The 2014 Grassroots Gift Guide

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Scott Hicks leans into the holiday season.

We know what you’re thinking.

Here we go: Another “holiday gift guide” filled with advertisers who paid for the privilege of being mass-marketed to willing eyeballs during the biggest buying frenzy of the year.

But that’s not what’s happening here.

Our first annual Holiday Gift Guide embodies a philosophy. And the only pitch we’re making is that you spend some money this year with local craftsmen, artists and businesses.

Like politics, all economics is local, and keeping our money in our communities helps everyone who lives, works and plays in the Triad. Spending locally puts your dollars directly in the pockets of your neighbors without giant, out-of-town interests peeling off a cut. When you spend $50 at Target, it barely registers in the corporate cash tsunami. Spend $50 at a local business, and they’ll remember your name.

Artists are basically small-business owners, too, with real costs in terms of overhead and labor.

But it’s not all about financial patriotism. We believe we have the finest artists, crafters and purveyors of goods in the state of North Carolina.

This is by no means a comprehensive survey — our editors sourced some of the best gift ideas in the Triad, pulled from the pages of Triad City Beat and some of the amazing artists and businesses we’ve encountered so far this year.

The gift guide is curated by our editors, not our advertising department. No one paid to be in it. Just to be clear: It’s not marketing, it’s journalism.

But it’s also about civic pride, the spirit of giving and the acknowledgement that we are all in this together. When you buy locally, you are actually giving two gifts — one of them is present and the other is the sale to a local business owner.

ART

Books

Smart people read books. Fortunately we have several great local bookstores, of both the online and brick-and-mortar variety, to feed the intellect.

Available at:

Cat’s Cradle Books (HP)

catscradlebks.net

Edward McKay New & Used Books (GSO/W-S)

115 Oakwood Drive (W-S), 1607 Battleground Ave. (GSO); edmckay.com

Empire Books (GSO)

1827-B Spring Garden St.; empirebooks.com

Glenwood Coffee & Books (GSO)

1310 Glenwood Ave.; store.glenwoodbooks.com

Piedmont Books (W-S)

3800 Reynolda Road; piedmontusedbooks.com

Scuppernong Books (GSO)

304 S. Elm St.; scuppernongbooks.com

Galleries and shops

We’ve covered dozens of artists in these pages over the last nine months, all of which are worthy of your patronage this holiday season. We’re spotlighting but a few of the truly unique galleries, studios and shops the Triad has to offer.

512 Collective (HP)

512 E. Washington St.

The bohemians in High Point chose historic Washington Street. to make their stand against cultural apathy. We’ve covered both their neighborhood and their entrepreneurial efforts in our pages, and we’ll be looking for them at this year’s holiday markets.

Artmongerz (GSO)

610 S. Elm St.

Stalwarts of the Greensboro art scene Frank Russell and Walter Fancourt are among the big names at this well-seasoned downtown gallery.

Artist Bloc (GSO)

1020 W. Lee St.; theartistbloc.com

This new art-supply store, coffeeshop, performance space and gallery at the edge of Glenwood trucks in both finished works and the means with which to create them.

Delurk Gallery (W-S)

207 W. Sixth St.; delurkgallery.com

This seasoned subterranean gallery space has played host to some of the best live music of the season, as well as a TCB Kickstarter launch party. We like it because it consistently attracts the best and most interesting artists in the Camel City, and also because its name has real meaning: “To participate in something you only previously spectated.”

Electric Pyramid (W-S)

Fourteen artists toil in a haunted mortuary through a variety of mediums, an evolution of what was once the Electric Mustache at Krankies. Look for them at Krankies Holiday Market, among other indie marketplaces.

Elements Gallery (GSO)

526 S. Elm St.; elementsgallery.wordpress.com

The co-op’s goods extend from pottery and textiles to jewelry and full, mixed-media installations., all local, all the time.

Madcap Cottage (HP)

128 Church Ave.; madcapcottage.com

The gents who run Madcap Cottage are poster boys for the High Point cultural movement: Successful designers with global sensibilities who chose the Furniture City for their retail space because of the institutional knowledge and skill sets of its residents. Curated antiques, original designs and fantastic taste are hallmarks of this new space.

Menace Inc. Studios (GSO)

602 S. Elam Ave.; menaceinc.storenvy.com

Pop artist Jeff Beck stocks his gallery — at the back of Common Grounds coffeeshop and wine bar — with the latest in comic-book art, figurines, T-shirts, toys and more, with local, original pieces scattered throughout the coffeeshop.

The Olio (W-S)

918 Bridge St. NW at the West End Mill Works; theolio.com

At the Triad’s only open glass-blowing studio, you can watch your gift being made by the artisans as the heat from the fires warms you up. There’s something hypnotic about glass as it’s being worked — definitely worth checking out.

Pixels and Wood (W-S)

Available at Design Archives, 636 W. Fourth St.; Shopdesignarchives.com

“Pixels and Wood saved my ass,” said Eric Ginsburg in September of the artistic concern helmed by Brittany McCullers and Chris Christ, when he found among their wares the perfect wedding gift. Their creations, which use salvaged wood for canvas, apply to the holidays as well.

Shelf Life (GSO)

2134 1/2 Lawndale Drive; shelflifeart.com

We found Shelf Life in October, an art-supply store and gallery located underneath Geeksboro that deals in “gently used” and discounted merchandise for the struggling makers of the creative underclass. Surely you know someone who needs some paint.

Uptowne Artworks (GSO)

1007 Arnold St.; uptowneartworks.org

Joseph Wilkerson’s vision transformed this urban space into a haven for local, original and commissioned artwork.

MUSIC

The Arrow — Jeffrey Dean Foster

Jordan Green interviewed Winston-Salem artist Jeffrey Dean Foster on the sidewalk of East Fourth Street in anticipation of his new album The Arrow.

“He’s like an apparition, so comfortable with these streets they fit him like old jeans, almost invisible,” Green wrote in October.

Foster covered part of the payment for the work, produced by Mitch Easter and Don Dixon at Easter’s Fidelitorium on Kernersville, by painting Easter’s house between recording sessions.

jeffreydeanfoster.com

The Absolute Elsewhere — Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands

Ethnomusicologist Crystal Bright incubated in a loft in downtown Reidsville — which is not as bustling as it sounds — to craft the songs in her newest release, which debuted this month.

The ensemble’s musical palette includes daubs from European history, African instrumentation, classical guitar, the Tom Waits catalog and Appalachian folk. Bright’s repertoire includes turns on the accordion, the Ugandan adungo harp and the saw, played old-school with a bow.

The big release was in Carrboro over the weekend, a multimedia affair with performance and photography. But the work is available to the public just in time for the holidays.

crystalbrightandthesilverhands.com

TL:DR — T0W3RS

T0W3RS new album is among the best local releases this year.
T0W3RS new album is among the best local releases this year.

The biggest story to emerge from the Triad’s morass of a music scene is T0W3RS, aka Derek Torres, whose closing set at Phuzz Phest in April shook the Single Brothers crowd to its core. A subsequent appearance at Hopscotch in Raleigh cemented Torres’ spot in the pantheon, and he’s played plenty of Triad shows since.

Torres’ stage presence brings something that can’t be captured in a studio, but with a background in mathematics, his technical work is nearly perfect.

TL:DR, which came out in November, comes in a pure white vinyl edition with lyrics and liner notes, perfect for the needle freak in your life. To anchor this even further in the Triad and the buy-local ethos, it’s worth noting that Winston-Salem’s Phuzz Records put the record out..

There are dozens more local bands with albums out this year, all of which would be grateful for the support and the exposure.

Available at:

CFBG (GSO)

930 S. Chapman St.; cfbgs.com

Earshot Records (W-S)

3524 Silas Creek Parkway; earshot.com

Hippo Records (GSO)

2823 Spring Garden St.; hippowax.com

Reanimator (W-S)

344 Paterson Ave.; reanimatornc.com

Underdog Records (W-S)

835 Buke St. NW; underdog-records.blogspot.com

BIKES

Cycling has obvious health benefits that come with all regular exercise, but a bicycle has the added factor of acting as a means of conveyance, reducing the rider’s carbon footprint and softening monthly gas purchases.

We have bike lanes, greenways and mountain bike trails on which to ride. And the addition of bike racks on city buses makes cycling a more accessible way to get around the cities.

In the Triad we have several great bike shops with the latest in road, off-road and racing machines. In Greensboro, we have the sole distribution hub for Dutch bicycle-maker Lekker.

Dutch bike maker Lekker bases its US operations in Greensboro.
Dutch bike maker Lekker bases its US operations in Greensboro.

Available at

Bicycle Toy and Hobby (HP)

2000 N. Main St., bicycletoyandhobby.com

Cycles de Oro (GSO)

1410 Mill St.; cyclesdeoro.com

Green Door Wheel Works (HP)

2205 W. English Road; greendoorwheelworks.com

Higgins Cycle Shop (GSO)

2420 Battleground Ave.; higginsgreensboro.com

Ken’s Bike Shop

2750 Reynolda Road (W-S)

kensbikeshop.com

Lekker Bikes; (GSO)

us.lekkerbikes.com

Mock Orange Bikes (W-S)

492 West End Blvd.; mockorangebikes.com

Re:Cycle (GSO)

908-A Spring Garden St.; recyclesbikeshop.com

Revolution Cycles (GSO)

1907 Spring Garden St.; revolutioncyclesnc.com

Spinz Bike Shop (HP)

3029 S. Main St.; spinzbikeshop.com

APPAREL

Jeans made from White Oak denim

Brian Clarey’s cover story, “Denim City,” explored the trend of old-school, raw selvedge denim made on vintage machines at Cone Mills’ White Oak Plant in Greensboro. Stronger and more durable than anything available on the mass market, these are your grandfather’s jeans with a lifespan of decades. They’re perfect for anyone who would rather have one pair of good jeans than five pair of flimsy ones.

Available at:

Hudson’s Hill (GSO)

527 S. Elm St.; hudsonshill.com

Centennial Trading Co. (W-S)

305 W. Fourth St.; centennialtradeco.com

NC Home shirt

Zeke Vantreese was a barista at the Green Bean coffeehouse when he designed his first T-shirt: an outline of the state of North Carolina emblazoned with the word “home” that has become a state icon, spawning imitators and outright poachers as the business grew.

Now Zeke’s making shirts from every state in his downtown Greensboro factory, along with lines of products like doormats, wooden carving, hats and stickers. You can find them at local clothing shops all over the Triad, and he moves the full Home State Apparel line through Etsy.

Available at:

Home State Apparel

myhomestate.com

Sustainable clothing

Local designers are using sustainable fabrics, both new and old, to create modern fashions with an ethical component. Gaia Conceptions uses only organic fabrics produced in state or through fair labor practices, natural dyes and hand stitching in its unique line of women’s wear. Pretty Birdie incorporates elements like bamboo, hemp and vintage lace in its line of couture. Both lines are designed and manufactured in the Triad.

Pretty Birdie uses sustainable fabrics in its couture.
Pretty Birdie uses sustainable fabrics in its couture.

 

Available at:

Pretty Birdie

etsy.com/shop/PrettyBirdieCo

Gaia Conceptions/Nomad Boutique (GSO)

504 Guilford Ave.; gaiaconceptions.com

Sophisticated ladies

Mack and Mack has been designing and manufacturing upscale women’s wear in Greensboro for decades, with humble beginnings that include business incubation at the Nussbaum Center. Now on South Elm Street in the heart of downtown Greensboro, the store has grown to include curated lines of jewelry and accessories and the occasional live music performance.

Available at:

Mack and Mack (GSO)

220 S. Elm St.; mamclothing.com

  • Kathy Newsom

    Fantastic compilation. Thanks!