Already a bit tired of the high street’s generic offerings this Christmas? I know I am. And it’s not even December yet.
How about trying something new? Most towns have an independent gallery. They’re not scary places, I promise – and they’re a fantastic place to buy beautiful and unusual Christmas presents. Most galleries will have a great range of things – from small paintings and more affordable prints, right down to little handmade craft items, jewellery and cards. You don’t have to have a full purse to be able to leave with something.
Recently I went to a special evening hosted by Cambridge Contemporary Arts, and their sister gallery Cambridge Contemporary Crafts. I had soon compiled a Christmas wish list as long as my arm.
My husband and I both fell in love with some gorgeous linocuts by Gail Brodholt. Our favourite was Every Moment So Fleeting (£300). Clearly it would be an expensive purchase, but we were both tempted to have this as a single, joint Christmas present to each other. A great investment, and something we could keep on enjoying.
linocut 33cm x 34cm
I also loved this screen print (£345) by Angie Lewin. I can completely picture it in my house and I’d love to own it.
It’s worth noting that both of these prints are available to buy via the Arts Council’s Own Art scheme – where you pay for your purchase over ten monthly payments. The scheme is available for artwork priced between £100 to £2500. Such a good idea – especially when it’s hard to justify spending so much in one go.
But galleries aren’t just about paintings and prints. I also love the little decorative objects available, which are often much more affordable than the paintings – but every bit as unique and precious.
Ali Cooper’s beautiful Christmas porcelain pieces were my favourites – white, glossy and with the merest hint of gold. I fell completely in love with this little bird house (£20) and it came home with me. It’s always wonderful to buy a really special ornament for the tree every year.
Will Shakspeare’s hand blown glass baubles are also completely covetable and I was thrilled to add another one to my collection.
So, whether you’re looking for jewellery, crafts, prints – or maybe just a gorgeous Christmas card – try calling into your local gallery. I came away feeling very inspired with lots of ideas.
Or how about a trip to Cambridge? It’s a magical place for festive shopping.
If you’re planning a visit, here’s how where to find the galleries. You can also order direct by viewing their websites:
Cambridge Contemporary Arts, 6 Trinity Street, Cambridge, CB2 1SU
Cambridge Contemporary Crafts, 5 Bene’t St, Cambridge, CB2 3QN