Made in Virginia 2017 Awards

Gear winners.

Heart and Spade Forge

Star City Cookware and hand forged garden tools, Roanoke

If cast iron could be jealous, it would be. The carbon steel cookware designed and forged by Jed Curtis is enviable. Its graceful, ergonomically inclined handles hot-riveted to skillets, which were designed with guidance from professional chefs, are gifted with unique non-stick qualities that render them beautiful and functional. Lighter and more maneuverable than cast iron cookware, Curtis says that the first time he cooked on one he “felt like a prospector who just stumbled upon El Dorado.” The metal craftsman says he has always wanted to make beautifully designed objects that would outlast his lifetime. “Even as a child I valued toys and trinkets that were durable and well-designed,” says Curtis. He got his first anvil at the age of six and used it to tinker with sheet metal. “I slept with it under my pillow,” he adds with a laugh. A blacksmith for the past 12 years, Curtis originally intended to specialize in fine architectural metalwork. “After several chefs inquired about my skillets, I decided to make a line of cookware celebrating the industrial and manufacturing heritage of Roanoke,” he explains. Each piece is stamped with a star, signifying a lifetime guarantee and a forever tie to the Star City. Heart and Spade designs extend beyond the kitchen with a unique assortment of garden tools. “My mother’s friends would give her broken garden trowels for me to fix,” explains Curtis. “They were always the same flimsy construction.” He created sturdier trowels, hand rakes and diggers, each forged as a single piece of steel, which is sealed with a custom finish to protect the surface from rust. Cookware $145-$295. Garden tools $76-94.


Whitfield Hunting Shirt, Richmond

Ledbury co-owner Paul Trible is a longtime hunter, so it was almost a given that when he and partner Paul Watson began making bespoke shirts in 2015 that their line would include a hunting shirt. Named after Trible’s niece who was born on the day the shirt was launched in 2015, it also commemorates the annual Ledbury Quail Hunt held in early November in Goochland. “I have been hunting with the same three friends for the better part of a decade,” says Trible. “So they were the perfect sounding board for ideas [about the shirt’s design]. Their instruction—keep it simple and reinforce it in the places that matter.” Trible paid attention. Constructed from 100 percent heavy brushed cotton in olive green and white with a subtle pattern that creates a heathered effect, the shirt features a starburst pattern shooting patch on the front shoulder and an interior reinforced elbow patch on the right elbow and left chest flap pocket. Says Trible: “I shoot with my grandfather’s Browning Belgium rifle. My bird jacket was passed down from my wife’s grandfather. I wanted to create a hunting shirt, made by hand in our workshop, that I would be proud to pass down to future generations.” $225.

LC Fabrications

Hand Built Motorcycles, Grottoes

Well beyond mere modes of transportation, the motorcycles turned out by Jeremy Cupp transcend even the long-heralded versions of the iconic rides. A sixth generation steel machinist, Cupp set up his shop in the same building first occupied by his grandfather’s and then father’s machine shops. Cupp began designing and building motorcycles about 10 years ago when he dreamed about owning “a great bike” but couldn’t afford to buy one. His designs are inspired by older bikes, and sometimes even cars, bridges or machines. “Things from the past have a sort of soul to them,” says Cupp. He is keen on blending that “soul” with the precision of modern materials and equipment. With that commitment to the craft, he typically produces one motorcycle a year, constructing every aspect of the bikes himself, from design to machining, fabrication and final assembly. Last fall, he represented the U.S. at the World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Cologne, Germany. “Building motorcycles isn’t the best way to make a living, but for me it is the drive to hopefully inspire just one person to pick up a tool and learn how to use it that keeps me doing what I do,” he says. $25,000 – 75,000.

Yak Attack

Kayak Fishing Gear, Burkeville

They say it’s the quiet strokes of paddles, instead of loud, gassy motors, and the ease of maneuverability in small places that makes fishing from a kayak so special. In fact, the lure of remote, narrow, fish-filled passages first drew long-time friends Luther Cifers and Bob Fulghum to the sport. In 2009, the pair saw a need to affix new lights and flagpoles to their kayaks to increase their visibility to other boaters. The homemade device, called the VISIPole, became a hit and the launching pad for the friends’ “hobby business,” YakAttack, in Burkeville. The pair poured the profits from the VISIPole into development of other kayak-specific fishing products, and the business quickly evolved from “hobby” to industry leader. “Fishing with a buddy no longer means fishing opposite sides of the same boat,” explains John Hipsher, YakAttack’s director of sales and marketing. “This makes for a more rewarding overall fishing experience, and a very strong sense of community. Add to that the customizability that is possible on modern kayaks due to the products YakAttack makes, and you have a sport that’s appealing even to the most serious gearheads.” Over the years, as kayaks have become more advanced, the specially designed kayak fishing gear and rigging produced by YakAttack have led the vanguard pushing the sport’s limits, from creeks to oceans. “Building our products in the U.S. and trying to always do the right thing by our customers and the sport is at the heart of everything we do,” says Hipsher. Blackpak Crate System (pictured) $130.

See all of our Made in Virginia 2017 Award winners!

Nightingale Ice Cream, Richmond

Landcrafted Foods, Grayson County (category winner)
Happy Family Ranch, Midland
Northern Neck Popcorn Bag, Kilmarnock
Simply Cheddar, Waynesboro

Ragged Branch, Charlottesville (category winner)
Dead Reckoning Distillery, Norfolk
Veritas Vineyards & Winery, Afton
Trussings Craft Fizz, Midlothian

Daniel Rickey Furniture, Richmond (category winner)
Gum Tree Farm, Middleburg
Evolution Glass, Charlottesville

Winners were selected by the editors from among hundreds of submissions received earlier this year.

Click here to see 2018 winners.
Click here to see 2016 winners.
Click here to see 2015 winners.
Click here to see 2014 winners.
Click here to see 2013 winners.
Click here to see 2012 winners.
June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum