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As many of us are scurrying around and stressing out over what gifts to buy for our family, friends and co-workers, we tend to forget the simplicity of crafting personal gifts or giving crafty gifts.
Being in a city where creativity and art abounds, it’s nice to know there are a few shops in or around town that offer a variety of cool gadgets and other “thing-a-ma-jigs” sure to make your loved ones smile. Below I’ve broken down a small list of local shops that will jingle your bells this holiday season.
I recently visited MOCA to check out the Do Ho Suh installation (which is fantastic, by the way) and couldn’t leave there without buying something special. They have a really cool art and crafts collection, including books, toys, gadgets and other accessories. The BY Play Art Ball I’ve seen before, as I’ve used it to not only keep my hands busy during a meeting but to also keep me focused and inspired. If someone on your list is a fidgeter like me, this is the colorful, fun gift they won’t be able to put down.
Getting buzzed while painting a special portrait for a special loved one? That’s like a gift for two! Sign me up! Art After Dark has a variety of BYOB art classes you can take either by yourself, with your friends, with your date or even with your special four-legged companion. Art supplies are included with your booking, so no need to hunt for your children’s painting utensils from kindergarten. Back by popular demand, Living Social is offering a number of specials for Art After Dark!
There’s always that one person who thinks they’re a brew-connoisseur but can’t seem to make the perfect beer from their at-home brew kit. It’s “tasteless,” they say. You take a sip of their homebrew and immediately taste the watered-down flavor notes the beer was meant to accentuate. Enlighten your friend and gift them the opportunity to be a true brewer at The Brew Kettle’s brewery. The Brew Kettle will provide the recipes, ingredients and assistance while you brew and bottle your favorite style of beer. After it’s been brewed, it will ferment in a temperature controlled room for a few weeks (depending on the recipe) then filtered, carbonated, and kegged. It is then ready for you to come and bottle it. The brew-on-premise opportunity is booked months in advance, so plan to participate in this activity after the new year!
I often see amazing glass-blown decor in stores, but it’s always so expensive. Support our local art scene and have little bit of fun yourself by blowing glass at Ohio City Glass. Book a class for one or two and work with a trained artisan to produce two pieces of work, time permitting. There are also lamp-working classes where you can create detailed items such as beads, pendants, and animal figurines. Don’t forget to check out their seasonal workshops to create great gifts like pumpkins, ornaments, ruffle bowls, and more. Groupon is currently offering a limited time deal for an Introduction to Glassblowing or Lamp-working Class for One or Two — so don’t miss it!
If glass blowing is not your thing, why not try a pottery class? Book a pottery class and learn from internationally renowned artist Tracy Ameen. Known for her sculpting and double wall pottery, Tracy’s work can be found in museums across country such as the Smithsonian/Cooper Hewitt Museum, The White House, and The Museum of Modern Design in New York. Gift a two-hour, two-part pottery class for one or two for an extremely reasonable price on Living Social — check it out!
Although this Ohio-based company has expanded beyond NEO, I always go to them to support local and find all of my DIY supplies. Remember that DIY Pinterest board you made last summer, but couldn’t find all of the supplies listed on your favorite pins? Well, this place has it all. One of my favorite seasonal projects is creating decorated wine bottle vases. What better way to hoard all of your empty bottles and re-purpose them as holiday gifts for the new homeowner on your list or someone that appreciates wine and home decor.
Images by MOCA, Art After Dark, The Brew Kettle, Ohio City Glass, Wheel Works Art Studio and Pat Catan’s, respectively.