On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … a hand-dyed silk scarf by Judie Huss ($40 at Artifacts). On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … two fused glass tiles by Christopher Blice ($250 a pop at Red Dot Glass Gallery). On the third day … well, you get the picture. For those of you who are in the art-gift giving market for Hanukkah, Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, the options are many and the good news is, the possibilities span the budget spectrum.
Jeanne Kaplan, manager of Artifacts, arranges hand-dyed silk scarves by local artist Judie Huss for sale at the art gallery on Guillford Avenue in Broad Ripple.
Connoisseurs of fine contemporary crafts have come to depend on the aforementioned Artifacts Gallery (6327 N. Guilford Ave., 255-1178), one of the city’s oldest retail art establishments (it opened in 1977). The shop has maintained its modest storefront in Broad Ripple with a revolving selection of local, regional and national artists and artisans. The gallery truly bridges the worlds of art and function, with tableware, jewelry, furniture and textiles in a variety of media, plus lovely to look at but decidedly non-functional pieces. Featured for the holidays are — in addition to Huss’ silk and satin scarves and handbags — jewelry by Lydia Gerbig-Fast, of Ft. Wayne, presenting works in sterling silver and gold, etching and enameling on copper, fresh water pearls and gemstones; and art glass pieces by Kokomo Opalescent Glass. As longtime Artifacts salesperson Penelope Scopelitis says, art shoppers can purchase gifts here ranging “anywhere from $5 up to $1,500. Most everything in Artifacts is artist-made or studio-made.” The one-of-a-kind, contemporary label is perhaps what best defines the difference between standard gift shop fare and art pieces. Traditional ceramics and other functional objects can be found en masse in places like Nashville, Ind., or even shopping malls; but for unique gifts that make an aesthetic statement, shops such as Artifacts, art galleries or museum gift shops are the way to go. Other favorite art-gift spots in Broad Ripple are The Bungalow (924 E. Westfield Blvd., 253-5028) and Turandot Decorative Arts (912 Westfield Blvd., 255-5969), around the corner from Artifacts. Along museum gift shop lines, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art’s White River Trader (500 W. Washington St., 636-WEST) offers Native American and Western-themed or -inspired fine art such as art jewelry and sculpture, as well as non-one-of-a-kind gifts (books and compact discs, for example). The shop also carries dream catchers and other functional items such as hand-made wallets and belts. Other favorite gift shops with art items include the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Alliance Gift Shop (4000 Michigan Road, 923-1331) and the Indianapolis Art Center’s Basile Gallery Gift Shop (820 E. 67th St., 255-2464), which includes the work of many Art Center instructors and some of their more accomplished students among its stable of artists. For those die-hard art givers with a more generous budget, perhaps an abstract painting by Mary Lou Dooley Waller or a watercolor by Tom Torluemke are just the ticket. Both artists’ ethereal abstractions can be found among the seasonal offerings at Ruschman Art Gallery (948 N. Alabama St., 634-3114), hosting its annual Holiday Show of gallery artists from the city, the greater Midwest and beyond. (Torluemke lives in Hammond, Ind., and Waller lives in Indianapolis.) Also of interest to the more serious minded art buyer, and also downtown, Dean Johnson Gallery (646 Massachusetts Ave., 634-8020) is hosting its annual One Peace Show (cleverly re-titled from previous years’ One Piece Show moniker). The gallery, which mostly exhibits the work of local artists, many of whom straddle the worlds of fine art and commercial art, has shown the work of sculptor Julie Ball, illustrator Chris Pyle and other local favorites in past one-piece shows. In Broad Ripple, Editions Limited (4040 E. 82nd St., 842-1414), specializing in original art as well as fine prints by well-known national artists, is presenting its annual holiday offering with its simply titled Holiday Open House Dec. 10-31. The show will include work by a number of the gallery’s local, national and international artists (show opening is Friday, Dec. 10, from 5-8 p.m.). Editions has new works by well-known Indianapolis-based abstract painter Lois Main Templeton. For more visual art gift-giving choices, visit your favorite local gallery or gift shop. Find a more or less complete list of possibilities by logging on to www.nuvo.net. The Fall Arts Guide features visual art entities throughout the city.