When it comes to retail therapy, there’s no greater feeling than shopping local. Christmas is but a few short weeks away, and if you’re one of those organised gift shoppers, we take our hat off to you. For those a little slower off the mark, we’ve gathered some uniquely Canberran gift ideas your friends and family are guaranteed to love.
Queanbeyan-based studio F!NK + Co has long been the creative hub for Robert Foster and his team of talented designers. Although Foster passed away late last year, his iconic designs live on through the celebrated brand.
F!NK products are designed by Australian artists and most of the manufacturing is done in-house just outside Canberra in the F!NK studio. Each object is individually handcrafted so no two pieces are exactly the same and they are often produced in small batches of just 20 to 100.
Since 1993, F!NK + Co has not only been a symbol of Foster’s legendary work, it has been a production house for up-and-coming young designers. While F!NK is essentially a range of jewellery and homewares, there is nothing homely about their wares. Foster always strived to challenge the notion that functional equals boring.
F!NK pieces can be found at a number of ACT retailers. In the collection there are necklaces, brooches, bracelets and brightly coloured kitchenware, including Foster’s signature F!NK Water Jug — a Canberra souvenir with a difference.
For stockists visit: finkdesign.com
Anyone digging around the greater Canberra area for a local treasure should consider visiting the Bison flagship store in Pialligo on the rural edge of the capital. Founded in 1997 by Brian Tunks, Bison is inspired by the time he spent on archaeological digs in the Middle East and his love of Asian ceramics. The result is a pared-back aesthetic with simple lines and pure colours that characterises Bison design classics.
Fast forward two decades and Bison has evolved from just ceramics to become bisonhome, a lifestyle range with ceramics at its heart. Bisonhome collaborates with studios in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India, but all pieces are designed by Brian himself in Canberra. From ceramic vases, jugs and an array of finely crafted tableware to a range of glassware, there is plenty to unearth here.
6/8 Beltana Rd
More than just a place to buy beautiful souvenirs, Canberra Glassworks is a cultural centre of learning, dedicated to the mentoring of contemporary glass artists. The space is a working glassworks with facilities and equipments for artists.
As well as providing state-of-the-art tools, intensive workshops taught by leading glass artists, studios and mentorship programs, the centre is a place for visitors to explore the specialised craft and learn about glassmaking. They can meet artists, see glassmaking in action, view exhibitions, take tours and have a hands-on experience with glass.
The Canberra Glassworks shop offers a range of uniquely crafted pieces, jewellery, tableware, vases and objects d’art from a wide range of Australia’s leading glass artists.
11 Wentworth Ave
BUNGENDORE WOODWORKS GALLERY
If you were after a great gift to take home from Canberra, would wood do the trick? Bungendore Wood Works Gallery has been a landmark on the local arts and crafts scene since an opening exhibition in September 1983.
“Bungendore Wood Works Gallery provides a space where wood workers can display their works, where diversity is encouraged, and fine craftsmanship is essential.”
And the quote from the first show flyer still rings true 30 years later.
There are now works by more than 200 Australian designers at the award-winning gallery and visitors can pick up a genuine piece of local work, but it’s not all about wood. Other unique pieces include original paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glassware, jewellery, photography and textiles.