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The Art of Gifting Art

The Art Source Gallery's Guide to Thoughtful Artful Gifts

Article by Bruce Tarbet

Photography by Art Source Gallery

Beginning Friday, November 24th and continuing through December, Art Source Gallery is celebrating the gifting season with a special collection of gift-sized and seasonally-priced pieces to help you find one-of-a-kind presents for everyone on your list.

With a focus on items priced around $50, these are typically smaller works produced by Art Source Gallery member artists, with additional handcrafted pieces provided by guest artists. Pieces range from desk-sized oil and watercolor paintings; glass, paper and gourd ornaments; jewelry; mini-sculptures; table coasters; wine-stoppers, greeting cards and more.

Gallery artist Sue Elle is creating a series of ornaments where her inspiration was a pile of unused watercolor paper and memories from a 1970’s visit to Amsterdam, Netherlands. With origami precision, Elle incorporated the papers, hand applied paints, decorative beads and other textures in each ornament. The resulting ornaments are sure to delight and may create memories for another generation.

Glass ornaments are always festive as they reflect the glow of colored lights and the shimmer of candles. Art Source’s glass artists create colorful ornaments in heart, flower and state-shaped designs. These pieces can be easily packaged and mailed to recipients outside the Boise area, and are a delight to receive.

“When I think of Christmas, I think of the lights and the snow, the twinkle and sparkle of a snowy day,” says Julie Meikle, ceramic artist and Art Source member. She is producing sets of three-dimensional glazed ceramic pieces that evoke the quiet and solitude of a mountain village, including a festive snowman. Meikle forms, fires and glazes the pieces in her own studio and they are available as a complete set, or as individual pieces to create a customized look.

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Many styles and forms of sculpture and three-dimensional art are available including ull size pieces in wood, bronze and mixed media. On the practical side, artist Bruce Marsden forms the wood and metal of used wine barrels into serving platters, side tables and more.

Jewelry is always an appropriate gift, and Art Source Gallery’s jewelry makers have something for every taste. The gallery’s artists fashion earrings, necklaces, pendants and rings - many featuring Idaho gemstones - for a wide variety of looks and budgets. Jeweler Liz Warner collects gems from throughout the state, adds findings of silver and other precious metals to create distinctive and beautiful wearable art. “I look for a pattern or scene in a rock that can lead your imagination to a beautiful place,” says Warner. “Finding the rough rock locally makes the creative process even more meaningful.” You can choose one of Warner’s pieces, or from the six other jewelers showing at Art Source Gallery.

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While gifting full-sized artwork can be a daunting prospect, two-dimensional wall art (think paintings or photographs) is often available in smaller sizes. Watch for high quality giclee, pronounced zhe-Klā, that are produced by scanning original artworks and output on high resolution printers for greater color range and longevity. These prints are often produced as part of a limited series and may be numbered and signed by the artist. These reproductions can bring the color and style of an artist into a more affordable price range.

Boise-based oil painter Martine Castoro is producing many of her most popular paintings as high-quality giclee prints, coasters and magnets. Most gallery artists have prints available in bins at the gallery; however, it's a good idea to contact the artist to see if a print can be made from the original piece at the original or custom size.

And framing your print can be as easy as consulting with Karl Gray, owner of Gray’s Custom Framing which is conveniently co-located in the gallery building. Several gallery painters have created small original paintings, roughly three inches square, that will accent any decor or setting.

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Beyond giving a thoughtful handcrafted gift, purchasing local art keeps money in the Treasure Valley and supports local artists, galleries and their suppliers. Buying from local artists and vendors means you’ll receive higher quality gifts that support your schools, cities and state. Your support of the arts, even in small purchases, keeps an important part of our community vibrant and functioning.

Art Source Gallery is an artist-owned cooperative with nearly 50 artists producing exceptional art in a broad variety of visual disciplines. Now in its 30th year, Art Source Gallery is one of the longest running art galleries in Boise. Located at 1516 W Grove St. (in Boise’s Linen District) it is open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Sundays (through Christmast) Noon - 4:00 PM. Check out the website for additional information:

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