It's December. That means the winter holidays have officially arrived. Let the crafting, baking, decorating, and indie gift shopping begin. While we try to make many of our gifts by hand, cook the best sugary treats, and decorate with thoughtful or handmade items, most of us will also turn to the shops and makers to complete our holiday shopping list. This is a huge opportunity to support independent artists and small businesses at local craft fairs, local shops, and through their online stores.
Last winter I posted my first list of 10 favorite indie shops for the holidays and I've created a new list for this year. Hip, hip, hooray! Because if nothing else I hope all the extra spending over the holiday season might be a good excuse to support independent makers, artists, artisans, and your favorite local shops too.
So...here's my 2014 list of 10 indie shops to note this holiday season. I worked hard not to repeat any favorite shops from last winter's list but some of my all-time favorites are over there so you can see this post for 10 more recommendations:
My 10 Favorite Indie Shops for 2014 Holiday Shopping:
1. I'm in love with everything Sojourn makes. Her simple, thoughtful, and beautiful ceramic accessories just make me swoon. My husband gifted me the small moon phase necklace and it's one of my absolute favorites. I have another necklace of hers on my wish list this year. Simple, thoughtful, and stunning. I'm sold. She also has a lovely Instagram feed if you're on IG.
2. Tamar Mogendorff just might be one of the most inspired and inspiring soft sculptors I've ever come across. Her fabric sculptures are divine. I have a long list of favorite artists and crafters making 3-dimensional work with fabric but her work is certainly near the top of that long list. Gorgeous creations. If you're looking for something extra special, wanting to add more sculpture to your own home, or just need some textile inspiration check out her gorgeous work.
3. Hand-carved wooden objects and furniture seem to be popping up all over the design world. I admit I'm smitten by the idea of making my own wooden bowls and spoons. Artist, Ariel Alasko, is leading this trend with her incredible and design-savvy work. Her work and studio space have been featured in numerous craft magazines and websites and all for good reason. Her Instagram feed is like a small gallery of gorgeous objects, beautiful photographs, and swoon-worthy wood creations. Her work sells out quickly so be sure to be in the front of the line if you find something you love.4. Jess Brown's dolls are close to perfection. I first noticed her work in a local Oakland shop when two of her original dolls were peering down from the top of a toy display. But then I started to notice her clothing design, her books, and then her beautiful range of work with textiles. If I had an unlimited budget I would add her simple well-designed clothing to my regular rotation. Check out this gorgeous blouse.
5. I met Erin of Cotton & Flax at a Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco a few years ago. We were vendors on the same aisle and wandered over to check out each other's goods. I was struck by her simple straight-forward designs and thoughtful color palette on tea towels, pillows, and more. Since that meeting her work has skyrocketed through the craft and design world and I cheer every time I see her featured. It's such good design--that always looks deceivingly simple but we all know it takes great talent, vision, and amazing editing skills to pull off "simple". Hooray, Erin.
6. Mazama Ceramics: Oh, so pretty. I love how I can just imagine all of their household ceramics slipping right into my own cupboards. With a Heath Ceramic style simplicity and timelessness not to mention rich colors, pretty textures, and lovely shapes Mazama Ceramics has launched a gorgeous collection in not very much time. I'm loving their tumblers, mugs, and small cups in a simple, earthy palette of gray, white, green, and blue.
7. I've been loving Ariel Clute's jewelry for awhile now. I first saw it in a local boutique in Oakland and then swooned at her collections last year at West Coast Craft. I love her use of mixed media including beads, tassels, and leather, and the way she uses bright and neutral colors in combination. My husband gifted me one of her original necklaces and, truth be told, I wear it in near constant rotation with the Sojourn necklace mentioned above. And, I just happened to notice, she's having a sale over on her site so be sure to get there soon.
8. I've mentioned Folk Fibers work here on my blog before. Her quilts are simply stunning. And her use of natural dyes in her quilt work is just double stunning in my book. In addition to her gorgeous, heirloom quilts she also offers scarves and pillows too. Her quilts are on my wish list--one day I'd like to have one of her originals gracing my own bedroom decor. Perhaps when my toddler is no longer prone to sticky fingers. In the meantime her pillows and scarves might fit a wider range of budgets. Her Instagram feed is also a lovely dose of inspiration in the digital world.
9. I have a true love for independent publishers and indie magazines. I love their perspective of the craft and design world and how they feature independent artisans and makers. My newest love is the publication by the Textile Arts Center in NYC. I've only received the first issue but it was so beautiful I am anxiously awaiting the second. Everything about this magazine is gorgeous: The content, the photographs, the texture of the paper, the overall design, the artists and artisans featured, you name it. If you have any fiber lovers in your life, I would highly suggest a subscription to this lovely new read.
10. My list of artist-run letterpress shops is also quite long, but Kathryn Hunter at Blackbird Letterpress is always on my favorite list. I love her approach to printing and graphic design and how she really succeeds at offering inspired, original, and also artful cards, calendars, wedding invitations, custom work, and even 3-d paper sculpture. I met Kathryn at Second Storie Indie Market and I was instantly charmed by her work and her person. She's a true artist in the indie craft world balancing that difficult job of making original work and running a successful business. Check out her holiday cards that transform into paper ornaments. Genius.
It's so hard to narrow my list of favorites down to just 10. But I did it. I think I could name 10 favorites in each category: textiles, wood, ceramics, paper, fashion, publications, home goods, kids, and then we didn't even get to handcrafted beauty products like dreamy handmade organic soaps, lotions, and salves. Maybe one day I'll have a small shop and curate a selection of favorite handmade goods for my customers. You know, in my spare time.
Happy Holidays, friends! Make it indie, make it yours.
Note: All images are courtesy of the artists and bloggers, please visit their websites and shops for more information about the range of their offerings and their truly beautiful work. Enjoy.