Artful Gift Guide

Compiled by Alexia Lang, Heidi Nast and Alice Thorson

Amina Marie Millinery

Four years ago, Amina Marie had never entertained the idea of designing hats, but when a good friend called and asked her to make a hat for the Burning Man Festival, she embarked on a millinery career that is now a growing business serving clients worldwide. Add a dash of style to your everyday look with a hat from the Amina Marie Collection, like the wonderful charcoal fur felt “London Slouch,” (left), priced at $250. The couture line ramps up the imagination and artistry with singular pieces like the cream parasisal straw flower“Derby Day” ($350). The hats can be purchased by appointment (816-830-9793) at the Amina Marie Millinery store at 633 E. 63rd St. in Brookside and online at Her line is also carried by Dreams on Air in Soho NYC, a showroom next door to luxury designers Chanel and Issey Miyake.

Jon Klar Jewelry

Canadian-based Jon Klar’s bracelets, combining various materials with sterling silver, are abstract paintings for the wrist. According to Kemper Museum shop manager Abbey Sandberg, Klar, who was born and educated in Southern California, “has perfected a way to transform anodized aluminum into beautiful works of art using his own technique of coloring the aluminum by hand.” The bracelets sell for $30 each at the Kemper Museum shop.

Visit the Kemper Museum shop in the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick Blvd. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Brandon Schnur, Tortoise Flasks

Kansas City’s Cerbera Gallery is a ceramics treasure trove, where you can find a dazzling assortment of cups and vases along with unexpected finds like Kansas City Art Institute alum Brandon Schnur’s whimsical “tortoise flasks” ($90). Schnur’s work reflects the artist’s keen concern for the fate and treatment of animals (one of many topics in today’s world necessitating a pull from a flask). “Humanity has a tendency to claim nature as its own,” says Schnur, who sees a need for greater “accountability concerning our environment and our world.” The flasks are available at Cerbera Gallery, 2011 Baltimore Ave. For more information, 844.202.9303 or

Nina Irwin Cups

In early November, Kansas City artist Nina Irwin led a cup class at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, teaching adults how to create and decorate a ceramic drinking vessel using hand-building methods. Reflecting her love of what she calls “such a basic and comforting form,” Irwin’s own cups, with their varied patterns and glazes, are filled with personality. Ranging in price from $15 to $85, Irwin’s cups can be purchased directly from the artist during her studio sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2 or by appointment, Irwin’s studio is in Suite 538 of the Livestock Exchange Building, 1600 Genessee.

2017 Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornament

Since 1987, designers at Hallmark have annually come up with a special design for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornament, made from the wood of the previous year’s Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Crown Center Square. Over the years, the ornaments have featured mittens, bells, sleds and snowglobes as well as various animals, including reindeer and a “festive fox.”

The 2017 Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornament celebrates a Kansas City tradition. Fashioned as an ice skate, the ornament, titled “Skate Away,” is a nod to the 45th season for the Crown Center Ice Terrace. “Skate Away” will be available for purchase beginning Nov. 24 at Crown Center Customer Service for $13.95 plus tax, with proceeds going to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund and benefiting senior citizens, persons with disabilities and local children. For more information, including availability of past years’ ornaments, visit

Artist Meet & Greet with Irma Starr

Some people can’t imagine their holiday tree without a new slipware ornament, including “Snowflake” (above), by venerable KC ceramic artist Irma Starr. You can meet the artist and pick up one of her ornaments, inspired by the Burnap Collection at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9 at the museum. Don’t forget to ask her to sign your new acquisition. The ornaments are priced from $34.95 to $42.95.

And that’s not all. In conjunction with the “Through the Eyes of Picasso” exhibition, Starr has created a new series of Picasso-inspired plates (below), adorned with colorful, stylized faces, also available at the Nelson-Atkins store, and priced at $130 each.

Ada Koch Poppy Scarves

Ada Koch is well known in Kansas City as a painter who addresses themes of love, war and violence, so it was a good match when the WWI Museum and Memorial invited her to be their first local artist to create an installation at the museum. Koch was drawn to the red poppy — made famous in WWI by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrea in his poem “In Flanders Fields” — and a central symbol within the museum. In conjunction with her “Poppies” installation, Koch created cheerful, one-of-a-kind poppy scarves, available in two sizes, 11″ by 60″ ($50) and 14″ by 72″ ($100) in the museum shop. They express her aim “to honor those who have fought and died in war” and offer “a reawakening of hope and living.” Visit the shop in the museum, 2 Memorial Drive. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Monarch Glass

For handblown glass ornaments, look no further than KC’s Monarch Glass Studio. Founder Tyler Kimball says, “I’ll make about 1,000 Christmas ornaments this year,” and they’re beauties, including swirling balls in shades of blue, green and purple called “color twist” (below) ($15), and others adorned with segmented stripes incorporating lattice patterns ($35). The ornaments, as well as a selection of vases, bottles, glasses and decanters, are available at the Monarch Glass Studio, 1919 E. Truman Rd., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to noon; 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, 816.503.6326 or

Heidi Herrman KC Icons Dresses

Street fashion, photography and architecture inspire the dynamic KC-based fashion designer Heidi Herrman, whose line includes a “KC Icons” collection of dresses in digitally printed fabrics based on local landmarks. Herrman reimagines the Bartle Hall “Sky Stations,” the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Union Station and the Nelson-Atkins “Shuttlecocks” (above; $550) as chic sheaths and sundresses that reflect her desire to “embrace the femininity of silhouettes from past eras.” You can see the full line on her website, Herrman’s studio at 115 W. 18th St. (The Bauer) is open evenings and weekends by appointment, 347.423.3010. The “KC Icons” dresses and other designs are custom order, and take approximately two months to produce.

Melanie Sherman, porcelain pine cones

Who better to reinterpret the pine cone in porcelain than Kansas City artist Melanie Sherman? Known for her exquisite porcelain wares, Sherman brings her love of the enameled and lustered surfaces of Baroque, Renaissance and Rococo porcelain designs to the creation of alluring tabletop sculptures, made of polar ice porcelain and hand painted with German gold luster. Measuring 2 1/2 inches high, they are available for $85 at Cerbera Gallery, 2011 Baltimore Ave. For more information, 844.202.9303 or

Jane Smeltzer Rosette Fingerless Gloves

Baby, it’s cold outside, but you still want to be able to text and otherwise move your fingers. These “rosette fingerless gloves,” created from recycled cashmere by Overland Part artist Jane Smeltzer, are one of the Kemper Museum shop’s best sellers during the cold weather months, says store manager Abbey Sandberg. Soft and warm, they’re available at the Kemper Museum shop in a range of eye-catching color combinations and priced at $30! The shop also carries a matching line of scarves at $45 each.

Love at first sight: Chicken Footstools

Strange and wonderful, City Girl Farm’s felted chicken footstools sound functional, but they’re also one-of-a-kind works of fiber art. Inspired by a famous sheep ottoman designed by Francois Lalanne, artist Sally Linville came up with the chicken footstool idea during a furniture design class at Kansas State University. People loved them, and now, seven years later, Linville employs dozens of artisans to produce the footstools, which are built around egg-shaped turned wooden cores and welded structures fabricated in Kansas.

The upholstery and fiber work that give each chicken a unique personality is done at The City Girl Farm studio in KC, where a staff of “chickeners” spend their days dyeing, spinning, knitting, felting and stitching. The bronze feet and beaks are cast at Ad Astra Art Bronze in Lawrence. Visit to see a gallery of chickens that have already been “adopted” and another gallery of “available chicken footstools,” like “Lucille” (left). Prices range from $1,450 to $2,550. The footstools can also be found at GEORGE, A Lifestyle Store in the Crestwood shops.

About The Author: KC Studio

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.


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