The Nice List: It’s Nice That’s Christmas gift guide of lovely things made by creatives
Card details at the ready… we’ve collated a bumper list of independent designers and artists making everything from prints and books to homeware, jewellery and apparel – perfect pressies for your loved ones (and yourself).
Back for the second year running, by popular demand, welcome to The Nice List: our version of a Christmas gift guide, where all the products are made by independent designers, artists and creative people. Below you can peruse dozens of online stores run by creative professionals around the world, many of them an extension to the creative’s visual work and therefore infused with personality, originality and fun. There’s something for everyone, from jewellery, clothes, prints, ceramics and textiles to rugs, wall-hangings, mirrors, table-tennis bats, phone cases, puzzles, even indie mag Top Trumps. We defy you not to buy.
© Milo Hachim
© Peony Gent
Zoe Schlacter is an artist and designer from Nashville, Tennessee. They founded their textile and homeware brand in 2020, creating maximalist, retina-blasting pieces covered with her bold, loud patterns. They take inspiration from postmodernism, op art and Memphis, as well as LGBTQIA+ culture and queer craft traditions.
The brilliantly named Lotta Blobs was founded by Shantelle Hyslop, who says she’s a graphic designer by day and a “blob sculptor by night”! She makes mirrors framed by pastel-hued “blobs” – with curving, squiggly lines – all by hand and made to order.
Risotto studio, run by designer Gabriella Marcella who specialises in Riso printing, produces a plethora of beautiful products in-house. Jazz up your desk with a two-tone to-do list, or a desktop planner or calendar; or the rest of your walls with an eye-popping graphic print.
Matchbloc began as a book of over 400 eastern bloc matchbox labels, taken from the collection of Glasgow-based designer Jane McDevitt and put together with Present & Correct owner Neal Whittington. Now Jane has teamed up with photographer and printer Peter Byrne to create Matchbloc.com, selling the book and prints of over 100 of the most popular labels.
Heart n Soul is an arts company and charity that believes in the power and talents of people with learning disabilities. This year it launched its shop, selling an amazing range of affordable items from scarves, cushions, t-shirts and patches to rugs and prints. All profits go back into supporting Heart n Soul’s artists and the charity’s activities.
© Iced by Cli
In RoomFifty, Leon Edler and Chris Clarke continue to curate one of the best print shops out there, with all its products starting at just £30. Its latest collection features 50 new works by artists including Sarah Boris, Gizem Vural, Charlotte Ager, Marcus Oakley, Ji Hyun Yu, Charlotte Mei and Asia Pietrzyk.
Illustrator Lauren Doughty sells a compact selection of giclee prints in her wonderfully expressive style, and has also launched a 2022 calendar.
Ikon Shop is Birmingham’s only specialist art bookshop, and all profits from its shop go towards the Ikon Gallery’s charitable art and education programmes. There’s something for everyone, from jewellery and T-shirts to books, prints and stationery, expertly curated so you just want everything.
Indie fashion brand Asime has got gingham down to a T amongst its wonderful collection of patterned and printed garments. The female-led label works with Aunty’s Fashion Home in the Volta region community of Dzita-Agbledom, Ghana, producing women and menswear made from responsibly sourced Ghanaian textiles. It shares profits with Dream Big Ghana.
Stack Trumps comes out of the brilliant Stack Magazine wheelhouse; where you can play as your favourite indie magazine in the staple, stat-based card game. Mags include MacGuffin, Matto and Safar, and you can compete on the magazine’s page count, price, height and cover power.
© Bozo Island
© Art of Ping Pong
Quentin Blake’s House of Illustration has launched a series of new online courses, all taught online by professional illustrators for participants of all abilities, starting from January 2022. There’s Illustrating People with Siôn Ap Tomos, where you learn how to draw faces and figures; Introduction to Creating Picture Books with Claire Alexander; Graphic Novel Your Life with Rachael Ball; and Making Notebooks and Sketchbooks with Merlin Evans.
Curitiba-based illustrator Raysa Fontana sells tons of products adorned with her surreal, childlike, primary-coloured scenes. Not only prints, she’s brought her works to wall clocks, bags, stickers and even a side table. Read more about her work in our interview with the artist here.
Skatepal sells products to raise money in support of its projects in Palestine, working with communities affected by the ongoing conflict. There’s hats, T-shirts, stickers and the SkatePal Cookbook, Sahten, which collates recipes from people in Palestine’s skateboarding community as well as shop owners, local heroes, past volunteers and even Sami Tamimi.
Is there anyone on your gift list that loves illustration and table tennis? Then this is right up their street. Algy Batten’s successful Art of Ping Pong project continues with a range of bats, balls, nets and even tables adored with artwork by the likes of Marylou Faure, Kelly Anna, Morag Myerscough, Campbell Hay and Al Murphy; all is very affordable and fun.
Studio 306 collective is a council-funded charitable project in Haringey, London, which offers courses to people suffering with mental health issues. It teaches ceramics, jewellery, screen printing and sewing skills, and produces items to sell, with profits going back into the project.
© Hood Ceramics
Kiblind sells amazing illustrated prints which you can peruse by collection and book. It just launched Super Kiblind 5, a book of 37 original illustrations by different artists, all detachable as posters.
UNTY is an Egyptian men's clothing brand founded by Omar Mobarek, based out of Cairo. Its graphic-led approach takes inspiration from the iconography and subcultures of Egypt.
Idda Studio is founded by artist Gabriella Picone, selling highly covetable textiles and products that “celebrate women”. All are hand-painted and printed in Italy.
New York-based jewellery designer Ada Chen takes inspiration from memes when crafting her highly unique pieces. Her artisanal designs include Lion Dance earrings, necklaces and earrings engraved with the words “Made to Abolish America”, mooncake earrings and hand knitted handbags.
Illustrator Peony Gent sells beautiful graphic wall-hangings (for which she also takes commissions) and rugs, as well as prints and comics.
Katie Gillies makes her vividly colourful terrazzo objects by hand, and teaches workshops on how to make your own. Her highly coveted products are available at Liberty and Slowdown Studio, or via her own online store.
© Heart n Soul
© Idda Studio
Logo lovers will fawn at London-based independent maker Claire Lecomte. Simply ask her to apply your name in place of your favourite brand and voila! She embroiders it to near perfection which can then be applied to your worthy wears. Check out her Instagram for some much-needed Christmas inspo!
Oli. sells handmade wrap dresses made from hand-sourced fabrics. Founding designer Olivia Hulme has been sourcing and researching fabrics for the past 10 years as part of her job working in film props. Last year, she decided to combine this love of thrifting fabrics with a versatile, flattering and easy-to-wear design that suits all. Using hand-dyed or end of roll fabrics, Oli.’s garments are all handmade and locally sourced.
Lauren Knight makes hand tufted bags from her studio Knitey Knitey in east London. Made to order, her bags are lovingly designed, made, packaged and posted by herself. Lauren uses a rug tufting gun and high quality British wool (to ensure maximum fluffiness) when creating her bags.
Based in Glasgow, the Kirkwood Brothers are an artist duo where comedy and charm is a must. They sell prints, t-shirts and take commissions too! The brothers’ pet portraits are famous in the Scottish city and amongst fellow art school alumni. Hit them up and get your beloved pet immortalised in a compelling painting for a very affordable price.
Express yourself through your phone case with Iced by Cli, Clio McLeary’s custom phone cases. Tell her your style/favourite animal/favourite print and she’ll whip up a tasty design complete with Swarovski crystals to bedazzle our much-loved gadgets.
© Zoe Schlacter
© Eleanor Bostrom
Milo Hachim is a Chilean illustrator and ceramicist, who says her shop sells “loved and friendly objects to accompany your favourite spaces and moments”. It’s impossible not to smile at her pieces, which span plant pots, ornaments, pins and more. Who wouldn’t want a miniature smiley jockey’s hat on their shelf?
Eleanor Bostrom is a ceramic artist based across Boulder, Colorado and her hometown of Stockholm. She takes inspiration from her own drawings (as well as other comics and items she spots in flea markets) to create ceramics mostly involving long-nosed and long-bodied dogs. These dogs act as ring holders, toast racks, chopstick rests, eggcup adornments… basically everything you can think of, all of them fantastic.
Bozo Island makes excellent T-shirts giving cultural icons a twist, such as Marge Simpson’s face, Nike’s swoosh and Monster cans, in its irreverent hand-drawn style.
Libby Hood of Hood Studios makes ceramic plates, bowls, mugs, candle holders and more, all from her studio at Turning Earth in Leyton, east London. Her pieces are all beautifully subtle with muted tones, some decorated with line drawings, others purely celebrating the texture of the material.
Based across Brighton and Sardinia, Carla Cabiddu of Verver Studio makes hand-woven tapestries featuring abstract patterns and geometric shapes in neutral colours. Via her shop you can buy rugs and wall hangings, or commission one bespoke.
© Ada Chen
© Carla Cabiddu
For those who got obsessed with puzzles in lockdown and still can’t kick the habit, Brooklyn-based company Kinstler sells art puzzles with imagery by the likes of Simone Johnson, Andrea Joyce Heimer and Rusudan Khizanishvili.
Billed as Melbourne’s first collage studio, workshop and gallery, That Paper Joint is dedicated to all things collage, including its shop. It sells affordable, original artworks by local artists, and a collage pack with a mixed bundle of paper ephemera to make your own piece.
Der Grief, the magazine and contemporary photography platform, has launched its first apparel line. Continuing its collaboration with Sylvie Fleury on issue 14, the T-shirt and sweater sport her quote “Yes to All” on graphics created by Munich-based graphic designer Paul Putzar, inspired by computer interface design.
When he’s not leading creative strategy for our sister agency Anyways Creative, Callum Green hand-makes stunning pearl jewellery from his home in London, under the name Fresh Water Supply. Commissions are currently open!
Illustrator Neil Carribine, aka Lamptissue, makes comical, cartoonish works inspired by the people and things he sees around London. On his shop, some of his funniest and most relatable characters take the form of stickers, cards, pins and more.
For 20 years, Peckham-based charitable arts organisation Intoart has been working towards its mission for people with learning disabilities to be visible, equal and established artists. One of many strings to its bow is the shop, selling a great range of items designed by its artists, including homeware, stationery, books, prints, apparel and gifts.
© Knitey Knitey
© Claire Lecomte
© Kirkwood Brothers
Products shown: socks by Heart n Soul, Frame by Idda Studio, Pillow by Zoe Schlacter, sweater by Unty.
On homepage image, products shown: racket by Art of Ping Pong, socks by Heart n Soul, wall clock by Eleanor Bostrom, pin by Peony Gent