Coming up with the perfect gift is a fun endeavor: it’s like playing detective and fortune teller and empath all at once. Of course, it’s also a great time of year to support independent creators from all walks of life. Here are some friends & finds from the past year which would make a great gift for the right someone.
Marian Call is a wonder and a trailblazer of an independent musician: last year, she toured all 50 states powered, by her fan, her gumption, and the Twitterverse. Now she’s created and produced a double album called Something Fierce backed by her Donor Circle. My favorite tracks: “Good Morning Moon,” “Coffee by Numbers,” “Perilous Road,” and “Highway Five.”
I was late to TedXAustin and missed Mother Falcon’s performance, but ended up chatting with one of the band members during an intermission. I did get to attend their CD release concert in February, where they played their latest album Alhambra straight through in the acoustically amazing Central Presbyterian Church. I’ve already gushed about their young talent before, and their music always lifts my spirits.
The designs that appear of the Lilly & Louise blog by my former classmate, Leslie Lewis Sigler, always keep me inspired to play with colors, simple concepts, wit, and beautiful type. This year, she’s offering a collection of customizable Holiday cards.
Peruse the Lilly & Louise holiday collection.
Glade Hensel makes art and greeting cards and has created a to-die for studio and home with her artist hubby, Mark Hensel. (P.S. You can visit and be a voyeur during the annual E.A.S.T. Austin Studio Tours.) I love her colorful witty greeting cards for all occasions, and she has some cute ones perfect for the “holly days.”
Check out Glademade Holiday Cards.
Lisa Chow is a former classmate who I didn’t know too well but whose blog I’ve been following since she quit her corporate job to become a full-time artist. She writes in one footnote: “Apparently, you can take the girl out of business but you can’t take the business out of the girl. I think, despite all my lamentations, my business degree gives me an advantage in this crazy art world where too many talented artists rely solely on their work to speak for itself. World, meet…The Business Artist. omgoxymoronmindblown”
Lisa has a lot of amazing prints up for sale on her Etsy.
Artist, world traveler, and teacher extraordinaire J Muzacz is wrapping up (no pun intended) a 365 drawing-a-day project themed around Japan, the country he’s getting to know and love through this year of ups and downs. He has an IndieGoGo fundraiser for Japan365 up right now to print a book compilation of the drawings and info, with proceeds supporting the tsunami relief efforts that continue to this day. If you order a book as a Christmas gift, he’ll send the recipient a postcard set to let them know they’ll have something special in the mail come March. Or download, and print your own, holiday cards from J’s drawings: he also has a velociraptor and Ho Ho Ho cards available.
Check out and support Japan365.
If you’re in Austin or SF, you could give the gift of a fun Hour School class on “How to make pasta” or “Motorcycle repair” or “French conversation. Learn with and from friends in an informal setting.
Online webcomic creators are also having many holiday specials right now. Books are always a welcome present; don’t forget to shop your local independent bookstores when you can!
And finally, in addition to mixtapes (digital or analog), and homemade cookies (pre-baked or ready-to-bake mixes), another DIY gift I love in this digital age is a list of your favorite links/blogs/people/projects of the year.