The season of giving is approaching. There’s just something special about focusing on the people that matter to you and finding the perfect gift to represent their significance in your life. Whether you have a long list of people you’d love to buy for or just one, we’d love to encourage you to think local this time of year.
Sometime throughout the years, gift giving has gotten muddled. It’s turned into long lines on Black Friday, fighting crowds of angry consumers to get the last of this or that item-–it’s lost that personal touch. How do we get that back? How do we get back to giving for the sake of giving, supporting one another, and put that magic back into our holidays?
It starts with time, the time spent thinking of other people, the time of local makers and creators that put their personalities into their local products. Shopping local brings together community and business to invigorate the local economy and spread cheer and happiness through gifts that mean something to those that make them and those that receive them.
Instead of buying your Dad the millionth tie he won’t wear or getting your best friend something impersonal, check out the abundance of local gifted creators.
All it takes is a little thought and a little Lakeland to put that magic back into giving.
Artist Molly Crystal is the magic-maker behind jester foxe, something that according to her, “started as a creative outlet and evolved into a small business designing greeting cards.” This budding greeting card business eventually branched off to other products such as macramé plant hangers and enamel pins. Involved in every step of the process, Molly designs all her greeting cards using Adobe InDesign and makes the macramé plant hangers by hand. Molly put into words what makes her products noteworthy, expressing, “I think jester foxe is special because of the unique brand (jester foxe is named after an old Halloween costume of mine), and that all of my products aren’t classified into one category, you probably won’t find a lot of craft booths with both macramé and greetings cards mixed together.” You can find Molly’s creations sold locally at the Juice Box Café in Lakeland and occasionally at #hausmrkt. Check jester foxe out online at www.jesterfoxe.com.
On Halloween of 2015, Raney Wade, who has been sewing for over a decade, launched her apparel business, Rane Made LLC. Rane attributes her comfortable, easy-to-wear aesthetic to being a Florida native. “Each piece of clothing you see on my website or at any pop-up is handmade by yours truly with the most comfortable fabrics and shapes. From patterning, to cutting, to sewing, to tagging–my hands are on each step. I am passionate about creating clothing that breathes and can be worn effortlessly,” said Raney. Using soft, draping fabrics, Raney patterns, cuts, sews, and tags each piece of Rane Made clothing. For durability, she stitches each seam and reinforces all edges. Raney explained, “My patterns feature comfortable ribbed necklines and raw hems. I often cut out batches of clothing and sew them all in an assembly order style system. I use two industrial sewing machines and one basic sewing machine for the tagging.” Rane Made clothing is unique, according to Raney, because, “I personally make each piece. My business model is set up so that there is minimal waste. I make each item as orders come in to eliminate over stock waste. My aesthetics are simple and easy-to-wear designs that can be worn effortlessly and do not cling.” Rane Made items can be found at www.ranemade.com where Raney also keeps her market schedule and updated list of events at which she will be selling.
Josh "Bump" Galletta
Lakeland-based commercial artist and illustrator, Josh “Bump” Galletta uses his self-taught skills in collaboration with his clients to create works that are the embodiment of their combined visions done in a way that he describes as “simple, but detailed.” Galletta is married to Mary, has two kids, Emmersyn and Fynn, and the family’s dog Ellie. “I am a self-taught artist and specialize in creating dynamic designs with an organic typography feel. I use pen and ink in a minimalist style. I don’t wear a suit and tie to work; I roll up my sleeves and get down with pen and paper. I believe in going through every door and seeing where it leads. I also believe in working hard every day at my craft,“ describes Galletta. The artist does private commissions, branding, logos, t-shirts, portraits, and more for others, but still finds time to create for himself, saying, “I try to wear my heart on my paper. So hopefully that comes across when people see my work. I have really grown attached to our area as a whole, so a lot of my work is a nod to the Sunshine State. When it comes to the apparel side of my work, I want my shirts to be shirts that are fun to wear and that may strike up a good conversation. Also, they have to be ridiculously soft.” You can find any of Bump’s prints, originals, t-shirts, commissions, and other information at his website www.Bumpgalletta.com. Scout and Tag and A Kind Place also carry his work in their stores, and you can find him at markets such as Indie Flea in Tampa, Mass Market in Lakeland, and Concord Night Market in Lakeland.
Husband and wife team Daniel and Stacy Tabb make practical pieces with leather, woven fiber and hand-cut stone. Want to learn it yourself? Stacy says,“We’ll teach these post-apocalyptic life skills to anyone in our studio in Lakeland, Florida. We’re not saying the zombie apocalypse is coming, but isn’t it better to be prepared?” Painting and drawing since childhood, Stacy inevitably branched out into sculpture, graphic design, HTML/CSS, and website design. Also during that time, the pair had two children and Stacy began learning leather work from Dan and taught herself weaving. Together the creative couple learned lapidary and now try to combine all three trades in as many artistic ways as possible. Dan was taught leather work as a child by his father. After a stint in the Navy and as a cartographer, an extended stay in the VA hospital caused him to pick up the craft again through the encouragement of doctors to do anything to maintain flexibility in his hands. According to Stacy, “Dan can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, but he can make leather and stone jump through hoops.” Their handcrafted goods consist of key rings, wallets, weekender bags, bespoke corsets and beyond. “Our storefront also includes a wide variety of artists and makers, including goat’s milk soap, recycled jewelry, hand-dyed yarn, wood art, pottery, paintings, photographs, and ink drawings,” says Stacy. The duo can make your ideas a reality from scratch or add details such as pockets to an existing item. Check them out at their leather studio and shop at 811 N. Florida Ave., Lakeland. Their basic leather items and all instructional classes can be purchased through their online store at www.boondockstudios.com.
Scout & Tag
Celebrating 3 years in her downtown location, Nikki Hunt, owner of Scout & Tag, got her start selling painted pieces of furniture in 2013 at Downtown Lakeland’s Curb Market. A home and gift store mecca, this shop showcases a harmony of vintage and mid-century modern furnishings, home décor, and local gifts. Nikki commented, “As a local Stockist for Chalk Paint ® by Annie Sloan we specialize in painted furniture pieces and host classes teaching others. In addition, we have weekly girls’ night out painting projects at our 3,500 square-foot downtown storefront.” The shop specializes in Lakeland made and celebrated décor according to Nikki. “We have designed and work with local artist to create our popular Lakeland pillows, towels, t-shirts, mugs, Lake Signs, Lakeland Landmark Illustrations, Lakeland Metal Artwork and more,” she says. The Scout & Tag brick and mortar store is located at 244 N. Kentucky Avenue, in Downtown Lakeland. Their Lakeland-specific, vintage, mid-century modern pieces can also be purchased online at www.scoutandtag.com.
Industrial modern furniture maker Jonathan Bucklew and his wife, stumbled into their trade by accident according to Jon. “We were remodeling our master bathroom and the tub my wife wanted was outside of our planned budget. She encouraged me to sell a dining table and bench set I had made on Etsy, so we opened a shop (using our street address as our shop name), and the rest is history!” he explained. Their creations consist of modern industrial furniture made of solid hardwoods and industrial steel, including tables, consoles, media storage, stools, benches, and beds. They design the pieces using an AutoCAD software and then make the pieces by hand in their shop in central Lakeland. With a couple of part-time employees, Jon and his team work together to cut, plane, join, sand, weld, and finish their pieces all by hand. When asked what makes his furniture different, Jon replied, “A couple of things—first, they’re all handcrafted here in Lakeland, rather than mass-produced and imported from overseas. We’re really proud of that. Secondly, they’re solid—solid steel and solid hardwood, as opposed to veneered. They’re easy to repair, if necessary, but also look awesome with age, as they patina and endure the common knicks or scrapes of everyday life.” Currently, Seventeen20 products can be found exclusively online on their website, www.seventeen20.com.
Loving Studios is an online store by Chad Loving. Chad produces original artwork prints, poetry, and handmade jewelry. He expressed that though he explores other occupations to support his creative endeavors, he is above all, an artist, remarking, “I create because I have something to say and a unique way to say it. I create because I want others to create. I create because I was created to. Loving Studios is the means by which I explore creativity in as many forms as I can, including paint, pencil, marker, food, wire, string, glass, ink, film, fabric, music, pixels, words, and ultimately, ideas.” Chad Loving has a B.A. in English from Southeastern University. Art is his passion. He currently lives in Plant City, FL. Chad uses local Plant City based Lark Printing to produce his prints. “My jewelry is also handmade and my materials are sourced from everywhere: craft stores, antique shops, flea markets, etc. I love to find something with history and restore or redeem it more than I love to create something from new materials,” he explained. Chad is inspired to create by boundless sources from literature, film, relationships, fashion, “the extraordinary found in the ordinary.” His collections come in seasons, much like fashion designers according to Chad. “A collection--be it of drawings, paintings, jewelry, poetry, or prose--has an overarching narrative and each piece, although unique, demonstrates a slice of that narrative. My work will change and grow, as I am constantly looking for ways to better myself and my techniques and create more fully realized work.” Chad’s portfolio can be found at www.lovingstudios.com/gallery and his creations at www.etsy.com/shop/LovingStudios. He tries to engage in at least two art shows or open markets a year and currently works at Copper Tree Beads in Downtown Lakeland which also carries some of his work.
Vintage Warehouse is a home decorator’s dream with all things vintage, handmade, and repurposed. According to Mendy Michalec, “Vintage Warehouse was born because my garage was overflowing with vintage, garage sale and roadside finds! I just couldn’t get enough. So, I rented a warehouse to hold my goods and 49,000 Facebook likes later, my pickin’ ninja vendors and I search high and low for the best junk south of the Florida-Georgia line to keep them happy.” Many of items in the Vintage Warehouse are made from old furniture, salvaged and reclaimed wood. Mendy remarked, “We try to save the earth and use whatever we can get our hands on and marry it with something else!” Most of their pieces are finished with general finishes or milk or chalk-based furniture paint. Mendy says that Vintage Warehouse is unique because of the atmosphere they’ve created. One where their customers can, “visualize our items in their homes!” They also treat all their customers like family and take pride in being the “happy place” of many far and wide. You can shop through this décor haven at 4308 Wallace Rd, Lakeland, Thursday-Friday 9am-2pm, Saturday 9am-4pm, and on the last Sunday of the month 10am-2pm. They also have a St. Augustine location 950 Anastasia Blvd, St Augustine which you can shop at Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. They can be found online at, www.vintagewarehouselakeland.com or on either of their Facebook pages @vintagewarehouselakeland and @vintagewarehousestaugustine.
Ouroboros Laboratories is a local operation run by Jonathan Mintle and his fiance, Haley Berg. They use the world around them to create natural essential oil health and beauty products. Jonathan laid out the pair’s products, saying, “What sets our essential oil products apart from the rest is that we actually forage and harvest our starting material by hand, then we steam-distill these oils from scratch, unlike the majority of E.O. sellers that are simply blending store bought oils and rebranding them.” He continued, “All of our material is foraged and harvested in the wild or from organic farms, ensuring there are no GMOs or synthetic chemicals in our product.” A newer shop, Ouroboros Labs has just released their new line of packaged products at the end of October. Currently they are working to distill wind-fallen foliage from the recent hurricane, titled their “Windfall Series.” The proceeds from this project will go to disaster victims affected by Irma according to Jonathan. You can reach Ouroboros Labs on their website www.OuroborosLabs.com with online sales soon to come, on their Facebook, www.facebook.com/OuroborosLabs/ or by contacting them at email@example.com or on Instagram @ouroboroslabs.
WY New Creations
Specializing in unique, handmade bottle openers, Will Yancey of WY New Creations loves, “bringing new life to an old piece of wood.” Will, husband and father to 3 boys, creates these one of a kind pieces using reclaimed wood and items found at the flea market. Designs range in color, style, and finish, some of which include rustic pieces adorned with horseshoes, to more polished pieces with an assortment of bottle openers from bear heads, skulls, and even a rocket ship. According to Will, “Each piece is unique and one of a kind. I allow the wood’s natural attributes like color, size, imperfections or roughness to determine the design of the bottle openers or projects that I may be working on.” You can find WY New Creations online on their Facebook page @wynewcreations or at local stores Scout and Tag downtown, and Rocket Fizz at Lakeside Village.
Lakeland resident Heidi Wineland is the creative force behind the adorable series of stuffed monsters that she calls Knitagains. Why Knitagains? Heidi repurposes recycled sweaters from a dreary life trapped in the closet to become these little creatures. According to Heidi, “They were ‘knit’ and now they are ‘knit again.” Mainly selling through wholesalers and retailers around the country, you can find them in about 35 shops in 15 different states. Her talents exceed more than just giving life to little monsters, Heidi won the ArtPop billboard contest this past summer with a painting of her Knitagains. Heidi brings perspective to her creations with her Artisan Statement saying, “Women have been crafting beautiful things with whatever materials are at hand since the dawn of civilization. The most common products have always been household goods, clothing, personal ornament and children’s playthings. I continue this tradition by transforming old sweaters, fabric scraps and other ordinary and found materials into baskets, hats, toys, bags and other fun, useful or comforting items. It is a pleasure for me to make things, and I hope they find homes where they can be useful and bring happiness to others.” You can find her products in her Etsy shop, kittyallen.etsy.com or learn more about her and shop around on her website www.heidiwineland.com. Only living in Lakeland for a year, Heidi hasn’t found a brick and mortar retailer to carry Knitagains, but you can find them at Florida CraftArt in St. Petersburg.
Sara Kent of Penny Made, uses her talents to create handwoven tapestries and other fiber goods for the home. A quick peak on the Penny Made Instagram page shows off her handiwork from the very elaborate to the wonderfully simple through the use of different colors and patterns. Some of her creations include baskets, wall-hangings, stockings, and more. What makes her products all the more special is the fact that, “Each piece is made by hand from beginning to end,” according to Sara. She gives insight into her inspirations saying, “Inspiration for each item often comes from very specific places such as the beloved Wes Anderson movie, The Life Aquatic!” You can keep up with Penny Made on Instagram @pennymade where Sara says you can get updates on local market pop-ups and Insta-sales!
I Like Fred
Lakeland resident Fred Koehler writes and illustrates children’s books through publishers like Penguin Random House and Highlights. Fred explained, “I thought some of the characters I created would look really cute on baby and toddler apparel, and that I could package the apparel with signed books to make truly unique baby shower and toddler gifts.” Fred works with local vendors to have bibs, onesies, and toddler tee’s screen printed. Focusing on quality over quantity, Fred has them made in small batches on name-brand apparel to ensure that they are, “detailed, multi-colored reproductions” that are equal par or exceed anything found in retail stores. Fred explains what makes his products special, saying, “This apparel line really stands out. The biggest thing is that it’s all available with a matching book! Picture your little one reading about Little Jumbo the elephant while wearing Little Jumbo the elephant on a T-shirt. Cuteness like that breaks the internet! Second, all of this is coming straight from the artist’s studio, so your dollars directly support a local artist and his family. And finally, because of my background in graphic design, I’ve been able to hand-craft packaging and little extras to make this more than just a gift–it becomes an experience.” Fred is in the process of kick-starting an online store for his creations. His Kickstarter campaign and online store can be found at www.ilikefred.com. Scout & Tag, will also have some of the first, hot-off-the-press batches available.
Emory Anderson Artwork
Born in Pennsylvania in March 1944, Emory Anderson Jr.’s appreciation for nature began at an early age with the scenic Pennsylvania countryside inspiring him. Post World War II, Anderson’s family moved to Punxsutawney until 1957 when they relocated and settled in Lake Wales. Emory attended Florida Southern College and later transferred to and graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. With his knack for art, Anderson’s aunt, an art teacher, recognized his talents at an early age. Emory credits his aunt for encouraging and directing him in his creative pursuits. After deciding his profession at age 12, Anderson went on to become an architect both under self-employment and eventually for a prominent firm in Lakeland. Some of the major projects Anderson participated in include George Jenkins High School and Victory Assembly of God in Lakeland, as well as various professional buildings and public schools in the Central Florida area. Anderson now enjoys creating pencil and ink pen renderings, but focuses primarily on watercolor. According to Emory, his work, “reflects a strong architectural influence and incorporates a variety of buildings including, barns and homes.” He continued, “About half of the paintings or drawings are of actual places or subjects, others inspired by actual locations. Often a finished painting, even if it’s an existing subject matter, will include some changes to the subject–referred to as “artistic license.” Emory Anderson’s work can be found on his website, EAAndersonArtwork.com, on Etsy at EAAndersonArtwork, or on Instagram @eaandersonartwork. He can also be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
A Kind Place
Ida Mundell, describes herself as, “Wife to my sweet husband Nate, mom to 4 amazing kids, home educator, hugger of strangers, and owner of A Kind Place.” A Kind place features locally made, fair-trade, and give back goods according to Ida and operates as a mobile shop in their, “beautifully converted camper.” You can find fashion accessories, home goods, and much more at A Kind Place where they also curate items from local artists and artisans all over the world. Ida spoke about her quaint, unique shop saying, “When people walk into our little shop they always say, ‘this feels like home.’ We strive to create not just a place to shop, but a community of friends who use their spending power to do good locally and globally.” In pop-up markets all across Florida, Ida relays that the best way to keep up with A Kind Place is on their Instagram @akindplace. You can visit their website, http://www.akind.place.