The holiday season is in full force and we can hardly keep track of the number of local markets popping up all over the Lowcountry. These events feature different vendors, food trucks, and special attractions, but they all have one thing in common: They're set up to promote local makers. From painters to potters these markets are one stop shops for locally made artisan products.
We know it's easy to Amazon prime the heck out of your Christmas list, but this season we encourage you to shop small and buy local. We've rounded up a number of local makers and their goods based on our own experiences at holiday markets, from word of mouth suggestions and, yep, Facebook stalking. This list is by no means exhaustive — we'd have to dedicate an entire issue of the paper to all the locally made goods coming out of Charleston. We tried to make this roundup easy for you to navigate: If you like visual arts, we'll show you where to shop. Nautical goods? We've got you covered. Read on for the most local gift guide in town.
Pondering a painting?
Two galleries, Meyer Vogl and Mitchell Hill, are holding small works shows with the goal of attracting more buyers. Smaller works are, generally, less expensive than big ones, and a local painting is a damn good gift for just about anyone.
Artists Marissa Vogl, Anne Darby Parker, and Laurie Meyer will all be presenting at Meyer Vogl Gallery's show, Gallery Wallapalooza, on Fri. Dec. 2, from 5-8 p.m. Vogl and Meyer started this gallery in 2015, inspired by the organization of "Artists for Emanuel," a 90-person art exhibit that raised funds for Coastal Community Foundation's Lowcountry Unity Fund, formed after the tragedy at Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015. The gallery features contemporary fine art and you can snag a small work there until Christmas Eve.
Mitchell Hill's small works show, Popcorn Garland, will be held on Fri. Dec. 9 at 6 p.m., and will feature smaller works from artists all over the country, as well as local artists. Painter John Crum is one of Mitchell Hill's exhibiting artists; his paintings represent Lowcountry experiences, often depicting scenes on the water. His Popcorn Garland piece, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," though, is a fitting seasonal piece — and its small size matches that tiny tree of Charlie Brown lore.
Artist Twoie Palmer has been featured in U.S. publications like Family Circle, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, and more. But her piece, "Frida," is inspired by a trip abroad. In her artist's bio she says, "This year's work was inspired by a 'life changing trip' to Egypt. My other inspiration was a reflection on women that have touched my life because of what they stood for. The two women, Frida and Malala, are women who were strong and stood up for what they believed. This is how I wanted to portray them in my art."
Pining for pottery?
There's something heartening about a well made bowl or mug — something hardy that lets you know you'll be putting some warm soup or coffee in your belly soon. Charleston has a number of ceramics makers, but unfortunately, the city doesn't have a whole lot of spots celebrating the art of clay throwin'. Cone10 Studios, "a working clay community sharing studio and gallery space" and a longtime resident of NoMo, is closing up shop this year, after selling their spot at 1080 Morrison Drive. They'll be hosting a final get together on Fri. Dec. 9, selling some of their artists' products, and inviting everyone to come share a glass of wine or two.
You can also grab some locally crafted pottery from Fred Prudhomme at Celadon Warehouse's upcoming holiday flea market, held on Sun. Dec. 18. Prudhomme's artist bio says, "I favor warm, softer colors, strong lines, and vessels which feel good in your hands." His works can also be found at Surface Gallery and Charleston Crafts Gallery, both located downtown.
Charleston is a city surrounded by water, and you can celebrate the city's nautical history with gifts that embrace the past and present. All of these makers, Keith Hudson, Allyn Graham, and Amanda McLenon, can be found at the Charleston Farmers Market, now held every Sat. and Sun. from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. through Dec. 18.
Allyn Graham has been selling his Lowcountry Sketches at the Charleston Farmers Market, local art galleries, home decor stores, and through various preservation societies for over 11 years now. Graham superimposes his original artwork on vintage war maps, nautical charts, and more. The framed works are also nods to a bygone era — the frames are pieces of reclaimed barnwood.
Amanda McLenon, a studio artist at Redux Contemporary Art Center, sells her paintings — including ones on cozy throw pillows — at the Charleston Farmers Market. She has a masters in marine biology, which inspires her art, works that fearture birds preening, fish swimming, and even elements of coastal maps.
Last week we ran an arts feature about the Southern Gallery's current exhibition, 99 Problems but a Print Ain't One. The show features works from artists all over the country, with each artist addressing a topical issue in their prints — from race relations to reproductive rights. As Southern co-owner Erin Nathanson says, prints are accessible and affordable — prices at this show range from $30-$800. Swing by the gallery anytime until Dec. 31 to check them out and take one home, or head online to peruse the prints.
When you think prints, you probably think holiday cards, too ... right? Local company Ink Meets Paper crafts greeting cards, invitations, and even recipe cards. Each product is made with 100 percent cotton paper and hand-mixed ink in Ink Meets Paper's North Charleston studio. Head there this weekend, Sat. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for an Open Studio + Holiday Shop. Ink Meets Paper partners with Finkelstein's Studio for this pop-in shop, where you can also check out Finklestein Toys products — handmade plush toys.
We'd be remiss to offer a gift roundup without mentioning at least one specialty product that features the fruits of pluff mud, ya know, oysters. Oysters All Around is a company founded by a local teacher and school counselor who became friends through the Charleston Junior Women's Club. They launched their designs this summer and will be at Celadon's holiday market on Dec. 18.
Speaking of stuff you can hold in your hand ... Wolfpack Craft, created by best friends Noelle D'Ercole and Casey Childs, is a local company that makes jewelry, stoneware, and more. You can find them at Johns Island's Homegrown Holiday Bazaar on Sat. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.