Creative Gift Giving

BY Edward Wills

Area artists offer beautiful and handmade products

Kidding around…

Paul Guerin

Toymaker of Southport

In an age of electronics Paul Guerin still handcrafts toys from wood with the precision and durability of years past.Most representtransportation and work vehicles including tow trucks trains cranes and more. Each toy takes a full day tomake. Instead of nails he relies on dowel rods and glue to hold the playthings together. Guerin who retired about eight years ago from his carpentry career began making toys for his childrenin his garage.

Wrap it up…

Linda McCormick

Flannagan and Foy’s

Love compassion respect and creation are Linda McCormick’s inspiration as she makes her colorful silk scarves.First drawn to sewing she fell in love with fabrics especially silks because they feel so good against the skin. She describes the experience of making the scarves as a personal meditation. With blues and reds predominant each scarf or accessory is unlike another. A unique feature of each scarf is that the edges are left unhemmed. They fray a bit but only to a point because of the way they are constructed.

Sharp finds…

Jeff Bridger

Forge and Foundry Knives

The word “blacksmith” summons the image of a man with hefty biceps hammering hot iron to form tools. Jeff Bridger a full-time smithy earns his living making high-quality knives that are expected to last a lifetime mostly kitchen and hunting blades. More than 80 percent of his output is for gifts. The rest is for people who want instruments crafted on an anvil the same as centuries ago. Bridger is a lifelong Wilmington resident and son of a welder who also turned to metal work as a vocation. Making things with his own hands allows him to bring traditional craftsmanship into the 21st century.

Silver and gold…

June Druchunas

Victorian Magpie

Artist June Druchunas creates art pieces using parts from non-functioning antique mechanical watches repurposing vintage timepieces into something beautiful and unique.In this digital age most people no longer wear intricate watches from bygone eras. To ensure the artistry finds a new purpose she uses the parts to make dazzling treasures in the form of bracelets pendants and earrings. She pays special attention to detail customizing chain styles and lengths.Available in silver copper and brass there are more than 300 to choose from.

Sea towels…

Horace Long

The Bearded Heart

Whether you call them tea towels or kitchen towels Wilmington artist Horace Long’s creations are unique adorned with original artwork.His super soft and absorbent towels are hand-screened and often feature images of sea life — octopuses turtles and sea horses. All his towels measure 17 inches by 29 inches and are 100 percent cotton and lint free. Long uses water-based ink for a soft feel. By using ink instead of dye he ensures the images will last the life of the fabric. The former commercial photographer from New York Los Angeles and Portland Oregon started his company The Bearded Heart — which also makes designer T-shirts — after completing a master’s degree in 2010.