Goodness comes in many shapes and forms, and we believe that the best gifts that you can give for the holidays are those the empower both the maker and the recipient. We have harvested and highlighted some of our favorite handmade goods for a complete A to Z gift guide that you can refer to for the holidays or throughout the entire year. Items featured include one-of-a-kind accessories, fair trade textile initiatives, craft collectibles, fashion statement pieces, housewares, organic lifestyle goods, and yes, vegan truffles. Join us in celebrating the beauty of the handmade as a catalyst for change and bold innovation.
Alabama Chanin ‘Yarn Balls’
If anyone understands holidays and the goodness of sharing, it is Alabama Chanin and team. These colorful yarn balls are made from 100% organic cotton rope and can be used for a variety of DIY projects – including finger crochet, necklaces, cool belts, and even domestic repair. Give them to all your friends for an evening around the hearth, sharing stories and crafting to your heart’s content. Choose from an assortment of colors for the small, medium, large set that you opt to give.
$26, Alabama Chanin
AFIA Vagabond Vest in Grey
AFIA‘s urban indigenous chic is right in sync with the well-deserved acknowledgement that Africa and her indigenous textiles offer up tremendous options for contemporary fashion styling. Ethically crafted by artisans in Ghana, this smart and versatile layering piece will be a coveted addition to any globe trotter’s wardrobe. Wear it buttoned or open, day or night. We think that you cannot go wrong when fashion statement pieces are so right. (Eco-model and fair-trade advocate, Ariel Clay, pictured here — seems pretty convinced, too).
Bulgar USA Rose Dish Collection
As some one who has spent a considerable amount of time in Bulgaria, I can personally attest to the fact that Bulgar USA‘s ceramics and textiles home collection is not only authentic but state-of-the art in terms of craftsmanship and timeless beauty. A favorite amongst editors at ELLE Decor, Food & Wine, Gourmet, House & Garden, and Vogue – to name a few, the range of traditional patterns and accent hues make any table setting or holiday table a feast for the eyes.
Founders Donna and George Hadjipopov have been working diligently since 2001 to provide jobs to artisans in Bulgaria while also revitalizing rural economies and handcraft techniques. Donna shared a bit of their mission with us: “One of my key roles has been to share quality and management techniqes that would help sustain Bulgarian businesses for their future growth. I also introduced lead-free glazes and contemporary colors into the design process. I continue to work closely with local women to assist in the development of their personal voice and expression through their hands and their hearts. Sometimes I might ask them to omit a certain element, but I always begin with what they want to do.”
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for select offerings and pricing/shipping details.
If giving or sharing a bit of organic fashion in the making is something that you have been fantasizing about, consider investing in a one-of-a-kind handmade creation by BALMASEDA studio. Designer Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda has been a slow fashion force with her hands-on holistic manifesto to create pieces that explore the symbiotic relationships between fiber and the hand-crafted. Her capsule collection pieces include materials such as fiber hand spun from local textile waste, US-milled organic cotton, unique surface design treatments, naturally-dyed eco-yarns and organic fabrics — basically a modern cornucopia of sustainable goodness. Add to this, BALMASEDA is all about supporting artisans in NYC as well as in Puerto Rico, where the designer’s roots run deep.
For more inspiration visit the BALMASEDA blog and/or contact info@BALMASEDA.com regarding acquiring a unique gift for the holidays.
Cave Collective Handmade Necklaces
Let’s face it. I love the idea of giving a gift from a label named Cave Collective. Something about this just seems to satisfy some rather primal needs. Particularly alluring are their handmade fiber necklaces inspired by Pacific Coast sunsets, plant life, organic forms washed ashore and indigenous ceremonial jewelry. Uniquely crafted using natural dyes found in the San Francisco region / North Bay terrain; each piece is created with textile techniques of tassels, twisted cord, and coiling done by hand. Handmade to order. Please note: variations occur from piece to piece.
Prices available upon request, Cave Collective
Erin Considine Jewelry ‘Retia Earrings’
Erin Considine‘s jewelry design philosophy truly epitomizes the best of how a hands-on process informs design alchemy and innovation. The Brooklyn-based designer prototypes all of the unique shapes for her metal work, prepares her own naturally-dyed fiber (often with plant-based material from her own garden), and does the final assembly by hand in her art studio. We love her new Retia Earrings handwoven with grey logwood-dyed cotton fiber on cast brass. Wearable art as gift giving splendor? It’s a total wrap.
$140, Erin Considine
Dutzi Design Vintage Burlap Pouches
Dutzi Design by Ariane Dutzi is a perfect example of how artfully repurposed materials can demonstrate just how luxurious ethical handcraft can be. Ariane works closely with Mayan men and women to create a range of chic burlap clutches, totes, and handbags that are the pick of fashion editors globally. Detailing includes a ‘mecapal’ – leather double strap. The small size retails for $88, the medium for $98 (fits an iPad) and the large for $123. Readers who mention ‘GOODLIFER’ at check out will get a 15% discount.
$88 – $123, Dutzi Design
EKO-LAB 100% organic wool hand crochet gloves
EKO-LAB has been a Goodlifer favorite since the dawn of NYC’s ethical fashion movement and their involvement with Ekovaruhuset: House of Organic on the Lower East Side. Their materials and methods demonstrate an extremely thoughtful process that celebrates local production, artisan collaborations, and handcraft that melds the best of art and fashion strategies. We love the smart design of these handmade mitts with fold over fingertip enclosures. As participants in the Pratt Design Incubator in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, you can be assured that EKO-LAB has done their homework when it comes to researching the future of smart sustainable design solutions.
E-mail Melissa & Xing-Zhen at EKO-LAB for ordering details: email@example.com
Feral Childe Toklas Top
Literary chic takes on new dimensions with Feral Childe‘s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection, “Infinite Librarian.” We love this Toklas Top for its wry take on the classic bib front and tie-collar blouse. Made in NYC out of 100% organic cotton, this is a timeless and classic addition to any woman’s wardrobe. Choose from two signature Feral Childe prints: ‘Bookshelf’ available in red and plum, ‘Chain Print’ available in buff. Shell-buttons and “pencil point”- shaped tabs at the cuffs makes this top a smart choice for the total brainiac in your life.
$185, Feral Childe
Grain Design’s Sustainably-Sourced Wall Hook
A sculpted wall hook might seem like a rather minimalist gift for the holidays but consider the possibilities in terms of how it might be used to display personal gear and the de-cluttering of household items. Grain design has one of the most solid crafting missions out there and this router cut wall hook clearly demonstrates why they do not mess around when it comes to finding smart solutions for the use of natural materials in versatile product design. Made in the Pacific Northwest out of sustainably sourced (FSC) beech wood, good clean design and playful installations ideas will surely have some one hooked.
$70, Grain design
Hudson Valley Seed Library’s Small Space Garden Kit
Give the gift of green thumb empowerment with the Hudson Valley Seed Library‘s small space garden kit. This savory collection includes 12 packs: Baby Bok Choi, Little Gem Lettuce, Matchbox Pepper, Sparkler Radish, Genovese Basil, Tiny Tim Tomato,Teddy Bear Sunflower, New Yorker Tomato, Brilliant Beet Blend, Good Bug Blooms, Moonflower, and Skyscraper Sunflower. The gift basket itself includes a fiber seed starting tray. All gift baskets are wrapped in vegetable-based compostable clear wrap padded with recycled stuffing and tied with natural ribbon.
$44, Hudson Valley Seed Library
Ibex Woolies for Him (that you can borrow)
There is nothing sexier than a good base layer, and Ibex Clothing knows how to keep you warm from head to toe with their best-selling, 100% merino wool, ‘Woolies’. The athletic fit is great for action-packed weekends or simply lounging around at home when temps get chillier. We love this pop of color in ‘India orange’. Ibex also takes great pride in maintaining exceptional customer satisfaction by keeping their dedicated followers happy. You can be totally assured that if your gift is not a huge hit, Ibex will want to remedy this.
Julia Lines Handwoven Lace Stripe + Embroidered Tea Towel Set
The Textile Arts Center’s online store is now featuring these gorgeous towel sets woven by designer, Julia Lines. Each set of 2 features a towel from 100% cotton yarns on a Baby Wolf loom coupled with an embroidered linen towel crafted from 100% linen slub and cotton thread. Both measure approximately 16″ x 23″ and are machine washable (in cold water with like colors, tumble dry, do not bleach, medium iron). “Julia Lines was created to build a world of home goods with an emphasis on natural, quality materials. The first collection debuts with contemporary hand woven tea towels in delicate graphic patterns. All tea towels are hand woven on an 8-shaft loom that resides in a small and cozy studio on a tree-lined street in Philadelphia.”
$42, Textile Arts Center
Karen Barbé Hand-Embroidered Organic Cotton Potholder
Karen Barbé, a celebrated textile designer based in Santiago, Chile, has an international following with her handcrafted textiles, accessories, and homewares collection. We particularly love her cross-stich motif, hand-embroidered potholders in wool backed with organic cotton. The embroidery is on one side only and the price is per unit. Measures 16 x 25 cm (6″ x 10″).The perfect gift for the culinary genius in your life or simply to frame in the kitchen as a cool textile work of art.
$38, Karen Barbé
Kirsten Muenster Jewelry Large Half-Persian Chain Bracelet
“It starts with a raw spool of wire, the wire is hand spun into a coil, the coil is hand cut into individual links, the links are ‘woven’ into chain, one by one.” If anyone understands the beauty of link love, it would have to be designer Kirsten Muenster. It is beyond amazing that she makes these perfectly-formed links by hand in her idyllic San Francisco studio and then weaves them into the most exquisite slow fashion accessories. A celebrated pioneer on the ethical jewelry scene, Muenster is a lover of beauty all the way around. The large half-Persian chain bracelet comes in brass or bronze and can be made in any length. Feel free to Kirsten if you need sizing assistance.
$200, Kirsten Muenster Jewelry
Krama Wheel Red Sami, Special Edition Scarf
This vibrant gingham scarf was hand-loomed by a weaver in Cambodia’s Takéo province. The cotton is hand-dyed, ends hand-knotted, and labels sewn on by hand. Because of their handcrafted nature, no scarf is exactly the same, but they make for good travel companions and are versatile enough to easily transition through the changing seasons or time-zones. Krama Wheel‘s “5 Days of Good Krama” starts today Monday and runs through Friday (November 30). Buy any style scarf from the scarf shop during those days and you are entered to win scarf. Shipping is also complimentary on all orders placed between today and December 15.
$46, Krama Wheel
Lagusta’s Luscious Handmade Locavore Truffles
If someone out there sent me an exquisite box of Lagusta’s Luscious vegan truffles, I just might write them off as one of the most compassionate folks in my life. Yes, these handmade treats are probably an excellent way to sweeten up even the most stressed-out and over-tasked do-gooder on your list. A set of 8 scrumptious truffle delights are packaged in a handmade, individually sculpted porcelain container (modeled on the rustic cardboard containers from the farmer’s market or berry picking patch). Flavors are inspired by the goodness of Hudson Valley farm ingredients. All truffles are made fresh with no animal products or preservatives.
$35, Lagusta’s Luscious
Milena Silvano’s Yama Tri Patchwork Shawl
I have been following designer Milena Silvano‘s journey for quite some time now, and I consider her to be a true artisan and truly creative thinker when it comes to the melding of slow fashion and textile ideas. The Yama Tri patchwork shawl is made with organic angora and merino wool, handwoven in the Indian Himalayas, and hand-woven with vegetable dyes. This wearable work of art measures approximately 100 x 200 cm and has fringes on both ends. Sewn in the U.K. and ships internationally. Visit Milena’s blog for more inspiration and background on her exquisite creative process.
£135, Milena Silvano
Read Part 2 of this Gift Guide here