Arts & Culture

12 Days of Artsy Christmas: Our guide to buying gifts made by South Sound artists

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me … a gift made by a local artist. Yes, the holidays are coming, and now is a perfect time to spend your money in a way that will do your community good: buying something made by a local artist. Whether it’s blown glass or books, paper or paint, music or metal, if you give a locally made gift, you’re not only giving something unique but supporting the local economy — and maybe meeting the artist as well.

Interested? Here’s our guide to the 12 Days of Christmas, local-artist-style. (You can sing the song yourself.)


Or even more than that: Tacoma’s newest literary publication collects new and established writers’ fiction, essays and poetry in “Creative Colloquy Volume One.” A spin-off from the monthly open-mic series of the same name, the book’s featured authors include Nick Stokes and Erik Hanberg.

Available (along with other local books): at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma. You can meet the authors at Indies First day, 1-4 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 29). 253-272-8801,

Online at

In Olympia, find local writing and art books at Orca Books, 509 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia; 360-352-0123,


Or even season subscriptions, if you want to give big. Greater Tacoma has a wealth of performing arts groups that offer everything from opera to holiday shows to alternative theater, and giving tickets to their shows is a great way to avoid the environmental clutter of packaging and extra stuff — and it supports our city’s arts groups.

Choose from the 11 big ones listed below or a wealth of smaller groups.


Tacoma Symphony: 235-272-7264,

Northwest Sinfonietta: 888-356-6040,

Tacoma Opera: 253-627-7789,

Broadway Center for the Performing Arts: 253-591-5894,

Tacoma Concert Band: 253-591-5894,

Tacoma City Ballet: 253-272-4219,

Second City Chamber Series: 253-572-TUNE,

Tacoma Musical Playhouse: 253-565-6867,

Tacoma Little Theater: 253-272-2281,

Lakewood Playhouse: 253-588-0042,

Puget Sound Revels: 253-591-5894,


Plus photography, sculpture and more at White River Valley Museum’s juried show “Small Works, Big Presents,” which features 77 regional artists (many local) offering work that’s small in size and cost, but big in artistic value.

Available: Noon-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays (6-8 p.m. Dec. 5) through Dec. 14 at White River Valley Museum, 918 H St. SE, Auburn; 253-288-7433,


Okay, that doesn’t quite scan, but the South Sound has a wealth of small jewelry crafters who make highly creative stuff. Take Miranda Pollitz, whose necklaces alternate tiny beads of wood and semi-precious stones for an Indian prayer-bead effect. Or Phoebe Moore (Tiny Thunder designs), whose steampunk-style pendants encase vintage maps of Tacoma, Olympia and (smallest of all) Seattle. There’s Jacqueline Pahutski, who fills broken vintage watches with glittery starfish, Eiffel Towers and more; and Dawn Curran (EarthNerd), whose sterling silver pendants include a gracefully arching antler, and who makes earrings from vintage fabric buttons. Curran also makes a chai spice lip balm that’s better than the real drink.

Available: Find many of these artisans at the Museum of Glass Holiday Craft Fair, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 13 at 1801 Dock St., Tacoma; 866-4-MUSEUM, Phoebe Moore will also be at Small Business Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 29) at Urban Xchange, 1932 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-572-2280, EarthNerd and TinyThunder designs both sell at


One Tacoma artistic collaboration that’s gone mostly under the radar is a brilliant but affordable gift: square magnets with hand-drawn watercolors of the historic Pantages and Rialto theaters by Chandler O’Leary. Produced by the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, which runs the theaters, these are a fantastically local gift and, at $8 for the pair, a steal.

Available: O’Leary will be at the Museum of Glass Holiday Craft Fair (see above) on Dec. 13. She also sells them online at


You can never have too many bags, especially if they look like they sprang right out of a Tumblr page. Two Tacoma designers are crafting vintage-y bags and purses right now with upcycled fabric and beautiful print patterns: Brooke Mclaughlin of Atlas Past combines cotton, lace, serge and leather straps in refined palettes of olive, chocolate and navy for hip clutches and utility purses, while Scott and Jacqui Scoggin of Year Round Co. design their own grass-sheaf prints for totes and purses in beachy sage, wheat or strawberry.

Available: Online at, at the Tacoma Art Museum store (1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma), and the Museum of Glass Holiday Craft Fair (see above) on Dec. 13.


Tacoma has grown into a hotbed of cutting-edge letterpress print artists, but you don’t have to wait for the summer festivals to buy their work. Feminist posters by Chandler O’Leary, history-drenched work by Jessica Spring (look for Spring’s latest art-book invention: a pull-out paper honeycomb about bees), Japanese-inspired blockprints by Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto, and guerrilla text art by Beautiful Angle.


Chandler O’Leary sells online at and at the Tacoma Art Museum store.

Jessica Spring sells online at and at the TAM store.

Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto sell at Arts and Crafts Press, 2515-B South Tacoma Way, Tacoma; 360-871-7707,

Beautiful Angle posters sold at their annual Holiday Party/Benefit Poster Sale, 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Diane Hansen Studio, 747 S. Fawcett St., Tacoma; also at


Jewelry artist Amy Reeves, who just exhibited at the Washington State History Museum and American Art Co. for MetalUrge, creates silver jewelry that’s sassy but delicate. She also offers classes, in case you want to make some yourself.

Available: Tacoma Metal Arts Center, 3833 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-227-1694, (see website for hours), and at the Tacoma Art Museum store.


Paper artist Laurie Cinotto (recently published by Martha Stewart) cuts the tiniest shapes imaginable and assembles them into miniature Christmas trees, deer, elves and more, perched on twig rounds. If that isn’t cute, what is?

Available: Online at and through December at Moss+Mineral, noon-5 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays at 305 S. Ninth St., Tacoma; 253-961-5220, More information at


Tacoma musicians have been busy lately — three new CDs are hot off the press. The Northwest Sinfonietta backs virtuoso pianist Joel Fan in a recording of bubbly 19th-century party pieces in “Dances for Piano and Orchestra”; Tacoma composer Greg Youtz sets to music poems by former Tacoma poet laureate William Kupinse in “Poetry Above the Roar”; and while not exactly new (it was released in January), saxophonist Erik Steighner’s “Made in Tacoma” features a wealth of new music for sax in fascinating combinations by local composers like Rob Hutchinson, Deborah Anderson and Clement Reid.

Available: On CD at and for download at


We mean the 253Heart designs that you’ve been seeing on everyone’s rear windows. The designs also come on T-shirts, stickers and in heavy silver necklace and bracelet pendants designed by artist Lisa Kinoshita, who sells her own jewelry and botanical art at Moss+Mineral (see above) and at the TAM store.

Available: T-shirts and stickers at T-town Apparel, 1938 Market St., Tacoma; 866-744-0100; jewelry at


Because nothing says “Tacoma” like drinking out of the top of a baby’s head. Thanks to glass artist Oliver Doriss for this wickedly morbid glass art.

Available: Noon-6 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at Fulcrum Gallery, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma; 253-250-0520,