With the turkey purchased and the pantry stocked, my mind is now free to move on to holiday shopping. I like original gifts that match the personalities of my friends and family. As I walked around the Artist Studios at the Promenade this week I found unique gift ideas, with prices that I could manage.

With 13 studios filled with artists creating paintings, jewelry, pottery, outdoor art and more, there was a plethora of options.

I like pottery in the kitchen. For some reason early morning tea just tastes better in a hand made mug. It lends more scope to the imagination. In the studio of Dusty Holmes and Sandy Lawson I found mugs, bowls, colanders, fountains and much more. Holmes also creates living art: brightly decorated palms with living bromeliads growing in them.

Around the corner Sandi Brickley’s imaginatively painted step stools spoke loudly to the little ones on my list. Every side of the stool is painted with fairies, dragons, castles and other creatures from make believe worlds. She says her grandchildren enjoy flipping the stools over and spend hours studying every angle of the stools.

For the jewelry lovers on my list, the options are endless. There is big chunky jewelry by Dot Lingren, soft, sea glass jewelry by Lee Butera, colorful dichroic glass jewelry by Renata Vigoda. The original jewelry designs of all the artists fit all gift budgets and all styles, from simple to outrageous.

For the women on my list, the fiber artists struck a chord. The wall tapestries by Maryanne Olson showcase colors and patterns in their imaginative scenes. Studio 154 is filled with colorful fabric, baskets and fabulous gift ideas from Pat Cookson, Paula Lenahan and Cynthia Wismann.

As for paintings, there is every type from miniature paintings to large-scale canvas. Paintings range from realistic to abstract, watercolor to oil and pen and ink drawings. For those who stop by the shops regularly, it is fun to see what the artists are working on.

That is one of the things that sets the artist studios apart. The people who create the paintings, pottery, jewelry and other pieces are there working and selling their art. They are there to talk to patrons and tell them the inspiration that went into a certain piece.

The studios bring back that feeling that is sometimes missed in the modern world. When a person makes something, loves it and sells it to someone else, the item seems to carry more with it. It gains character somehow.

Artists are in the studios Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A monthly artwalk is held the last Thursday of each month with live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks and more. The studio spaces are donated to the Center for the Arts artists by The Promenade at Bonita Bay. The artists work the spaces with help from the Center for the Arts and 35 percent of their proceeds support programming and community outreach efforts at the Center for the Arts. Information is available at http://www.artcenterbonita.org.


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