25 November 2020

Christmas gift shopping without the crowds

| Belco Arts
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Handmade gifts for sale at Belconnen Arts Centre.

A selection of handmade gifts for sale at Belconnen Arts Centre. Photo: Supplied.

As the end of 2020 rapidly and mercifully approaches, there’s one more challenge to tackle before we’re through: Christmas shopping.

Year after year, we spend countless hours searching for those perfect gifts that accurately communicate who we are and how we feel. Will this gift pack of soaps make the receiver think we want them to bathe more frequently? Is a gift voucher too impersonal? Do socks really qualify as a present?

In a world of mass production, it’s increasingly hard to find unique and meaningful items that people will treasure for years to come. But you don’t need to brave the throngs of irate mall shoppers and Christmas carols on repeat this year – just pop into your local arts centre and uncover its hidden trove of infinitely giftable wares.

With Belconnen Arts Centre merely steps away from Westfield Belconnen, you can switch out your frazzled Christmas shopping for a relaxed coffee by Lake Ginninderra as you peruse the latest exhibitions. Once you’ve let the calm of the expansive gallery spaces wash over you, head to the Out of the Box retail space at reception and find one-of-a-kind handmade gifts.

No queues and no risky shuffling through crowds of mall-goers, just the feelgood knowledge that every purchase you make is supporting local artists, many of who have suffered incredible hardship due to 2020’s triple whammy of bushfire, hail and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauraine Parker's vases and Scott Chaseling's Pug Jug.

A selection of Lauraine Parker’s vases (left), and Scott Chaseling’s Pug Jug in blue. Photos: Supplied.

If you’re after something beautiful and functional, South Coast ceramicist Lauraine Parker’s hand-carved pieces are delightful to pop a posy into. She crafts her own clay blends and glazes in her home studio, creating robust ceramics that are always a pleasure to use.

The work of internationally acclaimed glass artist Scott Chaseling is held in international museums, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Pergamonmuseum in Germany and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan. His pieces for sale have been popular and only a few remain in stock at Belco Arts.

Megan Munro's crocheted earrings; Ruby Hall's Dachshund brooch; Henry Shawcross's phone cover.

Megan Munro’s crocheted earrings (left); Ruby Hall’s Dachshund brooch (centre); and Henry Shawcross’s phone cover in blue-yellow (right). Photos: Supplied.

If quirky conversation pieces are more your bag, disabled queer artist Megan Munro’s crocheted earrings let the wearer proudly express themselves and their identity. For the dog and cat lovers in your life, Ruby Hall’s collection of brooches and cufflinks are sure to please, and Henry Shawcross’s cute phone cosies will keep new gadgets safe and sound in style.

Akie Haga's Sea Pods necklace and Barbara Rogers's Shibori georgette silk scarf.

Akie Haga’s Sea Pods necklace (left), and Barbara Rogers’s Shibori georgette silk scarf with circles. Photos: Supplied.

For those who seek something luxurious, the rare and delicate glass jewellery of Japanese-born artist Akie Haga may capture your imagination. Akie says her pieces represent “unique expressions of craft and design for the customer who desires something different”.

Or why not gift the experience of wearing designer Barbara Rogers’s silk scarves, which are hand-stitched and dyed in the Shibori technique for a truly one-of-a-kind fashion statement.

If you’re too busy to make it out to Belconnen Arts Centre, or if you prefer to make your Christmas shopping as quick and painless as possible, you can also shop online and have your items delivered to your front door. Just make sure you place your orders by Sunday, 13 December, to guarantee pre-Christmas delivery.

Shop online now at Belco Arts or at Belconnen Arts Centre, open every Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm at 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen.

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