What do you give the loved one who has just about everything? May we suggest a one-of-a-kind handcrafted gift from one of Houston's local arts celebs? That's what you'll encounter at Spacetaker's Winter Holiday Art Market, aka WHAM, a three-day shopping palooza showcasing the work of 62 creatives living, working and playing in the Bayou City.
Think of WHAM as a indie art festival, where artists display an impressive array of items in a wide variety of price ranges.
In this photo essay, you'll find a small sampling of what WHAM has to offer, including photography, paintings, prints, ceramics, clothing, personal products, jewelry and sculpture.
Remember, for best selection, shop early. WHAM is free and open to the public on Saturday (11 a.m. - 8 p.m) and Sunday (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.). The fete begins on Friday with a preview party ($20).
Frilled & Feathered is the brainchild of local jeweler Kristen Kramlich. She re-purposes antique pocket watch movements from the late 1800s and the early 1900s to craft these intricate pendants. Gemstones are then wire wrapped into the inner workings to emerge as one-of-a-kind accessories. Each pendant has its own unique journey.
In the work of Carlos Pozo, viewers can immediately identify his love for geometry and architecture in the shapes, angles and rhythmic repetition. Pozo's design style emerges in drawings, watercolors, collages and digital media, like this piece titled, Collision and Bereavement, a silkscreen on 11-by-15-inch paper.
Wood artist Thomas Irven begins with at least two species of wood that both contrast and compliment each other — in this case, cocobolo and maple. This delightful and whimsical Acorn Box holds itself up, but at an angle.
"The lids and bodies of the box blanks are rough turned, dated and put in my drying kiln to make sure there will be as little movement as possible in the final product," Irven explains. "In this particular box, the cocobolo lid was completed with hand chased threads directly in the wood and chatter work was added to the inside as well as the outside for added interest and texture."
After all the parts are sanded, sealed, finished and buffed to a nice sheen, they are ready to receive its special contents.
Vincent Fink is a modern day street Renaissance man who dabbles in T-shirt design and illustration in addition to music and painting.
The inspiration for Metamorphosis Stage 2 of 4: Praise Lord Worm surfaced from a dream and took five months to emerge into the final 48 by 33-inch graphic, ink and sumi on masonite we see here. The piece explores archetypal symbolism and the underlying meaning behind constant cultural changes.
Full-size print: $50
Half-size print: $25
"As an artist, photography is my medium of choice as it reflects a concern for surface while engaging both memory and desire, " says photographer Stephanie Anne Clark.
This studio photograph titled Constructed Bird is an example of the artist's aesthetic of exploring man's relationship to all things material, juxtaposing nebulous images with harsh angles and color contrasts.
Framed 24-x-36-inch photograph: $640
Print, 4-x-6 inches: $25
Hello-Lucky's line of brass hand-formed, hammered, soldered and sanded jewelry consists of organic shapes that are mixed and combined into earrings, necklaces, bracelets and belts.This Circle of Three brass pendant balances geometric and kinesthetic movement.
"The Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh in a madness attack cut his ear. After I read his biography, I felt inspired and decided to make this painting as a tribute of his talent, said Ana Ramos, who received the Honor Award at the Houston Civic Arts Association's 2009 open show. This is her first year exhibition at WHAM, during which she will display pieces like Van Gogh's Ear.
Using twigs, twine, pine needles, wire, nails, steel wool and shreds of text from Gaston Bachelard's book, The Poetics of Space, Melanie Millar crafts enclosed bird nests that initially appear as naturally found objects. Upon closer examination, the viewer discovers they are hand-crafted.
Each piece is $250.
Fiber artist Georgina Key enjoys experimenting to develop new applications for her craft. Her work is not rooted in fancy stitch work but rather in designs that highlight the beauty of the raw material. Key doesn't use patterns. She prefers to tune in to her intuition during the stitching process. The result: This lilac, gray "tatty" extra-long scarf.
Self-taught painter Taft McWhorter burst onto the Houston art scene four years ago. Working with mostly acrylics, oils and watercolors, McWhorter creates vibrant, colorful abstract, figurative works and landscapes that jump off the canvass. Temperament VI is such an example, contrasting effervescent blues against more organized, yet tattered, vertical lines.
There is a fierce energy in Magda Bowen's works — which include original paintings, giclee prints, postcards, coin purses and earrings — partly due to opposition from the use of complementary colors. This Mermaid Clutch Purse features a custom printed linen and rhinestones.
"I call these Outdoor Paintings because they are done on recycled billboard vinyl and the paint is billboard enamel," Fred Allen explains. "My work is weather resistant." Hang these painting in a patio, backyard, sunroom or outdoor living area, yet do not forget that they can brighten any interior space as well.
Aime Williams makes no apologies for her rough, vibrant and zestful paintings. Using wild blotches of color and thick brushstrokes, her abstract images catch an unmistakable energy. In this painting titled Two Trapped Balloons, the artist minimizes the amount of colors employed, yet the subtlety within each hue is maximized.
The Community Cloth is an example of what can happen when people come together to better themselves and their respective communities. Refugee women create indigenous pieces like bags, knitted scarves, embroidered linens and baby clothing to support themselves and their families.
At WHAM, The Community Cloth will have an assortment of hand-knitted accessories, like these Karenni scarves crafted by Burmese women.
Lisa Chow is a veteran and a favorite of WHAM guests. Chow takes her viewers to strange but oddly familiar places. Working as an artist, illustrator and story teller, her pieces are whimsical, delicate, surreal and delightfully strange.
This pen and watercolor on paper is titled Menagerie and evokes geometry and fantasy.
Framed original: $250