- Oyster Plate
- Custom-Embroidered Pet Portrait Pendant
- Owl Plate
- Modernism Week Online Auction
- With Love From Ukraine
- Beyond the canyon: Inside Epic California Homes
- Humphrey the Whale Pendulum Clock
- Hexad Vase 06
- Polymorph III Silkscreen Print
- Collapsible Food Tent
- These Hands Maker’s Collective
- Mar + Luna Lockets
- Heather Levine Wall Hanging #0830
- Illumination Cluster
- Tall Vase with Clown-Inspired Sketching
- Dainty Dagger Jewelry
- Kaleidoscope Ornaments in Neon
- Kantha Quilt
- Peppermint Soap
- Charcuterie Board
- Mid Century Alphabet Embroidery
- Winnebago Pourover
- The Mayor, numbered, limited edition shoes
Original art and handmade crafts lend style umami to our homes and to our lives — that special ingredient that seasons our personal style, showcases individuality and adds a whole lot of soul.
We’ve curated a short list of gorgeous gifts from local makers, and retailers who champion creativity, passion and community overall. By shopping small, the love and appreciation you give is multiplied.
Artist Catherine Rex lives on a sailboat and finds that her work is informed by the colors and beauty of the coastline as much as the inspiration she takes from the feminine form and female experience. Hand-painted, eight-well oyster plate with built-in garnish bowl ($220) is available online.
Custom-Embroidered Pet Portrait Pendant
Los Angeles-based artist Francis Santos of My Pretty Babi designs and embroiders personalized portraits of fur (or feathered!) friends and wedding bouquets onto pendants, lockets, brooches and more. (The necklace show here is $200.) Ten percent of sales benefit Rancho Relaxo, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing abused farm animals. Doggone thoughtful!
Forget ho, ho, ho–think who? Who? Who would this charming little barn owl ($120) be perfect for? Stephanie Dawn Matthias hand crafts, paints and glazes one-of-a-kind pottery at her Los Angeles studio with an eye for pretty, organic design with a whimsical nod to nature.
Modernism Week Online Auction
Go modern. The Best of Modernism Auction will be held online December 3 -11 and feature more than sixty uniquely creative architectural experiences in conjunction with 2023’s Modernism Week Feb.16-26. Offerings will include access to sold-out parties, VIP access and rare overnight stays in iconic midcentury accommodations and historic homes. All funds raised support Modernism Week. Go to ModernismWeek.com to register for bidding. Virtual paddles up!
Up for bid: A once-in-a-lifetime stay for two at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ.
With Love From Ukraine
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. A brilliant blue bird with folk art flair takes flight on a canvas wall hanging ($37) by the Ukrainian artisans at Kyrlato Company. Make art, not war.
Beyond the canyon: Inside Epic California Homes
Globetrotting, Los Angeles-based photographer, Roger Davies’ debut book provides a rarefied glimpse into the compelling and storied residences of Californian art collectors, industry icons and creative glitterati. Lush photographs reveal the intimate beauty of architecturally acclaimed homes from Malibu to Marin County and Laurel Canyon to Hollywood. Davies will be signing books ($65) in person at Arcana bookstore on December 3, from 4-6pm.
Humphrey the Whale Pendulum Clock
Time to make a difference. Handmade in California from sustainably sourced wood, this non-ticking pendulum clock features a 3D layered design and is sure to make a splash. Designed by Kenny Perez for Birch Robot Humphrey the Whale Pendulum Clock ($99) is printed with non-toxic ink and packaged in recycled cardboard. Perez has also partnered with One Tree Planted, and for every clock sold, a tree is planted in an area devastated by wildfire or deforestation.
Hexad Vase 06
Crafted in Jesmonite stone, Vase 06 ($106) from Tropico Studio’s Hexad Collection is hand-poured then sanded to reveal a kaleidoscope terrazzo finish. The vessel is sealed with a stone guard sealant which renders it stain and water resistant and provides a satiny finish. “I feel like each piece has its own DNA,” said Los Angeles-based designer Lilliam Baez Pulver, “and I’m just the person that helps it see the light.”
Polymorph III Silkscreen Print
Artist Arisa Hsiao used rich, copper metallic ink, deep amethyst and warm gray to create this tri-color Polymorph III limited-edition print ($80 unframed) for Design Observatory. Hsiao hand-screened the amorphous design onto 90 lb, acid-free cotton paper, then numbered and signed her work.
Collapsible Food Tent
Pretty and practical. Beautiful everyday items bring joy. The collapsible food tents ($28 for set of two) made by hand in the Philippines are part of Los Angeles-based social entrepreneur Jennifer Shum Abelev’s vision of providing collections of quality woven goods at retail, while preserving the craft and community of female artisans most affected by natural disasters and poverty. Hello, fair trade, bye-bye bugs.
These Hands Maker’s Collective
It’s like a gym membership, but for art and crafting. These Hands is a bright, airy studio space in Culver City designed to strengthen your creative core and build maker muscle. Workshops are offered in Pinterest and IG-worthy activities (think: wreath making, water color, drawing, fragrance making, stained glass, Shibori techniques, candle making, macrame -and more). Monthly memberships allow daily access to maker space, tools and books. At-home DIY kits also available. Inspire a different resolution this year. Gift cards available online.
Mar + Luna Lockets
It’s a little bit of your heart (or theirs!) on a slim strand of silver or gold ($50-$80). Personal is priceless. Artisanal jewelry designer Tania Alfaro has created a cool, contemporary collection of micro lockets embellished with semiprecious stones, evil eyes and sweet engravings. For an additional, $12 you can add a digital image to your order and the photo will be set into the locket.
Heather Levine Wall Hanging #0830
Bring nature inside. Organically beautiful elements combine to create visual poetry. One of a kind stoneware and wood wall hanging ($350), 16” wide-by-21” long from Heather Levine’s Los Angeles-based studio.
All that glitters. The Illumination Cluster ($2,250) by Los Angeles jewelry designer Suzanne Wilson features an artistic trio of 14K gold charms embellished with diamond and emerald stones meant to represent prosperity, love, and protection. Gold link chain available in 16” or 18” inch lengths. Who’s been good this year?
Tall Vase with Clown-Inspired Sketching
Not my clowns, not my circus. Two years ago, ceramicist Faith Cho transformed a dark time in her life with clay, and the result was something beautiful — Los Angeles-based Gemüse Studio. “My approach to ceramics is completely intertwined with my emotions,” said Cho, who describes her work as an outlet to connect with herself, learn and explore, and have fun playing with dirt. One-of-a-kind hand-painted vase ($800) with clown-inspired sketches and glazed interior.
Dainty Dagger Jewelry
Fiercely feminine. Jewelry, envisioned as deceptively delicate armor, was the inspiration behind Dainty Dagger Fine Jewelry, the Los Angeles-based company founded by Theresa Chem and Kimi Wu in 2019. Jewelry in this photo: Dainty Interlocking Pendant, $350; Dainty Medal Necklace, $725; The Empress’ New Ring, $495; Plain Tee, $55; and Dainty Studs Ring, $755. Go artisanal, or go home.
Kaleidoscope Ornaments in Neon
Griffith Observatory, Cinerama Dome, Hollyhock House, Randy’s Donuts and several other Los Angeles area architectural icons have been immortalized for the holidays in kaleidoscopic style by Project Rotate. The Los Angeles-based, firm laser cuts the ornaments ($45) in neon, iridescent or crystal clear color. Absolutely brilliant. We may keep them up long after the holidays. Suggested by LAist reader Anais Rodgers.
Social entrepreneurs/warriors Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla import one-of-a-kind, hand-stitched quilts ($98-$298, price varies by size) from Bangladesh that have been upcycled from vintage cotton saris for their non-profit Pacific Palisades shop, The Little Market. Each colorful quilt is double-sided and embroidered with the name of the woman who made it. Every purchase contributes to a brighter, safer future for the female artisans, many of whom are survivors of sex trafficking. Available in-store or online.
Fresh start. Formulated for sensitive skin and scented with 100% essential peppermint oil, these sudsy soaps ($12) are made by formerly unhoused women artisans gaining job training and life-changing opportunities at Made by DWC (MadebyDWC.org), the social enterprise founded by the Downtown Women’s Center of Los Angeles. The small batch soaps are made from Vitamin E, mango butter and coconut oil and sold at author/designer/television personality Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla’s non-profit, fair trade shop in Pacific Palisades, or online at TheLittleMarket.com. Did somebody say stocking stuffer? Available in-store or online.
Say, cheese! Everyone loves a charcuterie board, and this one is extra special because it is beautiful inside and out. The 6”x18”x1” board ($60), available in solid white oak, black walnut, and hard maple, is designed and hand made by the artisans at Would Works. Celebrating their 10th year in business, Would Works provides job training, employment and healing community for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles who said they “would work if they could." Suggested by an LAist reader.
Bonus: Would Works is hosting a 10th Anniversary Holiday Market, aka the Sawdust Soiree, on Dec. 11 featuring a pop-up store for gift buying, woodworking workshops and celebratory food and beverages.
Dec. 11, 1pm - 4pm
407 E Pico Blvd., #1003, Los Angeles
Mid Century Alphabet Embroidery
Sassy samplers. Classic embroidery with modern design. Mother Fern embroidered hoops by Los Angeles fiber artist Joelle Schorr are handmade works of art with personality and heart in every stitch. Choose from graphic, modern designs, motivational words, tattoo-inspired graphics, plants — or creatively customized keepsakes: think: an embroidered hoop of your baby-to-be’s ultrasound photo for posterity; or custom portrait of your child’s artwork; pet portrait or loved one ($12-$250)
There are coffee lovers, and then there are aficionados — and for these highly-caffeinated purists there is the pour over. Made one cup at a time, the small-batch method is achieved by placing a coffee filter inside a pour over mug with a hole in the bottom (see above gift idea), then placing that mug over a small coffee pot or container. Enthusiasts prize the pour over for producing a cup of joe that enhances the specific flavors and aromas of their chosen brew. Los Angeles-based Stendahl Ceramics’ version ($65) features a non-toxic underglaze, white glossy glaze and retro-inspired stripes. Add a bag of roasted beans to the gift and you’re golden.
The Mayor, numbered, limited edition shoes
Combining their experience (ASICS, Vans, TOMS) with their passion, Los Angeles-based husband and wife duo, Sean and Shannon Scott created COMUNITYmade (note the single ‘m’ for on-line search purposes!) to offer the coolest kicks handmade by local artisans — a rarity in a world of off-shore shoe manufacturing! Their concierge-style approach to bespoke shoe design includes everything from personalizing a pair from their existing collections to creating the shoe of your dreams from scratch (prices start at $400). Red carpet event coming up? Or simply can’t find the footwear in the color you crave? Walk this way. A portion of each sale will be donated to the local, sustainable effort of your choice. The Mayor shoes ($349 pictured) for men and women are made with upcycled leather from the auto industry and designed in collaboration with Pingree Detroit in Michigan. Suggested by LAist reader Charles Britton-Eisman.