Plus he’s organized monthly Virtual Paintouts where any painter can join in. (This month everyone is painting London.)
UPDATE: 1000 Markets and byhand.me both folded, so I had to remove the links from this article. Where possible I have linked to current shop locations.
The holidays are coming up fast for many of us who have committed to having a Handmade Holiday. Now’s the time to find and order those handmade gifts that will bring originality to your holidays as well as brighten the season of the artists you’ve chosen to hand make your gifts. But where to start?
There are innumerable blogs and sites with handmade gift choices, but you can spend hours browsing before you find one that gets you. I personally am partial to the markets of 1000Markets in part because the curators/market managers tend to pick the best available handmade work in their particular area, and it’s easy to pay through Amazon (with their A-Z Guarantee). In addition, you don’t have to sign up at the venue to purchase. So bearing that in mind, here’s my go-to list of especially well curated gift guides:
The Try Handmade Market is curated by our own Erika Jurney. She personally adds each item so you can be sure they’re the best artisan goods available. The work is organized into collections for easy browsing, and there’s a forum if you have a question or need some help. Payment is through Amazon, and you don’t have to sign up to purchase if you already have an Amazon account.
The Succulent Wife’s Marketplace is a gift market that has it’s own Cheery Holiday Gift Guide, with original gifts chosen by the Succulent Wife herself. If you don’t find something in the guide, check our the other collections organized by type of gift recipient, for easy holiday shopping. Payment is through Amazon.
Holiday Gifts the Artisan Way is the gift guide curated by 1000Markets. It’s divided into numerous collections of gift categories that are fun to browse, including ‘Artisan Gifts Under $50’ that will help you stay on budget. Payment is through Amazon.
Etsy has the granddaddy of handmade gift guides. The Etsy Gift Guide is a good place to look if you’re already an etsy member or don’t mind signing up to purchase, and have loads of time to sift through it all. The Guides are organized by price, and by just about every other category imaginable, which is great if you like tons to look through but can be a bit overwhelming if you’re in a rush. Payment is normally through PayPal although other options are available through individual artists.
If you’d like to purchase a gift that’s shipped directly to your gift recipient with a hand written note, try searching any of the major handmade venues for the term “GiftShipper”. These are artists who will create and ship your gift, with a note of your choosing, directly to the person you designate. Often they will gift wrap as well (sometimes for an extra charge). To narrow things down you can add search terms such as “giftshipper jewelry” or “giftshipper pottery”. Don’t forget to mention GiftShipper when you order, and specify the contents of your note.
If you’d like to search all of the major handmade venues at the same time for specific items, try the search at byhand.me. [UPDATE: byhand.me is now gone – try Best of Handmade instead.] It’s powered by Google but lists items only from handmade venues, with photos and pricing. It’s not a complete listing, but is good for those who prefer less exhaustive search results. If you know what you’re looking for, this search will give you a good variety across all of the handmade venues without overwhelming.
Do you have a favorite Gift Guide? Is there something that would make handmade gift shopping easier for you? Tell us about it in your comment below!
This week I’m profiling Nichola of KnitFrekkles, who uses both machine and hand knitting to design the most beautiful scarves. Nichola has always been crafty, from a young age but did not learn to knit until senior school. Her love of the craft stayed with her, growing stronger during her time at university, during which she completed a master’s degree researching traditional knitting styles, mainly fishermen’s ganseys and fairisle. “I wanted to change my own opinion of those styles as well as the wider world. They have been rurally crafted for centuries and largely forgotten about by the art world, I think they deserve more attention than they currently get. They are beautiful and intricate, there is a high level of knowledge and skill required before you can even begin to experiment.”
Nichola started selling her creations in January of this year and balances crafting with her ‘day job’ as a fitness instructor. She had been building the courage to sell her garments for a long time and wanted to help promote contemporary patterns, structures and ideas in knitting. Selling online gives Nichola a way to develop personal contact with buyers worldwide, and she enjoys creating unique garments and receiving positive buyer feedback!
Without a dedicated studio, Nichola has limited space at home for her crafting. Luckily, hand knitting is very portable! The inspiration for Nichola’s beautiful scarves comes mainly from the natural world – the colours, landscapes and patterns in nature.
Nicola’s scarves are unique in a very saturated market. She uses modern and historical influences, focusing on care and attention to detail. When creating a new design, Nichola thinks about how a yarn will interact with the wearer – how it will feel and whether it will make them special. Nichola knows that buyers are looking for something distinctive and completely unique in handmade items, and that they want a high level of craftsmanship not found in mass-produced items.
“I think that so far I have only scratched the surface of the handmade scene within the UK. It seems to be a fast growing scene which I think is fantastic and with more website being set up for selling handmade items it really does help potential sellers take the plunge.”
To see more of Nichola’s lovely designs, visit her shop.
Hi! My name is Jenny Hoople and my business is Authentic Arts. I make glamorous, colorful, natural jewelry.
My workspace is… the coffee table in my living room! I sit on the beanbag chair to be at the same height as the table and there’s a huge north-facing picture window right over my shoulder. My little bunny helper (she’s under the table in the pictures) hops around trying to steal seeds and leather cord from my materials boxes and begging for attention. I keep my laptop handy on the couch next to my napping husband.
I’ve always needed to work in the same space I live in. I wouldn’t mind having a desk, but then the bunny would miss having me within arm’s reach!
Kristin Beltz is an amazing photographer, but more importantly an amazing person! She is so full of life and appreciates the natural beauty around her. I think she captures this emotion so well in her work. She is an Island Girl who loves to Run, Bike and Swim. She enjoys working with plants and enjoys everything to do with being outdoors. She loves animals and is especially fond of Boxers. This first photo is bursting with bright color! It makes me want to get out into the garden.
Kristin has a wonderful ability to capture the magical quality in simple pleasures. I love the out of focus background that lays behind the simple pine needles. Perfection!
Once again, here is another example of how Kristin makes a single green leaf become a beautiful piece of art!
Kristin states, “I like playing around with the lighting during the day to see what type of shots I come up with. There is a beautiful field of these Daisies on the next road over and on Sunday I went down there and shot from different angels. I liked the deeper tones I got from this shot. I like the pretty bokehed blossoms. This wasn’t intended to be in focus, I used another focal point to get the bokehed Daisies. I intended to create a textured feel and a lingering memory sort of feeling.”
Thank you Kristin for sharing you talent with us. You are truly an inspiration to us all. You may view more of her work on Flickr.