The holidays are approaching and there are many, many fine items out there in consumer land to give as gifts to friends and family. As an artist and president of the Manzano Mountain Art Council, I believe art or fine craft is often the most unique and thoughtful choice. When someone receives a one-of-a-kind item, crafted by hand, the chances are good that the gift giver took the time to really think about the person receiving the gift—who they are, what they appreciate and what would be a meaningful gift. Artists’ works are full of creativity and often reflect deeper meaning, making the gift something special, meant to be enjoyed for a long time.

Art gifts come in many forms. There is wearable art, like hand-woven shawls, knitted clothing, beaded jewelry, unique silver earrings and pendants, hats, belts and many more. Wood artists make cutting boards and knife and screwdriver handles from exotic woods, which are great gifts. Pottery and glass items can be functional like bowls, plates and mugs or just simply lovely to look at like wind chimes and sculpture. Area culture can be appreciated through decorative tin items or representations of local scenes, be they paintings, photographs or pencil drawings.

And sometimes an art gift is just an amazing piece of crafting with no “purpose” but will delight the eye or the mind or the heart over and over!

And perhaps the most rewarding aspect of giving art as a gift, especially if you have bought locally, is that you often have a more direct connection with the maker of your gift. As an artist I find it immensely satisfying to know the time I have spent creating is being enjoyed and appreciated. Art gifts have the potential to create a lovely connection between giver, creator and receiver.

To learn more about the Manzano Mountain Art Council, visit our website,, or find us on Facebook.