Our pick of original artworks, creative workshops and handcrafted gifts to get you in the festive spirit.

Common Threads Press

For the conscientious crafter in your life, Common Threads Press, run by art historian and a-n member Laura Moseley, is a Norwich-based arts publishing project that puts ‘feminist, queer and radical craft histories on your bookshelf’.

Publications include Diasporic Threads: Black Women, Fibre & Textiles (£9), which highlights Black women’s contributions to art, history and textiles.

Meanwhile Many Hands Make a Quilt (£9) tells short histories of ‘radical quilting’ – how cloth has been used to express political resistance and demand social change, and how communities around the world ‘have turned to the collective intimacies of quilting in moments of need.’

Buy online

Common Threads Press publications

Goldsmiths CCA editions

Buy editions by a-n members Adham Faramawy and Lindsey Mendick and you’ll also be supporting a charity and Goldsmiths CCA’s programme.

Faramawy’s digital print (edition of 50, £40) titled Build them fine gardens, is an extension of the artist’s film By earth, sea and air we came, which draws on history, biology, geography and mythology to consider experiences of migration. All profits from the sale of this print are donated to Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network.

Mendick’s edition, I’ll Drink to That (edition of 20, £225) is a glazed ceramic cloven hoof goblet, which comes in four subtle colour variations. Proceeds from this edition will support Goldsmiths CCA’s programme.

From Goldsmiths CCA, London or buy online

Adham Faramawy, Build them fine gardens, 2022. Digital pigment print on Somerset Photosatin 300gsm, 21 x 29.7cm

Press + Play Festival of Print & Tabletop Print Fair

In the run-up to Christmas, Brighton’s Phoenix Art Space presents a celebration of contemporary printmaking that includes exhibitions, workshops and a print fair.

Tabletop Print Fair (19-20 November) offers original prints, cards and handmade items direct from makers, while the wider Press + Play Festival of Print features an exhibition of 15 printmakers and collectives whose work spans screen print, etching, cyanotype, woodblock and monoprint.

If you want a go at making your own, join a free drop-in screen printing workshop (Sunday 4 December) with Kemptown print studio East Side Print, which was founded by artists and a-n members Cath Bristow, Moose Azim and Louise Bristow. And for young artists there’s an experimental collagraph printmaking session for children over five on Saturday 3 December.

12 November – 18 December 2022, Phoenix Art Space, Brighton

Print by Ranuka Ramanujam

Paper bird decorations

For your beloved birdwatcher, look to County Down-based a-n member Adele Pound’s wildlife-inspired drawings, paintings, graphic stories and paper art, including a range of handcut paper bird decorations (from £10).

Among the flock is everyone’s winter garden favourite the Robin, as well as rarer species such as the sparrow-sized Snow Bunting that breeds in the Arctic and winters around the coast of Britain and Northern Ireland.

Each decoration comes with a description of the bird. Pound’s Mistle Thrush, which carries a paper berry in its beak, includes the evocative words: ‘…also known as the storm thrush or stormcock as it is said to sing at the approach and throughout stormy weather. Mostly when I see them, they are disappearing through the trees with an outraged alarm call like an old fashioned football rattle.’

From Craft NI Gallery, Belfast or buy online 

Adele Pound, Female Snow Bunting decoration

Rhiannon Gwyn Gorwel/Horizon plates

a-n member Rhiannon Gwyn makes ceramics that explore the deep connections people have to place. Based in north Wales and brought up in a slate quarrying town, Gwyn’s work incorporates material collected directly from the landscape that surrounds her, such as pieces of slate and glazes made from heather and gorse flowers.

Choose from the Gorwel/Horizon series of wall-based plates (from £45) or others that incorporate lines of poetry by Welsh bard Gwynfor ab Ifor (from £120). Gwyn also make sculptural works that consist of melted and shaped pieces of slate that act as shelves or plinth-like platforms for glazed porcelain bowls (from £300).

Buy online

Rhiannon Gwyn, Gorwel / Horizon 4, 13.5cm, Ceramic, glaze made from gorse flowers and finished with gold lustre.

Chisenhale editions

Made to mark a-n member Sonia Boyce‘s prestigious Golden Lion win at the 59th Venice Biennale, I’m With Her Too, a digital print and silkscreen glaze (from £605), ‘represents a call for solidarity, celebrating the positive energy generated in movements of social and collective action, rallying the potential for change.’

Boyce, who works across a range of media to explore critical and contextual debates on race, gender and cultural difference, is the first Black woman to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale. Her sound installation Feeling Her Way for the British Pavilion features videos of five Black female musicians improvising and interacting with their voices, amongst vibrant wallpapers and golden sculptures.

Funds raised from Chisenhale editions sales contribute to the gallery’s artistic programme and support the artists they work with.

From Chisenhale Gallery, London or buy online

Sonia Boyce, I’m With Her Too, 2019, produced for Chisenhale Gallery. Photo: Andy Keate.

Coven Oven tea towel

A tea towel for the whole year, not just for Christmas. Wheel of the Year tea towel (£12.34 incl. p+p) is made by Bristol-based artists and a-n members Jo Hellier and Hannah Aspinall, whose multi-disciplinary collaboration as Coven Oven includes print and zine making, cooking seasonal food, traditional craft and events that engage with rituals, plants, history and mythology.

The tea towel design is based on lino prints by Hellier, whose individual practice also encompasses choreography, installation and voice. The wheel of the year is a secular calendar that marks the eight equinoxes, solstices and festivals that punctuate the earth’s cyclical processes. These celebratory markers of time – Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas, Mabon, Samhain and Yule – have ‘rich and tangled histories from Celtic roots to Victorian revelries to modern day pagan imaginings’ explain Hellier and Aspinall.

Buy online 

Coven Oven, Wheel of the Year tea towel

Buy Art 2022, Aire Place Studios

Aire Place Studios in Leeds presents its first affordable art exhibition, with original pieces for sale for under £300.

Among the 40 artists taking part is a-n Artists Council member Sarah Francis who will be offering an edition titled Lump (£100) – a series of etchings on plywood that depict ambiguous lumpen forms.

If you can’t make it to the opening celebration with artists and makers and the first chance to buy their artworks (4 November), head to Aire Place Studios’ online shop to get your art fix.

4 November 2022 – 20 January 2023, Aire Place Studios, Leeds or buy online

Sarah Francis, Lumps 2, 2022

Sponsor a fellowship: Metamorph

For the person who loves delayed gratification, how about buying a present that will arrive in the future?

The London Bronze Fellowship is a programme for artists to realise their first bronze. a-n Artists Council Chair and Board member Clémentine Bedos in collaboration with artists Holly Hunter, Verity Coward and Assia Ghendir, have proposed the work Metamorph, part of their long-term multi-disciplinary project that draws on the classical myth of Daphne.

By sponsoring the fellowship you’ll enable the artists to work with craftspeople in London Bronze’s specialist workshop to realise Metamorph, and once completed you’ll receive one edition (of three) of the sculpture.

Sponsor Metamorph Fellowship

Metamorph proposal for bronze, 40×40×40cm, edition of 3

Claire Shakespeare paintings

Painter Claire Shakespeare, a recent graduate from University of Brighton who was included in a-n’s Degree Shows Guide 2022, makes mixed media abstract works that include tactile mark making.

Shakespeare’s process is impulsive and material-led, incorporating house paint, enamel, charcoal and paper. Their painting titles range from the elusive M to references to everyday items – Hairdryer and Spring Onion – and suggestions of much more dramatic action, as in Car Crashing.

From £480 Buy online

Claire Shakespeare, Hairdryer, 2022, oil and house paint on canvas, 56 x 41 cm

Craft and glass workshops

For that tricky person who has everything, why not gift them a new creative skill? Join in-person and Zoom workshops led by a-n members Clare Pentlow, Jennifer Collier and Iain Perry at Unit Twelve in Stafford. Pentlow leads a one-day creative paper cutting workshop (March 2023, £75) in which she will share her passion for the material and guide you through techniques to turn ‘something ordinary into the extraordinary through hand cutting and folding’.

Or if you prefer your material hot, try one of the National Glass Centre’s courses, which include making glass tableware, jewellery, decorations and stained glass.

In February 2023 Gateshead-based artist and a-n member Sue Woolhouse leads an introduction to fused glass workshop (£80). You’ll design and make your own decorative glass pieces using the kiln glass technique, and learn about the different effects that can be achieved.

But if you prefer to enjoy the creativity of others, the National Glass Centre’s online shop stocks everything glass and much more, from one-of-a-kind vases hand made in the centre’s hot glass studio (from £40), to traditional baubles and perfect stocking fillers like mugs, magnets and keyrings.

National Glass Centre, Sunderland or book classes and buy online

Unit Twelve, Stafford or book online

National Glass Centre

Andre Williams, Boiling Freezing scarf
Art, design and craft studio Intoart works with artists with learning disabilities. Its online shop is a place of joy, selling colourful editions, ceramics, homeware and fashion designed by members of the collective, and sales help to fund the organisation’s activities.

Wrap up with Andre Williams’ Boiling Freezing scarf (£28), featuring a double-sided design that ‘captures the frosty spirit of winter weather’ on one side while celebrating the ‘cozy feelings a good scarf can offer’ on the other.

If you’re already dreaming of spring, Christian Ovonlen’s Overgrown limited edition riso print (£20) depicts an abundance of blooming flowers in five bold colours.

And what Christmas gift guide would be complete without socks? Our favourites are Ntiense Eno-Amooquaye’s pair, featuring a ‘serene shoal of koi carp’.

Buy online

Andre Williams, Boiling Freezing scarf

Top image: Sonia Boyce, I’m With Her Too, 2019, produced for Chisenhale Gallery. Photo: Andy Keate.

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