Ten Great Handmade Colorado Gifts to Buy Online Now

Yes, you are officially running late if you’re not at the wrapping-and-placing-under-the-tree stage of things. That means it’s time to go online — and to help you out, we've done some research. Here are ten ways to support local artists and surprise your friends and family.
1) Black Cube Nomadic Museum Shop
Founded by RedLine’s Laura Merage and run by curator Cortney Lane Stell, Black Cube fosters large-scale art installations in untraditional settings with yet another twist: Its namesake, a black shipping container outfitted as a pop-up shop, travels to each installation, selling curios reflecting the artwork, from clothing to collectibles. In essence, these products are affordable artworks in and of themselves, and the surplus is available online at the museum’s website. Seventy percent of the proceeds benefit the artist, with the remainder helping to fund Black Cube.
2) Karen Watkins
Salida-based artist and crafter Karen Watkins celebrates the call of the wild in needle-felted figures and tiny paintings of creatures, from foxes and wee birdies and bats to sloths and sasquatches. Check out her Etsy page for these and other works, some of which sport a dark undertone.
3) Horseshoe Market,
Amy Yetman of the popular Horseshoe craft and flea market is branching out this winter to include a year-round online component, The website’s first offerings, a trio of themed gift boxes showing off products from market vendors, are available now online; as time goes by, Yetman hopes to add more products from her favorite makers.
4) Becky Wareing Steele, Miniatures for a Modern World
When she’s not at her job managing Fancy Tiger Clothing, Becky Wareing Steele is off in her own little world, creating tiny dioramas placing miniature figures in captivating landscapes composed of natural components like crystals, moss and driftwood. Each is a universe unto itself, and they make fascinating gifts for the dreamers on your list.
5) Gemma Danielle Bayly
Gemma Bayly’s painstakingly hand-wrought mystical mandala drawings, some of them lit with gilt, are as much at home in galleries as they are on the street in mural form — you can see her large-scale work on walls at Crema Coffee House on Larimer Street and along the Cherry Creek Bikepath. But she also offers more affordable T-shirts and prints online, priced from $40 to $120.
6) Strange Dirt
The Denver-based artist otherwise known as Strange Dirt inks detailed decorative botanical drawings on paper, both timeless and contemporary, and transfers the designs to textiles and prints. Order from a selection of the latter, priced from $30 to $60 at her website.
7) Mountain Versus Plains
Have a friend who sends a card for every occasion? Paul Michale, the artist behind Mountain Versus Plains, draws his own whimsical and ironic cards and markets them around town at craft shows and boutiques for $4 each. You can also choose some online at your leisure, including his holiday card — a Negativity Scene — which is available in an eight-pack for $18.
8) Dead Dog Chocolate
Dead Dog Chocolate started out as a hobby and grew into a business, distinguishing itself by its use of the entire cacao bean, from the inside out, to make from-scratch chocolate bars, Mexican hot chocolate mix, truffles and even a mole sauce. Go online to peruse the products — and also learn the story of why the company is called “Dead Dog.” Hint: it doesn’t have a sad ending.
9) Caveman Studio
Caveman Studio, aka local knitting fiend Chris Loffelmacher, is specializing this holiday season in rustic and modern handknit mantle trees set upon bases of reclaimed wood, some dressed up with faux mink cuffs (a multi-colored knitted cone in colors inspired by the Joan Crawford film Torch Song!) and other embellishments. Check out the Caveman online at his new Handmade at Amazon site or on Facebook
10) Christine Marie Davis, Smashing Jewelry
Christine Marie Davis was born into the junk business and uses salvaged metal — from mismatched silverware to hammer-squashed buttons and knitting needles — to create a gypsy treasure chest full of beautiful jewelry.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd