Holiday Shopping Ideas 2014

December 5, 2014


Left: A forest of cardinals from Karen Engelbretson, KJE Felties. What is more iconic in winter in Minnesota than that flash of red in the bare birch tree? Now you can have a bit of that flash inside as well when you adopt one of these felted cardinals. Karen makes each one by hand so each one is unique—each one has a gesture and personality that comes not only from the artist's hand but the naturalist's eye. Image ©2014 Karen Engelbretson, used with Permission.

It's past Thanksgiving Day so it's the time of year when I don't go into a store (except the grocery store or pharmacy) until after January 2. I can't stand the decorations, the piped in music, the perfumed candles, and the hostile customers and harried clerks (or vice versa on those last two).

Yep, it's just best for me to stay away. Sure, last Friday I took a chance and made a quick pit stop at Wet Paint to pick up some empty Montana Markers, but that was only because we were a couple blocks away at the grocery store, and I really, really needed those markers.  

I encourage you to keep going to independent stores like Wet Paint. (Frankly I don't think they have any music playing there, but then I might just be talking and laughing so much that I don't hear it.) They carry pretty much something for every artist on your list, and they do gift cards of course.

But if you're looking for something made by an artist, that special something to give to your friends and family, I suggest that you seek out work by various artists throughout the holiday season.

Maybe you want to see how things are made? If so felter Karen Engelbretson will be conducting a felting demo at the Textile Center from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 6. She will have work on sale. (You'll have another chance to see Karen's delightful work at the Minnesota Women's Art Festival, see below.)

If you are looking for lovely pottery of all sorts Lee Love is showing his work at the Raymond Ave. Gallery Yunomi show until December 19.

Love will also have his work in Art At Ramsey this Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is held in the Ramsey Middle School Gymnasiums and Cafeteria. You can find a list of the many participants and the types of items they are selling (from jewelry to wood, to prints, clay, class, flet, baskets…you get the idea) and more details about the even at the "Art at Ramsey" Facebook page. This is the 20th Annual event and there are other great artists along with Love at this event including book and mixed media artist Gena Ollendieck, printer Nick Wroblewski, and cloisonné jewelry artist Emily Chesick to name just a few.

The Minnesota Women's Art Festival will be held on December 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Colin Powell Center, 2924—4th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408 (this is a new location for this repeat event). You'll find a list of participants on their website. I'd like to call your attention to the participation of printmaker Jean Shannon, Book artist Theresa Harsma, and felter Karen Engelbretson of KJE Felties.

Mixed Media artist Kate Katzer is participating in "Awesome Local Artists Holiday Sale" on Saturday, December 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, December 14, 12 to 5 p.m. I don't know who all the other artists are going to be at that event, but I bet there will be others of your favorite Wet Paint artists there. It's at 161 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55104.

All season long (and throughout the year) you can stop in at the Guthrie, Walker Art Center and Mill City Museum shops for delightful pop-up cards by artist Manida Sry. To celebrate the holidays Manida has created a special pop-up card to commemorate "A Christmas Carol" which will be available at the Guthrie store during the holidays.

Don't like to go out and about shopping at this time of year, check on line where artists may also sell their work. Karen Engelbretson has an etsy shop.

Want a fabulous fantasy print? Local artist Christine Mitzuk has an online shop featuring original art, affordable prints, and some stationery items. Her fantasty paintings are filled with light and magic, so check them out.

If you're thinking ahead and want to give a hands-on gift to your favorite artist think about workshops. Artist James Edward Scherbarth has several 3-day workshops in oil and cold wax medium techniques coming up locally in January (16-18); February (20-22); March (20-22); and June (12-14). You can see details about the three-day workshops at his website James Edward Scherbarth, or contact him at I had the great pleasure to meet Jim at his Layers Art Studio 339 in the historic Northrup King building a couple weeks ago. I have admired his work for years. If you love color and texture you will love his pieces and I suggest that you get on his mailing list for upcoming shows and studio open house events.

A Tip When Buying Art:
If you see something you like and you can afford it (even if you have to eat vegemite sandwiches for 3 weeks) buy it THEN! Artists are innovators and once they create something and get it the way they want it they move on to something else; a new phase; a new medium;…or someone else has already bought that piece you wanted so much. 

So while I'm not advocating "silly-spending-out-of-your-budget," I am advocating that you listen to that voice inside of you that is communing with that work of art. It's going to go home with someone…

Standard Disclaimer: I'm not reimbursed in any way, by any of these artists. I have the details of their holiday shows because they are all artists I know. I share these details because they all make delightful and exquisite work. I want you to know about them too—that's all. If we support the artists we know then there will be a lot more cool stuff for us to look at. That prospect makes me happy. Very happy.

  1. Reply

    Shoot, I meant to send this to be added.. oh well, I’ll just try it here if that’s okay..

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