I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have a handmade problem. I just really like things that somebody made with their own two hands and a healthy dose of creativity. I also like horses, as reading this blog may have made you aware, so I like to occasionally share some ideas for gifts for the horse lover in your life, since I know we’re often tough to shop for. (If you’re the horse lover in question, feel free to buy yourself gifts. You’d be very good at wooing yourself.) I’ve put together a list here for you of some of my current favorite items and shops in the handmade marketplace at Etsy, where I also have my own shop. (I don’t know any of these sellers and haven’t received any kind of sponsorship for this, I just think their stuff is really awesome.) I’ve put together a few previous lists here and here, if you’re looking for more ideas. I’ve taken pains to select sellers who carry a variety of horsey goods, so please be sure to check out their shops and dig through their inventories. They like that, honestly.
When I first stumbled across EQUINE by Lauren Radvansky, I was enthralled and aggravated in equal measure: the former because her pieces are beautiful, the latter because I desperately wish I’d thought of this idea first. This shop includes some vintage clothing and jewelry, but Lauren’s signature item has to be her re-purposed Breyer horse models, which she turns into bookends and racks for hanging hats, bridles, and show ribbons. The combination of cleanly painted model horses and rustic reclaimed barn wood makes for a beautiful contrast in her horse pieces, and she also does custom work.
The essential dilemma posed by Morris Pottery is this: do you put these very functional pieces of art to work in the kitchen, or do you keep them on the shelf where you can admire them 24/7? Whichever way you end up going, you can’t deny that these pieces are insanely pretty; the designs are applied with glazes and slip trails, and the style is beautiful, dynamic and full of motion. Some of the plates are rigged for wall hanging, but all of the dinnerware items are food and dishwasher safe. I for one would like to give this whole herd a home in my kitchen.
Copper Tree Design has a great variety of horse stuff, from the decorative to the practical. My favorite of their pieces is that really cool portable fire pit — it’s made out of steel sheets, which slot together to form the pit. You can set it up on your patio or take it with you to the beach, lay a grill rack over the top and cook up some grub, or just use it as a decorative border around a tree. And in winter you can disassemble and store it. So smart, you guys. This particular motif is reminiscent of a forest trail ride, but they’ll also create these custom, so be sure to ask if you’re after something special. Their other offerings include rope halters and hackamores, jewelry, and some pretty awesome metal windchimes.
Moon Lights is a mother-daughter team in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and they cut all of their beautiful nightlights and candle holders out of upcycled tin cans. They work freehand with a torch, and maybe that’s why their work has such energy and vitality, or maybe it’s because they’re just awesome. I have no words for how awestruck and jealous I am of their artistic stylings. And their pieces are screened with theater gels, so they’ll cast a beautiful array of delightful colors in your house. Basically if you have money and you’re not purchasing one of these for every room of your house I feel like you’re wasting your potential, is all.
Don’t front… even if you’re a barefoot hoof enthusiast, you still have to admit that horseshoes make for some seriously cool decoration, not to mention some seriously useful household items. Rustic Designs by Riley has an awesome selection of horseshoe crafts large and small, useful and decorative, from large wall-art pieces to lamps, keyhooks, and even a tiny rocking chair.
Helkatdesign‘s cushions are handmade in England, and they have a beautiful rustic but refined flair. They’re hand printed and appliqued, and although the horse and pony-themed designs are beautiful, it’s the shaggy-coated Highland cattle that are really rocking my world. If you’re living the farm life, you’ll be particularly interested in the countryside collection, which is full of farmland charm. There are curly-horned sheep, bounding foxes and rabbits, hedgehogs and bees. You’ll also find collections of dogs, hares, stags, and other sights and symbols of the British landscape.
The Grape Leaf gives new life to empty wine bottles, turning them into a variety of brand new creations with beautiful etched-glass designs. There are Cups, vases, jars, windchimes, and hydroplanters. My particular favorites are the votive candle holders and hummingbird feeders. You guys, beautiful artistic hummingbird feeders out of empty wine bottles. I just can’t even describe to you how happy that makes me, for reasons I can’t even entirely explain. They also have a great variety of designs, with some very simple stuff, some that are almost photorealistic, and some very stylized tribal-type designs.
Branch Handmade creates beautiful original screenprinted designs. They’re simple and striking, and available on a variety of fabric items, including tea towels, t-shirts, duvet sets, and pillow cases. There are several horse designs available (and a zebra!), not to mention a range of great designs for other interests. I’ve got my eye on one of those arrow t-shirts.
In all honesty, I have no idea what I would do with one of these things if I owned one, but I’ve still been coveting them for ages. Chalk It Up is a pretty simple concept: old Breyer horses re-purposed — thanks to the amazing innovation of chalkboard paint — into a little decorative writing surface. They have a model that sports a coat of magnetic paint, so you can also use magnets to pin notes to it in addition to writing on it with chalk, and they’ve chalked up some other creatures too, like zebras, deer, elk, buffalo, and elephants. If you’ve got a horse-themed wedding to plan, you need look no further for your table numbers. They come with a few pieces of chalk to get you started, and when you’re done doodling on your horse you can just wipe it off with a damp cloth and start again. This is one of those ideas that’s so simple it’s brilliant.
Hiro’s Heart specializes in a single, adorable craft item: upcycled glass jars with animal figures attached to the lids. That might sound unimpressive, but the end product is adorable. In addition to a range of brightly colored horses, there are dogs, deer, barnyard animals, owls, and other awesome beasts. You’ll also find recycled jars with chalkboard lids so you can write their contents on top.
Winchester Pottery makes awesome stoneware mugs, plates, teapots, and other kitchenware and containers. Their horsey pieces are great, with a lot of diversity in types and breeds — there are mules, fjords, appaloosas and more, and each type of equine gets its own distinctive look or pose specific to its breed. They’re all microwave, dishwasher, and food safe.
Etched Dreams has a great selection of different forms of etched glass, with a lot of horse designs representing different disciplines and designed for different occasions. You can pick up a pair of bride and groom wine glasses for a horse-themed wedding, some show-jumper mugs to commemorate the big show, or some western-themed margarita glasses to get your drink on. They’ve also got horse-themed vinyl for walls and cars, and they do custom mug printing.
I love the rough, rustic charm of these stamped tiles Made by Jessica. They’d make great coasters, or you could incorporate them into a backsplash — they’re sealed with a glaze to keep the ink on. Jessica also sells stamped cards and bookmarks, hand-painted Christmas tree ornaments, and horse-shaped bar soaps.
Dad & Sons Woodworking makes some pretty adorable wooden beasts, including a sleepy horse that’s perfect for topping shelves indoors or fencelines outside (hopefully out of reach of your horses). They also make sweet mailboxes, animal birdhouses, life-size wooden cats, holiday decorations, yard art, and planters. I’m a particular fan of their really cute and really affordable corner shelves in the shapes of barnyard beasts. I don’t even go in for this type of art normally but I still just embarrassed myself by cooing over a corner shelf in the shape of a pig.
Silvertree Studio boasts an awesome, eclectic collection of housewares, fine art originals, and art prints. You might drop in for one of these beautiful boldly colored animal silhouettes — that turquoise horse is rocking my socks off — and walk away with a gorgeous watercolor piece to add to your art collection. Or maybe you’d prefer a woodburning piece. Or a photo print. Or an original in acrylics. Clearly shop owner Kel is too talented and needs to be stopped.
Bright Strange Things is my own shop on Etsy, where I sell a variety of mostly horse-related things. My most popular items by far are my wire Christmas tree ornaments/mirror hangers; their legs move and frankly they’re kind of awesome. I also have photo prints and apparel for sale, with handmade jewelry and some unique stationary designs on the way. I do hope you’ll drop in.
I also hope this little list has been helpful in your shopping endeavors. Please consider shopping handmade with these and other artists to help support artists in your area and around the world. I’ll be doing more lists like this one in the future, on a semi-regular basis, along with more blogs on art and crafting. If you’ve got a favorite artist or your own store that I should check out, or there are particular horse items you’d like recommendations for, please leave a comment!