By now, most of us in the Bay Area recognize the benefits of "eating local" and supporting nearby farmers. So let's give locals some love when it comes to holiday gift shopping too, taking advantage of hundreds of fabulous artisans, businesses and organizations right here at home.
Not only will you help boost the local economy and make an artist's day, but your friends and relatives will end up with something far more special than run-of-the-mall gifts.
Here's a handful of fun suggestions for you and/or Santa:
Bud vase set:
Heath Ceramics, founded by talented ceramicist Edith Heath, has been turning out simple, functional, mid-century designs in tableware and tile at its Sausalito factory since 1948. Today, Heath continues to develop fine products often found in restaurants, homes and museums worldwide.
A set of three bud vases in rich blues and grays with matte and glossy layered glazes -- part of Heath's seasonal collection -- is available in limited quantities through next April. No two vases are alike. Some are said to evoke a light horizon of stars, while others hint at a fully saturated winter sky.
How much: $80, set of three; single bud vases of different styles are available for around $25 each.
How to buy: www.heathceramics.com, 415-332-3732; sold at the Sausalito factory showroom, 400 Gate Five Road, Sausalito, and at the Ferry
The 2013 Birds of the San Francisco Bay Area wall calendar, produced by the Golden Gate Audubon Society in Berkeley, helps raise funds for conservation and environmental education programs. The calendar, printed on glossy, high-quality recycled paper, features more than two dozen stunning, full-color images of owls, egrets, warblers and more -- as captured by some of the region's top wildlife photographers.
How much: $20
How to buy: www.goldengateaudubon.org, 510-843-2222
Many of us have those utilitarian (but not terribly attractive) recessed "can" lights embedded in our ceilings. Now there's an art solution for those.
Gayle Viskovich of Antioch, whose work has appeared on the sets of TV shows such as "Friends" and "Veronica's Closet," has been in the business of custom lighting design since 1997. But her recessed-light shade is surely one of her most creative products. It's a glamorous accessory designed to diffuse the often-harsh overhead light from recessed fixtures. The shades come in a range of styles and prices, from about $150 to $350 and up. Pictured here is the "Lizzy," with cut-crystal beads.
How much: The Lizzy, regularly priced $288, is available at 15 percent off during a holiday sale.
How to buy: www.recesslightshade.com, 925-285-6774
"Vegetable parchment" bowls:
These dramatic, colorful gems are made out of, yes, vegetables! Oakland artist Margaret Dorfman has been creating art with elements from the natural world for the past 13 years, always searching for unconventional materials -- exploring Chinatown for lotus root and bok choy, or small Mexican mercados for chili peppers and papaya. She cuts the produce into
Bowls can hold lightweight items such as potpourri or paper clips, or be illuminated from within by a votive or LED candle.
How much: Small, $40; centerpiece size, $65. Each bowl is handmade, so dimensions vary slightly.
Calling the ocean a "constant companion" at her home/studio in Pacifica, Linda Fahey absorbs steady inspiration from waves, sand and nature for her functional art pieces. For her porcelain/driftwood spoons, designed for special-occasion table service, Fahey picks up pieces of driftwood on the beach as part of her daily routine, then hand sands and shapes them.
How much: $28 per spoon; sets of six to 12 range from $168 to $260.
Contact Angela Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org, read her Sunday Give 'Em Hill column, or follow her on Twitter @giveemhill.