10 gift ideas from local makers of Birmingham including handmade felted slippers

Now that November’s winding down, it’s time to think about getting holiday gifts. You can always go big box store or online, but why not think about supporting Birmingham makers and small business owners this year? To help you with your holiday gift needs, we put together a list of 6 holiday markets that sell Birmingham made goods. And, at these 6 markets, we found at least 10 gift ideas from local makers including some warm and cozy handmade felted slippers.

No holiday shopping guide would be complete without a visit to Alabama Goods to check out Birmingham makers and their gift offerings.
Alabama Goods is awash in local makers’ holiday wares. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

6 Birmingham holiday markets

Because everybody loves a market, we put together a list of 6 upcoming holiday markets (including two shops) where you can take in the sights, smells, and tastes of the season. You may even be able to meet the makers themselves, and you’ll probably run into some friends along the way, too. At these shops, you can find at least 10 of the following gift items.

December 1: Alabama Waldorf School’s Holiday Faire in Crestwood

Alabama Waldorf is a lovely little school on the high side of Crestwood Boulevard. Each year, on the first Saturday in December, it hosts its Holiday Faire from 10-3. Attending is an experience unlike any other in the Birmingham area. You’ll find a lovingly decorated auditorium filled with vendors and their homemade wares. There’s food to eat, games to play, music to enjoy, and sometimes even a blacksmith on the grounds, much to the delight of small children. 

Alabama Waldorf School's Holiday Faire is a great place to check out Birmingham makers goods.

Visit the school’s website here for a complete guide to this year’s vendors. In addition to Roebuck Springs potters Leslie Martin Smith and Jessica Sparks (who will be showing jewelry this Saturday, rather than pottery), plus a host of other local artists, you’ll want to check out Julie Carpenter’s jewelry and handwork teacher Sarah Langford’s knitting

Julie Carpenter is a local metalworker whose jewelry will be at Alabama Waldorf's Holiday Faire, a home for Birmingham makers.
Necklaces by Julie Carpenter. Photo by Sarah Langford.
Sarah Langford is a Birmingham fiber artist and knitter extraordinaire. Her handmade good will be available at Alabama Waldorf's holiday faire, a local hot spot for Birmingham makers holiday gifts.
A selection of Alabama Waldorf School’s handwork teacher Sarah Langford’s knitted wearables. Photo by Sarah Langford.

December 3: Naked Art Gallery’s 1st Monday in Forest Park

Naked Art Gallery hosts “Kitschmas” each year in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and 2018 is no exception. On December 3rd, they begin extended holiday hours, with Monday openings from 10-7:30. On this first Monday in December, 10% of all sales go to support the Parkinson Association of Alabama. Kitschmas continues throghout the month of December. 

Kitschmas at Naked Art is a weeks-long holiday market for Birmingham makers and the people who like to buy locally made holiday gifts.
Many of the felt ornaments are made by Birmingham’s Victoria Puckett, who uses felt donated at Naked Art’s artcyle boxes. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

While you can find a full catalogue of all the artists whose work is featured in Kitschmas here, there were a couple of Birmingham area folks whose work stood out. The first was sculptor Eric Johnson’s metalwork. Second was glass artist Amy Soverow’s light-infused glass pieces.

Eric Johnson is a Birmingham maker whose sculpture is for sale at Naked Art, home of many Birmingham makers holiday gifts.
Sculptor Eric Johnson captures scenes from the Magic City. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.
Amy Soverow is a Birmingham maker whose glass art is available at Naked Art, home of many Birmingham makers and their holiday gifts.
See how the glass glows in Amy Soverow’s work? Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

December 6: MAKEbhm’s makers market + open house

MAKEbhm's makers market is a great place to find Birmingham makers holidays gifts..

MAKEbhm extends the following invitation: “Swing by MAKEbhm to kick off your holiday shopping! Our artists and makers will be selling their wares and our studios will be open for exploration.

Our Open House is the best chance to look behind the scenes at Birmingham’s most dynamic workplace, and the holiday edition is your best opportunity to purchase the work that our makers produce every day in our studios.”

MAKEbhm’s website
MAKEbhm houses a number of Birmingham makers who have holiday goods to sell.
The courtyard in front of MAKEbhm, where you can sit and eat ice cream from Big Spoon Creamery while watching a blacksmith work (sometimes). Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Admission is free, the event is kid-friendly, and anyone who signs up for a class at the event gets 10% off. 

You can sometmes see a blacksmith at work in front of MAKEbhm, home of a number of Birmingham makers who have holiday gifts to sell.
Blacksmith. Photo by MAKEbhm from Facebook.

One of the Birmingham makers to watch is Cliff Spencer of Alabama Sawyer. When he’s not acting at the Virginia Samford Theatre or spending time with his family, you can find him making amazing furniture from local fallen trees.

December 8: CahaBazaar Holiday Market at Cahaba Brewing Company

CahaBazaar's holiday market is a great place to get gifts from Birmingham makers.

Yellowhammer Creative and Cahaba Brewing Company have teamed up to present the #CahaBAZAAR Holiday Market.

Please join us Saturday, December 8 from 12 PM – 7 PM for a day of family fun, great local artist and makers, food and great beer and get all of your holiday shopping done in one place.

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be here from 2:30 – 5:00 PM to ensure you have the perfect photo for all of your holiday celebrations. There will also be a craft area for children. 

CahaBazaar Facebook Event Page

There will be food vendors and music, too.

Look for Eric Poland (EPolandArt)’s architecturally-inspired illustrations

Eric Poland is one of the Birmingham makers who will be selling holiday gifts at CahaBazaar.
Sloss Furnaces.” Copyright Epoland 2016.

Among the many other vendors (see the full list here), you’ll find Pinson-based Mattox Knives, with stunning hand-crafted knives.

Mattox Knives is another Birmingham area maker who will be selling gifts at CahaBazaar holiday market.
Burl Chef,” by Mattox Knives.

December 1 + 8: Pepper Place’s final two holiday markets

Mushrooms at Pepper Place Market. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

Even though it’s finally chilly outside, Pepper Place Market is still going strong. If you’re able to head out this Saturday, December 1st, or next Saturday, December 8th, you’ll be richly rewarded with plenty of things to discover. Doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for food or yourself or gifts for that special someone on your list, you’ll find something good.

Bham Now’s Terri Robertson has already covered this one here, so hop on over to get the scoop! 

This gift guide is only a sampling of the amazing selection of local farmers, makers and food vendors you’ll find at the Market at Pepper Place. But you best not dillydally. There are only [two] weekends of the Market left in 2018. Check out the full vendor lists for December 1 and December 8. 

Bham Now’s Terri Robertson

Ongoing: Alabama Goods in Homewood

I like to think of Alabama Goods, just downhill from Penzey’s Spices, as an ongoing market of all manner of goods made in Alabama. There you can find everything from honey to pottery, and from cotton angels to handcrafted leather.

So if you decide to stop in, I’d recommend you definitely take a look at the luscious work of the father-daughter collaboration known as Tre Lilli, and the father-son duo known as Flint Leather Company

Tre Lilli is a Birmingham maker collaboration offering colorful, richly textured gifts for the holidays.
Father Tres Taylor and daughter Lillis Taylor have a powerful eye for beauty that shows up in their work. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.
Flint Leather Company is one of the many Birmingham makers featured at Alabama Goods in Homewood. They have great choices for holiday gifts.
Flint Leather Company work at Alabama Goods in Homewood. The company was started by Harvey and Kyle Nix. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now. 

  • Alabama Waldorf School, 5901 Crestwood Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35212, (205) 592-0541.
  • Naked Art Gallery, 3831 Clairmont Ave, Birmingham, AL 35222, (205) 595-3553.
  • MAKEbhm, 4000 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222, (205) 218-1796 (for both the makers market + open house and Manitou Supply’s HOLIDAY Vintage Extravaganza)
  • Cahaba Brewing Company, 4500 5th Ave S Building C, Birmingham, Alabama 35222, (205) 578-2616.
  • Alabama Goods, 2933 18th St S, Homewood, AL 35209, (205) 803-3900
  • Club Duquette, 17 55th Pl S, Birmingham, AL 35212, (205) 202-4647
  • Honeycreeper Chocolate, 2026 Morris Ave, Birmingham, AL 35203, (205) 290-5778
  • Chocolatá, 1927 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203.

In addition to these 6 markets, there are still other places around town where you can go to purchase your holiday gifts. Check out Club Duquettte in Woodlawn, or visit Manitou Supply’s HOLIDAY Vintage Extravaganza on December 8 from 12-5 pm at MAKEbhm. You can also get locally made craft chocolate either at Honeycreeper Chocolate on Morris Avenue downtown, or a few blocks away at Chocolatá.

Wherever you go and however you do it, supporting Birmingham makers and small businesses when you do your holiday shopping adds a unique twist to your gift giving. And, it makes a big difference right here at home. You’ve got a lot of great Birmingham makers’ work to choose from, which means whoever’s on the receiving end of these unique and creatie gifts will be very happy indeed.

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference