Highly saturated, modern portraiture. Tina’s spectral subjects are rendered in intense, richly pigmented colours. Works communicate a narrative, photographic quality as figures stare directly into camera. Prints and originals are available to buy online here.
Low-key visual poetry. Molley’s art shifts between charcoal, ink, and oil pastel. Subject matter includes the artist’s clothes and personal effects, plants, the washing up, and portraits of strangers – a quiet tour de force in making shapes out of lines. View Molley’s shop here.
Tiny watercolour tributes to New York, New York. Katie specialises in skylines, bridges, and sunsets, capturing perfectly the layered infrastructure of a historic city. Original paintings can be found on Etsy. Head over to Society6 for a huge range of affordable prints.
Despite shifting between 2D work and ceramics, Evie’s pieces are instantly recognisable for their distinctive style and recurrant motifs of ribbons, chains, and stars. Ceramics are listed in small batches with prior notice given on Instagram. Prints, paintings, pins and more can be found here.
Claire is an accomplished watercolourist whose work effortlessly relates all the charm, sensitivity, and imagination of the most celebrated children’s illustrators. Prints and original paintings are available through the Made in Hastings online shop.
Suzie uses traditional basket-making techniques to create these tiny, (and presumably very fiddly!) woven vessels. Her work is an artful, sensitive meditation on a craft that was once absolutely critical to everyday life and commerce. Check out her website here.
Melodie’s work focuses largely on portraits of female figures, curious landscapes, and scenes reminiscent of folk and fairytales. Her landscapes in particular are both strange and familiar, sitting somewhere between the imagined and the real. See more of Melodie’s work here.
3D illustration. Mirtle appeared in my 2020 article 10 Contemporary Embroidery Artists – I had to feature her again! Mirtle’s tiny, sensitive companions are made in small, carefully curated batches. Follow on Instagram for news about shop updates – works sell out fast!
Clover’s collages, or ‘snips’ are created by colouring, cutting, and layering tiny pieces of paper. Works are jaunty, detailed, and highly illustrative. A selection of eco-friendly cards and prints are available here. Originals sell in seconds, so make sure you keep an eye on shop updates!
Delicate paper sculptures inspired by scientific illustrations and museum displays. Kate’s life-like pieces are made using a variety of techniques including carving, wire-work, and embroidery. Visit Kate’s shop here; selected works are also available at Made by Hand Online.
Andrew’s painting have a taxonomy of their own, allusively describing anything from landscape and botanical forms to soft furnishings and still lifes. The shapes and colours are always insistently familiar, made strange only by abstraction. www.andrewjgraves.com
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Buying from small businesses and independent makers keeps dreams alive and post offices open. With another UK lockdown now underway, many of the outlets that makers rely on to sell their wares—shops, markets, events—have evaporated. So, with festive thoughts in mind, here’s a sparkling Art Desk gift guide featuring not ten, not twenty, but thirty-four (phew!) gift ideas from UK creatives and small businesses, all making things you simply can’t get anywhere else.
Shimmering jars of mayo, golden lobsters, and glittery bottles of milk and hot sauce – perfect gifts for that one friend who loves StrictlyCome Dancingand condiments. Kate also offers a variety of kits, including a sparkly DIY gin bottle…
For the pal who inevitably took up cross stitch during lock down: Chloe’s 2020 embroidery kit includes everything you need to stylishly memorialize the year that everyone stayed at home. Why not subscribe to Chloe’s Hoop Club?
These timeless trees are hand-turned from native, locally-sourced hardwoods like ash, beech, and oak. David acquires his raw materials via foraging, chance encounters, and notoriety; his final pieces are simply and beautifully made.
Elizabeth’s ‘Hare on Winter Stubble’ is really more of an artwork in itself than a greetings card. Check out her 12 days of Christmas designs: Three French Hens, Six Geese A-Laying, Ten Lords A-Leaping, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!
Trained in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Hannah uses methods like lost wax casting and hand forging to create delicate, detailed seed pods, buds, and leaves. Crafted in fine silver, her lovely range of nature-inspired jewellery is available here.
Sam’s design process begins with photographs and observational sketches, taking inspiration from her own garden as well as local countryside. Print highlights include: rudbeckia, sweet pea, sloe, and cosmos; find Sam’s Christmas cards and wrapping paper here.
Lindsey’s candles are handmade in Yorkshire with bees wax sourced from her local apiary. Bees wax candles burn more slowly than their paraffin counterparts, and don’t release toxins into the air. They also smell absolutely incredible!
Sweet miniature scenes made from driftwood and upcycled material found on the beaches of south-east Kent. Christmas scenes feature garlands of festive lights made from tiny coloured beads; Desi also makes highly creative use of old brushes and clothes pegs…!
Charming, illustrative winter greetings cards. Nicky is a landscape architect by trade, something which involves a lot of model-making – she also stocks some lovely DIY paper scenes (nativity, woodland, ice skaters) for you to cut out and arrange!
Amy uses eco-fi, a felt made from recycled plastic bottles, to make her delicately embroidered botanical badges. Pieces feature dainty sprays of heather, rowan, cornflower, chamomile, clover, and dandelion. Find Amy on Instagram, Folksy, and at amypandashop.com.
Elegant shallow-welled paint palettes made from subtly rustic, flecked cream stoneware. Emma’s palettes are lightweight, easy to clean, and decidedly charming. Perfect for mixing watercolours, they make unique, portable gifts for creative pals everywhere.
Small-batch crepe paper flowers. Pam’s handmade snowdrops, mistletoe, and cyclamen are intended as seasonal keepsakes, complete with presentation box, stand, and greetings card (very postable!) She also stocks a DIY anemone craft kit.
Rachel’s festive, nature-inspired wrapping paper, gift tags, and greetings cards are all hand-printed from carved lino blocks. She also stocks a varied mix of affordable prints in her shop, including ‘Summer Greenhouse‘.
Impeccably finished hair accessories made with Liberty of London fine printed cotton. Items arrive beautifully packaged and customer service is excellent – what’s more, if you’re after a particular print, they’ll order it in for you at no extra cost!
These charming hand-printed seed packets make lovely tokens for the zealous horticulturalists in your life. What better way to spend lockdown than sorting and labelling seeds? Alternatively, Lyndsey also stocks an excellent cat-themed range…
Pippa is a textile artist specialising in 3D botanical fibre sculptures. Committed to making her work accessible to all, she has created a range of delicately embroidered brooches and buttons, as well as a beginners embroidery kit.
Hannah’s hand-printed fabric has a distinct Arts and Crafts feel. Single carved blocks are inked and printed onto natural UK cotton to create beautiful repeating patterns of fieldfares, robins, foxgloves, wrens, goldfinches, and hellebores.
10p from every Christmas card sold goes to the Woodland Trust. Head over to mollylemon.com to see a selection of original prints available for under £30. Follow Molly on Instagram for some great behind the scenes print-making action!
Cally’s nature-inspired prints are an elegant celebration of the flora and fauna of the British Isles. Artworks feature deer, otters, foxes, hares alongside ancient native plants (rowan, hawthorn). Beautiful gifts for the wildlife enthusiast. Check out Cally’s Christmas cards here.
Deck the halls three times over with a unique range of brightly coloured paper garlands and hanging decorations, including baubles, fir trees, reindeer, turtledoves, and stars. A low-key, high-impact way of making your Christmas decor sing.
Sylvie’s detailed, one-off artworks arrive ready framed – perfect for gifting. The snakeshead fritillary (right) is particularly beautifully observed. Sylvie also makes embroidered brooches edged with plush velvet ribbon – how festive!
Melanie creates her ceramic pieces by taking impressions of herbs (dill, fennel, coriander) from her garden, as well as the odd hedgerow find. Her pendants, brooches, buttons, and bobbins all have the same delicately brushed, worn finish.
In addition to creating beautiful original lino prints, Lou has designed a range of other items—enamelled tin mugs, tea towels, tote bags, notebooks—bearing her unique artwork. Read more about Lou in our Contemporary Printmakers article.
Tactile, sculptural pieces that’d make anyone’s breakfasts, snacks, or teas at three significantly classier. Tamsin’s pieces embody a unique balance between rustic material, practical form, and elegant detail; highly functional and resoundingly beautiful.
Lorna studied Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University. Hand-printed with tropical monstera and banana leaves, her bold purses and pouches are made from linen with an unbleached calico cotton lining. She also makes face masks!
Eleanor’s detailed enamel pin badges are based on her own watercolour illustrations. Each badge is presented on a gift-grade backing card – unique little tokens for hats, bags, and lapels. Eleanor also sells fabric patches, magnets, cards, and prints.
Inspired by mid-century children’s illustrators and vintage greetings cards, each of Tamsin’s honeycomb paper decorations is cut and embellished by hand. Visit her shop to see a festive offering of angels, mice, toy soldiers, and footmen.
Judith’s robin and partridge cards are printed on recycled paper using mellow, vegetable oil-based inks – eco-friendly reproductions of original lino prints. Her hand-printed sage and silver mistletoe cards are created using a 130 year old cast iron Victorian book press.
Bright, quirky, hand-painted hanging decorations in an unusual palette of red, indigo, mint, orange, pink, and red. Joanna’s aim is to ‘bring colour and joy into people’s homes’ – her pin badges and Christmas cards are as cheerful as advertised.
Vicki’s explosively colourful, folk-inspired DIY decorations arrive in flatpack form, ready to be assembled by you (or a delighted recipient). She also offers a fabulous range of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
Colour-enthusiast Justine has found an unusual way to add a little something to fine metal jewellery. Pieces are hand-detailed, washed in enamel, then sanded back to reveal the copper underneath. Check out a wide range of earrings in her shop, most of which are ready to ship!
Assemble your own mini high street from 3D paper shops—ironmonger’s, fishmonger’s, butcher’s, hat shop—all based on Clare’s original lino prints. A variety of Christmas cards are available in her shop; she also sells directly on Instagram.
Every sale means the world to an independent maker, even if it’s just a card. The Just A Card campaign is on a mission to raise support for Artists, Makers, Independent Shops, and Small Businesses. For more information, visit justacard.org or follow the #justacard campaign on Instagram. [Images by @angela.chick.illustration]