Like many parents, Natasha Lehnert McRee wanted a way to frame her children’s artwork that was both stylish and super easy to change. After teaming up with Morgan Kimble Doherty, a professional muralist, the design duo came up with a simple and elegant solution.
The company: Wexel Art Displays started in 2010 in Austin. The Texas company designs and makes acrylic frames, which come in various colors, shapes and sizes and work in two styles: a single panel of acrylic that uses strong magnets to hold the art in place and a double-panel frame that sandwiches the art between two pieces of plexiglass.
The founders/designers: A Houston native, McRee graduated from Louisiana State University and worked at GSD&M, a Texas ad agency, before going out on her own. Doherty grew up in Vineland, N.J., and earned her degree in printmaking and painting from Rowan University (N.J.). She worked as a custom framer before meeting McRee and collaborating on several design projects prior to starting Wexel Art.
The materials: Acrylic and rare earth magnets that it has a patented design on, plus hardware in silver, bronze, black or (new) brushed gold.
What’s popular: Mondrian Set of Wallscapes ($800-$1,800). Sizes include 60 inches, 90 inches or 123 inches in 18 different colors.
Other favorites: Eva Zeisel Collection of three frames ($165.95).
Fun requests: Wall frames shaped like states, including Texas, Tennessee and Oregon; acrylic kennel doors with puppy paw prints; and snowflake ornaments made from leftover acrylic scrap materials.
Claim to fame: Made frames for CNN when the media company wanted to frame 30 of its most pivotal broadcast images.
New Orleans jewelry designer Sarah Killen likes to say that owning a piece of Saint Claude jewelry, such as an oyster shell necklace, is a rite of passage for anyone who has moved to Louisiana or the South. Or, who is from the South.
The artist/owner: Killen grew up on a farm in Bossier City, La., and studied jewelry making under various mentors through the years. She has lived and worked in New Orleans for more than 10 years.
The company: Saint Claude started in 2008 in New Orleans. Killen’s company was named after a Bywater street where her first studio was located. The company creates jewelry using the lost wax technique. Her often bold and edgy collections range from pieces inspired by the culture of southern Louisiana to the ornamentation found on 18th- and 19th-century furniture.
What’s popular: Crawfish claw ($55-$98); oyster shell ($98-$210); okra ($55-$115); and La Colombe ($120-$240) pendants. Also the best-selling barnacle ring ($98-$210).
Other favorites: The Secret Garden cuff ($180-$350) and the Wonder Woman cuff ($225-$550).
What’s new: Killen’s version of the classic choker ($65-$120). The simple, open-collar design accentuates the décolletage.
Where to buy: saintclaudenola.com and the new Saint Claude store, 1933 Sophie B. Wright Place, in New Orleans.
Tile one on
As a native Floridian, scuba diver and longtime potter, Glenda Taylor creates address plaques that are inspired by her love of the ocean, beach and the state’s colorful, sunny style.
The artist: Taylor received her fine arts degree in ceramics from the University of Florida. After graduation, she began making pottery (mostly decorative vessels) and selling it at outdoor art fairs. In 1986, Taylor was asked to establish a ceramics program at the Vero Beach Museum of Art and taught there for 10 years. During that time, she teamed with two other female potters and created Tiger Lily Art Studios and Gallery. Known for her one-of-a-kind decorative vessels, Taylor wanted to create artwork that was more accessible.
The company: Launched in 2015 in Vero Beach, Taylor Tiles offers custom house number plaques, which are made of individual tiles handcrafted by Taylor. Prices range from $160 to $190, depending on the size and number of tiles.
Top themes: Sea turtles and orchids.
Other favorites: Sailboats; mermaids; tree frogs; pineapple; hibiscus; beach chair and umbrella; tropical fish; dolphins; palm trees; and banana trees.
Fun request: A customer in Cape Cod wanted specific lighthouses featured on her side tiles and flying seagulls on the crown tile of her address plaque.