Against the winter landscapes of the Isle of Wight resides an enviable community of artisans and craftspeople. From bold ceramics and bespoke furniture, to delicate jewellery made from sea glass and silver, this is the perfect place to pick up imaginative handmade gifts that are as unique as the person you are buying for and even during lockdown many have shifted their business to an online platform so you can still pick up a beautiful piece of Island craftsmanship.
Food and drink…
Bring some of the best of Island produce together Isle of Wight Hampers offer pre-made and bespoke gifts showcasing the best local produce. Choose from local fizz, cheese, biscuits, beer and so much more. Search for them on social media, it’s the perfect choice for a Christmas or birthday gift.
Got a sweet tooth? Slab Artisan Fudge are selling squidgy, handmade fudge in a whole host of flavours as well as vegan options too. The season gingerbread version even as a whole gingerbread man placed on top.
Here on the diamond Isle we have a few breweries to choose from, and everyone has their favourite. Many brew a seasonal beer at this time of year from Island Brewery’s Wight Christmas to Yates’ Santa’s Ale… now, the man himself will be very pleased if this is left out on Christmas Eve!
Furnace and fire…
Tucked in the heart of the Arreton Valley, Arreton Barns is the Island’s largest arts and crafts centre, and even when in lockdown the artisans are hard at work producing items to sell online during the run up to Christmas.
The barns, when fully up and running, is like a real life Santa’s workshop and a great place to buy bespoke ceramic house signs, paintings, handcrafted leather goods, clothing and delicate treasures created by skilled glassblowers, Timothy Harris of Isle of Wight Studio Glass and Paul Critchley of Sculptglass.
Light and glaze…
Bowled over by earthenware and clay? Tregear Pottery have their studio based in the southern village of Niton. On display is a beautiful range of hand-thrown stone pottery inspired by silver and grey Isle of Wight landscapes. Here, you’ll be entering the realm of Turner Prize-winning artist, David Firmstone, who was so enchanted by the “constantly shifting light” of the Island, he set up his home and studio here. Visit Tregear’s website for a peek.
You can witness these same shifting lights as you travel west, along the Military Road to Isle of Wight Pearl. Currently closed due to restrictions this elegant boutique offers a treasure trove of pearl-inspired jewellery which can be viewed at their online shop.
Ink and thread…
Do you have an eye for inks and illustrations? Spend a few hours in the historic harbour towns of Bembridge, Cowes or Yarmouth, where yacht masts and the architecture of buildings are almost artwork themselves. On your daily walks meander down narrow lanes and cobbled streets, where a host of galleries exhibit handmade and hand-printed scarves, knitted wire sculptures and pieces from quirky artists. Peek inside shop windows to see if the artists are selling online.
5 reasons to buy handmade this season
Handmade is the ultimate buy for shoppers who want to buy local, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
- You support local artisans/craftspeople, and therefore your local economy and community.
- You acquire high-quality items that are built to last – artisans want their products to have longevity.
- Handmade gifts, fashion items and home accessories are generally cool, trendy, unique, and will have friends and family asking: “Where can I get one?”
- Handmade helps the environment – buying hand-made reduces your carbon footprint.
- What is nicer than to buy a product you love – and get to know the person who made it?