In the past 18 months or so, I've been introduced to some incredible artisan-made brands. I thought the holiday season would be the perfect time to share a few of them with you.
There's a soul in handcrafted goods.
And people can feel it. One more reason they make the best gifts!
Houston Llew | Spiritiles
If you're looking for a fine work of art, look no further than Houston Llew.
I was gifted a 'Spiritile', and it's so beautiful, I've been following the young artist's work ever since. Houston Llew's studio is in Atlanta, Georgia and his creations are made from glass, copper and wood.
His Spiritiles are made with molten glass over copper, which he achieves by baking them in a kiln at an extremely high heat. Then he wraps the artwork around a sturdy wood 'tile' (from what I understand). The end result is strikingly beautiful and the decorative tiles make a generous and thoughtful gift.
His style incorporates beautiful images and endearing quotes, that make you feel.. oh, I don't know- grateful to be alive!
The tiles are ready to hang, and measure 8.5 x 5.25 x 1.75 inches in size. My picture here does it no justice, so click on over to the website for look-see at their current works.
I've been coveting this tile #214- "Cue Up". The quote by Maya Angelou reads, "Music is my refuge. I crawl into the grooves."
But I'd better grab one soon, the pieces are numbered and they do retire.
Houston only sells through fine art galleries, but I see The Giving Tree Art Gallery is offering free shipping! However you get one, you're probably not going to want to give it away once you lay eyes and hands upon it, but if you do, I promise you'll be somebody's hero! $129-$400
Old Soul Artisan | Hand-Poured Soy Candles
Harmony Todd is a candlesmith and old soul from Trenton, New Jersey. Although she's a young woman, Harmony emanates a depth of being that tells me she's been around much longer than her physical years. She describes her candles as 'inspired by literature, folklore, and the dark psyche'.
These highly scented candles have names like, "Book of Spells" and "Mother of Dragons". Harmony says, "The duality of mans nature was emphasized by the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Good vs evil, light vs darkness, yin and yang within a single man," a light on that which is both light & dark.
And she speaks with loving memory of stories she's read, while burning candles, and ties different scents to those dark tales she's always loved.
I'm imagining myself lighting Immortal, my little dog curled up in my lap, and reading anything by Anne Rice.
Your candles intrigue me like a great story, Harmony!
Gift them, if you're able. I ended up keeping mine, and they're so much better in real life. "Illuminate your darkness." Soy candles, sampler sets & tea lights $12-$34
Stella Chroma | Artisan Nail Lacquer
Pam Rodgers lives in Richmond, Indiana and is the Owner/Formulator at Stella Chroma Artisan Nail Lacquer. Pam makes some of the prettiest, swankiest nail polish colors I've ever seen! And while she confesses to being a total science nerd, this lady's been blessed with gifts of creativity and an eye for lush, saturated color. Right brain + Left brain for the win!
When Pam first discovered she could make her own nail polish, it sparked an interest in chemistry, which was satisfied only by learning how to formulate it herself. When she got it right, she was hooked!
But there's a few important differences between Pam's 'indie' polishes, and the big guys.
Stella Chroma polishes are not only strikingly beautiful to look at, but they're "big-five free", cruelty free, and paraben free.
That means NO Camphor, NO Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), NO Toulene, NO Formaldehyde, NO Formaldehyde Resins, and no components are tested on animals.
Pam says she created Stella Chroma to bring you nails that will 'boost your confidence and get you noticed'. All without nasty carcinogens and animal cruelty.
Gorgeous AND kind, her polish makes a great gift for your socially conscious, mani-loving peeps. Nail polish, cuticle oil, hand lotions and scrubs are $3-$33, with Free Domestic Shipping when you spend $25 and use coupon code GILDEDOLIVE at checkout ;-)
Pebble Trails | Custom Pillows + Home Decor
Marion Catalano is a designer just outside of Chicago, Illinois that makes "Vintage, Urban, Spiritual, Customized Pillows & More". More indeed!
Marion says she loves to connect with people, and finds inspiration while helping them express themselves.
Her custom pillows are made to order and a quick peek at her shop gives you an idea of her many designs. She began with her statement pillows, and I see she's introduced tea-towels, digital prints and even pendants.
People simply adore customized items, and especially those that can be set out on display. Share a little something that expresses your personality, with one of Marions handmade pillows.
I think her pillows would make an original and thoughtful gift. And so perfect as a house warming gift, anytime. I'm patiently awaiting your new website, Marion, and I can't wait to see what's next for you! Pillows & prints $5-$42
Madam Von Trinkets | Handcrafted Wire Wrapped Tree of Life Jewelery
"The Tree of Life is a symbol of the interconnection between all things. It symbolize's unity, peace and harmony." Melissa Tinsley is from Leavenworth, Kansas, and she designs almost holographic, wire-wrapped Tree of Life pendants. Light just seems to emanate out from them.
Melissa say's the symbolism has resonated with her since the first time she saw a beautiful wire-wrapped design.
She embellishes some of her designs (she also offers owl, dragon and key collections) with a genuine Swarovski crystal, which she say's is recognized worldwide as the 'cleanest cut and most brilliant.'
She explains on her site, how 'The Tree of Life is a symbol of unity and how we are all interwoven into the fabric of this Universe. The lines of separation that are drawn in our society are imaginary and we can overcome them when we accept each other for everything that we are. To me, it is a symbol of how nature is interconnected.'
A thoughtful gift for the soul who wants to share her inner light. Pendants, bracelets & Earrings $10-$84
Wondermade | Gourmet Marshmallows
Makers of really great marshmallows! Wondermade began in 2011 when Nathan Clark, from Stanford, Florida, found himself without a Christmas gift for his wife, Jenn. He was listening to radio show talking about candy-making, and decided it would be fun to buy his wife a candy thermometer and a recipe to make marshmallows together.
The rest is history. I've had Nathan & Jenn's marshmallows, and they're divine.
I ordered the three month subscription, and oh, my!
I was absolutely giddy when those yummy marshmallows hit my doorstep every month. I also gifted them to my niece, who just happens to be a marshmallow connoisseur and she told me she savored 'em.
The colorful, letterpress boxes arrive all retro-cool looking, but that didn't stop me from busting them open.
And with stand-out flavors like Lavender, Fire Ball and Cookie's & Cream, there's something for everyone. An unexpected gift for anyone with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for the element of wonder and surprise, they're Wondermade! Marshmallows, Hot Chocolate & T-shirts $8.95-$125
Pretty Pretty | Jewels that Inspire
Kim Kreamer is the creative force behind Pretty Pretty Jewels.
Original, handcrafted designs made from natural stone and semi precious metals. A native New Yorker, Kim lives on Long Island and has a strong background in fashion, merchandising & design.
When her third child was born, she stopped working in the fashion field and started studying the craft of jewelry making. A self taught jewelry designer, Kim's designs are on trend and made for today's fashionable, 'spiritually aware' consumer. Her jewels are mostly inspired by her faith, family, friends and nature.
Kim's gifted with an intuitive fashion sense, designs each piece individually, and has styles available for both women and men. "I love to just sit down and create original pieces, I never mass produce."
I can always spot one of her piece's when I see it, it's part of the beauty of what she creates. I appreciate the symbolism of the continuous circles she so frequently uses, along with her faith & hope inspired, larger statement pieces.
Distinctive pendants, bracelets & earrings $15-$125
Gilded Olive Apothecary | Artisan Bath, Body & All That Jazz
And just in case we've never met before, Hello! I'm Val.
I'm from Long Island, New York, and I'm soapaholic, and a bathing aficionado in general. I've been a licensed massage therapist for many years, and I've touched a lot of dry skin; my own
As a habitual ingredient-checker, I tolerated the grocery-store brands, and could see they were made mostly with mineral oil (petroleums), even the 'better' brands.
I knew I could do better for myself and my family. I started to research how to make lotions from scratch, and carefully choose my oils and butters and eventually came up with this thick, rich formula that I love.
I prefer a thick cream over a body-butter for its less greasy feel and better glide.
Add a drop of style: I think Art Deco & The Roaring 20's are the cats pajamas, so I followed my heart, back to this distinctively beautiful era. Olivia's a tribute to those brave Flappers, the young women who were among the first rabble-rousers. The ones who demanded some fun of their own, the ones who began to question and shake-up social norms.
Miss Olivia's name-sake moisture cream is vegan, cruelty-free and scented in a neutral, fresh & green scent, grounded with a touch of musk and vanilla. One dollar from every jar sold goes to support local animal rescue. Soap, sugar scrubs, moisture creams and lip balms $4-$40
Mama Suds | Natural Laundry Soap + Wool Dryer Balls
Ok, so laundry detergent isn't something I'd normally think of gifting for the holidays, but guess what?
My daughter lives and dies by this stuff. My grandson is just 4 months old, and she'd never use Tide or Gain for his diapers or clothes. I ordered some of Michelles laundry soap, and I think it's going to be a much appreciated gift for my daughter this holiday!
Michelle founded MamaSuds because she wanted to bathe her family and clean her home with real soap- smart! She wanted to use products on her family that wouldn’t harm their health today or in the future. That desire spawned her research into exceptional ingredients that are safe for both people and the planet. Today, the natural home cleaning remedies that Michelle creates in her Michigan workshop are passed on to mamas all around the country, delivering fresh laundry, squeaky clean toilets, and peace of mind, too.
Your laundry will never be the same! Liquid soap, dishwasher powder, wool dryer balls and cleaning products. $5-$50 (much of this particular description was lifted from a great blog, over at Lucky Break Consulting)
These are only a few of my personal favorites, but there's so much great stuff out there. Check out more artisan-made giftables in Lucky Break Consulting's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide.
It contains an astounding 230 + artisan/handcrafted items.