Mother’s Day gifts from the ‘art
In terms of holidays where high-pressure gift giving is concerned, Mother’s Day ranks up there along with coronations and centennial birthdays. However, instead of wondering what to give someone who has everything, you’re trying to find that perfect object that not only says, “Thank you for the agony that you endured during my 72-hour arrival event” but might also declare, “Thanks for putting up with my 14-year-old self,” or “I appreciate the nine months that you carried our child without complaining,” or “Thanks for not disowning me when I decided to move to Vail to become a ski bum 10 years ago.”
Let’s face it — there’s really nothing that will make up for that last one.
However, there are gifts that truly come from the heart, created by the most unique and one-of-a-kind entities in the world: you, your kids or your grandkids. This Mother’s Day, consider giving a gift of art for that special mom in your life.
With the expansion of technology and the everyday savvy of crafty moms everywhere, preserving a child’s art has moved beyond the refrigerator and the living room wall. From hand-woven rugs to plush toys to handcrafted wood plates, there are so many ways that you can turn a piece of art into something that will you treasure long after they’ve grown up and moved to Vail to become a ski bum.
When Phyllis Ripple’s grown children asked her for a rug, it’s wasn’t an odd request. Ripple, who lives in Denver, has been in the rug business for more than eight years, working with a family of weavers in Kathmandu to create high-end, custom-made rugs with her company ecoFiber Custom Rugs. However, last fall she started up a new company, 4Favorites, making hand-woven rugs that feature children’s art.
“I took some of their drawings from when they were kids — when kids have that love for art and expressing themselves, before they’re aware that they may not be doing it right — and had the weavers make it into a bathmat-sized rug,” Ripple said. “It’s still a really nice wool rug, but it’s their art. Everyone I talked to just flipped. I could see that they were thinking, ‘Which drawing would I choose?’ And I thought, ‘I’ve really tapped into something.’ People have really responded to it.”
Each rug can be fully customized with one or more pictures on it, names added, monograms — just about anything. Ripple said that the designs that work best for the rugs are simple line drawings without a lot of detail and not a lot of shading. Colors and sizes for the rugs can vary according to your tastes as well.
To see 4Favorites rugs firsthand, visit the Show of Hands showroom in Cherry Creek in Denver. Prices start at $60 per square foot. A 2-by-3-foot rug usually costs about $300.
Note: the family that Ripple works with in Kathmandu survived the recent earthquakes and are planning on continuing business as usual.
The idea for these plush toys came one evening when Alex Furmansky, the founder of Budsies, saw his younger sister hugging her stuffed animals and tucking them in at night. He wondered if she could turn a drawing into a stuffed animal “friend,” making it last for much longer than a simple drawing could.
Thus, the idea for Budsies was born.
Submit an original drawing or photo (you can also make a Selfie of yourself or Petsie of your pet) and a team of artists, designers, cutters and seamstresses will create 16-inch-tall, hypoallergenic toy from scratch. The process takes about eight weeks, but when it arrives you have a plush toy that based on your child’s creativity that is durable enough to handle a lot of lovin’.
“Budsies are quite popular for Mother’s Day gifts,” said Furmansky. “They offer a unique way for moms to treasure and hold on to their kids’ youthful imagination for eternity.”
Budsies start at $69.
Wooden Keepsake Plate
For a keepsake that can be both functional and decorative, consider a wooden plate from Amy Reuter, of Woodchick Designs. Reuter, an Etsy vendor, will take your child’s artwork (or yours, if you’re so inclined) and burn it into a wooden tray, embellishing it with color.
Made from acacia wood, a fast-growing, non-endangered species, these plates and trays are food-safe and hand-washable. Olive oil or mineral oil helps revive its luster after repeated use.
These are just a few ideas of how you can turn children’s art into gifts. Still looking for ideas? Scan artwork or simply take a picture and create a photo book through a service like Shutterfly, Snapfish or iPhoto. Want to display your child’s art in public? You can put that unique design on your fingernails with a company called Jamberry’s Nail Art Studio. The options are almost limitless. Wooden plates from Woodchick Designs start at $22.
There are also plenty of do-it-yourself ideas out there, if you’re under time or cost restraints. Just remember: Mother’s Day is technically just one day a year — there are 364 other days that you can tell Mom that you love her.
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