My general policy about holiday consumerism is that if I’m going to spend money, I’d rather do so at a small business or an artist-run project that can really use my hand-earned dollars. So with that in mind, we compiled a list of fun arty gift items made by designers and other creatives that you may consider purchasing for the gift receiver in your life.
The items we linked to are from 14 different shops and we suggest browsing each to find more indie items.
Ray Marshall’s Paper Blossoms ($35) features five pop-up bouquets in a convenient book form. [Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago store, $35]
Ronda J. Smith’s handmade pillow from original photographs of Brooklyn landmarks (sadly, the Brooklyn Cyclone pillow is sold out) taken by the maker. [Brooklyn Museum shop, Watertown $65, Parachute Jump $55, Brooklyn Bridge $65]
For the first time in most people’s lifetimes Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will overlap, and to celebrate this rarity, nine-year-old New Yorker Asher Weintraub conceived, designed and named the Menurkey — a Hanukkah menorah shaped like a Thanksgiving turkey! [Jewish Museum shop, $250]
Designed by Chen Lu Wei for Megawing, the colorful erasers let you assume the role of hairdresser while you work by using the eraser and slowly “shaving” away the rubbery hair surface. [Colossal shop, $4]
Jessi Arrington loves color, so her designs for Tattly, the temporary tattoo outfit, are notable for their colorful pop, and they’re very affordable too. [Tattly, $5/set of 2]
Wintercheck Factory is one of my favorite Bushwick indie design companies, and their Totescarf looks like a great combo of attractive and practical (that scarf pocket looks great). It comes in 11 potential colors/patterns. [Wintercheck Factory, $40]
Brothers Teerachai and Thosaphol Suppametheekulwat founded Qualy in 2004, and this Bangkok-based company has been creating their playful and functional home wares in recycled plastic. Their four container spice rack, Four Seasons, is perfect for the design conscious. [Fab, $35]
These may be pricier than many of the things on this list but Skewville’s
Over You Head” works are a tribute to the classic sneakers dangling on the wires of Brooklyn and other urban centers. These two-color hand silkscreens are painted on wood. [Factory Fresh, $400]
Oliver Franz’s natural wooden tray holds a mug & saucer, memo pad, and smartphone. A groove beneath the tray even holds your smartphone charging cord. Simple, clean, attractive. [Spoon & Tamago shop, $45]
Brooklyn designer Peter Rentz created these art historical tshirts (Rosalind Krauss, Harold Rosenberg, Walter Pater, Sigmund Freud, Johann Winkelmann) for Hyperallergic and they are the ultimate for any art nerd. [Hyperallergic shop, $20]
Have you ever seen wrapping paper good enough to frame? Well, this series by John Derian, the East Village design shop specializing in a decoupage aesthetic, certainly qualifies. [John Derian Company, $5]
Christina Kelly’s “It” (2013) is a limited edition that takes the classic NYC to-go coffee cup and replaces the graphic with only surviving ancient Greek Attic vase depicting Sapphic love. It’s pretty amazing. [Front Room Gallery’s Fuse Works, $30]