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Not a Traditional Gift Guide

December 2, 2015

This unusual gift guide of mine has been inspired by a recent article published by the Guardian. The scary message they are sending says “arts is becoming the preserve of the rich”. Who’s going to change this? I think all of us could.

According to a survey, conducted by Goldsmiths University and the arts organisation Create it is possible that 9 out of 10 creative individuals have been “required to work for free at some point in their career”. (Really worrying, but probably also very familiar, right?) This of course means that careers in arts are “unaffordable for those who do not have other means of financial support”. And… if you’re brave enough to work without a contract, that provides job security, be prepared to earn less if you’re a woman – this inequality is “persistent across all sectors of the arts, and regardless of how long people had worked in their career”.

The whole article can be found here – make sure you read it, especially if you’re familiar with the “impact of debt on creativity” (I love this expression, coined by the authors of Panic!, a Create project, delivered in partnership with the Barbican, the Guardian, Goldsmiths University and British Art Show 8).

After this short introduction you should already imagine some of the non traditional gifts I’m going to offer. I’m going to support artists, designers and crafters this Christmas (especially women). You could do the same.

Not a Traditional Gift Guide (suitable for Her and for Him)

1. An original painting or a signed limited edition print. (My recent find – colourful and sweet Vanessa Cooper’s oils.) Good paintings are expensive, but if it’s something that’s going to make your heart sing, why not spoil yourself or your loved ones at least one time a year? The other option – go for unknown names; such artwork will cost less and you might be not only supporting young talents, but also investing into something that over time could potentially become priceless.

Vaneesa Cooper - Spring Song (available as a signed giclée limited edition print)

Vanessa Cooper – Spring Song (available as a signed giclée limited edition print)

2. Functional Art or something for your every day use. Sometimes Art is suitable (if you let me use this word) not only for looking at it. Think of unique ceramic objects that are not only pretty, but can also be used around the house – beautiful fruit bowls, colourful milk jugs, sophisticated flower pots etc. They’re always so much more than the mass-produced stuff every neighbour has on their shelves! (Here’s a question for you – have you seen Vicky Lindo’s cats? They are a definite must have in any cat lovers house.)

One of Vicky Lindo's lovely plates

One of Vicky Lindo’s lovely plates

3. Learning new skills or making old dreams come true. Not everyone will admit it, but we all have secret dreams about trying someone else’s profession. For e.g. I’d like to try making my own pot or jug. A few years ago I had a chance to have a go at making a clay bowl, but sadly this didn’t involve playing with a proper potters wheel… These days many artists and crafters organize open studio days or offer all kinds of workshops. You can be taught how to felt, knit, sculpt, make prints, take photographs, sew or embroider. Even if you aren’t going to change your career you could have hours of fun together with other enthusiasts learning new skills, finding out some secrets from the makers. (If I lived in Brighton… I’d like to learn something new from Helen Brown, I think that her bright prints are fabulous!)

Very colourful Helen Brown's print

Very colourful Helen Brown’s print

4. Tickets to a museum or an exhibition. Almost a year ago I told you three good reasons why you should head for a gallery or a museum right now. One of them – because such trips make you feel good. Apparently “experiences, such as visiting a museum, can also become a meaningful part of ones identity and contribute to successful social relationships in a manner that material items cannot”. Good enough reason? I think it is. (If you’d like to know more about the other two reasons, please click here.) I’m sure you will find something lovely to see, just flick through the local newspapers and act!

5. Books. In my opinion books are perfect gifts. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’d be bored in a bookshop (although I’m sure such people exist). Nowadays with such websites as Lulu and Blurb anyone can become a published author, so it is possible to purchase beautiful albums containing your favourite artists’ or photographers’ works. (I am sure I’d find loads of inspiration looking at Karen Knutson’s paintings.)

30 Paintings in 30 Days by Karen Knutson

30 Paintings in 30 Days by Karen Knutson

There you go, I gave you five ideas. Now you are ready to do your Christmas shopping. (By the way, none of the lovely artists paid me to get a mention on my blog, I simply like what they do and wanted you to see their work.)

P.S. You can offer your not traditional gifts, I’d be interested to see what could, in your opinion, be added to this list. Just leave a comment below.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2015 8:04 pm

    What a lovely Gift Guide!:) I try to come up with new ideas for selfmade christmas presents every year: sewing shopping bags, making little Origami-earrings, etc. and am always happy, when someone does the same, or at least buys these things from other artists to support them. Hope you inspire more people to do the same! Sarah

    • December 4, 2015 3:09 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Sarah. I love handmade gifts, they are always a really nice proof that someone’s been thinking about you for quite a long time (well, at least while they were making the present!). Stuff that comes from other artists’/crafters’ shops is also great – it’s brilliant to know that it has been made by a person who enjoys what they do.

      I’m glad you liked my gift guide, lets hope other people will take it into consideration before this Christmas. K.

      • December 5, 2015 7:59 pm

        It´s my pleasure, Kristina:) Hope we can spread the word, too!
        I absolutely love that beautiful jumper by the way – wish I had sufficient patience to do that, too. Mostly I knit scarfs and caps, though;)
        Wish you a wonderful weekend and am looking forward to your next posts! Best wishes, Sarah

  2. December 2, 2015 11:21 pm

    All wonderful ideas:)

    • December 4, 2015 3:03 pm

      Glad you like these ideas. I hope they will be useful getting ready for this year’s Christmas. K.

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