[This article appears in the Winter 2013 issue of Haverford magazine.]
We know the holidays can be stressful. No matter what (or if) you celebrate at the end of the year, there are so many opportunities for gift giving and receiving that it can be hard to be imaginative with your presents. This year, why not fill your shopping bag with items made and sold by your fellow Fords? Current students and alumni create all sorts of one-of-a-kind artworks and handmade crafts and even teach classes that would make great gifts. Here’s a list of a dozen gift ideas that will make your season bright.
CALEB MEYER JEWELRY
A second-generation goldsmith and Haverfordian—his father James Meyer is Class of ’62—Caleb Meyer ’89 produces fine jewelry and runs an American craft gallery in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. His sophisticated pieces, such as the engraved 18-karat yellow-gold cuff ($3,553), emerald cabochon and diamond ring ($1,651), and freshwater pearl earrings ($795) shown here, would make the perfect special-occasion gifts. There are items for men, too, such as rings and belt buckles. “I am designing jewelry for people who live an active lifestyle and who appreciate a certain understated grace in their jewelry,” says Meyer. “From our total commitment to bezel-setting [a technique that eliminates the need for prongs when setting diamonds and colored stones] to the subtle and graceful hammered textures and handmade details, this is heirloom jewelry to wear comfortably every day.” calebmeyer.com
GABBY’S FELTED FRIENDS
Kate Mahoney ’14 has a busy year ahead of her as a senior Russian major at Bryn Mawr, but she still has time to make felted animals, like this dog, and sell them via her online Etsy store. Mahoney can make any kind of animal out of wool—horses, cats, tigers—but in addition to the stock available for purchase online, she can also create a custom likeness of your pet! That way you’ll never be far from your beloved Fido or Fluffy. All animals are $40, plus shipping, which is a small price to pay to thrill all of the animal lovers on your list with original gifts. etsy.com/shop/GabbysFeltedFriends
Do you know someone who loves the ocean? If so, the Etsy store of Cora Hersh ’16 is the perfect place to find a present for him or her. Hersh, who hails from Wellesley, Mass., a brief drive from the sea, is inspired by aquatic imagery for the crafts, jewelry, and clothing that she makes. At her online storefront you can buy organic cotton T-shirts or baby onesies featuring colorful, hand-screened pictures of dogfish, sailboats, lobsters, seahorses, or octopuses ($18 to $20 each). Hersh also makes and sells pearl and beaded jewelry ($15 to $30) for those who like to add a little luster to their seasonal attire. etsy.com/shop/TheJetty
There are mail subscription services for everything now. Netflix and GameFly keep subscribers up-to-date with new movies and the latest videogames. Birchbox and Glossybox send beauty addicts new products every month. And now you can get your socks in the mail too. For $11 a month, SockPanda, founded by David Peck ’03, sends subscribers new footwear that they can’t find anywhere else, surprising them with one pair of either “cool” or “bold” (the wilder of the two) socks made of high-quality fabrics and featuring colorful designs. And Peck is offering a deal to friends of the College—enter the word “Haverford” at checkout and get 50% off your first month. As a subscriber, you’ll be in good company: James T. Kirk himself—William Shatner—gets his socks from SockPanda. www.sockpanda.com
Those looking for ecologically conscious gifts will be pleased to hear that the beautiful bowls laboriously crafted by Tom Pleatman ’69 are made from fallen trees. “I collect the wood from wherever the trees came down,” says Pleatman, who transforms that wood into a bowl by splitting a log in half, spinning the wood on a lathe to get a bowl shape, and then letting the wood age in that shape for more than a year. He then shapes the bowl again on the lathe and gives it about 18 coats of tung oil (a food-safe finish made from the nut of the tung tree) and beeswax. “There are two ways of looking at the finished bowl,” he says. “One is that it is an empty container that longs to be filled with something—food or trinkets. The other is that a finished bowl is completely filled as is, with all of the beauty of the wood, and not a single thing could possibly be added to it. My personal goal with each piece is to try to bring out as much of the wood’s characteristics as possible, so that this latter view is the one people see.” Prices vary with the piece but generally range between $100 and $400. treasuredwood.com
Need a Secret Santa gift for that Game of Thrones superfan, Sherlock lover, or Pokemon collector in your life? Look no further than DorkSpork, the Etsy shop of quirky crafter Justine Garcia ’06 and her high school friend Carrie Pena. The duo’s pop-culture-inspired small polymer charms, featuring characters from Donkey Kong and Avatar: The Last Airbender, can decorate cell phones, water bottles, wine glasses, or coffee mugs to distinguish yours from the rest. And they are a mere $8 each. “Our goal is to provide people with unique products, and we are constantly striving to produce work that can’t be found anywhere else,” says Garcia. She’s got a point; we’ve never seen a set of six beverage charms that display all the different Game of Thrones house symbols ($45) anywhere else before. etsy.com/shop/dorkspork
DANA MILLER YOGA
Don’t know your downward-facing dog from your plow pose? No problem. Dana Miller ’86 can help. The certified New York-based yoga teacher offers classes for all levels of fitness and yoga awareness. Miller teaches a Vinyasa style of the practice, in which one pose flows into the next on the breath. If someone you know has made a New Year’s resolution to become stronger, more limber, more mindful, or less stressed, yoga classes could be the perfect gift. Especially for friends of the College, Miller is offering a fiveperson group yoga class package for $35 for anyone in the New York City area, and for those in Manhattan there’s also a package of three private one-hour sessions in your home for $225. To schedule, call Miller at 917-545-0082 or email email@example.com.
THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONEGROUND
As a holistic-health coach and organic-foods demonstrator, Tim Richards ’10 was tired of the subpar almond butters on the market, so the former philosophy major decided to make his own. His Philosopher’s Stoneground line is made with sprouted almonds, which provide more nutritional value than typical roasted almonds and are easier to digest. And Richards’ almonds are stoneground—the process sustains the important nutritional enzymes, fats, and proteins in the nuts that typical nut processing destroys. The butters, which come in two flavors and in creamy and crunchy versions ($12 to $25), are currently available in some California health-food stores and farmers’ markets and should be available for purchase online soon. thephilosophersstoneground.com
Philadelphia-based immigration attorney Djung Tran ’98 makes more than just legal arguments; she has also started her own line of photographic greeting cards. The cards, which feature Tran’s close-up photos of lush flowers, brightly plumed birds, and colorful butterflies, are blank inside, so they are appropriate for any occasion. The cards come in two sizes (5×7 and 6×8) and are $5.95 and 9.95, respectively, including shipping. Her Etsy store is forthcoming, so for now you can order cards by contacting Tran directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANNA BENJAMIN PRINTS
Think original prints are out of your price range? Think again. Printmaker Anna Benjamin ’13 has something for every budget. The artist, who designs all of her bold, graphic patterns digitally, sells stationary ($12), coaster sets ($35), iPod and iPhone cases ($35), framed ($59) and unframed ($38.48) art prints, prints on stretched canvas ($85), and large, hand-printed lithographs via her Society6 and Etsy online storefronts. Benjamin also takes commissions, not just for lithographs and prints, but also to handprint any of her designs onto furniture. Contact her directly at email@example.com to commission work. Society6.com/AnnaBenjamin; etsy.com/shop/AnnaBenjaminArt
Fans of sparkle who care about the ecological impact of their twinkle will be pleased to learn that the pieces that Cassie Nylen Gray ’97 creates for her Clementine Jewelry line are not only delicate and beautiful, but are also forged from recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds using environmentally friendly tools and practices. The Ashfield, Mass.-based designer and metalsmith, who studied at Snow Farm, Metalwerx, and the Penland School of Crafts, makes chic, dainty pieces at many different price points: from gold teardrop earrings for $20 to a silver and white-topaz necklace for $72, to sophisticated black diamond studs for $315. Stumped as to what the lady in your life might want this season? Why not get her one of Gray’s stacking rings (pictured left), which are made from recycled sterling silver, recycled gold, and gems, and are individually priced from $20 to $295. clementinejewelry.com
ELLIE D PERFUME
A gift of perfume is a romantic, charmingly old-fashioned gesture—who doesn’t like to smell good? But for those tired of paying for major designers’ multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns in every expensive bottle they buy, why not go artisanal and small-batch with your purchase this winter? Jessica Dunne ’98 started her own perfumery in 2007, inspired by the memories of her grandmother, Ellie (her fragrances’ namesake), and her mother. “I have always loved perfume, even though I never thought I would turn my passion into a business,” says Dunne, a Chicago-based mother of two. As a kid, “I actually created ‘perfume’ from berries and flowers in my backyard and sold it at my lemonade stand, so this was meant to be!” Dunne’s Ellie D line features two fragrances: Ellie, a combination of white florals, vanilla, vetiver, and musk; and Ellie Nuit, a blend of rose, violet, fig, cashmere wood, sandalwood, and coriander seed. The fragrances are available as 7mL roll-ons ($50) and half-ounce glass bottle parfums ($180). elliedperfume.com; luckyscent.com
More Gift Ideas
Did you know that the Haverford College Bookstore now offers online sales? To purchase all manner of Haver-themed apparel and gifts, including caps, tees, mugs, paperweights—even a black squirrel plush toy—go to haverfordbookstore.com.