As the holidays approach, the annual ritual of finding creative gift ideas also returns. Fortunately, Sacramento has a growing art community where you can buy distinctive, one-of-a-kind gifts for the people on your list. Sculptures, wall art or handmade jewelry might make you a holiday hero this year. There are literally hundreds of skilled artisans selling their works, but they are not always easy to locate. Here is a list of five of the best Sacramento-area artisans selling their wares this holiday season.
Carlos Duarte Jr. and Sr.
108 Church St.
Roseville, CA 95678
If you are shopping for your horse enthusiast this year, Carlos Silver is the place to go. Carlos Duarte Sr. started making his own beautiful silver buckles, jewelry and decor items in 1968. Carlos Jr. does most of the silver work now and dad is on the road taking their products to equestrian shows. While their main trade is with the equestrian crowd, don’t think their products are just for cowboys. Carlos also transforms silver into beautiful jewelry items, money clips, belt buckles and wine keys. Many of their creations include turquoise, gem and enamel inlay as well. This internationally recognized father-and-son team regularly ships their work all over the world. If you swing by their shop and do not see exactly what you want, then have Carlos Jr. make it for you, but don’t wait too long. Each of Carlos’ pieces takes time to create.
125 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
www.aidamakarevic.comNothing says holiday gifts like jewelry. Those special pieces of jewelry can be tough to find, especially if you limit yourself to the shopping malls. However, if you find yourself in Old Sacramento, then stop by Mea Vita to find those one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces you have been seeking. Aida Makarevic owns the store and sells her work there. Each piece is sure to please the gift recipient. One of the things that Mea Vita customers praise the most is the custom-made jewelry. You will probably find something fantastic already in stock, but if not, a custom design may be the way to go.
Shannon Jane Morgan
2648 21st Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95820
www.girlglass.comGlass art may be the perfect gift. Glass is one of those works that people find beautiful but rarely purchase for themselves. Girl Glass offers a wide selection of glass products including bowls, vases, paperweights and ornaments. Glass Girl also creates fantastic translucent glass pumpkins, previously featured at many shows and fairs. The Glass Girl artist is Shannon Jane Morgan who also offers classes in glass and ornament making.
4421 24th St.
Sacramento, CA 95822
www.panamapotterysacramento.comPanama Pottery is one of those places you can visit even if you’re not a pottery fan. If you do love pottery, then you will probably have to make several trips. Panama Pottery closed for a few months but just recently opened under new ownership. The owner, Maria Vargas, is very excited about getting the kiln fired back up, and just in time for the business to celebrate 100 years of operation. Panama Pottery utilizes approximately 28 artists who create a variety of ceramic works including mosaics and pottery. Maria says, “you’ll be so glad you came.”
Sometimes the old traditional gifts like ties and tee shirts are still good gift options. This is especially true if you can find unique wearable gifts designed by local artists. Marty May fits that bill and sells her products primarily on the Internet and at local Sacramento trade shows. The number of superb designs available in tee shirts, ties and dresses will surely meet the style needs of people on your shopping list. If you need non-clothing items, Marty May also sells wallets, laptop cases and fine-art prints.
David Mace is a freelance writer covering all things Sacramento. His work can be found on Examiner.com.