The Iron Fish Gallery

Give Daufuskie

A Day on Daufuskie

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 5.27.13 PMGive your friends and family a refreshingly different gift this year. Set up a day on Daufuskie for them. With guided and self-guided options, we can create a wonderful experience that they will truly enjoy. Once all the details are in place, they will just have to give us a quick call to set up a day. Take a look at our holiday gift options. Give memories with Tour Daufuskie.

Sea Island Sculptures from The Iron Fish

24852207_1111634852206300_1697308625162266440_nChase Allen specializes in crafting beautiful coastal inspired metal sculptures. Fish, mermaids, sea turtles, crabs, and lobsters are just a few of the pieces he creates. Although Chase ships his sculptures worldwide, you’ll have to come to his gallery on Daufuskie Island to get something in time for Christmas.

Organic Wine and Wine Glass Holder, Wine and Woodworks

This breathtaking post and beam barn located on the north end of Daufuskie Island is the home to Mike and Joanne Loftus’ woodworking and wine shop. With organic, sustainable, and low production wines from vineyards throughout the world, you are sure to find a bottle to fit every palette. Paired with one of Mike’s hand crafted beach wine stands, this is the perfect gift for friends and family.

Indigo Dyed Scarf

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 11.55.50 AMThis mystical natural blue dye is truly unique. Daufuskie Blues uses natural indigo to create unique patterns and designs on scarves and organic fabrics. Based out of Maryfields School on Daufuskie Island, this little shop is home to production and sales. Sold exclusively on Daufuskie Island, you’ll have to stop into Daufuskie Blues for these lovely pieces.

Daufuskie Island Rum Company’s Spiced Rum

Photo Dec 07, 2 11 15 PMWith cooler weather approaching, give some warmth with Daufuskie Island Rum Company’s Spiced Rum. Reminiscent of the holidays, this naturally spiced rum pairs wonderfully with eggnog. In addition to their spiced rum, the distillery offers numerous other artisanal rums, all made on Daufuskie Island.

Silver Dew Hand Crafted Pottery

IMG-0187Inspired by the pottery of Native Americans he unearthed from the island he grew up on, Lancy Burn’s pieces are a true reflection of Daufuskie Island. The work that his wife, Emily, and he create is not only beautiful, but practical. Take a peak at their gallery located on Benjies Point Road on Daufuskie Island.

Handmade Soap from Daufuskie PeachScreen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.19.20 PM

Daufuskie Peach’s hand crafted bath and body products are made in-house using unrefined, organic shea butter. From start to finish, these soaps, lotions, butters, and scrubs are created in small batches on Daufuskie Island. Pure, simple, clean. Explore her ever indulging scents at Daufuskie Peach next time you’re on Daufuskie Island or take a look at her online store.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.26.15 PMSpartina, Where it Began

Spartina 449 company founder and CEO, Kay Stanley, found inspiration for her handbags, jewelry and accessories from her seaside cottage on Daufuskie Island. Although you can buy Spartina 449 all over, getting it from the Lowcountry adds a special memory. Find Spartina Retailers here.

An Evening on Daufuskie

With a rarity not common in our modern world, Daufuskie makes the perfect venue for intimate weddings and private events.

Photo Nov 16, 11 31 31 AMHer natural beauty is overwhelming. Imagine a small, private ceremony in the beautiful First Union African Baptist Church. Originally built in 1884, this restored house of worship is the perfect location for a memorable day.

Or you can take advantage of our gorgeous, secluded beaches.

In addition to the ceremony, Daufuskie offers numerous hidden gems perfect for a reception or private event.

Iron Fish Gallery

Iron Fish Gallery: Lit in the Evening

The Iron Fish Gallery is a breathtaking outdoor gallery that can accommodate groups up to 100. With lights strung, this romantic space is the perfect way to spend your evening.

Wineand Woodworks can offer a serene indoor/outdoor venue right on the Cooper River. This post and beam building can accommodate up to 100 guests. From private rentals on the water to outdoor catered venues, these are just two of numerous location options.

Daufuskie Island Wine and Woodworks

Daufuskie Island Wine and Woodworks

Lowcountry style cuisine pairs perfectly with the island’s emanate beauty. Local restaurants and chefs can cater anything from small hors d’oeuvres to a four-course meal. Lucy Bell’s Café has years of experience catering on Daufuskie Island. Or give Marshside Mama’s a call for some local favorites. There is also Sallie Ann Robinson, who can create an unforgettable Daufuskie dining experience.

Photo Nov 19, 5 52 40 PMDaufuskie’s quaint atmosphere is unlike anywhere else. An evening spent with friends and family on this special island would be one for the books.

The Iron Fish: new venue

written by Renee Harding

The Iron Fish Gallery & Studio has drawn national attention to Daufuskie Island with Chase Allen’s rustic coastal sculptures since opening in 2001.  This past summer The Iron Fish debuted its new gallery venue just a stone’s throw away from the original location.

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Starting in 2001, Chase Allen’s Gullah-constructed home created a unique and welcoming backdrop for his art gallery.  The gallery showcased sculpted fish, mermaids, stingrays, blue crabs, turtles, and more directly on his own front porch.

The Iron Fish original gallery venue...

frontporch2

The Iron Fish gallery originally nestled on Allen’s front porch

This year Chase has officially outgrew the porch and moved his art next door.  The new venue won’t be difficult for visitors to find – it is still on his home property.  Completed in summer 2016, the current venue presents The Iron Fish artwork on a double-sided covered walkway.  With clearly marked parking spaces and an obvious entrance, visitors no longer will question if they’re trespassing.  The open space helps to showcase the variations in artistic theme work in a more polished light.

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The new gallery, debuted Summer 2016

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As always, you’ll likely find the artist himself hard at work in The Iron Fish studio, which is directly behind the gallery.  What else is new at The Iron Fish?  Chase has just finished up a 125-bird suspended installation at Palmetto Bluff Outfitters.  In addition, if you haven’t stopped by The Iron Fish recently to check out the new “Put a Light Behind Me!” collection, it is certainly worth the trip.  These back-lit pieces of artwork are coming soon to the Iron Fish website.

 

welding sparks

Chase Allen welding Iron Fish artwork

 

Palmetto Bluff Visits Chase Allen’s Daufuskie Island Iron Fish Gallery

Dylan Sell from Palmetto Bluff boated over to Daufuskie Island so he could cover a story on Chase Allen’s Iron Fish Gallery.  Below is Dylan’s story:

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

Chase Allen’s Iron Fish art gallery isn’t a place the average Lowcountry tourist happens upon by accident. Though a few visitors might wander down the dirt path tucked deep in the forest of Daufuskie Island and be drawn to the metal decorations on the walls of an old cottage, more and more are actively seeking out Allen and his seascape of fish and mermaids wrought from metal. The Iron Fish gallery has become a real destination and one of the most successful art galleries in the area.

Years before the Iron Fish art gallery existed, there was an unhappy business school student who happened to take a class in ceramics. Throwing pots inspired Allen: “I realized the pleasure of working with my hands.”

Through this happenstance ceramics class, the creative seed was planted, but before it could sprout, Allen had finished school and had gone to work as a real estate agent. It wasn’t long before he realized that selling property was not something he enjoyed. It was, however, what introduced him to Emily and Lancy Burn, owners of Silver Dew Pottery on Daufuskie Island. Remembering the joy he found in the pottery class and seeing that others were pursuing their art, Allen decided to take a huge risk. “I decided to live across from them. Life is too short to not do what you love. I quit my job and rented the place on Daufuskie with a friend.”

Some might say that moving to an island accessible only by boat to start a business might not be the wisest financial strategy, but Allen was determined. “I got a job as a waiter at Marshside Mama’s Cafe. I could bring in $150 a night, which was good money.”

After he had the income to cover his basic living expenses, Allen focused on making friends. He started meeting the other sculptors in the area and became friends with Jacob Preston, a gallery owner in Old Town Bluffton and potter renowned for his expert skill. Although ceramics was his first love, Allen didn’t want to move in across the street and compete with his friends Emily, Lancy and Jacob. So he found another medium in which to work: metal. He started welding iron scraps together into abstract sculptures, and later he began welding metal into fish, mermaids and other marine subjects that he is known for today.

When he decided to open his gallery, Allen looked for inspiration at the shops of artists he admired. He was impressed by the way his friend Jacob Preston operated his gallery. Sales are under the honor system; there are no salespeople, and visitors who wish to make a purchase simply leave their information on a sheet. So, following Preston’s model and advice from a friend, Allen put his art on his porch with a hand-written note telling visitors that they may take the art they like and leave their money in the “honor box.”

One day Emily and Lancy stopped by and bought one of his pieces. “It was the greatest vote of confidence they could have given me,” remarked Allen, and he started to believe that he could make it as artist.

Tools of an Artist
As Allen experimented and refined his craft, he began using blacksmithing tools to hammer and create indentations in his material. As his fish sculptures became more and more popular, his success created a problem. The fins of the fish sculptures required crimping to create regular ridges in the metal. Though the results might look similar to the simple crimped edge of a pie crust, crimping iron is physically demanding. It involves using a blacksmith hammer and a sheet metal crimper tool to achieve the desired effect. The sculptor must hammer the tool every few inches of the metal, which is a long, difficult process. “I thought I was going to develop a shoulder problem!” Allen explained.

For the sake of his throbbing shoulder, Allen realized that he needed to make his crimping process more efficient. He knew of an industrial crimping machine, but its cost was prohibitive. Recalling the old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention,” Allen, a creative problem-solver, solicited several friends to pool their money, knowledge, experience and tools in order to construct their own industrial iron-crimping machines. Each person contributed $1,000 to purchase the necessary supplies. These craftsmen, artists and industrial engineers gathered in an assembly line, and they built their own crimpers!

Years later, in his blacksmithing shop Allen has an odd-looking machine with a tire on top. This peculiar creation is actually the crimping machine that accelerated Allen’s production to an industrial level, thereby helping him become financially secure.

 Part of a Community

Besides having equipment challenges, as an artist living on Daufuskie Island, Allen needed a way to connect with other artists, his friends and his existing and potential patrons. Social media was the perfect solution. Allen started a Facebook page and posts regularly about his work. When someone sends a photo of one of Allen’s sculptures installed in their home, Allen posts it on Facebook. Facebook not only allows Allen to communicate with the people interested in his work, but it also gives Allen a great way to garner feedback and ideas from his fan base. For example, when one of his patrons made a suggestion to backlight some of the creations with LED lights, Allen took the suggestion, and the new lighted sculptures became very successful.

Allen strongly believes in giving back to the community. In 2014, 13 years after his daring leap out of office life, Chase Allen competed with over 1,000 artists for the American Made Award sponsored by Martha Stewart Living. With 55,000 votes, Allen won the Audience Choice award and its $10,000 prize. He donated the greater portion of his winnings to the Holmes Team, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for brain cancer. The organization is named for Holmes Desmelik, a six-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumor; Holmes is the son of Allen’s high school friend. Allen donated the remainder of his winnings to the Alzheimer’s Association, Doctors Without Borders and the Spondylitis Association of America.

Despite his professional success, Allen has never turned his back on the people who supported his craft. Just last year, he wrote an article for his website urging Daufuskie visitors to check out Emily and Lancy Burn at Silver Dew Pottery, and to this day Allen speaks with immense respect of Jacob Preston’s pottery gallery to journalists.

After abandoning a career in the office to become an artist 14 years ago, Chase Allen not only turned his dreams into a reality, he used his success to bolster his local community.

23 Things To Do On Daufuskie Island

23 Things to Do On Daufuskie Island:

#1 Rent a golf cart for a self-guided tour.  With only a couple paved roads on the island, most visitors love navigating the “old timey”, tree canopied historic dirt roads that are unique to Daufuskie Island.  Of course, rentals come with a complimentary map and orientation.

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals

#2  Book a guided history & artisans tour if you’d rather get the local’s perspectives.  One common denominator for all Tour Daufuskie guides is that they must be Daufuskie Island residents!

Historic Tour Jane Hamilton Bradley

Tour Daufuskie – History & Artisans Tour

#3  Book a kayaking or stand-up-paddle-boarding tour with Tour Daufuskie.  You will be able to choose from paddling the shores of the beach or navigating the turns in the rivers and salt water creeks.  Either way, nature will find you!

Kayaking Tour Daufuskie, Kayak Rental, Daufuskie Island

kayaking tour on Daufuskie Island

#4  Learn about the rich American Indian and Gullah culture by stopping by the Daufuskie Island museum as well as by touring the 20+ historic landmarks found on the Rob Kennedy Historical Trail.

Frances Jones

Frances Jones Historic Home

#5  Visit renowned coastal sculptor Chase Allen at his Iron Fish Gallery & Studio which was established on Daufuskie Island in 2001.  Allen & his artwork have been featured in national magazines such as Coastal Living, Southern Living, and Martha Stewart Living and he was the 2015 winner of the prestigious Martha Stewart American Made national contest.  Allen’s coastal sculptures are collected worldwide but handcrafted and sold exclusively on Daufuskie Island.

Sculptor Chase Allen Iron Fish Gallery

Sculptor Chase Allen Iron Fish Gallery

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

#6  Visit Lancy & Emily Burn at The Silver Dew Pottery.  Not only is their unique pottery beautiful, well respected, and very sought after, but Lancy’s stories of his life growing up on Daufuskie Island will blow your mind.

#7  Visit the Daufuskie Island Community farm which is a volunteer-run and member-supported farm.  All buildings on the farm where constructed of timbers milled directly on the property.  Currently the farm houses goats, chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, a pig, two dairy cows, and a garden & orchard.

Daufuskie Island Community Farm

Daufuskie Island Community Farm

#8  Visit Daufuskie Island Wine & Woodworks.  Here, boat builder Mike Loftus handcrafts small wooden specialty boats in his beautiful state-of-the-art timber framed workshop.  Attached to this workshop is a store where specialty wines, beer, and gifts can be purchased.  Mike is usually open Saturday afternoons, so come by and see what he is working on!

Wine and Woodworks

Daufuskie Island Wine and Woodworks

#9  Take a walk or spend the day relaxing on Daufuskie’s approximately 3 mile long underpopulated beach.  Only at the height of Daufuskie’s tourist season would you see up to 300 people on the entire 3 mile stretch of sand!  More than likely, you will see so few people that you will feel as though you have arrived to your own private island.

Daufuskie Island Beach Walk

Daufuskie Island Beach Walk

#10

Visit the First Union African Baptist Church which was built in 1884.   FUABC is the only active church on Daufuskie and is one of the most beautiful historic churches you will ever see.  Church services run every Sunday at 10am.

First Union African Baptist Church Daufuskie Island

First Union African Baptist Church Daufuskie Island

#11  Visit Mary Fields School which was immortalized by Pat Conroy in his first best selling book, The Water Is Wide which was also made in to a movie called Conrack, starring John Voight.

#12  Take a tour of the Daufuskie Island Rum company where founder Tony Chase and his hard working partners distill their very own rum which is available for purchase and taste tests!   Each bottle of rum is distilled, bottled, and labeled right here on Daufuskie Island.  Tony Chase prides his company in being a soley American-made business.  Everything down to the screws holding the building together were made in the USA!

Daufuskie Island Rum

Daufuskie Island Rum

#13  Golf at Bloody Point and enjoy some of the most beautiful golf holes you could imagine.  This Daufuskie Island course is under-played, so enjoy your leisurely round with no pressure coming up from behind.

#14  Grab a bite to eat at renowned Marshside Mama’s, Lucy Bell’s Cafe, The Daufuskie Crab Company, or The Eagles Nest Restaurants.  From the classic island “dive” to fine dining, there are no wrong choices.

#15  Horseback ride on the beach!  Yes, this is a once in a lifetime experience!  Contact the Haig Point Equestrian Center for inquiries.

horse back ride daufuskie island

horse back ride daufuskie island

#16  Meet & chat with the people in the community who chose to live on this remote island with so few modern conveniences.  Daufuskie islanders are known to be fiercely independent yet very friendly and welcoming.

#17  Visit Daufuskie Peach where you can stop by Jan Crosby’s store to select from her line of handcrafted soaps or other natural body works.  Daufuskie is home to many independent & talented artisans and entrepreneurs.

#18  Ask around to see if the locals will direct you to their favorite “Devil Crab Ladies”.  If your lucky enough to find one, you will see why these ancient yet delicious recipes are synonymous with Daufuskie Island.

Daufuskie Island Devil Crabs

Daufuskie Island Devil Crabs

#19  Want the full tilt true island experience?  Rent a house and stay awhile!  Rentals vary from quaint historic bungalows to beach front mansions.  Either way is a win. Try VRBO.COM

Iron Fish Gallery Daufuskie Island Artisan

Daufuskie Island Cottage Rentals

#20  Daufuskie is a favorite nesting stop for loggerhead sea turtles.  If you’d like an informative up-close look at the beloved “loggerhead sea turtle”, book a tour with Tour Daufuskie.  This option is only available during nesting and hatching season(May-September).

baby loggerhead turtle hatching daufuskie island

baby loggerhead turtle hatching

#21  Biking Daufuskie Island is a blast!  Warning….during dryer times, peddling through the sand can be a bit strenuous so be prepared with water and bug spray in the event you need to walk through the “soft spots”.

bike tour daufuskie island

Daufuskie Island Bike Riding

#22  Bring your gear for fishing and crabbing.  You might find that it’s challenging to “hear about” the good fishing holes but trust us when we say there are many!

Daufuskie Island Fishing

Daufuskie Island Fishing

#23  How about an eco-tour?  Tour Daufuskie also offers guided birding & eco-tours.  Learn all about Daufuskie’ large bird population and also about the flora and fauna that is so unique to this pristine island.  Binoculars are included.

Birding tours on Daufuskie Island

Birding tours on Daufuskie Island