Local, crafty artisans create creative Christmas gifts

Here’s an idea: Consider buying locally-made one-of-a-kind gifts – crafted from recycled materials. Find out where you can see them in person – or, save time and money by shopping online right from this article …

Trillium Artisans’ program coordinator, Christine Claringbold, shows off one of her dishes – made from a recycled vinyl record. Her company, Eye Pop Art, features a line of hand-made Mondalla art and accessories using recycled vinyl records. She has appeared on HGTV’s “That’s Clever!” and “Look What I Did!” See Claringbold’s works of art in person at the store, or CLICK HERE to go to her website, or, CLICK HERE to see her listing at Trillium Artisans’ website.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The crafters who market their goods through Trillium Artisans collective can’t begin to compete with the millions of dollars being spent by national retailers who are going all-out this season to grab a major portion of your Christmas gift-giving budget.

But, what they lack in marketing resources, they make up with a wide array of unique and ecologically friendly locally-produced and competitively-priced gifts.

One artisan at the Trillium collective, Christine Claringbold, is also their program coordinator. At their November 14 open house, she stressed that their store on SE Foster Road just west of SE 92nd Avenue is a non-profit organization.

“We work with about 40 local artists,” Claringbold said. “These artists create handmade products from recycled materials. We offer small business support services to the artisans, to help them increase their business.”

The house of ‘cool stuff’
This is a good place to shop for the holidays, Claringbold shared, because purchases support local artists while buying earth-friendly gifts that are made from materials that are diverted from going into the landfills. “Everything we have here is cool stuff. All of our products are reviewed to make sure that they are all of good quality, durable, and are appropriate to the mission of the organization.”

Bethany Moore Garrison holds one of her hammered copper and brass brackets. Through her company, Kiva Studo, she also offers a line of greeting cards. You’ll appreciate her craftwork even more when you look at her work at the store. Learn more by visiting Moore Garrison’s website: CLICK HERE; or, CLICK HERE to see her listing at Trillium Artisans’ website.

Micki Selvitella, through her company, Northern Heart Designs creates a line of handmade paper products, cards, bookmarks, origami cranes, and origami jewelry, reflecting the influence of East Asia. When you’re browsing at the store, check our her line of products. Learn more by visiting Selvitella’s website: CLICK HERE; or, CLICK HERE to see her listing at Trillium Artisans’ website. If her website isn’t up, try e-mailing her at mickiselvitella@hotmail.com.

Trillium Artisans isn’t a sheltered workshop, explained Claringbold. “It is for entrepreneurs who are starting out with a business idea, making crafts, and trying to make money selling their crafts. Each artist must create items out of recycled materials, and then pass a ‘peer product review’ before they can join Trillium Artisans. We will help them market their products here in our retail store, and online at our website.”

In addition to offering artists a retail venue, they also help their members grow professionally by offering a variety of business workshops, classes and presentations regarding the “business” side of the art world.

Amanda Siska, through her company Bread and Badger, creates etched glassware and ceramics from recycled and reclaimed glass items. Her products offer fun, iconic, and functional art made for everyday use. Many of her most popular designs are on display every day at the store. Learn more by visiting Siska’s website: CLICK HERE; or, CLICK HERE to see her listing at Trillium Artisans’ website.

Jacob Deatherage, through his company Ex Libris Anonymous, shows his profound enthusiasm for books – an enthusiasm bordering on what he says is “monomaniacal” – by recycling hard-cover books into unique journals. He looks for compelling covers, then takes them to his “subterranean studio in Southeast Portland” where he cuts new high quality paper to size and repurposes them into unique journals. You’ll be amazed by the variety of styles he has on display at the store. Learn more (or place an order) from Deatherage’s website: CLICK HERE; or, CLICK HERE to see her listing at Trillium Artisans’ website.

So, if you’re looking for jewelry, accessories, clothing, kid stuff, accessories, home décor, and garden art – and all kinds of novel gift – go take a look in person at 9119 SE Foster Road, or online by CLICKING HERE.

Trillium Artisans is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. until six p.m., and is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., through December 19. For more in formation, call  (503) 775-7993.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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