Brandy Clements Credit Nathan Rivers Chesky
The North Carolina Folk Art Center in Asheville offers visitors a full Appalachian immersion with a museum, hiking, and daily craft demonstrations.
Nathan Rivers Chesky

If your gift giving has fallen into a rut, stop by a craft gallery, co-op or pop-up store for your holiday shopping, says Terri Belford, a business consultant to artists and indie makers (craftbizblog.com). “You’ll see the same imported items online and in big box stores. Unless you go to a craftsman or artisan venue, it’s hard to find something different or unusual.” Most of these spaces recommended by Belford are staffed by artists, and feature locally produced and handmade goods. 

The Art Project
Bainbridge Island, Washington

Shoppers will find a huge assortment of high-quality offerings at this popular nonprofit Puget Sound gallery. At any given time, the store features about 6,000 works by more than 200 Pacific Northwest artists. “They’re very highly juried. They’re super selective about the art that’s in there,” Belford says. theartproject.org

North Carolina Folk Art Center
Asheville, North Carolina

This shop, run by the Southern Highland Craft Guild, offers both folk art and contemporary crafts. With a site on the Blue Ridge Parkway, visitors can get a full Appalachian immersion. “It’s a spectacular location, much more than just a shopping experience. There’s a museum. There are hiking trails,” Belford says. The center offers daily craft demonstrations, and holds a special holiday marketplace on Dec. 8.  Additional locations in Asheville. southernhighlandguild.org

The Yes Store
Santa Barbara, California

This central California store is one of the country’s first craft pop-ups, setting up shop in the heart of Santa Barbara’s shopping district since 1968. This year, it’s located across the street from a Nordstrom department store. “They have a lot of giftware, blown glass, ceramics, woodwork, some leather. The selection is really great,” Belford says. Open through Dec. 24. theyesstore.com

Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery
Boulder, Colorado

Located on the Pearl Street pedestrian mall in downtown Boulder, this college town co-op specializes in works from Colorado and Rocky Mountain makers. Shoppers will find photography, prints, jewelry, glass, leather and metal. boulderartsandcrafts.com

Young & Able
Brooklyn, New York

Now in its fifth year, this pop-up shop based in a brownstone in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood features 50 women-led brands, specializing in fashion and household items. Although not everything is handmade, the focus is on female designers and makers. The shop also runs workshops on topics like working with chocolate, metal stamping and wreath-making. “It’s really fun,” Belford says. Open through Dec. 23. shopyoungandable.com

Cambridge Artists Cooperative
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Located just off Harvard Square, this two-story co-op features over 200 artists from across the nation. “It’s very contemporary, kind of the flip-side of folk art places,” Belford says. It also carries gifts for men, which are often hard to find. “They have hand-painted silk ties, and messenger bags.” cambridgeartistscoop.com
 
Charleston Crafts
Charleston, South Carolina

With a convenient location near the busy market area, this co-op attracts visitors seeking art, jewelry and hand-crafted household goods. “What I like is the artists are all required to be residents of South Carolina, so it’s exclusively local,” Belford says. charlestoncrafts.org

Handwork
Ithaca, New York

This 45-member co-op offers a wide range of products, mostly from New York’s Finger Lakes region. The three-story downtown store features a wide range of offerings.  Belford is particularly impressed with its charitable spirit – it donates a portion of its profits to local medical and food programs, and to arts education. handwork.coop

ACCI Gallery
Berkeley, California

For more than half a century, the Arts & Crafts Cooperative Inc. has showcased the work of emerging and established artists in its gallery and store. “They change up the exhibits very frequently,” Belford says. The shop is located in North Berkeley in an area known as the Gourmet Ghetto because of its innovative restaurants. “It’s a really cool place and the area around it is a lot of fun as well.” accigallery.com

Frog Hollow Vermont Craft Gallery
Burlington, Vermont

This co-op has long championed traditional and contemporary Vermont artists. It’s now one of the state’s largest nonprofit arts institutions, and was recently named the city’s top art gallery. “It has 200 Vermont artists working in clay, fiber, glass wood, metal, photography, print-making and painting,” Belford says. froghollow.org