Behind The Scenes With Brooke: The Handmade Holiday Gift Guide For Early Shoppers

It’s November and the holiday gift buying season is officially here! Lucky for you I have the inside scoop on an early hand made sale event and artist open studio hours to help you get your orders in and your shopping done - all while supporting awesome local artisans and staying within your budget. Also, read carefully because many of the craftspeople are offering special discounts just for readers. YAY!

If you don’t already know accessories designers Ape & Bird (real life couple April and Richer), check them out right now! All their hats, wallets and other offerings are unisex and completely hand made with impressive (long lasting) craftsmanship. They sell in person at craft sale events, online at their etsy shop and are now offering 15% discounts to my readers with the coupon code “pattyj” for a limited time. You can also visit them at the AS220 Mercantile Block building in downtown Providence Tuesdays 4-8pm for their open studio hours. (It's by appointment only, so message them online to set something up.) Their prices range from around $15 to $70 for most items.

This Saturday, November 7th, from 4-10pm, you definitely want to attend the Nicholson File Building Open Studios event. There will be ceramics, jewelry, wearables, fine art and much, much more. Here's a sampling of a few of the artisans you can buy and order from at the event:

Providence Plastics Projectby Will Wells and Ryan Venghaus, makes really cool, colorful wallets, phone cases and more from repurposed plastic and textiles. Absolutely everything is hand made in house from recycled materials, so you won't find a more perfect gift purchase for the eco conscious art lover on your list. Prices range from around $15-$90.

Speaking of repurposed materials, artist and musician Sarah Clover will be selling her jewelry made from vinyl records (See pics below.)



as well as higher end glass jewelry and fine art pieces. She works with a variety of colors and geometric shapes that look great with pretty much any outfit. Her average prices range from $20-$150. However, if you visit her at Nicholson File during the event and mention this post, she will give you a buy one, get one 50% off discount!!!

For more amazing jewelry, and some metal based art work, check out Cynthia Lech. Cynthia’s wearable metalwork is timeless and chic. These are the pieces you will wear every day and get compliments galore on. Her average prices range from around $35-$80. For one night only though, at the event, she will give all pattyj readers 10% off - just be sure to mention you heard about her here ;).

Treat yourself, or someone you really love, to more metal-based work by bladesmith and jeweler Steven Lubecki. Full disclosure: Steven is my better half, but he is also one of the best craftsmen I have ever seen. He will be launching his new line of kitchen knives at the event on Nov. 7th as well as showcasing his high end men’s accessories. Each and every piece is painstakingly hand crafted and performance tested. Most of his pieces are made to order and prices for his knives and jewelry start at $250. Of course, he will be offering a 10% discount to all my pattyj readers who place orders at the event. 

Last but certainly not least, you must take a look at the work of Greg Rebis, a ceramicist. (See some of his pieces in the pics above.) Greg is a personal fav of mine! His work ranges in price from around $35 to $72. He's also an incredible painter and illustrator, so if you're in the market for some distinctive art work, definitely do NOT miss him this weekend.

Now, many of the artists and craftsmen I've introduced you to here (as well as ones you'll meet at the Nicholson) will accommodate custom orders for the holidays if they are placed early enough. So, this weekend, or early next week, is your best bet. Also, remember when asking for custom, it's best to give the artist one 'special' request (“Can you make those earrings for me in Blue?” or “Is it possible to make that mug with a handle on it?” are two good examples.) for how you want them to personalize their design, without trying to re-design their work. Typically, if you ask nicely and they have the time and materials at their disposal, they will make it for you. 

Photo Credits: The product pics are all provided by the artists and the messy studio pics are from my iPhone ;)


More About Brooke

Brooke Erin Goldstein is an Artist, Stylist and Creative Entrepreneur living and working in Providence RI. She has a BFA from RISD, majoring in textiles. Brooke worked in the fashion industry for 5 years before starting her own businesses. Since then she has been working for herself providing personal and creative services for over 10 years. To find out more of what Brooke is up to follow her pages on Facebook - State of Mind Styling and Brooke Erin Goldstein Art & Design.