Great Christmas gift ideas for people who love art

7 Dec 2014 @ 9.07 pm
| Entertainment

In her final YorkMix art blog, Jayne Shipley picks out some great presents for the arty person in your life

One of Richard Barnes’ York cityscapes. Photograph: According To McGee
We have plans, this Yuletide, to sing carols around our Gumtree piano. I am the new Mrs Shipley and I have invited the in-laws to join us for my infamous mulled-wine, and I have given them instructions to come in their finery (or their Asda Christmas woollies) and to practise their Kirsty MacColl.

I have visions of a Christmas Eve something akin to my favourite scenes from The Sound Of Music, spiced with a little flavour of a Val Doonican Christmas Special.

I would like to say that this – the company of family and friends, good health and peace on earth – is all I want for Christmas but that wouldn’t strictly be true. I think I told you last year, I like presents!

I always have a list of ‘would really likes’ and my son is well-primed. The paper my list is written on includes lots of pictures and lots of diagrams. I am eager to be helpful. My Christmas list is a little work of art.

This year, picture frames are on my list of ‘would really likes’. Over the year, the hubby and I have collected postcards and posters from the wonderful exhibitions we have visited; we also have a zillion photos of our fabulous family, taken on our wedding day.

My son has been given the dimensions and he has had an important ‘talking to’ about aesthetics.

Of course, I enjoy the giving too. I started in earnest last week and despite my somewhat materialistic approach to receiving, I opt for a holistic, sustainable and thoughtful approach to the giving side of things.

A genius idea

I avoided Coney Street on Black Friday and saved my spending spree until last Saturday, buying up crafts from the fair at the Golden Ball, the pub in Bishophill. This was a genius idea, by the way, setting up your stalls whilst the beer was flowing.

I bought several cards from Anna Harding, which feature York, her signature cats padding through the snow.

I will send them to my York friends, who are now scattered around the world in warmer climates and who will be putting their fairy lights around the eucalyptus.

I admit I found several more things that I could have put on my ‘would really like’ list, including some beautiful bags, but I remained focus and thought of the children.

My friend Claire and I fell in love with the menagerie, created by Emma James. We had great fun choosing the little creatures, which were housed in decorated matchboxes.

We both have adults in our lives that would appreciate these as much as any little person; Claire found herself buying ‘a spare’ ginger-cat-in-a-box.

Over the year, I have had to forcefully walk out of York’s art spaces so that I don’t blow the housekeeping on another print. I have fallen in love with so much that I have seen.

I have been wondering what York’s arty folk would put on their lists, so I asked them what they would like to find in their own stockings; what would they like to find under their trees.

What we want for Christmas

Greg and Ails of According To McGee have been championing contemporary artist, Richard Barnes, throughout the year. Remember, art is not just for Christmas…

Greg told me that “Richard’s cityscapes are a reminder of just how cool a city like York is, and it’s not just about churches, pots of tea and Vikings. We love living here; these paintings reflect that perfectly.”

Fran Chalet, the talented designer and founder of Halfpinthome told me she would love to find a Kirsty Elson to add to her collection.

“I love buying pieces from illustrators, designer and makers, who I come across. I am a real art lover and her work ticks all the boxes for me! Kirsty’s work can be found here.

For her children, Fran will be looking to Gilbert and Stone (on Notonthehighstreet) for some inspiration. Earlier in the year Fran bought a set of personalised egg cups with her children’s names on. “They are super cute and I love seeing them lined up at breakfast time.”

York artist, and gallery owner, Andres Jaroslavsky told me: “The perfect present for me would be tubes and tubes of oil paints: red, yellow, white and black, the four colours of my palette.

“Tons of it! In particular lead white.

“A few months ago the EU banned the lead white (or flake white) oil paint. I am working on a series of paintings based on this particular paint. If anybody has an old tube in the shed that will make me a very happy chap.’

Whether you are thinking about your own stockings, or are taking the more altruistic approach, our artists and galleries have so much inspiration to offer.

Here are a few ideas that are far more exciting than socks and satsumas…

Gifts for arty folk

york-art-mini-notebooksFrom Fran’s Halfpinthome collection, her delightful set of Mini Pocket Notebooks are available for £8.

Also on the website, she has a magical array of character cushions and prints and these can be personalised for around £25.

york-art-ails-mcgee-richard-barnesGreg and Ails of According To McGee are happy to share their love of Richard Barnes. His limited edition prints are available to purchase from the gallery, for £125. (The exhibition will continue at According to McGee until January 20.)
york-art-andres-calendarFrom Andres’ Corner Gallery, you can buy his eagerly awaited York 2015 calendar. The calendar features “York’s most iconic buildings”.

The drawings are printed on Conqueror paper. They are a limited edition and a steal at £9.99!

Andres’ art lessons come highly recommended. The perfect present for any artist, wanting some expert tuition, would be vouchers for his classes.

A £30 the voucher entitles the holder to two painting/ drawing lessons at Corner Gallery or three life-drawing lessons in Heworth or Fulford.

york-art-emily-sutton-totebagYork artist and illustrator Emily Sutton is currently exhibiting at the prestigious Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The gallery shop is selling some of her enchanting prints and sculptures.

Her tote bag, made from the ‘Scrap Bag’ print would look very lovely under my own tree. I can imagine it filled with little parcels of sewing essentials.

You can find it online at the sculpture park shop, but I personally can’t think of a better excuse to visit the park.

york-art-blue-tree-galleryBlue Tree Gallery and Kentmere House are great places to find a wealth of original art. Both are Art Council approved to offer the ‘Own Art Scheme’, helping to spread the cost of more indulgent pieces.

Across the way from Blue Tree is Priestley’s, which is crammed with both good taste and quirky inspiration. Downstairs, in their White Room Gallery, you will find some exquisite blown glassware in their Christmas show: Winter’s Mark, Gillies Jones.

york-art-minster-christmas-wreathIf you want to add the ultimate personal touch, of course, you can always make your own. My family and friends can look forward to some real oddities this year as I am in my experimental phase – ie I haven’t yet found my craft forte.

If you are feeling creative, however, I can’t think of anything more festive (apart from our proposed recital round our house) than making Christmas Wreaths in York Minster. The workshop will be on Saturday December 13.

It costs £20 including all materials and refreshments. Places must be pre-booked online.

Learning manager Kate Whitworth says that the events promise “expert tuition, along with some delicious seasonal refreshments. A wonderful way to prepare for the festive season!”

Well, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It is time for me to go now and practise my Kirsty MacColl and my do-re-mi.

This is my last art blog for YorkMix. My thanks go to all the wonderful curators, gallery owners, artists and crafters that have given me their time- you are a talented bunch. My thanks also must go to Chris and David at YorkMix for giving me a platform to be proud of. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. For now though, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…