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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Aesthetica Magazine Gift Guide 2010

It’s that time of year again and at Aesthetica we’re already excited about the festive season. The Christmas we’ll be avoiding the high-street chains (apart from WH Smith to pick up the Dec/Jan issue of course!) and buying our gifts from independent artists and makers.

It goes without saying that we’ve all been bitten by the change in the economic climate so we thought it was the perfect time to put the focus back on something handmade and sustainable; a gift with a story from an independent retailer.

These pieces are an investment buy, and not in the fleeting sense. At Aesthetica, we believe that the origin of the products we consume should be a central ethical concern and from a less serious stance, there is something much more exciting about a handmade gift.

We’ve handpicked you a selection of 12 gifts from our favourite designers, makers and online stores to solve all your Christmas shopping woes!

Amma Gyan’s beautiful pendants are made from moulded leather, which is painted to give a metallic effect. The single pendant is hung on a slender trace chain attached to a solid brass bail.

Sun-Woong Bang’s intricate and delicate jewellery centres around a simple and profound idea, that contemporary practice, in time, will become traditional practice. The pieces are unmistakably contemporary. We’re most excited by the more abstract pieces, such as the Transit Series which generates electricity while being worn!

Yueh Yin Taffs’ sculptures are hand built and exude personality, energy and spirit. Focusing on hand built porcelain figurines of horses in various dramatic poses, these sculptures are inspiring.

A Little Bit of Art specialises in affordable printed artworks. Tackling head-on the fact that we all want art on the wall, but can’t necessarily afford to shell out for it, A Little Bit of Art is an online gallery that offers a diverse selection of artists, illustrators and printmakers who are using different mediums and techniques to create exciting imagery, printing on papers, glass, mirrors, ceramics and wood. Contemporary and current, this website is well worth a look.

Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery specialises solely in contemporary jewellery. Much of the work on show pushes the boundaries between fine art, jewellery design and fashion resulting in jewellery that is best described as wearable art. It’s all too easy to head straight to the likes of Topshop for contemporary jewellery but it is refreshing to see pieces that are current, design-led, handmade and affordable.

Culture Label brings you an edit of products, currently available from the world’s best museums, art galleries and artists. We are all guilty of spending more time in the gallery shop than in the exhibition itself and this website provides the perfect anecdote to the office blues. We’ve spent hours on this website, making our own wish lists and gaining valuable inspiration from the gift service they provide. Proceed with caution; this site will have you hooked.

Other Criteria is great for those family members who are notoriously tricky to buy for. Working directly with Damien Hirst and a number of established and emerging artists to make limited editions and multiples, t-shirts, jewellery, photographs, posters, prints and books, these products are original and quirky. Our favourite is Hirst’s Silver Turtle which is a bargain at £8,000!

Tom Hare’s willow sculptures are hand-made to order and it doesn’t get more unique than that. Working with greenwood, specifically willow, he creates large woven sculptures which are largely botanical in nature. Each piece has its own character and if you’ve got a big garden would make the perfect centrepiece.

The Peanuts Collection is a beautiful hardback book that covers 50 years of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Woodstock and the gang. This tactile book features 200 illustrations, and has sections that can be removed, unfolded and pop out. It evokes a sense of nostalgia, and as you flip throughout the pages, it makes you want to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas and for a brief moment, makes you feel like you’re 10 again.

We Admire has the world’s largest collection of original t-shirt designs and their selection of children’s togs is almost too cute for words. For those kids who seem to have everything, their shirts with Francis Bacon and Cindy Sherman had us all wishing we had children to dress! With designs incorporating Design, Architecture, Cosmology and Philosophy there is something for everyone.

Emma Gordon makes clutch bags and coin purses to order. Tired of only being able to buy mass-produced goods in the shops that were being worn by thousands of other people too, Emma decided to do something about it. Using pretty colours, quirky details and delicate trims, every bag is handmade making them the perfect gift this Christmas.

Complete Creative Package There is nothing like self-promotion at Christmas so our favourite gift this year is a fantastic combination of 1 year’s Aesthetica Subscription, Free DVD of emerging filmmakers, Creative Works Annual 2011 all for £29.95. Offering endless enjoyment for the long winter evenings, this gift will keep on giving throughout 2011!

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