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Gifting Local: 12 California artisans you should support

Go beyond the holiday sweater or Starbucks gift card

A selection of gifts from California designers Collage created by Michelle Goldchain

While the term “shop local” can seem more thrilling in theory than in practice, often resulting in craft fair tchotchkes unfit for the shabbiest of guest rooms or the most ornery of in-laws, in reality there is an abundance of locally-made fare that combines artistic vision practicality.

We’ve sifted through scores of gift ideas to come up our top 12 gift picks created by California designers. From contemporary vases by Concrete Geometric and animalic prints by Sarah Klinger, both based in Los Angeles, to cork maps by Oakland’s Krakatoa Design and record dividers by San Francisco’s Koeppel Design, we’ve got you covered.

The holiday season is here, and with that comes pressure to find the perfect present for everyone on your list. These gifts are ideal for any newcomer to the state, longtime resident, or even you cousin stuck in a red state. (For gifting the best ceramics the Bay Area has to offer, check out our list of favorite ceramists.)

Get ready to give the gifts every Californian will want to unwrap.

Los Angeles iconic landmark alphabet print by Sarah Klinger, $40

Illustrator Sarah Klinger and city planner by training Max Podemski are a husband and wife design team out of Los Angeles. They’re inspired by the every day built environment of Los Angeles, and this limited edition print of Los Angeles’s most iconic buildings is a result of that inspiration.

Varying coasters by Post Studio, $30

Operating out of Highland Park in Los Angeles, Post Studio is another husband and wife team that aim to create colorful, affordable, and functional home accessories. Color and pattern are key elements in their design sensibility, which you can see by pursuing the vast collection of coasters (and trays and placements) available for sale.

Enamel pin of the California Poppy by Sarah Duyer Designs

Enamel pin of the California Poppy by Sarah Duyer Designs, $10

Flaunt your love for California by pinning its state flower to your lapel. Ceramist and illustrator Sarah Duyer works out of Red Brick Studios in San Francisco, and her pins and patches are inspired by her adoptive home of California.

A ceramic planter filled with small succulents hangs on a wall
Big Pocket planter by JFish Designs

JFish Design’s hanging succulent planter, $45

Succulents are rightfully still all the rage, and life in California means you might be lacking in floor space. San Francisco-based designer Jennifer Fisher solves that problem with her hanging ceramic succulent planters. The small pocket will run you $22; the big pocket costs $45. Each planter comes in a variety of colors.

A photo posted by Pamela Baron (@pamelabaron) on

Watercolor illustrations of Bay Area houses by Pamela Baron. $30 for an 8x10 print; $50 for an 11x14 print

Oakland artist and illustrator Pamela Baron creates watercolor paintings of varying housing styles in Oakland, Alameda, and San Francisco. The prints are of an original watercolor and gouache painting, which is then printed on a thick, cold-pressed watercolor paper with archival inks.

jen e ceramics wallhangings

Wallhangings by jen e ceramics, $35 - $115 depending on size

These high fired stoneware wallhangings with hand-painted designs are made out of Los Angeles by designer Jen E. The wallhangings are a reflection of the designer’s love for color and shape.

Symbols of California temporary tattoo set by Coyote Brush Studios

Symbols of California temporary tattoo set by Coyote Brush Studios, $12

Coyote Brush Studios is a small design business located in Lafayette in the Bay Area selling handmade, sustainable, educational goods and prints celebrating California’s unique biodiversity and natural history. It aims to inspire a love of locality by bringing the knowledge and imagery of California’s native environments back into homes and everyday experiences.

Engraved horizontal A-Z record dividers by Koeppel Design

Engraved horizontal A-Z record dividers by Koeppel Design, $410

Koeppel Design out of San Francisco is a small team of craftswomen that aim to help connect people through analog music. They sell a collection of record dividers, record storage, and other media storage, all designed and manufactured in San Francisco.

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Denim products from the Mi Cocina collection by UBi-IND, prices range from $16 for napkins to $185 for a selvedge denim and leather apron

UBi-IND is a San Francisco-based design studio in the Mission run by Ulrich Conrad Simpson (aka “Ubi”). The studio focuses on denim textiles with a focus on kitchen accessories, ponchos, and jeans. Ubi’s Mi Cocina collection focuses on high quality products—selvedge denim leather aprons, oven mitts, pot holders, placements, and napkins—for the home chef.

Cork map by Krakatoa Design

Cork maps by Krakatoa Designs, $130 - $160

Krakatoa Design is an emerging design and fabrication studio out of Berkeley that produces cork maps (among other things) for the home. The laser etched maps range from neighborhood maps like San Francisco’s Marina and Oakland’s Chinatown to California counties and even the whole world. Bonus points if you get the Road Trip Kit (colored pins, various types of string, customizable legend, and more) for $18.

Photo via Dan Zhou

Dan Zhou’s map silkscreen print, $50

“I’ve lived in San Francisco for over 16 years and I still find biking in the city as charming as ever,” notes Zhou. “Recalling some of my favorite rides, I love the idea of stitching them together into one continuous, epic ride through the city.” Screenprinted poster measures 18"x18", drawn in metallic gold ink on matte black paper.

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Mel Rice Ceramica, ranging from wine cups ($36) to splatterware bowls ($120)

Mel Rice’s ceramics are inspired by the sight, smell, and sounds of the Pacific Ocean. Her works are simple and clean. Using techniques from splatter to Mishima (a process developed by Korean potters covering pieces in celadons), her works can be found online or at her micro shop on Valencia Street, in front of Amnesia.