I don’t know about you, but these days I am ultra conscious of where I shop and what/who I support with my money. Where did it come from? Who made it? Is it terrible for the environment,the economy, human rights? It’s exhausting really, and not realistic to be able to buy fair trade, ethical, organic, free-range, handmade everything all the time, but I feel like I have to try.
So! We have a rich mother lode of artists in our province and it’s never been easier to buy locally made gifts, since many of them sell online. Think about it. No travelling on winding roads in sketchy New Brunswick weather, no finding parking and walking in freezing wind, just sitting in your cushy house with a glass of whatever clicking “add to cart” and voila! Beautiful local gifts arrive at your door ready to be wrapped. We have an incredible number of artists in New Brunswick and I thought I’d make some of the searching a little easier by pulling out a few that you might like.
Here are my top picks for Christmas gifts this season!
(Note* Keep in mind that handmade goods are a bit higher in price because they are painstakingly made by hand in Canada, where the cost of living is, well you know. These gifts have a story.)
Click on the names to see their online shops!
Beautifully crafted leather. I have one of her cuffs and wear it every chance I get. Top pick: This gorgeous green satchel with a labradorite stone.
2. Flora and Fauna skin elixir (Yolande Clark)
Handmade, organic skin elixir. *Shameless endorsement* I do nothing when it comes to a “beauty regimen”, but I have been using Yolande’s oil blend for several months and no joke I frequently get comments about my skin. This stuff is uber natural, light and absorbs quickly. I’m secretly afraid that Yolande will stop making it so I’m stocking up…
Absolutely delightful and fantastical felted creatures. Each one a family heirloom! My top pick: these toads.
Adorable little art prints. Top pick: these little birbs! Turns out I love birbs. (Update: Celine no longer sells on Big Cartel. Send her a private message about any inquiries!)
Beautiful one-of-a-kind leather work inspired by nature. Ashley also hand-drew a lunar calendar which will soon be available on her Etsy. Top pick: This peacock feather bracelet.
These yarns are so gorgeous I just want to nom them. Top pick: The name captures these colours so nicely, “Summer Day”.
These bags are lovingly sewn by hand in Mascarene Bay and will last a lifetime. They’re pretty too! Top pick: The Harbour.
8. Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones is a visual artist from Saint John, NB. She paints the city and the harbour, with fire escapes, cranes and tankers. She’s got big paintings, she’s got itty bitty ones, they’re all originals and all gorgeous. She even has an art subscription program where you receive four little paintings throughout the year! Top pick: Definitely the gift subscription. You never know what you’re going to get, just that it will be good.
These kites, yes kites, are true works of art, handmade with love in South Knowlesville, NB by Leland Wong-Daugherty. Top pick: I love the colours and pattern in this one, “Quetzal”.
This woman uses felt like it’s playdough. I just want to hold those little birds! Top pick: These blue jays are adorable.
Colourful, modern art prints. Top pick: I love this one of the Cathedral in Fredericton. (Update: Kris no longer sells from a website. Send him a private message about any inquiries!)
Classic, timeless jewelry made by recent NBCCD grad Kate White. Top pick: This ring has some edge to it.
Aboriginal ceramics artist Valerie Jean does beautiful ceramics in different designs. Top pick: this ceramic ring which also doubles as an essential oil diffuser!
Sylvette Fortin is a fibre artist who is delving into the world of puppets. Top pick: this brightly coloured number named Punky.
I couldn’t not include this… it makes a great gift! What could be better than a series of magazines that are more like coffee table books, full of colourful photos and engaging stories about New Brunswick artists? The fourth issue is currently under construction… Stay tuned!