On the hunt for unique holiday gifts from local makers in the Tampa Bay area

83 Degrees Media set out to find unique gifts by local makers throughout the Tampa Bay region as samples of what one can find online and at area markets, boutique shops, and small galleries. While the number out there is pretty impressive, we include just a few here to whet your appetite for mining out these and other gems.

 

Tampa

Anna Jano, Artist

Florida native, Anna Jano, designed a coloring book to help kids and adults beat the quarantine blues. Find her coloring book and other wilderness and astronomy-inspired artwork online.

"I am an artist who grew up on 10-acres of untouched Florida forest. When I wasn’t outside climbing trees, I was drawing. The coloring book started as a quarantine project to entertain my friends and their kids. It turned into an imaginary vacation to the fictional world of Balmwood -- a magical place with mushroom villages and forest spirits who take the form of animals," Jano says.

Blue Sage Eco Boutique

Tampa native, Christina Arenas, founded Blue Sage Eco Boutique in 2013 with an emphasis on sustainable business practices and reduced environmental impact. Blue Sage's signature hand-poured soy candles set the mood for self-care. Find Blue Sage online.

"Blue Sage Eco Boutique creates wellness candles and products meant for sacred spaces. Each candle is made with natural soy wax, premium fragrance oils, essential oils and love. Blue Sage is most known for our crystal-infused Intention Candle Collection and Chakra Candle Collection," Arenas says.

Rugs are among the home decor items offered by Blue Salvage.Blue Salvage

Blue Salvage is an ethically sourced fashion and home decor company whose founder, Cat F., believes in design with a purpose. The company works closely with artisans around the globe to design finished goods and acquire raw materials that help create sustainability for both the environment and respective global economies. 

Locals may remember that Blue Salvage was one of the first vendors to join the Indie Flea market when it was at the Rialto Theatre. The company has since worked with the Oxford Exchange, Hyde Park Village, and Armature Works on decor for events and many retail shops, including West Elm and Green Body + Green Home. 

“We have remained continuously a part of the changing spectrum of makers and embrace the creative spirit of Tampa Bay,’’ says Cat. “Without the welcoming community in Tampa, we would not have been able to build our company or build the invaluable relationships we are so grateful to amass.’’

Readers can learn more and make purchases at the Blue Salvage website or in person at The Heavy in Winter Park, Florida. As for Instagram, you can follow @lavenderskyblue_textiles and @bluesalvage. 

Donna Duke Morrison, Painter/Photographer

Watercolor painter Donna Morrison promotes the conservation of natural lands and creatures throughout the state and world. She is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys presenting on the subject of saving wild Florida through her art. She holds national, regional, and local signatures has been recognized in national and regional publications, exhibits current work in her Tampa gallery, is available for workshops and commissions, and teaches all levels of painters weekly in South Tampa. She can be contacted through her website.

A sangria pitcher by Kimberli Pottery.Kimberli Pottery

Potter artist Kimberli Cummings began her love for pottery at Tampa's Clay Factory in 1991, where she has studied with many local and internationally recognized potters. Thanks to Linda Arbuckle’s in-depth training in the art of MAJOLICA glazing, her work now pops with colors resembling the warm surroundings of her Florida home. Surface favorites are sunsets, gardens of fruit and sea creatures presenting themselves on platters, sangria pitchers, tableware, and Tango Dancer vases. She keeps busy in the studio by creating custom wedding, anniversary and birthday pots to include facial likenesses, names, and dates. Visit her website at Kimberli Pottery to find out more, including where her works are on display.

Eileen Goldenberg, Painter/Artist/Illustrator

Eileen Goldenberg, the founder of the Tampa Bay Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Group, writes and illustrates children’s books in addition to painting and creating studio projects on commission. Goldenberg’s work has been collected by businesses and individuals throughout the country. She has participated in numerous group shows and several major exhibitions and has created pieces for the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, The Outdoor Arts Foundation, and many other local as well as national organizations. Her paintings and mixed media projects have been exhibited from Tampa International Airport to St. Pancras International Station in London, and from New York to Key West. Learn more by visiting her website.

Rudolph Lopez, Woodworker

Tampa photographer turned wood artist Rudolph Lopez turns images and ideas into unique lathe-carved and handmade wooden bowls, wine glasses, and sculptures. Lopez began his relationship with wood over 40 years ago as a craftsman of fine furniture and cabinetry. With an education in drafting and design and many years working as a professional photographer, the transition into woodturning came naturally. “I have always had a love of nature and its natural beauty and the inspiration it provides,’’ Lopez says. “My adolescence was spent pursuing anything and everything outdoors. With that came my love of wood. I love everything about wood, rough or smooth, it possesses a warm welcome feel.’’ Learn more by visiting his website.

SavvyJack offers facemasks for tiny faces.SavvyJack Wear

SavvyJack owner and designer Savenah Libertiny started the infant-toddler clothing line during her maternity leave in 2015. After months of browsing the big-box stores for her newborn daughter's clothes, Libertiny wanted to create more fun, unique fashions for little ones. She is the sole-sewer and clothing-maker for SavvyJack, and all fabric and prints (which her daughter, now five, helps choose) are sourced from independent artists. SavvyJack Wear is sized for newborns to 5T. The line also carries face masks for ages three and up.

Purchase SavvyJack Wear online and at A.W. Mercantile at Tampa Armature Works.


St. Petersburg - Clearwater

Carlos Cardenas, Marine Artist

Bogotá, Colombia native Carlos Cardenas says he makes art to "inspire people to appreciate and protect the sea." Cardenas currently paints local marine life using oil and acrylics on canvas in his Clearwater studio. His paintings and giclées are made with museum-quality materials. Cardenas is a member of the Professional Association of Visual Artists (PAVA) and Ocean Artists Society (OAS). He donates a percentage of his artwork to nonprofit organizations for marine rescue and rehab. View his gallery.
 
Carlos Cardenas’ artwork may be purchased in person at the Westfield Countryside Mall in Clearwater, and through direct messaging on his Facebook and Instagram pages, and by email

Creative Clay 

Since 1995, Creative Clay has served enrolled member artists with neuro-differences in the visual and performing arts, through art classes and mentorship. Creative Clay visual artists' work can typically be found and purchased in the Good Folk Gallery. While the studio and gallery have temporarily shuttered for the health and safety of the community during COVID-19, Creative Clay artists' paintings, fiber art, and other multimedia artwork are on display and for sale in a gorgeous virtual gallery.

Looking for fashionable flu-season face wear? Wearable Creative Clay artist prints, in the form of face masks in child and adult sizes, are also for sale in the artists' Redbubble Shop


Gulfport jewelry-maker Doug D'souza creates eye-catching organic, rustic-style pieces.Doug D'souza, Jewelry-maker

Originally from Mumbai, India, Gulfport-based jewelry-maker, Doug D'souza, began his artistic journey after a decade-long career in Engineering Mechanics. His jewelry combines traditional and alternative mixed metals with vitreous enamel, acrylic, glass and natural stones. D'souza says he finds inspiration from "nature, architecture, culture, spirituality and the natural beauty of the rustic and organic."

Purchase D'souza's one-of-a-kind pieces online or his Etsy shop, DougDesigns, or visit him on December 5 and 6 at the ArtJones Studio Tour and Sale, 2626 57th St. S., Gulfport. Saturday hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday hours: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Embrew Tea

Want to impress the tea drinker in your life? Gift them quality ingredients and unique flavors from Embrew Tea. They’ll love lightly sweetened teas that are hand-blended in St. Pete with flavors like Lavender Chamomile Kick or Cinnamon Oolong Chai.

Find Embrewed teas in shops and restaurants around St. Pete, including Brick Street Farms, Left Bank Bistro, The Merchant, Urban Market, and Wild Roots, or visit the Embrew Tea online store

How's Your Day honeyHow's Your Day Honey

Elisha Bixler, owner of How’s Your Day Honey, harvests honey and pollinates local neighborhoods at six apiaries in the Pinellas County area, in addition to offering bee removal services. After removals, Bixler relocates the honeybees to her home in South St. Pete where she can nurse them back to health and eventually bring them to one of her larger apiaries in town. How's Your Day Honey also specializes in pollination gardens using Florida-friendly and native plants and offers horticulture and beekeeping classes for all ages.

Find Bixler's honeys and immune-boosting elderberry syrup at Old Southeast Market in South St. Pete, Pineapple Espresso North St. Pete, The Hive (formerly The Pavilion) in Gulfport, Wilcox Nursery in Largo, and Southside Coffee in South St. Pete. 

Pup Active

Pup Active Brand Goods is a brand built for dog people who believe that life is better explored with dogs. Pup Active makes shirts, hats, hoodies, and stickers -- and $2 from every shirt sold is donated to dog rescue initiatives.

The founder's rescue dog, Charlie Man, inspired the St. Pete-based brand in 2016 and his genuine paw print is on every Paw Active piece.

Find Pup Active online

Pet portraits by DinaPets Painted by Dina

Have a pet lover in your life? Dina Marie paints highly detailed acrylic pets portraits and memorials, which can be commissioned through her website, Etsy shop, or by visiting her studio space at Stirling Art Studios & Gallery at 730 Broadway in downtown Dunedin.

She also offers cards and prints depicting a variety of breeds of dogs and cats -- and even some holiday-themed artwork featuring furry friends. She is booked for portraits through December, however, she is currently offering gift certificates for future portrait commissions.

Find her at www.PaintedByDina.com or call 860-834-1778.

The Art of Jewelry

Artist Sana Doumet was born and raised in Lebanon with a passion for art and culture. With a primary focus in sculpture, she went to Perugia, Italy, to study at the Escuela De Bella Arte. Later, as a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts in Boston, she discovered the art of jewelry-making -- transforming her love for sculpture into metal pieces on a smaller scale. Upon graduating from Tufts, she lived in Ecuador for 10 years before moving to Clearwater, Florida. Her award-winning elegant and contemporary jewelry reflects her Middle Eastern, South American, and African connections and experiences. Read more on her website.

Vintage Neon Project

Old neon signage, dome home ruins, a space-age Sasquatch -- these are just a few things that interest St. Pete photographer Todd Bates. Through his website, Bates has curated a fun collection of photographic prints, silkscreen posters, and other offerings for that hard-to-buy-for aficionado of the weird and wonderful. There you’ll find selections from the Vintage Neon Project, Todd’s passion project documenting neon signs across the nation.

Sarasota - Manatee

BYOB Reusables

At BYOB Reusables, the "BYOB" stands for "Bring Your Own Bag." Owner/maker and homeschool momma, Tifanie Page, says she started making reusable household products to use in her own household. 

"I sew UNPaper Towels, UNSponges, Dryer Tumblers, and even Reusable Gift Wrap in crazy and fun prints. Each item I make is a fun way to replace something single-use or plastic and can be reused and washed. We are just trying to make it easier for people to make the switch, to a reusable and more sustainable life," Page says.

Find BYOB Reusables on Etsy and Shopify. The BYOB Reusables product line also appears in Tampa retail locations A.W. Mercantile, Lüfka Refillables Store, St. Pete's Sans Market, and The Refillery, and Resupply Market in Dunedin.

How to reach out to The Dapper Bowtique.Dapper Bowtique 

For Dapper Bowtique founder Travis Ray, building a business that celebrates African culture is a dream come true -- literally. The inspiration for Ray's handcrafted bow tie business came to him in a dream where his ancestors appeared and dropped African print bow ties and fabrics onto his head and lap. Ray researched his ancestry to uncover his West African heritage and set to work creating bowties for the dapper individual. He donates a portion of  Dapper Bowtique proceeds to Visible Men Academy, a K-5, all-boys public charter school located in Bradenton. 

"I sew from African to eclectic, to the normal polka dots and stripes. Something for everyone," Ray says. 

Purchase handsome fashion for the dapper individual in your life online, or find the brand at the following retail locations in Sarasota and Tampa:Experience Daliona

Astronomy nerds of all ages are drawn to Experience Daliona, best known for its "Sidewalk Astronomy" experiences in Bradenton and Sarasota. While star and planet-gazing opportunities are still an option (visit the events tab on Daliona's Facebook page), Experience Daliona now offers a sidewalk astronomy starter kit for the at-home stargazer, ages 8 and up. 

Order Experience Daliona's Astronomy: Module 1 kit from the online store, or gift an unforgettable experience by scheduling a private stargazing session with your loved ones

Live Artfully at Manatee ArtCenter

Over its 81 year existence, Bradenton's longest-running arts organization, ArtCenter Manatee, has found ways to adapt to the times: when they outgrew their on-site gift shop, the organization launched the Live Artfully online shop. This holiday season, the Live Artfully retail space is open Monday through Saturday, with additional online shopping options for easy at-home browsing.

Visit the virtual gallery to purchase jewelry, ceramics, glass, wood, metal works, and more. For those venturing out in public this month, Live Artfully's retail space at 209 9th St W, Bradenton will feature in-store holiday sales on Dec. 3-5 and an outdoor pottery sale on Dec. 12. 

Try Lolablue holiday scents like Peppermint Bliss.Lolablue Living

Handwashing is one of the most popular trends of 2020 (and we certainly hope it stays in fashion!), so if you're looking for luxury, skin-pampering soaps -- look no further than Lolablue Living, a mom-and-pop soapmaker based in south Sarasota County. We love the Los Dos Cristianos Coffee and Dakin Dairy Cow Milk Chocolate soaps from Lolablue's Local Love Collection -- handcrafted in collaboration with the North Port-based coffee roaster and Myakka City dairy farm. As part of the company's commitment to preserving the world rainforest, Lolablue soaps are palm oil-free.

Purchase Lolablue soaps online and in person at the Lolablue retail space at 2525 Bobcat Village Center Rd., Suite 103, North Port.

Tampa folks can find a selection of Lolablue soaps at Whole Foods, 1548 N. Dale Mabry.

RANI Goods

RANI Goods founder and maker Preeti Patel learned how to sew from her mother when she was a child and began making her own clothes. She founded RANI Goods in 2018 and produces every piece of her clothing line for women and children by hand in quantities of 10 or less, using carefully selected fabrics sourced primarily from family-owned and operated small businesses across the United States. RANI clothing pieces are made with super soft materials for all-day, everyday comfort.  

Use coupon code 83Degrees25 at www.ranigoods.com for 25% off all purchases now through January 2, 2020.
 

Read more articles by Jessi Smith.

Jessi Smith is a freelance writer and certified yoga instructor living in the historic, colorful Gillespie Park neighborhood of downtown Sarasota. A Florida native, Jessi spent her childhood exploring the mangroves along the riverbanks of the Manatee River, and to this day refuses to live anywhere that is not within walking distance of a body of water. She received her BA in Art History from Florida International University prior to moving to Sarasota, where she channeled her passion for the arts into a writing career and found yoga to counteract the effects of hunching over a keyboard for days at a time. Today, when Jessi is not writing or teaching, she enjoys traveling, thrifting and indulging in the Bay area’s distinctive culinary and craft brewery scenes.
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