Gift Guide: Meet the Makers Featured in the High’s Virtual Holiday Market

High Museum of Art
Nov 6 · 10 min read

With handmade goods from talented local makers, you’ll find the perfect gift at the High’s market.

By Eva Berlin, Digital Content Specialist, High Museum of Art

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Products by Besida, DANI LIN, and Klapthor’s Universal Robots

The High’s Annual Holiday Artisan Market is just around the corner! This year, for your convenience and safety, the market will take place online November 23–29, 2020. You can also visit the Museum Shop to make your selections in person.

This year’s market features ten locally-based artisans, and you’ll get the chance to hear from many of them during live “Meet the Makers” Zoom sessions at 11 a.m. on November 28 and 29 (register on the Market’s event page).

With goods ranging from sci-fi ceramics to woolen gnomes and bold printed accessories (including stylish masks), there’s something for everyone at the market. Where else can you check off your wish lists with unique gifts while simultaneously supporting small businesses and your local art museum?

Scroll to find out more about this year’s artisans, their incredible products, and what inspires them to create.

Sophia Danner-Okatie headshot in a white shirt in front of a chocolatey brown wall.
Sophia Danner-Okatie headshot in a white shirt in front of a chocolatey brown wall.
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A woman in a Nigerian printed dress in front of an earth-colored backdrop.
A woman in a Nigerian printed dress in front of an earth-colored backdrop.

Sophia Danner-Okotie, Besida

Besida is an emerging, sustainable women’s clothing brand with an Afrocentric flair. We produce a range of products including apparel and accessories while building communities in an environmentally conscious way at our factory in Benin City, Nigeria. Our e-commerce platform serves as our primary source of business; however, Besida is stocked at several boutiques and shops in the United States.

The markets in Nigeria have a special way of making my creative juices flow. I’m inspired by the bold wax print fabrics in the shops, the unique handmade garments worn by strong, working women, and how well Nigerians reduce and reuse waste.

“Beyond the eye-catching aesthetics, what makes our items unique are our incredible values. Besida’s products are individually made with love, sustainable practices, and ethical principles. Besida values people over profit. My team of esteemed tailors at Besida’s workshop in Nigeria are paid fair living wages, significantly above the country’s standards.”

Trecy Bleich headshot.
Trecy Bleich headshot.
A black woman in a white shirt wears a sculptural necklace.
A black woman in a white shirt wears a sculptural necklace.
stack of bracelets made with gold cylindrical beads and colored beads.
stack of bracelets made with gold cylindrical beads and colored beads.

Trecy Bleich, Vella Mode

My brand focuses on handcrafted jewelry with modern aesthetics. The designs are simple but attract a buyer with individualistic appeal. Creations are made using simple handcrafted metals, anodized aluminum, handmade resin, and hematite.

“When I began jewelry making 10 years ago, my goal was to inject my personal character into my designs. As a self-taught artist with a lifelong interest in fashion and design, I find inspiration in life experiences, nature, and architecture”

Inga and Evija stand in front of a yellow wall and gesture towards yellow flowers.
Inga and Evija stand in front of a yellow wall and gesture towards yellow flowers.
Tote bag with message that reads “Go where you feel the most alive.”
Tote bag with message that reads “Go where you feel the most alive.”
Wallet with cat graphic.
Wallet with cat graphic.

Inga and Evija, 100% Cool Efi

We are two-of-a-kind designers/artists, Inga and Evija, who handcraft one-of-a-kind fashion accessories just for you. Both of our backgrounds are in sports and physical therapy. We ran into passion for designing when we immigrated to the USA from Latvia in the early 2000s. We are passionate about positivity and sustainability, so the combination of designing, recycling/upcycling/repurposing/reusing, and spreading positive energy around the world just simply makes us TICK.

Our environmentally friendly style uses all types of recycled fabrics and clothes, giving each piece a new life. Our products often incorporate photography and humorous and inspirational messages to encourage others to love themselves as individuals, and to boldly express and celebrate our individuality. Our handbags, pouches, and vallets (we call them “vallets” instead of wallets because of our accents) are designed to bring you joy.

“Arriving in the United States with just $50 in our pockets, we, two dreamers, embraced the adventures of our new home. Being able to live our dream of being mindful artists, creating beauty and meaning in the world, is an inspiration. Focus, dedication, and a positive attitude of gratitude have been the heart and soul of our business vision since day one.”

Jay Carlson headshot.
Jay Carlson headshot.
Clue Town Atlanta Beltline scavenger hunt.
Clue Town Atlanta Beltline scavenger hunt.
Clue Town scavenger hunt.
Clue Town scavenger hunt.

Jay Carlson, Clue Town Books

Clue Town Books are a series of ready-to-solve puzzle hunts. Our indoor hunts can be solved anywhere in the world, wherever you feel comfortable. And our outdoor hunts are located in walkable areas of Atlanta and beyond. You use landmarks to solve puzzles, and the solutions reveal how to get to the next checkpoint. It’s a fun adventure for adults and kids. Ages twelve and up should be able to complete an entire hunt without adult assistance.

Although the books are a physical product, it ultimately provides an experience that can be shared with family and friends. Together you’ll visit outdoor locations and learn about local history and public art while getting exercise. I try to make sure each book uses different styles, ideally mixing visual and text-based puzzles, so it provides a new experience for the repeat customers.

“I discovered off-path landmarks in Piedmont Park that I had never noticed before, even though I had visited the park dozens of times. I thought it would be interesting to show others what was under their noses the whole time…and that’s how Clue Town was born.”

Nicole Carter headshot.
Nicole Carter headshot.
Necklace with glass pendants.
Necklace with glass pendants.
Silver chain necklace with glass hexagon pendant.
Silver chain necklace with glass hexagon pendant.

Nicole Carter, StyleBLISS Jewels

Artistically blending the beauty of style and absolute bliss, StyleBLISS Jewels is a burgeoning jewelry brand comprised of meticulously handcrafted and uniquely designed limited edition and one of a kind statement pieces best known for its distinctive signature design aesthetic and glamorous glass accents reflecting the essence of modern luxury and feminine flair.

With a focus on magnifying the elegance, presence and personal style of women, StyleBLISS Jewels is a brand that also prides itself on being an authentically artistic expression and inspiration to follow your bliss.

“I named my jewelry brand StyleBLISS Jewels with an emphasis on the word BLISS not only because of the sheer joy designing jewelry gives me, but to also continuously bring that feeling to others via StyleBLISS Jewels.”

Sara Anderson headshot taken at her drawing table.
Sara Anderson headshot taken at her drawing table.
A colorful kaftan in blues, purples, creamy yellow, and orange.
A colorful kaftan in blues, purples, creamy yellow, and orange.
A young woman wears a printed scarf.
A young woman wears a printed scarf.

Sara Anderson, Sara Anderson Design

I design my beautiful lifestyle brand from my studio in Northeast Atlanta, creating from my experiences, history, and authentic aesthetic. I have a couple of favorite quotes that guide me. One is from Elsie de Wolfe, who said, “I am going to make everything around me beautiful — that is what I will do with my life.” And so she did . . . and so will I. This is my raison d’etre. I was raised by artists, curators, and naturalists. I’ve lived from farm to city, and ALL of this has contributed to my appreciation and eclectic expression. And how amazing it’s been!

Influenced by a life full of fascinating people, world travel, the rich culture of my upbringing in the Southern United States, and an outrageous appreciation for many artists and movements, I endeavor to bring these elements together as they inspire me. My brand includes Apres Wear Kimono, my signature silk as well as silk/cashmere scarves, and a line of home goods. I translate these elements in my language and process to feed your heart as mine has been fed.

“Everything we produce comes from a drawing, painting, and occasionally a print. In a world of mass production, my products are an opportunity for my buyer to participate and own something unique and lasting.”

Lorena Griffin headshot with trees.
Lorena Griffin headshot with trees.
Woolen mermaid crown surrounded by seashells.
Woolen mermaid crown surrounded by seashells.
Three wool felt stuffed gnomes sit in front of a pile of wood.
Three wool felt stuffed gnomes sit in front of a pile of wood.

Lorena Griffin and Aline Griffin Harris, The Green Griffin

The Green Griffin is a mother-daughter team, who lives in Dacula, GA. We use upcycled wool felt to create fun items for the home, for children, and to wear. Our works are wacky and colorful, never vanilla, and we have a particular affinity for Waldorf-style handwork.

All items are made from upcycled, 100% wool thrift-store sweaters. Completely sustainable and unquestionably snuggly. Second chances begin at the local thrift store. There we hunt for sweaters made from 100% animal fibers. Next, we wash and sanitize the woolens, turning them into felt. That’s when the fun begins. Our stash contains solids in every color, as well as many stripes and prints.

“We cut, sew, embroider, needle felt, and otherwise play in the fiber magic, producing whimsical, sustainable, and truly one-of-a-kind products.”

Michael Klapthor holds up his robot mug.
Michael Klapthor holds up his robot mug.
Ceramic robot tumbler.
Ceramic robot tumbler.
Ceramic robot sculpture.
Ceramic robot sculpture.

Michael Klapthor, Klapthors Universal Robots

I am making a clay series of sculptures and functional wares based on the 1950s era of science fiction. Robots, rockets, ray guns, and more are made through a combination of pottery and sculpting techniques and then colored with bold glazes and rusty stains. The themes of this series center around whimsy and nostalgia.

Most designs begin in my sketchbook as I doodle down ideas for robots or space-themed constructs. The building process gives the sculptures a distinctive look of sleekly designed constructs. But the expressions and posture of the characters give a contrasting layer as they convey the emotional depth.

“The science fiction stories of the 1950s and ’60s delved deep into human nature that found a good amount of both hope and fear and exaggerated the themes into fantastic tales that took these emotions to their furthest logical conclusions. Both the heart and the aesthetic of these stories are what I aim to capture in my work.”

Mother and son designers of Dani Lin.
Mother and son designers of Dani Lin.
Leather and textile bag
Leather and textile bag
Woman with a leather and textile bag.
Woman with a leather and textile bag.

Linda Givens and Kameron Givens, DANI LIN

DANI LIN caters to women who want to enhance their style with unique handmade handbags and accessories. Our brand provides shoppers with options other than what is regularly seen available in today’s market of “fast fashion” and oversaturated market of designer labels. Our products are not mass produced; they are handcrafted and offer a level of uniqueness not easily available with our competitors.

Our designs and fabrics are bold, colorful, and unique. The patterns vary in color and shading, and the textures are inherent in something that is handmade. A number of our products feature mola fabric. The artistry of molas is a reflection of Kuna cultural tradition. Through your purchase, DANI LIN will be able to continue its support of Indigenous communities and the workers who consign to make these custom fabrics and designs.

“Inspiration is an emotional process for us. We are obsessed with history and old craftsmanship ideas. From there, we design patterns and textures that are unique, fun, and stylish.”

Marilynn Long headshot.
Marilynn Long headshot.
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A woman wears a lapis necklace.
A woman wears a lapis necklace.

Marilynn Long, MBellish Accessories

Wearable art! The MB brand is handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry designs that inspire happiness, uniqueness, and a sense of well-being as each piece is made from all-natural stones and materials that connect the wearer with nature. The artistic blend of stones, focal pieces, and unique composition create conversation pieces that can be worn day or night, casually or with evening attire. MBellish Jewelry is bold artful statement pieces, unique in that each piece features natural stones sourced from around the world.

“As an artist and member of our global society, I like blending stones and relics from different ethnic groups as a symbol of unity of all people, races, and religions. Just meditating on the stones in my studio, their country(s) of origin, and ethnicity of the indigenous people are all inspiring.”

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