Pin It
Favorite

Local craft: Artisans in SLO County are creating functional art for your gifting pleasure 

click to enlarge cover_tz.jpg

Art doesn't need to hang on your wall, just like the gifts you give this year don't need to suck. You can buy presents from local artisans that the special someones in your life can do more than look at— those one-of-a-kind gifts that an artist painstakingly sewed, stamped, or painted just for your friend or family member to utilize. And just for you, we've combed through Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, and the interwebs to find some crafty creators who could be your neighbors.

click to enlarge BRIGHTLY COLORED GLASS Eric Dandurand offers a special kind of gift this holiday season, the gift of blown-glass goods. - PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • BRIGHTLY COLORED GLASS Eric Dandurand offers a special kind of gift this holiday season, the gift of blown-glass goods.

For this year's Last Minute Gift Guide, New Times editorial staff is highlighting just a few for your viewing pleasure. Don't like what you see? There's more. Way more. Do a Google search. Walk through one of the many downtowns in San Luis Obispo County. Find something truly unique, local, and handcrafted. You'll be glad you did.

—Camillia Lanham

Harmony Glassworks Studio and Gallery

The town of Harmony is known for its population of 18 and its few hidden treasures: a restaurant, wine tasting, an ice cream shop, art galleries, wedding chapel, and a glass blowing studio. If you're going for a unique local gift for that special someone in your life, the town's Harmony Glassworks is the perfect stop for a one-of-a-kind art piece to give this holiday season.

Owner and glass artist Eric Dandurand has been a glassblower since 1996.

click to enlarge Eric Dandurand of Harmony Glassworks. - PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • Eric Dandurand of Harmony Glassworks.

"I always liked art and tried glass blowing. I just fell in love with it and have been doing it ever since," Dandurand said.

He started learning the trade in Sweden and continued to grow as an artist with apprenticeships throughout the Central Coast until he landed in the studio in Harmony. When he learned the studio was available, he found that it was left vacant and without equipment. He spared no time in sprucing the place up and creating a space to showcase and sell his art as well as a place were he could teach others to create their own blown-glass pieces.

If you have a family member or friend who loves hands-on gifts, Dandurand hosts a one-on-one class, all supplies included, for people to create either a vase or a bowl. All you need to bring is your creative energy. Classes typically take about 45 minutes to an hour.

If you're looking for a gift you'll be able to wrap in a colorful box complete with red ribbon, Dandurand suggests his wide variety of ornaments, jewelry, sculptures, paperweights, or magnets. His most popular item is a blown-glass nail file.

"It's a great stocking stuffer because they never wear out, [are] waterproof, and start at $6," he said. "People will buy one and won't come back for a long time for a replacement."

His stock of goods is carefully made with brightly chosen colors that come together as Dandurand creates each piece.

The glass studio is located at 2180 Old Creamery Road, Harmony. Hours are Monday though Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

—Karen Garcia

The Leather Shop

Oak leaves dance on tan leather wallets. Outlines embossed in green created from the real thing, which was wiped down with dye and pressed up against naked hide until the pattern emerged.

click to enlarge FOXY LADY The Leather Shop owner and leathersmith Finn Hansen stamps, paints, and cuts images such as a fox and fern into leather to make women's wallets, journals, coin purses, and more. - PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • Photo By Camillia Lanham
  • FOXY LADY The Leather Shop owner and leathersmith Finn Hansen stamps, paints, and cuts images such as a fox and fern into leather to make women's wallets, journals, coin purses, and more.

"And each time, it's a one-shot deal, kind of like a fossil," leathersmith Finn Hansen says. It's one of the newest creations that he's stocking The Leather Shop in Morro Bay with.

Hansen's apprentice, Nami, shapes and stamps a child's belt in the open workshop space while a family waits and watches. The Leather Shop repairs and restores leather as well as crafts custom pieces, which Hansen said can run anywhere from $5 to $5,000, depending on how large and intricate the design is.

"We're a lot like the old '70s leather shops," Hansen says. "We don't have just one thing. ... We kind of just do a lot of stuff."

The Leather Shop has been his since 2002, when he purchased it from the previous owner, who he apprenticed under. Hansen's custom orders are booked out until March 2019, but the store is stocked with jackets, purses, coin pouches, belts, knife sheathes, journals, and more. The pieces range from basic to intricate designs made up of muted leather tones or bright colors.

A red fox hides behind the green of a fern that snaps a women's wallet shut. The Incredible Hulk glares out from a journal binding against a shelf. Encircled by anchors, a mermaid poses in the middle of a purse hanging against the wall.

Hansen sets a wallet in the works on the front counter. A giant sunflower and bee fill in the beige outline of a wallet waiting for some dabs of color, the right stitching, and inside pockets.

click to enlarge THE REAL THING Leathersmith Finn Hansen wipes dye onto oak leaves and presses them onto leather to get patterns that he likens to fossils. It's one of the newest  ideas on display at his leather shop in Morro Bay. - PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • Photo By Camillia Lanham
  • THE REAL THING Leathersmith Finn Hansen wipes dye onto oak leaves and presses them onto leather to get patterns that he likens to fossils. It's one of the newest ideas on display at his leather shop in Morro Bay.

"When it's closed up, it looks like the bee is landing on the flower," he says.

At home after hours, he stamps, presses, cuts, and paints the detail into his leather art. These are pieces Hansen says he can take his time with, only making four or five of each before moving on. He laughs and says he just can't help it.

"I have an obsession," he says. "If I didn't have this business, I would just be working on filling up a garage with things I don't use."

Visit The Leather Shop at 880 Morro Bay Blvd. in Morro Bay from 9ish a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Check the shop out on Instagram @finnsleathershop or call (805) 772-0255 for more information.

—Camillia Lanham

Stromsoe Studios

Randy Stromsoe's studio-workshop looks largely the same as metalsmith shops have for centuries. There are various shaped anvils, hammers, blocks, dapping and punching tools, forms on which to shape metal, a place to anneal, and materials to buff and finish his crafts.

With more than four decades of experience, Stromsoe is a master of designing and creating fine crafts in sterling silver, gold, pewter, copper, and wood. Most pieces are in the Arts and Crafts period style of his mentor, the late Porter Blanchard, but Stromsoe has carried on this ancient art by adding his own unique contemporary twist.

To say he's busy is an understatement.

click to enlarge IN THE STUDIO Tucked in the hills between Cayucos and Cambria, metalsmith Randy Stromsoe's studio-workshop turns out one-of-a-kind pieces that will be featured on the PBS series Craft in America and in video format in the Clinton Presidential Library. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RANDY STROMSOE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Randy Stromsoe
  • IN THE STUDIO Tucked in the hills between Cayucos and Cambria, metalsmith Randy Stromsoe's studio-workshop turns out one-of-a-kind pieces that will be featured on the PBS series Craft in America and in video format in the Clinton Presidential Library.

"I'm being featured on the PBS Crafts in America TV series representing California Craftsmen on Friday, Dec. 21," Stromsoe explained. "I'm currently on a loop video at the Clinton Presidential Library—one of six artists chosen to represent American craft artists—as well as having my work displayed as part of the White House Collection of American Craft. I'll also be featured in an exhibit at LA's Craft in America Center, representing California artists, which opens this month. In the latest news, we applied—after a 20-year hiatus—to the Smithsonian Craft Show and were accepted. Now what? It's difficult to get back to Washington, D.C., with a booth (we don't even own one anymore!) and all our gear and work. We've got a couple weeks to make a decision."

click to enlarge Pewter cups by Randy Stromsoe. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RANDY STROMSOE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Randy Stromsoe
  • Pewter cups by Randy Stromsoe.

His work has also been featured in The Renwick Gallery MCI Collection and The Oakland Museum Permanent Collection. He's constantly working on private commissions, though he does have various pieces in stock for immediate purchase.

He and his wife, Lisa, own and manage Stromsoe Studios, tucked in the hills between Cayucos and Cambria, which is only open by appointment.

Silversmith Randy Stromsoe's studio in the hills on the North Coast is open by appointment only. Visit stromsoestudios.com for more info or call (805) 237-8632.

—Glen Starkey

Little Quills Clothing

When Angela DiMauro had a baby a few years ago, it wasn't the only "first" for her at the time. The Paso Robles resident also started sewing, learning from her aunt and crafting little outfits for her young one, as well as other family members. After her first few creations, DiMauro knew that this was a hobby that could grow into something a little bit more.

click to enlarge ONESIE Paso Robles resident Angela DiMauro handcrafts clothes, like this onesie, using organic fabric for infants and toddlers. Her pieces are available online under her moniker, Little Quills Clothing. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LITTLE QUILLS CLOTHING
  • Photo Courtesy Of Little Quills Clothing
  • ONESIE Paso Robles resident Angela DiMauro handcrafts clothes, like this onesie, using organic fabric for infants and toddlers. Her pieces are available online under her moniker, Little Quills Clothing.

"I was like, hey, I'm kind of good at this!" DiMauro said, with a laugh.

A few years and hundreds of etsy.com sales later, DiMauro's handmade pieces are selling like hotcakes from her online moniker, Little Quills Clothing.

Using organic fabrics, DiMauro sews all her infant and toddler clothes herself. Most of her offerings are onesies, though she has some shirts, pants, and hoodies available. The designs are truly creative and fun. One hoodie on sale is themed after the Mario video games, featuring the adorable "Toad" character over a baby blue background, with flowers, stars, and clouds scattered all around. There's also a pink onesie with a sheepish-looking sheep alongside the words, "Be Kind," and several other colorful onesies with dinosaurs, elephants, foxes, elk, bananas, flowers, and more.

click to enlarge "Toad" hoodie from Little Quills Clothing. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LITTLE QUILLS CLOTHING
  • Photo Courtesy Of Little Quills Clothing
  • "Toad" hoodie from Little Quills Clothing.

"I used to do a lot of different styles but then onesies were a best seller, so I kind of honed in on that," DiMauro explained.

Her clothes are available in different sizes for different ages. Each piece is made to order, with a one-to-two-week shipping time, but DiMauro said she's working on beating that time for the holidays. Local pickup is also an option, if you ask.

"I'm pretty quick," she said.

Over the past few years, DiMauro's picked up an Instagram following of more than 2,000 people, and her Etsy page boasts an average five-star review for 569 sales. She said she enjoys staying within her niche of baby clothes.

"It's small and easy. I can do them fast," DiMauro said. "As adults we are all funny shapes, and babies are all pretty much the same shape."

Find Angela DiMauro's clothing creations at etsy.com/shop/littlequillsclothing. Pieces range from $18 to $38 and are handcrafted in Paso Robles.

Peter Johnson

Back Bay Pottery

Sometimes, there's no better way to show someone you care than to give them a handmade artisan gift. When it comes to beautiful and functional pottery, locals need look no further than Back Bay Pottery in Los Osos.

click to enlarge ONE OF A KIND Back Bay Pottery in Los Osos sells handmade products that reflect the natural beauty of the Central Coast. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BACK BAY POTTERY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Back Bay Pottery
  • ONE OF A KIND Back Bay Pottery in Los Osos sells handmade products that reflect the natural beauty of the Central Coast.

Ceramic Artist Christine Silbaugh has been handcrafting and selling her pottery since 2011. Silbaugh discovered her love of working with clay after taking ceramics classes. Her husband, who is in the construction industry, eventually built her a studio, and she began selling her work at local arts and crafts shows. She started her business after two of her friends with successful online businesses of their own encouraged her to take the leap.

Silbaugh doesn't use mass production techniques or molds, so each item she sells is made by hand from start to finish.

"They are uniquely one-of-a-kind pieces," Silbaugh said. "It's really a labor of love."

click to enlarge Butter dishes from Back Bay Pottery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BACK BAY POTTERY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Back Bay Pottery
  • Butter dishes from Back Bay Pottery.

She lovingly labors over everything from kitchenware like cups, bowls, and butter holders to home décor like doorbell plates and yarn bowls. One of her most popular items, ceramic numbers for displaying home addresses, were recently featured in HGTV Magazine. Back Bay pieces are easy to spot; Silbaugh uses bright colors and lots of texture in her work, a style she likes to describe as "modern organic."

"I'm a local, born and raised here," she said. "I was inspired by the natural beauty of the Central Coast."

Back Bay's products are available for purchase on its website, and Silbaugh said that potential customers can view them in person at her studio by appointment.

Ceramicist Christine Silbaugh throws her pottery in Los Osos. Visit Back Bay Pottery by emailing info@backbaypottery.com for an appointment. Check out backbaypottery.com for more information.

Chris McGuinness

Standhardt Studio

Home is where the heart is might be a cliché, but the saying rings true for SLO-based potter Kenny Standhardt as his Oceanaire Drive residence houses multiple loves of his life. Kenny and his husband, Mark; their dog, Sweet Pea; and cats, Bumble and Clover, share their living space with Kenny's pottery studio.

click to enlarge SHINE BRIGHT, SHINE FAR Every year around the holidays, Kenny Standhardt releases a line of special star ornaments just in time for the gift giving season. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STANDHARDT STUDIO
  • Photo Courtesy Of Standhardt Studio
  • SHINE BRIGHT, SHINE FAR Every year around the holidays, Kenny Standhardt releases a line of special star ornaments just in time for the gift giving season.

Although Standhardt Studio is open 24/7 online at Kenny's Etsy page, the artist only opens up his home studio to the public by appointment and for special events, including his upcoming Holiday Pottery Sale on Dec. 8 and 9.

"I really enjoy having people visit my home to see what is involved in my process," Standhardt said. "To see people holding my work in their hands and exploring all the details."

Standhardt specializes in "church key pottery," a form of folk pottery he developed himself over the past two decades. Most of his repertoire is made up of tableware vessels including bowls, tumblers, mugs, and vases. All of Standhardt's vessels are made of tough stoneware and are oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe.

Every year around the holidays, Standhardt releases a line of special star ornaments just in time for the gift-giving season.

click to enlarge MUG SHOT Standhardt's tableware vessels include tumblers and mugs. All items are made of tough stoneware and are oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STANDHARDT STUDIO
  • Photo Courtesy Of Standhardt Studio
  • MUG SHOT Standhardt's tableware vessels include tumblers and mugs. All items are made of tough stoneware and are oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe.

"They come gift boxed and ready for a housewarming present or to mail to loved ones," Standhardt said. "Each star is individually made by eye and hand. No two are ever identical, just like a snowflake."

Apart from the shapes of the ornaments themselves, careful eyes should be able to spot Standhardt's star designs in his tableware items as well, a distinct pattern the artist has retained since first taking up pottery as a teenager.

"They [the holiday stars] were inspired by the detail star I put on every piece of pottery I make," Standhardt said. "I have strived over the years to have the unseen areas of my work finished as fine as the initially seen."

Get starry eyed at standhardtstudio.com or etsy.com/shop/standhardtstudio. The studio at 1463 Oceanaire Dr. in San Luis Obispo is open during the Holiday Pottery Sale, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Δ

—Caleb Wiseblood

Tags:

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Search, Find, Enjoy

Submit an event

© 2018 New Times San Luis Obispo
Powered by Foundation