Doting mothers—and grandmothers—always seem to be buying something for their children and grandchildren. To help you take advantage of this steadfast trend, we’ve rounded up the latest children’s products from eight studios.
Wendy Carter launched Yikes Twins (she’s a mother of twins herself) in 2002 after noticing how attached her eldest daughter was to her hooded bath towel. Now the Stafford, Va., artist offers 12 hand-sewn, 100% cotton styles, including princess crowns, monsters and the traditional duck design, for children from babies up to 8 years old.
The playful imagery in Anne Leuck Feldhaus’s paintings and limited-edition prints largely stems from her dogs Izzy and Alice. The self-taught painter also depicts other animals, people, landscapes and cityscapes on primed reclaimed wood and canvas in her Chicago studio. Drawn to bright colors contrasted with black lines, Feldhaus describes her style as a meeting of contemporary folk art and urban pop art.
Light and color have always fascinated Joline El-Hai, owner of Bella Luz Studio. She transforms the playful imagery she sketches out in pastel, colored pencil and watercolor into translucent images that she slips into patinaed copper frames. El-Hai offers night-lights, wall sconces, tri-corner table lanterns, swan-neck lamps and Judaica from her Seattle, Wash., studio.
Susie Takach Seligman has always been drawn to textiles, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that a light bulb went on. Today, she adapts paper collage techniques to fabric, producing her own yardage to upholster one-of-a-kind and limited-edition chairs in her Bloomington, Ind., studio, Fiber Art Furniture.
“My work celebrates the joy of life,” explains ceramist Alison Palmer. “The pieces are functional and designed for those special occasions when everyday tableware will just not do.” For more than 30 years, Palmer has entertained her own creativity, pumping out whimsical—and always colorful—ceramics that serve as lamps, toothbrush holders and money banks. Today, she works out of her Kent, Conn., studio.
“People love our spork and spoon sets because the designs put a fresh, contemporary twist on a traditional baby gift,” says Jim Dowd, co-owner of Beehive Kitchenware Co., in Fall River, Mass. To top it off, the lead-free pewter ensures that the gift never needs polishing. Dowd launched the business with co-owner Sandra Bonazoli in 1998 after exploring kitchenware at flea markets. Their goal is to make their baby utensil sets and cups functional, durable, and beautiful too.
Cathy Berse-Hurley established Little Packrats in 1996 to offer affordable child-friendly products with enduring quality and design. The fashion-forward line offers backpacks, lunch boxes and handbags in non-traditional materials. Adorable three-dimensional designs include pigs, dogs and ducks. Berse-Hurley also runs CBHstudio in Ayer, Mass.
After 20 years in the culinary field, Michelle Lyon switched gears to open a gallery that showcased her own handmade items. When Peculiar Pets launched in 2006, the demand was so great that she made it her full-time venture. Working out of her Knockabout studio in Raleigh, N.C., Lyon crafts pets from vintage bedspreads and a polyfill that consists of 80% recycled water bottles, finishing each with a unique face and a telling icon on its belly.