Welcome to the Baltimore Fishbowl Local Gift Guide series. We’ll be featuring ten themed items each week through the holidays. Let us help you find that special something for everyone on your list, while supporting local businesses, and getting out to shop in different parts of this diverse and thriving city.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” Goes the song.
If you’re of the mindset that once the cold appears, we should all just bunker down and enjoy what’s keeping us cozy… well, then this week’s gift guide is for you. This week we’ve found the perfect presents for those who stay in their socks, bake the cookies, and brew the cocoa, and let others go out in the storm. Decorate the sanctuaries of your favorite indoor folks with these perfect gifts.
Almanac is a husband and wife company based in Baltimore, who create hand-crafted goods in paper, leather and cloth. No matter what they’re manufacturing, it’s usually the old-fashioned way. Their screen-printed card cases are hand-stitched and all of their letterpress prints are fed into our antique press one sheet at a time. These folded and riveted leather Catch All dishes are perfect for collecting keys, right by the front door.
2) Locally Made Pantry Staples from Woodberry Kitchen
You read that right. Everyone’s favorite farm-to-table restaurant in Woodberry has opened a mini pop-up shop for the holidays, and they are selling all the makings of a perfect day indoors. Keep a bottle of their infamous “snake-oil” hot sauce around for every meal. Try the pancake mix. Stock up on jams & jellies. Everything that comes out of this restaurant is made from scratch, and worth every penny. Be sure to shout from the rooftops as you stuff those stockings… these are made in Baltimore!
3) Wooden Coasters from The Vintage Vogue Story
Baltimore designer Charlotte Cannon studied both interior architecture and design in college. When the “real world” of architecture left much to be desired by way of tactile experience, she followed the urge to get back to drawing, designing, and model-making. In an effort to be based at home for the sake of her family as well as a desire to start to create again, She started the vintage vogue. Recently, her handmade wooden coasters have been picked up by larger retailers, including Madewell and West Elm. You can find the coasters in those shops, as well as Cannon’s website:
4) Modern Candlesticks (and beautiful Chandeliers) from The Light Factory
“My goal is for the pieces we build to use modern materials like glass, steel, leather, brass, and nylon to hint at the beautifully organic or random shapes we see when we step outside. So when I’m designing a new piece I’m trying to find that juxtaposition of natural and sculptural that would be just as at home in a Manhattan apartment as it would be in a house by the lake.” Says Ashlie Beal, owner of The Light Factory. Her small company (which began as a weekend project to create a perfect chandelier and now employs 5 workers and ships internationally) produces exquisite pendant lights, “bubble” chandeliers, and these super cool candlesticks to match. For Baltimore Fishbowl readers, The Light Factory is offering an exclusive 10% off any online order! Use code “FISHBOWL10” for deals through 12/31
5) Hand Screen Printed Pillows from Radica Textiles
Walk into the West Elm on Dock Street and you’ll find a welcoming display of special, Baltimore-Made items. Included among them are the beautifully printed textiles of this small local company, and most prominently featured are the pillows. All the hand-drawn patterns are hand printed on pre-shrunk cotton-linen blends and use substantial metal zippers, finished interior seams & squared off corners. Lovingly made entirely in the USA.
6) Air Plant Vessels from La Loupe Design
After graduating as a Textile Designer in Argentina, Jorgelina Lopez focused on the creation and development of her brand, emphasizing on the use of natural fibers as a medium to create functional artifacts and embroidery pieces. Her pendant lamps are worth checking out in addition to these handsome wooden pieces, which can be used for plants or votives. In 2015, Lopez relocated to Baltimore and continued La Loupe Design in collaboration with her partner, Marco Duenas, a functional artist and woodworker. You can find her work online, as well as at the Made In Baltimore pop-up shop in Hampden, open through the new year.
7) Natural Dye Heirloom Quilt from Handwork Quilts
Artist Monique Crabb painstakingly collects and dyes cotton fabric with natural ingredients, then sews them into quilts with machine piecing, then quilts & binds them entirely by hand with Japenese Sashiko thread. Her patterns are a combination of re-worked historical designs and originals inspired by contemporary quilters. After having a daughter in 2014, Crabb stepped back from a grueling and time intensive role as co-director of a local art gallery to spend time at home with her family. In her free time during her daughter’s naps, she rediscovered her own art making by way of textile arts. These beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts are an investment, but a unique and meaningful heirloom to pass among family for generations.
8) Clean Burning Soy Based Candles from 228 Grant Street
228 Grant Street Candle Co. scented candles are made with all-natural soy wax, braided cotton wicks, and scented oils. Just wax, wick, and scent with no other additives or dyes. They are hand-poured in Baltimore County with natural soy derived from domestically grown soy beans for an eco-friendly, clean burn. Uses a lead-free cotton wick primed with vegetable based wax and premium grade fragrance oil. The business is new this year, but already carries a wide and delicious variety of scents, and has been picked up by a number of area shops. See them (and smell them) for yourself at Flourish in Mt. Vernon, or Trohv in Hampden. Or visit their online shop at:
9) Locally Made Organic Bodycare
A friendly holiday reminder to always have a fresh bar of soap on hand for houseguests. Sisters Kelly and Kasey Evick created Biggs & Featherbelle in January 2003 in the basement of their parents home. A magazine article inspired the pair to make ‘melt and pour’ glycerin soaps as Christmas presents. With backgrounds in the Fine Arts and Fashion, the two had fun creating unique recipes, packaging and clever names for each item. With a family history of alternative healing practices and consumers of natural products, it seemed fitting to continue exploring the benefits of botanicals. Fueled by encouragement from friends and family, the sisters quit their day jobs and started a business making bar soaps, salt body-scrubs, and muscle soaks with organic ingredients. Word spread to local festivals, and eventually in stores throughout the U.S. A few years ago, the small company expanded with the help of small business loans, and large deals with Wegmans and Whole Foods, both of which still sell the full line.
10) Intricate Paper Cut Artwork for your walls by Annie Howe
Artist Annie Howe’s papercuts are intricate, detailed, and cut with care. Each piece tells a story. Annie begins with a simple sketch which is transferred onto the back of white 70 lb acid-free drawing paper. From there, she painstakingly cuts away any symmetrical details of the design, such as a border. She then meticulously works at cutting away smaller and smaller pieces of the papercut, until all elements are revealed. What emerges is a beautiful, illustrative papercut, infused with the touch of the artist’s hand.
In addition to selling the original paper cuts, Howe sells prints of her work at lower price points. Find them in her online shop, or at Mom’s Organic Market in Hamdpen. She also accepts commissions to commemorate special occasions.
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