Eugene Weekly : Gift Guide : 11.25.2009


Eugene Weekly‘s Gift Guide 2009:

Tak a Cup o’ Kindness Tippling under the tree 

The Art of Holiday Shopping Campus museums make the season bright

Beyond Water Pipes Alterna gifts from the “pipe & tobacco” shops

Won’t You Light My Bike Tonight? Seasonal cycling gifts

Purl It Together The joys of fuzzy yarn shops

Plantin’ in the Rain Winter supplies to brighten a gardener’s heart

First Time’s A Charm Two artists take on the Holiday Market

Annex of Art DIVA delights in new holiday space


The Art of Holiday Shopping
Campus museums make the season bright
by Natalie Miller

Shop on campus! No, really. Both the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art have stores filled to the brim with items unlikely to be found anywhere else in town. And although each store stocks its shelves with different merchandise, both also have locally made items perfect for gift giving. 

Museum of Natural History. Photo by Jack Liu.
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Terry Church, the store manager at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, says she selects items that reflect the museum’s exhibits and that are educational. Most importantly, the items must have nature-inspired qualities and reflect the Northwest.

The museum store is complete with a kids’ corner, a large variety of books, jewelry and handcrafted goods, such as a collection of miniature hand-cut wooden animals in the shapes of moose, bunnies and whales. A hot item in the kids’ corner is a game called Beaver Tooth. Originally a game of chance played by children of various Pacific Northwest tribes, using real beaver teeth and bones, the game is now frequently used in the museum’s activity center. The game, which costs $15, was developed commercially by the Skookum Company in Port Townsend, Wash., in collaboration with the native community.

If you’re looking for gifts for the home, the museum store offers the Olive Oil Lamp made by Christopher Borg for $16. The lamp is composed of a small colorful clay dish that holds a small amount of olive oil and a cotton ball wick. For each tablespoon of oil added, the lamp will burn for roughly one hour. Other gifts for the home include coil made pinch pots and leaf print magnets by Elise Corin and handmade lampwork glass slugs and sea critters by Josh Mazet. 

And if what you want is jewelry, you’re in luck — that is, if you’re not looking for turquoise. Church doesn’t allow it to be sold in the store because it’s not from the Northwest. However, the store does carry Patti Lomont’s colorful fused and etched glass earrings and pendants. Lomont first fuses the glass, melding the layers, and then etches the images of dragonflies, orchids and bamboo, among others, by sand blasting the glass. For more jewelry ideas, travel to the other side of campus to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Walking into the gift store at the J-Schnitz, it’s hard to overlook the multiple cases overflowing with jewelry ­ not to mention the surrounding displays of pearl earrings and diverse necklaces and rings around the store. The gift store offers a wide selection, ranging from the pricier pieces to the reasonably marked, such as the Lavishy line, containing metal earrings and necklaces, some with the images of cherry blossoms, which according to their Web site symbolize feminine beauty in China ($14 and $15). The museum also carries a line of blue and silver earrings and necklaces made of sea glass by Seaglass ($24 and $38). 

Similar to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the J-Schnitz has a selection of books and a kids’ corner. But the latter also carries a variety of soaps, scarves, ceramics and, for the holiday season, a Christmas display, complete with porcelain reindeer ornaments ($14), felt mama bird and baby bird ornaments ($12.95, $9.95) and Frank Lloyd Wright holiday cards (set of 20 for $15). 

Of course, you can always buy gift certificates for membership to the J-Schnitz ($45 individual, $55 family) or the Museum of Natural and Cultural History ($40 ind; $50 fam, includes membership to Association of Science and Technology Centers — which, FYI, includes OMSI!) at the respective museums.

The J-Schnitzer gift shop is welcoming the holiday season by decking its shelves with garland and Christmas ornaments. So don’t skip campus on your gift-buying tour this year. 


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