5 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

One of the real gratifying perks of my job is the pleasure of meeting the western artists and artisans whose work I’ve admired from afar, as over the years, we’ve structured the content of the magazine to include more of a cultural bend and showcase the vibe of art and crafts in the western world. Consequently, the scope of my Christmas shopping list takes a considerable dabble into this, and we’re all the better for it, supporting our local economy, leaving a gentler footprint on the world, and often gifting pieces bound to become family treasures in the generations to come.

Here’s a few the interesting paths we’ve wandered down lately.

Though the Calgary floods temporarily closed The Van Ginkel Art Gallery – housed in one of the oldest buildings in historic Inglewood – the work of artist, Paul Van Ginkel can again be viewed in all of it’s breathtaking beauty, now that the gallery is open again.

See Paul’s Facebook page for a glimpse of what he’s been working on (horses!), and while you’re visiting be sure to purchase one of his calendars, illustrated with his work. Only $20 and 100% of the donations go to Calgary based charity HOPEthiopia (www.hopethiopia.com).

The Van Ginkel Art Gallery has limited hours, be sure to check before you go.

Nanton, Alberta, western artist, Shannon Lawlor has a great Christmas idea – custom hand painted brands. Here’s a collage of several brands shown here on different colours of hide. Hand painted on 4″ x 4″ squares, they make a unique gift idea for those with brands of their own.

Artist Gena LaCoste brings the Living West to life through her watercolors – horses, cowboys and cowgirls, flowers and heifers, and other gorgeously interpreted western expressions. For your little ones, she’s reprinted her books, “Horses” and “Living in the West” just in time for Christmas giving. They are full colour, about 40 pages, 8 x 10 inch soft-cover books, brimming from cover to cover with Gena’s beautiful paintings.

A perennial favourite in the Western Horse Review offices, western photographer Kim Taylor’s 2014 day planner is just as perfect as every year preceding it. I’ve a stack of these in my office, and often find myself flipping back to find a date or notation I need from a previous year.

Wanda Whaley’s beautiful slate paintings continue to awe me. She also paints on buffalo hide, birch bark and clay, working with organic hand-made paints. It’s about as close to 50,000 years ago as art can be. Check out her new work here. 

Finally, add a little western Christmas music to your day, with the Jeremy Neal Willis CD, Remembering Christmas, available at the Horse Barn in Kamloops, B.C., and Cowboys Choice in Vernon, B.C., or on cdbaby.

Postscript: Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s 6 Weeks to Christmas Contest. We have a winner: Missy Merrill-Davies, contact us at advertising@westernhorsereview.com by next Friday to retrieve your beautiful Paige Albrecht hand-crafted cowhide belt.

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