I get so overwhelmed at Christmas. There’s just so much STUFF out there to buy… we seem to have lost all sense of meaningful gifting and become taken over by the commercial plastic scrum that is thrust upon us each year.
I like gifts that are thoughtful and relevant, yet with a touch of indulgence. It’s a hard act to balance – too practical is just dull (socks, body lotion, cookbooks… yawn) yet too extravagant risks being irrelevant and unused.
An Art focused gift gets it just right. I’ve had a quick flick through my favourite websites and put together my Top 10 art related gift ideas. Many of the items are only available in a small limited edition or are completely unique, making them particularly special.
- Gina Soden Mini Museum
Gina is a brilliant young fine art photographer who travels the world, breaking in to derelict buildings to capture their decaying beauty. You may have spotted her work in Soho House or The Ned. Her ‘Mini Museum’ contains 20 architectural images inside a handmade wooden display box. The front image can be changed whenever you like. Limited edition of 50. Priced at £230. Contact Gina directly https://www.ginasoden.co.uk/
- Amanda White X The Shop Floor Project House Cushion
The House Cushion Collection is an ongoing collaboration between The Shop Floor Project and Paper-cut artist Amanda White, celebrating some of the most interesting historical houses and their inhabitants. I love this one of Virginia Woolf’s Writing Shed in the garden of Monk’s Cottage.
30 x 40 cm £140 The Shop Floor Project
- Antony Gormley Iron Eau de Parfum 50ml
To mark Antony Gormley’s exhibition at the Royal Academy, perfumier Azzi Glasser worked with him to create a scent that captures the smell of the artist’s studio and creative output. It’s hard to recommend a fragrance online, but I love the sound of it from Azzi Glasser’s description: “The warmth of the wood notes, the depths of the resin and the softness of the musks are based on Antony’s personality”
Edition of 100
£150 The Royal Academy
- Tim Fishlock Limited Edition Print
I’m obsessed with this artist’s text based work. This is a particularly small edition of just 15 so a bargain at £300.
Giclée print on paper 2018
Signed and numbered by the artist
60 x 60 cm
Edition of 15
£300 Unframed Hang Up Gallery
- Guerrilla Girls: Dearest Art Collector jigsaw puzzle
The shop at Tate has so many wonderful gifts this year. I’ve only selected two products for this list, but do go and browse the full range as there are some absolute delights.
- Louise Bourgeois eye mask
Louise Bourgeois was a renowned French-American artist and sculptor, best known for her contributions to both modern and contemporary art, and for her spider structures entitled Maman. She was an insomniac for most of her life, and described sleep as ‘paradise’. The eye mask features an image of Bourgeois’s own eyes, giving you the wise and watchful eyes of the iconic artist while you sleep.
£28 Tate Shop
- A unique pair of washing–up gloves hand drawn by Wilma Johnson
Wilma Johnson is a leading member of The Neo Naturists. The group are an important live art collective initiated in th 1980s as a part of London’s subculture that arose from the squatting community in the aftermath of Punk and the emergence of the New Romantic club scene and the advent of Thatcherism. The Neo Naturists were a part of a cultural network of collaborators and peers that included figures such as Leigh Bowery, Peter Doig, Boy George, Maia Norman, Grayson Perry, Derek Jarman, Princess Julia, Marilyn and Cerith Wyn Evans.
£50 House of Voltaire
- Limited edition scarf by Peter Pilotto & Francis Upritchard.
Contemporary artist Francis Upritchard has collaborated with womenswear designer Peter Pilotto on this wonderful cashmere model blend scarf. Again a tiny edition so a great price.
Edition of 30
135 x 135 cm
£120 House of Voltaire
- The Art of Love: The Romantic and Explosive Stories Behind Art’s Greatest Couples
The Art of Love tells the stories of the most fascinating couples of the art world, exploring the passionate, challenging and loving relationships behind some of the world’s greatest works of art. From Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Joseph Cornell and Yayoi Kusama, Josef and Anni Albers to Gilbert & George – Kate Bryan delves into the formation, and sometimes breakdown, of each romance, documenting their highs and lows and revealing just how powerful love can be in the creative process. Whether long-lasting, peaceful collaborations, or short-lived tumultuous affairs, The Art of Love opens the door on some of the greatest love stories of the twentieth century.
- The Eye of Horus necklace by Studio Rua
I’m a big fan of Studio Rua jewellery who made my favourite earrings. Founder Ruth Leach uses the age old technique of lost wax casting. Each piece is carved by hand leaving subtle traces of fingerprints and tools marks, much like early archaeological finds.
The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, power, and good health. The stylised bronze eye outline is set with a deep blue lapis lazuli cabochon. Lapis was one of the most highly prized stones of ancient times and was used to decorate the tombs of the pharaohs.
£140 Studio Rua