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Give the Gift of Hamilton

Hamiltonians have really lucked out in the shop local movement. The city is buzzing with countless artists whose top-notch work sits virtually at our doorsteps, ready to be discovered. Throw your support behind the city’s creative visionaries and score a bunch of gift-giving cred at the same time by taking home some of these made-in-Hamilton treasures.

Doodle Me This

Know someone with a bare wall and a penchant for a bit of whimsy? Artist Jenna Gregory offers a wide range of cute and clever art prints in a wide range of subject matter that would be at home on the wall of any home. Drawing on her skills as an illustrator and graphic designer, Gregory’s creations – also available on her extensive selection of greeting cards – seem simple at first glance but are to convey emotion upon further examination. For a more personal touch, Gregory also offers custom work, producing one-of-a-kind pieces that are a monumental way to celebrate a new home, furry friend, or someone’s favourite thing.

Onboard Your Snacks

Charcuterie is having a moment, and while the perfect ratio of meats to cheeses is open for debate, we can all agree that without a showstopping board beneath, it’s just a pile of snacks. Rustic Designs by Rich is a family-run business that creates stunning live-edge black walnut charcuterie boards in its Cotton Factory workshop. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, the gorgeous, handcrafted boards are guaranteed to provide the ideal foundation upon which to place whatever savoury or smoked snack its owner deems worthy.

A Cut Above

Whether it's for embroidery, fabric or kitchen work, there is an ideal scissor for every job, so it’s time to retire that curiously sticky pair of all-purpose snips banging around your kitchen junk drawer. Ciselier Company offers a selection of the world’s finest scissors, destined to last a lifetime, and sourced from workshops around the world. Each style in the small-batch collection is a work of art, meticulously crafted for its intended job and guaranteed to elevate your cutting game to a new, more efficient and way more elegant level. Good news for the scissor-stumped lefties too: Ciselier offers a selection just for southpaws.

A Cup of Joy

With their colourful hues, happy vibes and Lilliputian size, holding an original piece by Nightshift ceramics is like holding a bit of happiness in the palm of your hand. Spread happiness this holiday season by gifting a Nightshift piece, and choose from its collection of wee planters, delicate incense burners, adorable mugs (the holiday standby, but far cuter) and more. While Nighshift’s pieces are available at retailers across Canada and the U.S., the local business’s wares can often be spotted at craft shows across the city and are always available to purchase from its website.

Uncommon Scents

A new addition to the Locke Street strip, Forrest & Harbour is the city’s go-to place for handmade soy candles, in scents so yummy, your decision-making skills will be put to the test. Owner Dakota Tenbrinke has perfected her candle-making recipe, and the results – with scents like apple pie, fresh baked bread and Champagne birthday cake – couldn't be more delicious. The store also is a staunch supporter of other small businesses, and features a rotating selection of their handmade wares. You’re going to need a bigger shopping basket.

Curious Curios

The beautifully curated booth of Lainey & Co. at the Hamilton Antique Mall (233 Ottawa St. N.) is like stepping into an impossibly cool Pinterest board in real life. Featuring carefully selected items – more conversation piece than fussy antique – the selection is whimsical enough to suit any decor. Scattered throughout there are also some pleasantly patinaed new handmade gems that will be difficult to resist. Pop in to select that one-of-a-kind treasure for that one-of-a-kind someone on your list. You may not have known it existed, but as soon as you see it, you’ll know it was just what you were looking for. @laineyandco

Max Makes Art

Despite a mere 11 years under his belt, considering his associations with Hamilton’s art collectives Studio Beulah and Mighty Brave, local artist Max has already had an illustrious career. His current series, portraits of the people he finds most interesting (Cher, Jane Jacobs, MLK et al), are a riot of colour, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the details he has chosen to highlight. His talents come as no surprise, as both of his parents are accomplished artists in their own rights: dad in photography, mum in fine art and beadwork. With the three of them heading up Studio Beulah, one trip to the website – a true family affair – could easily take care of the bulk of your gift-giving needs while you support the future of local art at the same time.

Flower Power

Eau Claire Resin is the artistic nom de plume of Hamilton-based artist Lee Meszaros, who makes gorgeous and quite functional art objects – think ash trays, paper weights, candle holders, cups and plates. She uses hand-sourced dried flowers that are then encased in resin, capturing their fleeting beauty for all eternity (or for as long as you keep the piece, which, considering how beautiful they are, should be forever.) Not only is Meszaros an artist, but she is also a gardener, maker and florist and her one-of-a-kind works of art are the perfect gift for the green-thumbed recipient on your gift-giving list.

Hamilton Hang-ups

If someone has ever lived in, visited, or even just made a memory in Hamilton, chances are high that Jelly Bros. has a map for that. Since Matt Jelly created his first illustrated neighbourhood map in 2011, he and his brother Dan have united their artistic talents and now have over 500 illustrated neighbourhood maps celebrating all areas of Hamilton (and well beyond) in their roster. If you’re looking for something a little less cartographic, they also produce illustrated prints created in their unique graphic style – a colourful way to pay homage to a pretty colourful city.

It Takes All Types

Just as there are meetings that could be emails, there are emails that should be handwritten notes, ones that might be stored in a shoebox rather than a trash folder. Sara Froese of All Sorts Press has the perfect vehicle for an epistolary renaissance in her line of luxury printed matter, which she creates using early mid-century printing presses in the oh-so-historic confines of The Cotton Factory. It’s a labour-intensive exercise, but her selection of note cards and greeting cards (as well as her line of gorgeous invitations, prints and custom work) are all created in a traditional and methodical hands-on approach, and harken back to a simpler time when faster didn’t mean better.

A Sound Gift 

Winter Built Guitars is a one-man band of sorts, as owner Chadd Kam single-handedly creates handmade, vintage-inspired acoustic guitars in his Cotton Factory shop. Drawing on his woodworking background, the decorative details of Kam’s guitars are well-considered and beautifully executed. Not just nice to look at, the warm, rich sound his pieces produce is appreciated by everyday players as well as local professionals, evidenced by the appearance of a Winter Built guitar at the 2021 Grey Cup, played by Arkells frontman Max Kerman. @winterbuiltguitars

Arts for All