Aesthetica Christmas Gift Guide

It’s the festive season again, and amidst all the partying, tinsel, mince pies and fairy lights there’s still all the Christmas shopping to be done. To make the process easier, Aesthetica have chosen some of the best art related gifts currently on the market. Picking imaginative products from independent and established companies (and institutions) we count down the top ten presents we want on our Christmas list.

1. National Portrait Gallery Gift Membership
It is hard to think of a better gift for those interested in art, than one that gives access to 500 years of art and history for 12 whole months. National Portrait Gallery Membership allows enjoyment of photography, painting, historic and contemporary art. Besides free entry to all ticketed exhibitions, the card invites members to special Gallery events. And if that’s not enough, The National Portrait Gallery also offer Gift Associate Membership, which includes entry for two at all opening night exhibition Private Views, an invite to the Associates’ Annual Party and a complementary exhibition catalogue.

2. The Yorkshire Soap Company
“The Soap Boys” aka Marcus and Warren (founders of The Yorkshire Soap Company) dreamt of setting up a theatrical emporium where they would sell their handmade soapy delights, they now own two boutiques in Yorkshire and produce beautiful, luxury, affordable soaps. Specially produced for Christmas, this soap cupcake is scented with brandy butter and is a perfect stocking filler.

3. Robbery in a Sweetshop Silk Scarf
Established in 2011, Karen Mabon is the founder of Red Brick North. Graduating from the Royal College of Art, Mabon aims to produce individual and yet affordable accessories that capture the eccentricity of everyday life. Made with 100 percent silk, the 1m x 1m square is a fairytale dream awash with pastel colours and sweets.

4. Helpful Hankies
We don’t like to admit it, but the colder festive season is often the cause of much snuffling and coughing. Moi Self has handily created Helpful Hankies a set of illustrated tissues that will cheer up any Christmas chills, with five thoughtful messages: “Fix your mascara, you’re amazing”, “Thinking of you sweetie”, “He’s not that hot anyway”, “Go and buy some shoes” and “It’s not goodbye, just au revoir”. Designed and handmade in the UK, they are 100 percent cotton.

5. Aesthetica Magazine
Top of the Christmas list is obviously a subscription to Aesthetica Magazine, and as a magazine that is committed to covering the best in international art, photography and culture it makes the perfect gift for any art fan. For 12 months you can keep up to date with the cutting edge of contemporary art. Beginning with the special bumper edition of Aesthetica Issue 50, subscribe before 18 December and receive an Aesthetica Short Film Festival DVD, a personalised message and gift wrapping for just £18.95 (plus p&p).

6. Botanica book by Sander Meisner
Over four years, Meisner photographed trees and foliage at night producing a stunning book of vivid photography capturing the still beauty of nature in the dark. Published by The Velvet Cell, Botanica is interested in recording the hidden and unseen corners of cities; all of the images were taken in places that have been neglected.

7. Five Flavours Shoe
Pointer have produced a wonderful smart but practical winter piece of footwear. Made inPortugal the hybrid boot shoe takes elements of a traditional shoe and combines it with a slightly more contemporary boot. The EVA sole makes the shoe light weight whilst the fine quality leather upper is built to last, and the shark toothed sole will keep you upright in the icy conditions..

8. Rise Art Photograph
Manhattan, taken by Christopher Jelf is one of the many artists featured on Rise Art, who work with the top Artists, Galleries, Museums and Art Fairs to hand-pick a selection of exceptional original art. Jelf has travelled widely and by unconventional means, riding a motorbike from India to Britain, and touring Iraq with the British Army. This unique range of experiences and encounters has provided many excellent photographic opportunities for Jelf, Manhattan being a stunning example.

9. Biscuits are Good Mug
Playful and colourful, Death by Tea includes a range of printed tea towels, aprons, fine bone china mugs and cards. Created by Holly Betton and produced in the UK, these gifts carry a sense of childhood innocence. The Biscuits are Good mug, is a colourful little cup that prides itself on uniting two great British traditions: tea drinking and biscuit munching.

10. Hepworth Linocut
Drawn to simple graphic images and the ordinarily absurd, James Green has been creating printed artwork for the last nine years. Commissioning works for the likes of Paul Smith Menswear, Domino Records and Tramlines Festival, Green’s latest piece is a limited edition linocut of the Hepworth Wakefield. The hand-pressed, two-colour linocut is a wonderful celebration of independent art and contemporary architecture.

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