Saturday, November 30, 2019
By Austin Rese
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November is always a month that seems to fly by in a wink of the eye. It may be the sugar hangover of Halloween, the changing of the clocks, or the excitement of the pending holiday season. In any case, it appears to be a very busy time for most homes.


My home included.


This year, I wanted to try something new. Back in 2016, I came across an article in Martha Stewart Living about a young man who was engaging his artistic abilities with cotton. Yes, you read that correctly: cotton! I found the article of interest and his creations of decorative cotton wreaths were quite aesthetically pleasing. --Very classic. --Very sophisticated, in a most-understated way. ---Just what I like! Surprisingly, that artist, Nicholas Askew, was scheduled to be at a local garden center giving a presentation of his skills and beautiful cotton products.  I made sure the event was on my own list of “must-attends."



Cold, wet, and gray was the morning. Rather dismal for the “sunny south”, but the garden center seemed to be oblivious to it all. Instead, it appeared to be bustling with intrigue. The media was already busy at work interviewing the artist when I arrived. Nicholas was quite well spoken with an intrinsic air of humbleness. In a world of self-promotion and narcissistic endeavors, this was quite refreshing.


The group of fellow enthusiasts had assembled. Only 10 of us were allowed, as the room was quite small and nearly packed with retail splendor for the pending holiday season.


Nicholas shared his story:


His family has been in the farming industry since 1901 when his great grandfather purchased the land in Eure, North Carolina. It is now a fourth generation farm with his father and brother tending the business of corn, cotton, wheat, and peanuts.


While Nicholas is not involved with the actual day-to-day activities of the farm, he is quite learned in the business as he is a graduate of NC State University with a degree in Agricultural Science & Technology. He is using his education to advance his entrepreneurial interest. His eye for classic décor and detail led him to currently call Charleston home.


His eyes seemed to sparkle when he shared stories of the farm. “There is a sense of freedom and wonderment of nature that you feel when are among the cotton fields!”


 I believed him.



The cotton plant sprouts its blossoms in June and July. This is then followed by the formation of the boll in which the cotton fibers are born. In October, the harvest is collected. At that time he assembles a bunch of approximately 10 stems and marries them with a simple zip tie.


The formation of the wreath is also rather simple. Eight bunches of the tied cotton stems are positioned about a wire frame and individually crimped to the frame. A table of stainless steel with a built-in crimping press was used to assist us in making our wreaths.

All ten of us were allowed to try our hand at producing the puff-ball creation. It was fun. It was simple. The results were amazing. I believe all of us left feeling rather proud of what we were able to assemble. 


Whether the wreaths were made as gifts for others or as additions for our own décor, all of us were able to experience the pride of an artist sharing his entrepreneurial vision and passion to create.


I will long remember this occasion.




This was A Moment in America.


To find out more about Nicholas Askew or to order your own cotton wreath, go to:

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