Studio, Life and Gallery Musings, 22: Guest Speaker & Gift Giving Tips

Studio, Life and Gallery Musings, 22: Guest Speaker & Gift Giving Tips

I threw Sarah a curve ball this week.  We are changing up our Virtual Artist Talks.  March’s artist talk is a Canadian ceramic artist, Tony Clennell.  We will record it and make it public mid-March.  He is a wonderful teacher, author of a book, interesting orator, and talented potter who teaches all over the world.   I am fortunate to call him a friend who lives too far away.  It will be great to catch up and hear what he is doing these days.

Tony Clennell

Six Tips on how to give memorable, special gifts:

Gifting is so much more than just the physical exchange of objects — it’s a way to communicate and to send a message to the recipient of the gift. When you put some thought into it and choose a meaningful present, the gift becomes a wish for someone’s happiness.

joy drop is a service offering handmade art and local West Michigan products

On the flip side, giving a gift that won’t be used or appreciated like a dust-buster, sends a really bad message.

At any time of the year, finding the perfect gift can be frustrating.  With the pandemic, we can’t wander through a mall, hoping to find inspiration. Even, shopping in a small downtown shopping district can feel daunting.

But in reality, anyone can give a thoughtful present  — all it takes is a little perceptiveness and creativity. With these top ten tips for mastering the art of meaningful gift-giving, you’ll leave ready to take the prize for “best gift given” at your next special occasion!

1. Give by observing

The number one rule of meaningful gift-giving is observation: those who have mastered the art pay attention to what their friends and loved ones say and what their interests are. People are constantly dropping hints about what their likes and dislikes are, often when you least expect it! Would they like something useful, or something decorative? Something for the house, or something for themselves?

Thoughtful gift-givers also understand the circumstances of their recipients. People don’t always ask for what they want — or even realize that they need it — but by paying attention to what would make their life easier or what they need replaced, you can almost always pick the perfect unique gift.

For example, your sister who just moved might love to receive a few well-chosen decor accessories. Your always-on-the-go supermom friend, on the other hand, might benefit from some pampering products like a handmade mug with tea.

2. Give by personality

Failing to consider who you’re giving to is a sure-fire way to have an awkward gifting experience. But matching the gift to their unique personality sends a message that says you care about who they are. Trendsetters may enjoy different gifts than fitness aficionados. Your travelista friend might like a leather bag or passport holder, while your friend who loves to entertain might appreciate new tableware — you get the idea.

3. Give for a good cause

Everyone knows at least one impossible-to-shop-for person, for one reason or another: they’re either a minimalist who desires nothing more, or someone who already has everything. Frustrating, no?

Well, it doesn’t have to be. Give them a gift that supports a good cause, or make a donation in their name to a cause or charity that’s near and dear to their heart.

If you’re not sure where to start, why not give them a  C2C gift card that can be used to donate to their favorite non-profit.  If they’re a culture lover with a passion for handcrafted goods, our gift cards work great too. Let them choose a traditional handmade gift that supports an artist and their family. There are so many ways to give back to the world while giving to people you love!

4. Give by niche interest or hobby

Your friends’ and relatives’ hobbies can also steer you in the right direction when it comes to finding the perfect gift. Are they a gardener, or perhaps a wine lover? Giving within that niche is a great way to let them know that you notice and appreciate this unique aspect of them.

The trick, however, is not to overdo it. If everybody knows that your friend absolutely adores elephants, chances are that she has more generic elephant-themed items than she knows what to do with. You’ll have to think outside the box and do something unique, like something that reminds you of an elephant’s hide or finding an elephant sculpture that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

5. Give creatively

Unique gifts that you make yourself are especially meaningful because they show your loved one that you used your time, energy, and creative juice to get them something nice. The possibilities for do-it-yourself gifts are endless and you can take inspiration from almost anywhere, but coupon books, handwritten letters or poems, handmade baked goods or even a pretty box full of nice sayings about your loved one and memories you’ve made together are great places to start!

If you’re giving DIY gifts, though, it’s very important to be observant and remember who you’re gifting to — one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to giving, and Dad probably won’t appreciate that handmade potpourri as much as somebody else would.

6. Give your time

Material things can be cluttering depending on your recipient, but almost everyone could use a helping hand from time to time. Offer to watch their kids or dogs for a night so they can have some time to themselves, or help them with their next home improvement project. Have a special talent, like a knack for setting up gadgets or giving the perfect foot massage? Give the gift of your expertise — nothing says “I care” like sharing your skills to give them the best!

Meaningful gifts are the best gifts

There are so many options when it comes to presents that show how much you care. So when it comes to giving, don’t settle for the fruits of aimless mall-wandering. Find your loved ones the meaningful gifts they deserve!

What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received? Are there any giving tips that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments!

I did get in the studio this week.  It felt so good.  As a matter of fact, heading there now.  Watch me make a mug.

porcelain vase

Yes, I am keeping up with my exercise commitment.  I have been changing it up between the elliptical and the online Barre Blend class.  This class continues to kick my butt, in a good way.  I found a yummy one pan Salmon recipe for all of you this week.  It’s in an earlier blog post.  Head over to the recipe for a change up in your menu planning.

Bob Walma captured several fantastic images on our waterfront this past week.  We enjoyed several days of sunshine.  Thank you, Bob for hanging out in the cold to give us these beautiful images.

Grand Haven lighthouse

New Art in the Gallery:

Take care,


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