What they want and what they're giving loved ones
Tapestry weaver Caron Penney
This year I’ve come to know Mark Reddy who makes hand-crafted wooden spoons. I met him during London Craft Week when he was carving spoons at Dunhill London, and again recently, and he gave me a test spoon as a gift. I would love one of his spoons and so would my partner. We both collect ceramics, and in the past I have bought gifts from Contemporary Applied Arts. It’s aspirational but I particularly like the work of Vicky Lindo. She did a ceramics series inspired by the work of artist Peggy Angus, my partner’s late great-aunt. Someone whose work we do own is Nicola Tassie, who sells through the Petronilla Silver gallery. Her jugs are very minimal and pared-back. I have also bought ceramic coasters by Alison Milner from the Zimmer Stewart Gallery in Arundel. Present & Correct and Labour and Wait in London, and Objects of Use in Oxford are all great shops for feeding my stationery habit.
Blacksmith Leszek Sikon
I’m from Poland and the biggest gift I buy is a plane ticket to go back home for Christmas. Last year after I set up my business as a blacksmith, I made a bunch of knifes for my family. On my shopping list for this year is something by silversmith Alex O’Connor who makes lovely little vessels. At Christmas I also like to treat myself, so I will be buying beer from the Small Beer Brew Co., which is founded by two guys I met recently at the Tower of London Food Festival, and meat from Palfrey & Hall, a local butcher in Stowmarket, Suffolk. Their shop is half an hour from where I work, but the smoked bacon they sell makes the drive totally worth it. I would also really love to buy a hammer from Faram Forge in Seattle, owned by blacksmith Jakob Faram. He makes amazing, high-quality tools but will make almost anything on commission.
Ceramist Tilla Waters
If I want anything interesting and hand-made, my number one destination is the Oriel Myrddin gallery in Carmarthen. It has a shop that stocks the best of British craft including, at the moment, some Emily Kidson jewellery that I’m hankering after. Another place I’ve discovered recently is the shop at the Corgi Socks Factory Shop in Ammanford. It has been producing socks for more than 100 years. They are wool and cashmere, and come in lovely, bold rugby-like stripes. My husband and I live in quite a remote place so we do a lot of online shopping, and one of my standard eBay searches is Liberty vintage – you can’t feel the fabric before you buy, so the good thing is that you know it’s going to be good quality. In the past, I’ve also bought Felco secateurs and last year I got my husband an art book on Gordon Baldwin, who used to have a holiday house in our village.
Luthier Alex Bishop
I have always had a workshop among other makers so I tend to buy most of my presents from them. Ceramist Libby Ballard has the studio next door and last Christmas she did pretty well off me. On my other side is fine artist Caroline Rudge and a couple of years ago I bought some of her mini portraits. They are small, almost passport-size paintings that make an extra-special Christmas present. My wife does wedding floristry so we’re both quite creative and one Christmas we made a load of hanging birds for family members; she did the design and I did the woodwork. My brothers are very musical so almost without fail every year we buy each other vinyl records. I’m a bit of a vinyl junkie and like Friendly Records in Bristol.
Leather designer Bill Amberg
I tend to buy presents throughout the year and stick them away in the cupboard. Last year, though, I was developing glasses cases and card cases for various projects so I made a whole load of glasses cases for everybody, which was fun. I also went to Assembly for some nice stripy T-shirts and the independent record shop Raves from the Grave, both in Frome. I like a bit of cooking, so on my wish list this year is a book on pickling and some bread-proofing baskets for when I make sourdough. I like the work of Richard Pomeroy, a ceramist in Bruton. He makes very fine porcelain mugs and jugs and I’m slowly building up a collection of those. The other person whose work I like is London-based artist Julie Goldsmith. I commissioned a set of plates from her for my wife when she had a big birthday, and I might add to that little group this year.
Ceramist Akiko Hirai
The best Christmas present I have ever had from my husband was a part for my gas kiln. I have a studio at the Chocolate Factory N16 so I am surrounded by other makers. It means that I don’t need to look anywhere else for gifts. I love Alexandra Blum’s Dalston pencil drawings (she followed the development of the area and was artist-in-residence at the Dalston Square construction site) and landscape paintings by Catherine Hennessey. I gave one to my husband and he loves it. I have also bought mugs by Sophie MacCarthy, sculpture by Aneta Regel and lampshades by Helen Rawlinson. I do not wear jewellery very often but I would like to buy something by Lina Peterson again. The last piece I bought for myself, but thought that it was so special that I gave it to one of my closest friends as a present.
Glass artist Jochen Holz
I don’t do much Christmas shopping. I often make things for my mum, or for smaller items I go to Momosan in London. Everything – incense, tea caddies, candles, tea towels – is by an independent maker and pieces often have a Japanese angle. Last year I also went to the farmers’ market before Christmas in Stoke Newington and bought a turned wooden bowl by beekeeper Tim Cowen (he also sells honey). I recently went to the London Design Fair and saw some nice ceramics and knives by Spanish makers on the Artesanía de Galicia stand so I think this year I might support them. I sometimes swap gifts at Christmas with other makers; I was especially pleased with a wooden salt and pepper mill by Tiago Almeida.
Glass artist Jahday Ford
I live in Manchester so I often buy gifts from the Manchester Craft & Design Centre, in the city’s creative Northern Quarter. What’s great about it, is that as well as holding exhibitions, nearly 20 artists and designers have studios there so it’s a really good way of finding original gifts by new and established makers. Decorative stoneware vessels by ceramist Linzi Ramsden and glassware by Gemma Truman have both caught my eye recently. My mum does a lot of knitting and tapestry work, so this year I might get her something from Fred Aldous, which is a great craft and art supplies shop near me. They also sell all kinds of things in the gift shop, from personalised sketchbooks and diaries to hand-made cards and coffee-table books.
Wood artist Eleanor Lakelin
When it comes to buying presents, I’m always horribly last minute. I whizz round Cockpit Arts Deptford where I’m based; in the past I’ve bought leather wallets by Mark Tallowin, cushions by Eleanor Pritchard and my sisters have all had a necklace by Adele Brereton at some point. I often get things for my partner that I quite like so I can borrow them. We often buy each other mugs and someone has broken a Derek Wilson one, so I might have to buy a replacement for that this year. Or a hand-woven scarf by Catarina Riccabona: I already have one
of her throws and it feels wonderful. I use online shop AbeBooks to try and find obscure publications, on music, say, for my son. If anyone wanted to buy me something, I would love a jewellery box by young designer Jie Wu who makes beautiful boxes by layering different materials.
Metalsmith Adi Toch
I usually teach at the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem for the whole of December, so I buy my presents before I leave. I try to buy hand-made pieces or make them myself if I have the time. In the past I have made some of my balloon pieces – small brass vessels nestled in ring-shaped balloons – in red for Christmas. Last year I got my aunt and niece white gingerbread men silicone brooches by jewellery artist Isabelle Busnel, each with a different sized bite taken out of it (some are missing a leg or a hand). She bought gingerbread men biscuits, took a bite and cast them in silicone. I also bought some cups from ceramist Carina Ciscato and Christmas decorations from Contemporary Applied Arts. When it comes to Christmas cards, though, I send them from Israel. Last year I found lovely cards with photos of old Bauhaus buildings in The White City in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art shop.