THE RIGHT STUFF: ’Tis the Gift
Though she relocated to Boston in June, Jocelyn Hallstein can’t get the Berkshires out of her mind—or off of her silk-screening table. The artist’s Shire Shirts, created under the aegis of her new printing company, The Press Bed (formerly Minc House), have become something of an underground phenomenon. Printed on different shades of American Apparel T-shirts, each of the three motifs is intended to reflect what the Berkshires look like at different times of day. Shire by Day pays tribute to the vibrant blues and greens of our landscape; Shire by Sunset glows vividly thanks to a ruby rainbow-ink technique; and Shire by Night shimmers subtly with metallic mountains.
About $35 at Alchemy Initiative Handmade Holiday Festival, Dec 4-5, 40-50 Melville St., Pittsfield, Mass., ; , 441 North St., Pittsfield, Mass., ; The Press Bed
Harking back to a time when board games after dinner were de rigueur, quirky jewelry designer Sierra Bailey of Manic Trout launched Game Night, a collection of earrings, necklaces, and, most appropriately, men’s cufflinks, featuring trinkets such as Monopoly icons, Bingo chips, and Scrabble tiles. The whimsical accessories—which fuse modern and vintage elements, bringing fun to formality—add unexpected flair to outfits on kids of all ages.
About $20 at Manic Trout
Inspired by jutti, traditional Indian beaded shoes, sleepwear designer Maura Fickett of Adams, Mass.-based Needham Lane married her twenty-plus cheery pajama patterns to women’s cotton slippers. Unlike other slick house shoes, however, these slip-on mules feature durable rubber soles that make them substantial enough—not to mention stylish—for street wear.
About $30 through Needham Lane, Adams, Mass., ,
Tipplers of all persuasions will want to raise a glass to this genius gift: Whiskey Stones, all-natural drink chillers milled by Vermont Soapstone, the oldest workshop of its kind in the country. Stick ’em in the freezer for a few hours before cocktail hour; the nonporous rocks stay cool for hours—and won’t dilute your drink or scratch your glass. Cheers!
Set of nine, $20; set of nine plus two 8-ounce mouthblown glass tumblers, $65 at B. Mango and Bird, 7, Lenox, Mass.,
LOCKS OF LOVE
Scott Olsen’s jigsaw puzzles look deceptively simple, but the hobbyist’s wooden cutouts tend to twist minds. Names, animals, mythical creatures, holiday ornaments—even a three-foot-tall reindeer—the Puzzle Guy creates each from a single swath of mahogany or poplar, simply sanding rough edges. The nontoxic brainteasers interlock cleverly, allowing the whole design to be picked up by a single piece. For this daytime mold-maker, it’s a creative rush. “I do similar things with steel, but the tolerances are incredibly high,” he says. “Making puzzles allows me to be more artistic.”
About $5 to $10 per letter or starting at about $15 at the Red Lion Inn Gift Shop, Main Street, Stockbridge, Mass., ; Lanesborough Junction, 1 North Main St, Lanesborough, Mass., ; The Puzzle Guy, Hinsdale, Mass.
Silver-screen darling Karen Allen has been knitting cold-weather wearables in bold patterns from her studio in Great Barrington, Mass., since 2003, yet her two-tone ribbed scarves, hats, and fingerless gloves are perennial bestsellers. Fashioned on hand-manipulated Japanese machines from 100 percent Italian and Scottish cashmere, the winter warmers in sixteen two-tone colors accessorize any outfit with a dash of drama.
Fingerless gloves $75; hats $105; scarves (six feet by eight inches) $165 at Karen Allen Fiber Arts, 8 Railroad St., Great Barrington, Mass.,
Tara Cafiero and Peter Hill began crafting their colorful Cat and Dog Clocks as an experiment eighteen years ago; now they’re so popular that the husband-and-wife team produces nearly five hundred iterations from the Pink Cloud studio-workshop in Sharon, Conn. “Bichons, Westies, rottweilers, dachshunds, greyhounds, every breed of cat … the tails swing back and forth—that’s the whole appeal,” says Cafiero, who composes a painting of each to print onto recycled wood. Other creatures are en route to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and the American Saddlebred Museum in Kentucky; custom commissions of your favorite creatures are welcome, too.
About $50 at Pink Cloud Gallery, 195 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., and Pink Cloud Studio, New Street, Sharon, Conn,