Remember when your parents' hearts went pitter-patter for your pinch-pot ashtrays and glitter bookmarks? There was a time when your life was ruled by the spirit of DIY, the notion that something handmade carried more heart than anything store-bought. Recapture those good ol' days and avoid the mall entirely by making this season's gift-giving all about the indie craft.
Even if you feel too creatively stumped to attempt making your own gifts this year, there are countless Atlanta crafters, artisans and homegrown entrepreneurs whose output you can support and make the discriminating iconoclast on your list pleased that you have shopped outside the box.
1) Mid-century modern junkies already know about the retro delights at the emporium City Issue (2825 Peachtree St., 404-262-3500, www.cityissue.com). But the shop also spotlights local artists and designers, including Keiko Coghlin, a Japanese-born, Atlanta-based artist whose ceramic vessels in the $75-$140 range are inspired by the clean lines of the '30s-'60s modernists.
2) Atlanta expats or current residents will appreciate the great graphics and hometown shout-outs that ornament Esperanza Clothing Co. T-shirts. Created by Bart Sasso and Daniel Barbalho, the sassy shirts honor such cherished local institutions as the Clermont Lounge, Buford Highway and Sweet Auburn. The shirts are available at numerous local venues including Fab'rik, Cherry Bomb, YoYo Boutique, the Museum of Design of Atlanta store and at esperanzaclothing.easystorecreator.net.
3) RELIC Boutique is helmed by two sisters who grew up on a North Georgia farm and now indulge their love of craft in their own business venture. RELIC offers adorable recycled alternatives to showy gemstones and precious metals in charming -- and affordable -- rings (which start at $18) made of the humblest of materials: buttons. The rings -- and other accessories with vintage flair -- are available at Atlanta's Beehive Co-op (1831-A Peachtree Road, 404-351-1166, www.beehiveco-op.com) or at www.relicboutique.com.
4) Atlanta's own irreverent sista of shock Sister Louisa (aka local artist Grant Henry) has been customizing Jesus portraits and paint-by-numbers kitsch into one-of-a-kind funky art works that would make the perfect gift for that irreverent Southerner on your list. Shop directly from the artist at www.sisterlouisa.com or see the art in person at the 11th annual Telephone Factory Art Show and Sale on Sat.-Sun., Dec. 2-3 (myspace.com/telephone factoryartshow).
5) The local graphic design house Methane Studios is known for its indie-rock posters steeped in the retro graphics of yore. But their T-shirts are a hoot, too, full of '60s influences, affordably priced and available on the Methane website (www.methanestudios.com) or at the Methane Studios Holiday Poster Sale on Dec. 12 at East Atlanta's The Earl (488 Flat Shoals Road, 404-522-3950, www.badearl.com).
6) East Atlanta's Sabra Gallery and Boutique (465-B Flat Shoals Ave., 404-588-9222, www.sabragallery.com) offers several seasonal classes to help you make your own DIY holiday gifts and decorations. There is a Papermaking Family Holiday Workshop (Dec. 9), and a two-day Wreathmaking Class beginning Dec. 6, featuring wreaths made of leaves, pine cones, paper, ribbon, twine, sticks, glitter and found objects.
7) Atlanta architect and indie crafter Andrea Ray's delicate little cosmetic bags, totes and messenger bags are made of recycled materials, hand-dyed fabrics and are inspired by Ray's thrift-store finds and drawings. Her one-of-a-kind bags are available at Grant Park's Young Blood Gallery and Boutique (629 Glenwood Ave., 404-627-0393, www.youngbloodgallery.com), at the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Show (www.ice-atlanta.com/holiday) on Dec. 9 at The B Complex (1272 Murphy Ave., www.thebcomplex.com) and at www.diningroomexperiments.com.
8) Former Atlanta costume designer Lindze Merritt's witty fleece Genki Hats for both children and adults in bumblebee, panda, frog and other animal styles have a great anime vibe and can be found at Merritt's website (www.genkihats.com) and at Young Blood Gallery and Boutique.
Survival of the Hippest
CL's Holiday Guide 2006