One of the best things to come out of life in lockdown, quarantine, and time at home over the last couple of years is how creative so many of us have become. Personally, I took up painting and embroidery, as well as an obsession for finding more local Washington State artists. Let’s dive right into some of my favorite finds.
Glasswork by Melissa Misoda
I’ve long asked the question: why is glass art so popular in the PNW? To me, it seems like such a universal appreciation in our state, but Melissa Misoda takes it to a deeper level. By day she teaches glassblowing at Sammamish High School but runs her own glass studio with her husband and has been featured in various exhibitions across the United States. She is passionate about her art and believes teaching glassblowing provides kids with a skill-based art option, helps them build confidence, and so much more.
She has a beautiful selection of vases to choose from, but I have to say my favorite would be either her “Earth Tones Organic Vase” or her “Land and Sea Vase”. If you would like to learn more about Melissa and her passion for glasswork that she’s been working on for over 20 years, here is where you can listen to our podcast episode with her.
Prints by Nessa Lauraine
If you’re looking for some fun art prints to gift this year, check out local artist Nessa Lauraine! Her art is designed and crafted right here in Washington State and it reflects wonderfully on each piece of art she creates. Her Narrow Bridge print is a fun gift for someone who loves Tacoma and needs to step up their decoration game at home. You’ll want to give Nessa a follow on Instagram as well, because she recently designed a new water bottle for us that will be dropping soon!
Prints by Lindsey Fox
Lindsey Fox is another artist that is creating works of art that makes me fall in love even more with Washington (who knew that was even possible?) She creates gorgeous “sketchbook prints” like this one from The Knifes Edge, from a sketchbook she carried along her PCT trip using watercolor. Her larger pieces like “The Enchantments Colchuck Camp” would be a lovely reminder for someone who has been lucky enough to spend time here, or for someone who has it on their bucket list. This is a piece that she made near the area after hiking in The Enchantments for a few days.
Calendars by Matt D’Alessio
Matt D’Alessio is a Seattle-based naturalist photographer who was featured on our Washington State Bucket List poster. He spends his time traveling all over the state and PNW primarily for bird photography. This year he put together a 2022 calendar featuring a variety of wild birds he’s photographed in Washington over the last year. Each month has a high-resolution photo of a different bird with the species name, location of where the photo was taken, and a bit of trivia! This is a fun gift for anyone who loves birding in Washington State. The calendars are being printed with Alphagraphics in Seattle.
Prints by Irene Akio
While I could have put Irene Akio under our Animal section, I’ve decided to include her in the art section. Based in Seattle, Irene creates fun animal prints. From bison to Pandora Sphinx Moths, she focuses on using eco-friendly and post-consumer paper for her works of art. With a myriad of jobs behind her, she jumped into the art world when she illustrated and authored a children’s book about Tokyo. Make sure to check out her greeting card section for that person in your life who always seems to have a card for every occasion!
Singing Pots! Jess Rene is a Two-Spirit (federally unrecognized) Indigenous Designer with ecology at heart. She creates her stoneware pottery pieces to connect to her ancestors, and continue traditional artistry. She infuses every piece with prayer and song, creating functional dinnerware, pots for plants, jewelry, and fun decor that make warming gifts. Her works are inspired by the future, present and past, nature, galactic energies, and internal energies. Her work towards justice is combined with community medicinal garden designs, creative wellness classes, and singing with protectors/activist community groups. While it would be impossible for me to choose one specific item to recommend, here are three to get you inspired: Warm Honey Mug, Deep Ocean bowl, and her Sunset Folks pot.
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