered that this wasn’t just building an attractive boat, it was a whole new approach to art”. Building kayaks and canoes is a three step process: selecting and pairing the right woods for the right effect, deciding on the theme and art design and the final construction and assembly process. Today, First Mountain canoes and kayaks are owned by people from Florida to Michigan. Each one is a one-of-a-kind work of art, designed specifically for the individual client. “I love making boats,” Carley says, “but it’s a real joy to watch one hit the water for the first time, paddled by a client who’s going to love it for years to come.”

Whether it is a special kayak, a simple wooden bowl, or a one-of-a-kind cowboy hat, Carley will build a special one just for you.

Gordon Allen

Gordon Allen’s work includes oils, watercolors, etchings and illustrations. His drawings have appeared in hundreds of books and publications, and his etchings and oils are in collections across the country. He is devoted to painting en plein air and loves nothing more than spending the day outside behind the easel and experiencing the world, man-made or natural, in a studied way that is available to few but artists. His etchings are an extension of his illustrating career and are usually done in the studio at more deliberate pace than his plein air work.

Though most of his subject matter is in the sporting genre, he recently illustrated “A Little History of the United States”; published by Yale University Press, it was nominated for a Pulitzer.

Gordon lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his economist wife and two sporting dogs.

Circle 7 Outpost and Provisions

Like a good wine to a good meal or a warm fire to a good book, Circle Seven Outpost & Provisions is a collection of classic complements for journeys afield. The bits and pieces that just make it better.

In addition to the best in authentic outdoor clothing and goods, Circle Seven represents iconic American classics: Filson, Gitman Shirtmakers, and Alden Shoes. Along with these and traditional rich European brands like James Purdey & Sons and Barbour, we offer our commitment of uncompromising personal service to you.

Now more than ever, you expect more value from the goods you purchase—value, and experiences, that can be passed down to the next generation. Pride in quality workmanship and enduring value are vitally important in the products we offer.

Hilary Cooper

The child of foreign service officers, Hilary grew up abroad. Formative years were spent gazing at portraits in England’s National Portrait Gallery. Later she spent a semester soaking up the contemporary art scene at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In the U.S., she attended Oldfields School, Mount Holyoke College, the Art Students League and National Academy.

Her work has been widely exhibited from coast to coast. One of her favorite projects, Divided Portraits: Identity and Disabilitytoured the country and resulted in a book of the same title. Her portraits include George Plimpton, Mayor Ed Koch, and many other high profile figures. Her passion, however, is capturing the essence of a beloved animal, and bringing it to life on canvas or paper.

Alison Crossman

When asked to attend a one day ceramics class to help fill its attendance, Alison Crossman discovered a new passion in clay. Since then she has been hand building stoneware pieces meant to be used in daily life. Alison adorns most of her pieces with the animal life found in the Lowcountry environment around where she lives – ranging from snake handles on trays and jelly fish bowls to oyster shell platters. This functional art with its organic origins has become an instant sensation in the Lowcountry.

Gogo Ferguson

Gogo Ferguson, founder and designer of Gogo Jewelry, has been designing her namesake pieces from her home on Cumberland Island, Georgia, for three decades.

Gogo is a seventh generation descendant of the Carnegie family, who purchased 95% of Cumberland Island in the late 1800s. She grew up spending summers and holidays on the island with her extended family and moved there permanently in the 1980s to help preserve the island and its natural beauty.

Always inspired by the raw beauty of the island – from the pristine beaches to the dense forests to the vast farmland, Gogo paid homage to it by creating a line of nature-inspired jewelry and home decor designs in the 1980’s.

The inspiration for Gogo’s unique jewelry line dates back to her childhood, when she would take long walks with her grandmother, Lucy Ferguson, who was the island matriarch. They spent hours treasure hunting on the beaches and in the forests where Lucy taught Gogo about the history of the island, its wildlife, delicate ecosystems, and the importance of preserving all of it. Gogo began collecting things on their walks, which she eventually transformed into her designs.

The designs are casts of materials she finds on the island such as rattlesnake rib and jaw bones, alligator toe bones, armadillo scapula bones, shark vertebrae, seaweed, and alligator garfish scales.

In addition to designing her classic pieces, Gogo has worked tirelessly over the years to ensure Cumberland Island’s preservation and legacy. She regularly leads nature walks on the island and hosts corporate classes, trunk shows, and lectures around the world.

Her career highlights include designing pieces for the Atlanta Olympics, the G-8 Summit Meeting on Sea Island, GA, two presidential collections, and many films and television shows. In January 2013, the High Museum in Atlanta honored Gogo with an eight-month exhibit, “Gogo: Nature Transformed,” which presented the evolution of her artistry.

Check back here next week for the next talent highights for Field + Fire. And if you just can’t wait, don’t worry, we understand. Go to for the full list of talent.

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