by Nancy E. McCarthy
Shopping for that perfect holiday gift? It can be a daunting task. Consider these unique gift ideas – all designed or handcrafted in the Finger Lakes Region by talented, local artisans. Each extraordinary treasure is sure to delight even the most discerning (as in: hard-to-buy-for) family member or friend. Merry browsing!
Daniella Ranella Designs
Corning native Danielle Tenny makes bold, bright handbags, totes, wristlets and other fun fiber accessories. Tenny, a Fashion Institute of Technology grad, started up Daniella Ranella Designs after making bags for delighted friends and family. “Fabric shopping is a passion of mine,” says Tenny, who loves combining different textiles, colors and patterns to design her striking one-of-a-kind creations.
Visit www.drdhandbags.ecwid.com to view and buy Tenny’s work, which is also available at Lotus Beauty Lounge in Horseheads. To commission a custom piece, contact the designer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607-329-0782.
Diminutive and full-sized ornaments from the 12 Days Collection designed by Skaneateles artist Patience Brewster is a charming gift; perfect as a hostess present, for Christmas décor collectors or newly marrieds. Purchased singly or given as a set, these fanciful renderings are true to each verse of the beloved “12 Days of Christmas” song and sure to elicit joyful smiles of recognition. Also available is a 12 Days Large Display Tree to showcase a complete set of full-sized ornaments.
Visit patiencebrewster.com to view and order the 12 Days Collection and other enchanting Patience Brewster ornaments, gifts and textiles.
Art Coasters ~ Mary Beth Ihnkin
Fine artist Mary Beth Ihnken’s charming petite prints on wood are sold as coasters in sets of four. Ihnken and her family live in a restored 1810 barn just outside Ithaca and her artwork is inspired by life on the farm. Coaster images depict bright sunflowers and poppies, iconic barns and expressive ducks, cows, and chickens. “Gertie,” a vibrant chicken print, was recently featured in Country Living magazine.
Coaster sets can be purchased on Ihnkin’s website, mbihnken.com, and both online and in-store at Marmalade Mercantile, a vintage inspired farm décor shop in Ithaca (marmalademercantile.com). The artist will be at Little Red Wagon Artisan Market’s holiday show, Saturday, December 9, at The Space @ Greenstar, Ithaca.
Rushville fine artist Mark Stash details his love of the outdoors with tiny rustic paintings, no larger than 3 by 3 inches, created on wood slices or canvas. Using acrylic as his medium, the artist deftly captures a range of vibrant landscapes, majestic waterfowl and reticent woodland creatures in his signature impressionistic style. Affordable and portable, these original small works are meaningful gifts for art and nature lovers.
View the miniature masterpieces at stashartworks.com. To purchase, contact the artist at email@example.com. Artizanns in Naples also carries Stash’s work.
Rustic Metal Décor ~ SampsonMetalWorks
Bill Sampson, a retired industrial maintenance welder in Jerusalem, New York, creates rustic home and garden décor from new steel, and upcycled yard sale and auction finds. Using his plasma cutter and welder, Sampson makes decorative wall hangings from vintage saws, along with welcome signs, key holders, wind chimes and more. Most items can be displayed indoors and out, and he offers a range of one-of-kind and repeatable pieces. Sampson sells his unique décor at craft shows including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Holiday/Vendor Craft Show on November 11 in Ontario, New York.
His work may be purchased year-round from his online Etsy store, etsy.com/shop/SampsonMetalWorks. Contact Sampson for custom orders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share a piece of Finger Lakes flora with the gift of eco printed silk scarves embellished with local leaf imprints. Claudia Welbourne and Linda Rauscher Metzger create these lovely wraps using all-natural fabrics, dyes and decorative designs. These talented designers/sewists, of the venerable Rochester Folk Art Guild’s Clothing Design Studio, make women’s clothing and accessories in harmony with the Guild’s mission to support and nourish those searching for a more conscious, creative, and responsible way of living.
Eco printed scarves and other items are available in the East Hill Gallery at the Folk Art Guild on Upper Hill Road, Middlesex and during the guild’s annual Holiday Festival of Crafts (November 24-26) at The Harley School in Brighton. For details, visit folkartguild.com or contact the designers at email@example.com.
Knitted Teddy Bears
Mary Louise Church
Retired schoolteacher Mary Louise Church of Ovid is a prolific knitter of teddy bears. These sweet soft bears, created with a variety of cozy fibers and stuffed with polyester fill, are machine washable. They range from 5 inches to 24 inches tall and most are outfitted with knitted clothing. Watch for Santa, Rudolph and Elf bears this Christmas season! Much of the work she produces is commissioned. Recently, Church knitted bears for two young siblings who requested specific colors. “It warmed my heart to see them hugging the finished products.” Church won First Place for one of her bears at the 2017 New York State Fair’s Hand-Knitted Toy/Doll competition.
Teddy bears can be purchased at Artizanns in Naples. For custom orders, contact Church directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Goldilocks is surrounded by several cozy teddy bears at Artizanns, Naples.
As a young girl, Canandaigua jewelry designer Heather Alexander loved discovering beach glass along the shores of Cayuga Lake, right outside her family’s lakefront home in Romulus. Alexander still collects these treasures, but now uses them to create lovely wine glass charms. Offered in sets of four or six, charms are made with beach glass plus Swarovski crystals, glass pearls, or shells to complement the natural glass colors. Perfect for wine and lake lovers!
Order charms, jewelry and other beach glass creations at Handcrafted by Heather’s online Etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/HCbyHeatherJewelry
Reversible Bud Vase
Collen McCall Ceramics
This petite flower vase with bright front and back patterns is perfect for a few backyard blooms or a winter holly bouquet. Each vase is slab-built from dark brown clay, and then coated with an opaque layer of porcelain slip, hand painted, and carved with a decorative sgraffito outline. Two shapes are available: heart or pear. Elmira artist Colleen McCall’s colorful ceramics line, which also includes mugs, bowls, plates and platters, playfully melds her passion for painting and her love of the clay medium.
Shop online at ColleenMcCallCeramics.com. Retailers who carry McCall’s fun floral pottery include Handwork in Ithaca, Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, and the Gallery Store at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester.
Lovely Lariat Necklaces
Jewelry maker Linda Connor Cass launched Loudee’s Jewelry a decade ago and is passionate about the art of beading. Cass creates unique one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by the colors and textures of the natural stones she hand-selects during an annual shopping trip to Tucson, Arizona. “The excitement of discovering new beads, gems and stones – while playing with new designs – never ends for me,” says Cass, who makes necklaces, bracelets and earrings in her Fairport home studio. Most popular now are Cass’s lariat necklaces, inspired by 1920’s-style jewelry. The lariat has two long strands and can be draped around the neckline three different ways.
Retailers who carry Loudee’s Jewelry include Artizanns in Naples, Craft Company No. 6 in Rochester, and Finger Lakes Gifts and Lounge in Geneva. Cass will be at the Canandaigua Christkindl Market (November 10-12), the RMSC Holiday Bazaar at the Rochester Museum and Science Center (November 17-19) and Crafts for a Cause at the Eastside YMCA (December 2) in Penfield. For more information visit loudees.com
The food pantry at Artizanns gift gallery in Naples is stocked with an incredible assortment of locally produced foods, condiments and confections, as well as outstanding artworks and handcrafted gifts by more than 200 Finger Lakes artisans. Regional treats include Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery jellies and grape licorice twists, Mountain Rise Organics granolas, many Maggie’s Mustard varieties, Guglielmo’s tomato sauces, Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce, Clutes Maple Products, Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters coffees and much more.
A taste of the Finger Lakes is a delicious gift or stocking stuffer! Artizanns, 118 North Main Street, Naples, artizanns.com.
Gourmet Dog Treats ~ Bo’s Bones
Etna-based entrepreneur Jen Gage Sage, inspired by her beloved Hungarian Vizslas, started Bo’s Bones, a gourmet dog biscuit business named after one of her pups. These tasty treats, made with high quality organic grains and honey, range from tiny dime-sized TidBits to the mighty PowerBone. This locally produced product is the perfect present for dogs or dog lovers! An especially seasonally-appropriate offering is the “March of the Snowmen”: two 4” snowmen-shaped treats, plus a 5-ounce bonus bag of small snowmen.
Shop online at bosbones.com or contact Jen Sage at Jen@bosbones.com for a list of Bo’s Bones’ numerous retail locations and upcoming craft show appearances.