Hutchinson House

Hutchinson House 1900.jpg<img

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Posted in architecture, Arts & Culture, Charleston South Carolina, Gullah, South Carolina History

A June birthday as Wonder Woman.

This is a poem written to me 10 years ago, by the poet Chuck Sullivan © Zen Matchbox 2008, Rag Street Press. Worth remembering.

Chance Meeting Its Match

for Charlotte

Sheldon Church Ruins

Sheldon Church Ruins

I remembered you

before I knew you

before I knew you

were the most beautiful

question to the trick

answer of my heart

I remembered you

before I knew you

before I spread

my narrow hands

to gather to me

your moveable feast

of spices and sweets

of which I ever will sing

of how, “… I on honeydew

hath fed and drunk

the milk of Paradise.”

I remembered you

before I knew you

before I dared to enter

your body’s delicate drowsy

humming before I would be

wet in the fully yes

murmur of your soul’s flowing water

I remembered you

before I knew you

before the fingered little miracles

the fiery illuminations

of your touch

its match struck

unexpectedly in the darkness

surprising the dreaming candle’s

wick with a burning dancing kiss


I remembered you before I knew you

before I knew you

before my eyes felt

the dark-charmed silk

of you dressed in the quick-study

of your shadow’s welcome

dwelling in barest lavish sketch

Art’s empress in the doorway

Wonder Woman framed like the soul

arrayed within the body

making light of the darkness

around me as we met upon the intimate

threshold of our first perfect chance

meeting its match of our blood burning

in the spilled pulse of our Valentine’s fire

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Posted in art, Poetry, women, Writing

The Hutchinson House on Edisto Island

I am thrilled to announce, today that the Edisto Open Land Trust has purchased this amazing place. Thank you, Jenks Mikell, for relaying the good news!

Charleston Through an Artist's eye

Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows/ Help us to see/that without the dust the rainbow/Would not be. – Langston Hughes

This red-roofed handbuilt house on Point of Pines Road was built about 1885 by Henry Hutchinson for his bride, Rosa Swinton. Today the skeleton of this house still stands. In the spring the house is covered with flowering wisteria, and all you can see from the road now is a purple haze, the color of indigo. It is slowly being reclaimed by the earth.

According to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History this is the oldest identified house on Edisto Island associated with the black community after the Civil War.

“Henry Hutchinson… according to a local tradition, built and operated the first cotton gin owned by a black on the island, from 1900 to 1920. He was born a slave in 1860” (and was the son of James…

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Whitney Plantation in Louisiana. A Slave Museum.


Blue House ©2015 C.Hutson Wrenn

My good friend, Joseph McGill sleeps in Slave Dwellings all over America. His Slave Dwelling Project  bravely shines a steady light on history that has been largely untold.

He posted a piece by the Smithsonian today about Whitney Plantation which is a museum devoted to slavery in the U.S. South that is preserved in Whitney Plantation Historic District near Wallace, Louisiana, in St. John the Baptist Parish.

The museum opened on the plantation property in December 2014. The following are some excerpts from the Smithsonian piece, written by Jared Keller. “The 15-year restoration effort was backed by John Cummings, the local lawyer and real estate mogul who purchased the land from a petrochemical company and invested $8 million of his own money into restoring the property and developing the museum  “When you leave here,” he told the New Orleans Advocate, “you’re not going to be the same person who came in.”

That is the key to how the Whitney Plantation is unlocking the grim story of America’s greatest shame, a tale too often masked by a genteel preservationist approach to plantation history that has pasted romantic Gone With The Wind wallpaper over slavery’s appalling reality.

Blue House ©2012 C.Hutson Wrenn

©2013 Charlotte Hutson Wrenn

“Often, plantation exhibits were established for those who lived through the Civil Rights era and yearned for a less complicated time,” says Ashley Rogers, director of museum operations. “And that’s an easy thing to accomplish when you have a ‘chandelier’ tour. Where the previous focus at plantations has been on the house and the culture of Southern gentility, things are changing.””

And the Whitney is taking the lead. “We care about the Big House, but it’s not about that,” says Rogers. “This is a slavery tour.” The Whitney Plantation is explicitly not a rosy exercise in Southern nostalgia. The grounds contain imaginative exhibits and original art works, such as life-size sculptures of children to symbolize the thousands of children who died while in slavery. Here is the amazing Smithsonian article with photographs, about Whitney Plantation called Why @Whitplantation is America’s Auschwitz. It is arresting.

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Roots of the Spirit, Charleston and Edisto Island

Happy Easter, 2016

Charleston Through an Artist's eye

“Draw, preachuh, draw/ Draw roun’ duh haltuh/ Draw preachuh, draw/Draw til the break ob day.” – Draw Lebel, Shouting Spiritual Lyric sung on Edisto Island. (published in the book, The Carolina Low-Country, 1932)

Charleston is nicknamed the Holy City. That is a pretty hefty responsibility. But honestly, the city is one of few that I know of in the United States that is defined by a low lying city skyline that boasts more church steeples than tall banks, or business structures. Joseph Campbell teaches that one can tell what runs a city (what is the city’s mythology?) by looking at its tallest buildings.

Charleston began as a city of tolerance. It was one of the few cities in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance, albeit restricted to non-catholics, embracing the Dissenters who rebelled against the Church of England, French Huguenots, Quakers, Baptists and Jews, who were…

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Hutchinson House Edisto Island


©2016 Charlotte Hutson Wrenn

This is a painting from a photograph by Walter Sanders, originally published in Life Magazine in an article on segregation in Alabama and Edisto Island. The painting is 7″x 5″ and for now is not for sale. Giclee prints will be available soon.

The Hutchinson House on Point of Pines Road, Edisto Island, SC was built by Henry Hutchinson around the time of his marriage to Rosa Swinton in 1885. It is the oldest house identified with the Black American community on Edisto Island after the Civil War. Hutchinson was born a slave in 1860. According to local tradition, he built and operated, from c 1900 to c. 1920, the first cotton gin owned by a Black American on the island. Hutchinson lived in this house until his death in 1940.
– from

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Posted in architecture, art, Arts & Culture, Charleston South Carolina, Gullah, South Carolina History

The Light. Happy Solstice!


Day 12. The Light. $99. no tax, free shipping. Thank you so much for honoring this Twelve Day project with your eager support. So…cheers to the places in our worlds that bring us light.

Light & Love,


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Posted in art, Arts & Culture, beauty, Green, spirituality

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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