December is here, and with it comes holiday gift shopping.
Yes, it’s easy to head to a mall, hand over your credit card and buy what everyone else is buying.
But you’re not that type of shopper.
After all, you live in a unique area and you pride yourself on being one of a kind, so why shouldn’t your gifts be that way?
In the past, we’ve tempted you with tiny treasures, either in price or in size.
We’ve found inspiration along the shore and from holiday table settings.
This year, we’re looking to area artists, who have created special treasures large and small, as well as the bespoke and the one of a kind.
Be tempted by the area talent, and indulge your loved ones and yourself.
— Scott Simmons
BURLED BRINY BEAUTY
Tim Brady’s bowls are understated in their elegance.
The Briny Breezes man turns out bowls in cherry and other hardwoods that are pretty enough for display and practical enough for use.
This burl bowl would lend a touch of distinction to any décor, but Brady brings together real grace in a cherry mortar and pestle — all the better to get into the grind this holiday season.
It’s available for $250 at the Gulfstream Pharmacy, 4998 N. Ocean Blvd., Briny Breezes; 276-4800.
A PLEASING PENDANT
When we think of the art of jewelry, we think of Jewelry Artisans, where Pedro Maldonado transforms the amazing into the fantastic. Take this pendant, for example.
To create it, he surrounded a slice of opal from Lightning Ridge, Australia, with 18-karat white gold and framed it with sapphires.
“It’s like looking at the ocean from outer space,” Maldonado said.
The stone has depth, and its colors change as the angle of the lighting shifts.
The result is dazzling. Equally compelling: a pair of earrings created with slices of opal, 18-karat gold and yellow diamonds.
The pendant is priced at $17,000; earrings are more budget friendly at $4,800.
Jewelry Artisans, Plaza del Mar, 247 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. 586-8687 or www.jewelryartisanspalmbeach.com.
Make no mistake: Robert Schmidt makes dazzling stained-glass windows, with intricate cuts and sparkling colors.
His fused glass also transforms the light in an array of hues.
Don’t have space for a window? Or, maybe you’re renting.
So why not buy a few of these lanterns to have the sparkle of hand-wrought glass in your home?
Or, better yet, make your own — Schmidt is an instructor at Old School Square (where you can find his work in the Cornell Museum gift shop) and he offers classes in his Boynton Beach studio. The fused-glass ornaments a group of students had created were impressive in their design and would make great hostess gifts.
The lanterns are priced at $250; windows and other pieces are priced in the thousands.
Schmidt Stained Glass, 413 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach; 400-8841 or www.schmidtstainedglass.com.
A GIFT THAT’S IN THE BAG
Just face it — these purses are cool.
Artist Adriana Bottary hails from Argentina, but creates her one-of-a-kind leather purses and accessories in a Fort Lauderdale studio.
Marusca Gatto, who is director of operations at the Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square, has transformed the museum store into a light-filled boutique that’s filled with jewelry, artwork and decorative accessories.
And she says Bottary hand-tools the buttery leather and paints the designs on these bags.
One thing is for sure — they are one of a kind.
Dare we say it? With these bags, the eyes have it.
Priced at around $200 at the Cornell Art Museum’s store, Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 243-7922 or www.oldschool.org.
It’s one thing to buy art.
But it’s another to create your own.
Since 1950, the Boca Raton Museum Art School has inspired local folks to learn the fundamentals of painting, drawing and sculpture.
The school draws students of all ages and skill sets — from beginners to professionals looking to develop their art.
Not sure what classes you want to give to that special person (or yourself)? The school will hold an open house 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.
Prices start at around $60 (for a flower arranging course) on up.
Don’t feel like making art? For the price of an $80 membership, you can support the museum and get free admission to shows, as well as discounts in the museum store and on art classes.
Boca Raton Museum Art School, 801 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton; 392-2503 or www.bocamuseum.org/artschool.
Rwanda, Mexico and Peru to gather an assortment of ornaments. Or you could drive a few miles to the St. Frank’s pop-up store at Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach, where you can buy Fair Trade textiles — pillows, blankets, tapestries — and these ornaments.
The company name comes from its hometown, San Francisco, named for St. Francis of Assisi, the son of a textile merchant who dedicated his life to the poor.
A gift box of four ornaments is priced at $55 at St. Frank’s, Royal Poinciana Plaza, 340 Royal Poinciana Way, Suite C1, Palm Beach; 268-2583 or www.stfrank.com.
For decades, Ron Heavyside has been shaping surfboards that tame the waves around the world.
All you have to do is take a stroll through Nomad Surf Shop to see the work of a master.
These boards are as much artwork as they are sporting goods.
In the case of the line of boards featuring the photography of Tony Arruza, they literally are objects of beauty that meld Arruza’s images of the sea with the boards that ride the surf. Those boards start at $800-$900 for a single fin with modern touches.
Want something more understated?
Heavyside also shapes basic shore boards that cost $550 and up.
Nomad Surf Shop is at 4655 N. Ocean Blvd., at Briny Breezes Boulevard; 272-2882 www.nomadsurf1968.com.
RAISE A GLASS
These hand-blown drinking glasses are one of a kind and are available in a variety of colors — the blues and the greens are deeply saturated, and the bright yellow-green is otherworldly in its glow. It would be fun to mix and match a set of these tumblers that are kissed with the look of the sea. Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, where we spotted these glasses, is selling them for $35 apiece or $100 for a set of four.
Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts is off the beaten path, as it were, at 1105 Second Ave., S., Lake Worth; 508-7315 or www.benzaitencenter.org.
TIE ONE ON
These bowties, made by Grazie Prokopetz, graphic artist at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, are sure to lend a sartorial touch with a wink to any ensemble — notice the coffee and doughnut motifs of the ties we shared. Wear one to dress down a tux or dress up a dress shirt and jeans.
Priced at $40 apiece in the Cultural Council’s Uniquely Palm Beach store, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth; 471-2901 or www.palmbeachculture.com.
These B-May bags would look good regardless of the season.
Mom could tote anything from baby bottles to wine bottles in the leather shopping bag that’s embossed with a crocodile motif. The larger pouch is perfect as a clutch and the small pouch is designed to keep cell phones safe.
A bonus: Because they’re unique to Deborah James, it’s unlikely that special someone will run into someone carrying an identical bag. They’re also available in black.
Priced at $126-$596 at Deborah James, 402 Via De Palmas, Royal Palm Place, Boca Raton; 367-9600 or www.deborahjames.com.
THE PERFECT HOSTESS GIFT
Many of us get invited to tree-trimming parties. We also like to host them. Or, we have guests visiting for the holidays.
Here’s a way for them to remember those occasions, with ceramic tile ornaments featuring the artwork of Lois Brezinski.
Her colorful paintings capture the subtropical delights of Delray Beach, and she has used them on everything from these ornaments (priced at $9.95 each) to place mats, cutting boards and mouse pads. They’re available at Lois Brezinski Artworks, 533 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 400-8869 or www.loisbrezinskiartworks.com.
COME TO PAPA
If Vincent van Gogh had moved to Florida, his work might resemble that of plein air artist Ralph Papa.
Papa lives in Boynton Beach, has a studio in Delray Beach and is part of a gallery at Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton, where you can see how he captures the light and colors of South Florida with his 21st-century take on Impressionism.
You could buy a canvas print for $47, an acrylic print for $78 or a framed print for $73. Or you could order greeting cards.
Few things sum up Christmas in Florida better than the cards bearing an image of December in Delray, with a peek at Old School Square and its landmark Christmas tree.
Priced $1.80 per card for a pack of 25, or $45 for the box, at www.fineartamerica.com.
THE GIFT OF ENTERTAINMENT
If there is one thing for which folks in southern Palm Beach County should be grateful, it is this: There is a wealth of cultural opportunities in the area. You could enjoy regional theater at The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton, or check out a touring show or an art exhibition at Delray Beach’s Old School Square.
May we suggest a holiday experience? Melissa Manchester is performing Dec. 24-25 in the 300-seat Wick.
Tickets to the show are $85 per person. You could make a meal of it — a Chinese buffet will be available at $45 per person for the Christmas Eve performance.
The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum is at 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Info: 995-2333 or www.thewick.org.
A BEACHY ABSTRACT
Palm Beach Gardens artist Carol Korpi McKinley invites a patron to “surround yourself with joy.”
And her large-scale canvases draw a smile for their heart, humor and hues.
Her works have proven popular over the years at Excentricities stores, where they bring a sense of the light and colors of South Florida. That is especially true in the jewel tones of the pinks and blues of this giant giclée, called Beach Abstract.
Picture it on the tall wall of a grand room or imagine it bringing a little of the outside in, floor to ceiling in a condo.
But whatever you do, just picture it.
It’s offered at $2,800 by Excentricities, 117 NE Fifth Ave., Delray Beach; 278-0886 or www.excentricities-inc.shoplightspeed.com.
ON THE FLY
Forget the fish. Disregard the rod.
Everyone knows the art of angling lies in how you tie your flies.
Oh, you can buy flies for a few dollars (we especially were smitten with one dubbed “Sad Flea”; alas, it was sold out). Such flies as the EP Crab are perfect for hooking bonefish, redfish or permit, according to Ole Florida Fly Shop.
But we like the idea of tying your own.
Ole Florida Fly Shop has all the supplies for that, from paints to feathers to foam (and everything else it takes to create a fly).
It’s at 6353 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton; 995-1929 or www.olefloridaflyshop.com.
RAYS OF HOPE
This glass sculpture by David Peterson captures all the movement and grace of a spotted eagle ray as it glides out to sea. You can picture one going with the flow of the Gulf Stream. Or you can picture one in someone’s living room, where it will evoke the infinite. Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, where we spotted this ray priced at $1,200 in a gallery, is sure to tempt with other sculpture and well-priced decorative accessories — hand-blown Christmas ornaments, priced at $20 apiece, would make great table favors or hostess gifts. Classes also are available. Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts is at 1105 Second Ave., S., Lake Worth; 508-7315 or www.benzaitencenter.org.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Can you picture a whole street of these colorful cottages by Lake Worth artist Jim Hertz?
We can because we’ve seen the real thing in such towns as Lake Worth and Key West.
These houses, made with recycled materials, would fit any décor, from mobile home to mansion.
And, yes, they’d make nice souvenirs of a holiday well spent in Florida.
Priced at $40 at Lois Brezinski Artworks, 533 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 400-8869 or www.loisbrezinskiartworks.com.
ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER
There’s one thing Tim Carter could tell you: Don’t go against the grain, especially when you’re turning wood into fanciful shapes such as this manzanita burl ball that’s inlaid with malachite and appears to spin before a galaxy of bird’s-eye maple.
The store at the Cornell Art Museum has it mounted on a wall as a plaque, but it could spin into infinity on a horizontal surface — can’t you see this on an understatedly elegant cocktail table?
Don’t need a plaque? Carter’s vessels and other pieces also are available.
Priced at $400 at the Cornell Art Museum’s store, Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 243-7922 or www.oldschool.org.