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Homegrown 2

Arkansas Made Gifts For Women


Written and curated by Arkansas artisan Junque Rethunque.

The countdown has been on for months for some folks, but many of us prefer to wait until the last minute to get our holiday shopping done. At least, that’s my story. I love to share handmade gifts with my family and friends, and over the years I have found so many amazing makers right here in Arkansas, I don’t even have to make everything myself!

This month I’ll be sharing a selection of gift ideas in weekly articles. Keep reading if you want to knock the socks off your loved ones this holiday season and show some love to local folks who are renting studio space or making messes in their garages and spare bedrooms so you don’t have to.

Made in Arkansas Holiday 2015 Bella Vita Jewelry

1.Brandy McNair of Bella Vita Jewelry may not be unknown to those of you who shop in downtown Little Rock. She just celebrated her first year as a shopgirl in her store on S. Louisiana Street, but I have had the pleasure of knowing her since we met on the craft show circuit several years ago. Now, I have several of her creations in my jewelry stash and find something I need every time I see her. Take a look at her website, find her at a holiday show, or visit her shop – and don’t forget to ask about a custom piece!

Made in Arkansas Holiday 2015 Ben Edwards pottery

2. I have begun replacing a hodge-podge of dishes in my cupboard with handmade pieces. It makes stacking bowls a little challenging when they don’t all fit together perfectly, but the combination of mix-and-match colors and glazes set a pretty awesome holiday table. One of my favorite bowls was made by Arkansas potter, Ben Edwards. In his “Pot Factory” in Bella Vista, he produces colorful, often whimsical plates and bowls, cups and other containers for the home. He recently announced a decision to source all of his clay from Central Arkansas, which is just one more reason to give him some love.

Made in Arkansas Holiday 2015 Southern Girl Soapery

3. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that the women in your life might like smelly things. Southern Girl Soapery serves up soaps and scrubs and all manner of smelly things that will make someone’s stocking just a little bit more awesome this year. Believe me, if you give her a product called Bath Grits in a scent like “Gunpowder”, “Damn Yankee”, or “Nonsense”, your Southern Belle will be convinced (or reassured) you are her soulmate.

Made in Arkansas Holiday 2015 Gibson Baskets by Stephanni Wood

4. Gibson Baskets have been made in Northwest Arkansas for over 120 years, which is why it was no surprise to me to find that the vintage basket I inherited from my grandmother was Gibson-made. She used it to gather laundry and garden greens, but now it holds my mail and I bought a new one for the farmers’ market. I look forward to passing them both down one day. The Gibsons make everything from large clothes hampers and laundry baskets to small baskets made to hang on the wall or hold a pie, and even one made to fit in the car to catch sunglasses and Legos. (In my car, there are a lot of Legos to catch.)

Made in Arkansas Holiday 2015 Regalia Handmade Clothing

5. To my mind, the best clothing to wear is made of natural fabrics and have a timeless quality that allow me to ignore passing fads. (I’m just too old for fads.) I love Regalia Handmade Clothing because they check both boxes at once! They make some fantastic tunics and pants out of linen that I would totally wear all day and night 24/7 if I could get away with it. and they make some fun dresses and tops that will appeal to the girls in your life who love vintage style but can’t find pieces in good condition or the right size.

Made in Arkansas Holiday 2015 Gingiber tea towels

6. When Stacie Bloomfield of Gingiber Designs followed her husband to Oklahoma for a job, her local fans pretended not to notice, but now that she’s back, the making world in Northwest Arkansas feels whole again. Boomfield is an illustrator and surface designer (that’s a fancy word for someone who creates patterns for wall paper and fabrics), and her product lines include something for almost everyone on your list; tote bags, prints, calendars, note cards, plush pillows, and even wrapping paper to make a pretty package!

Next week, come back and find a list for the men in your life! Until then – shop local and handmade, and tell them Junque Rethunque sent you!

All photos courtesy of the artisans.

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Arkansas Women Blogger Laurie is a writer and artist living in Springdale, Arkansas with her husband, son and three cats who think they’re people. She can’t keep her fingernails clean, prefers her tea unsweet, and is on a first-name basis with local thrift store employees. You can follow Laurie at See Laurie Write and Junque Rethunque.

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2 responses to “Arkansas Made Gifts For Women”

  1. Stephanie Hamling says:

    Hey, y’all!
    It looks like your link to Southern Girl Soapery has gone sideways. The current link is SouthernGirlSoapery.com if you’d like to fix up the dead connection.

  2. Thanks! We fixed it!

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