I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published November 3rd 2012
Unique presents for special people
The custom of exchanging presents exists in most cultures throughout the world, and has been an element of interpersonal relationships since time immemorial. Once upon a time, when life was slower and simpler, a gift would generally have been hand-made by the giver, or at the very least, purchased from somebody who had painstakingly created it themselves.
These days, although most of us would like to create our own hand-crafted gifts for friends and family, lack of time and the appropriate skills are often an impediment. However, a terrific solution to this dilemma is to support artisans who make beautiful, one-off creations in our local area. Here in Perth, we're very fortunate as there are many outlets where we can pick up gorgeous items which have been crafted locally, often at very affordable prices. The following are some which I've visited over the years.
Gorgeous hand-crafted figurines from Guildford Village Potters
Found at Fremantle Art Centre Found is a veritable treasure trove of high quality, hand-crafted items which have been created by Western Australian artisans, including ceramics, fashion accessories, jewellery, cards and books. The shop also stocks unique, limited-edition works on paper by artists from remote and regional communities. While items can be somewhat pricey, the quality is exceptional.
The gift shop at Fremantle Art Centre is a beaut spot to purchase high quality local craft.
Situated in the heart of Perth's cultural precinct in Northbridge, the Western Australian Museum's gift shop stocks some beautiful locally-produced handicrafts. Of special interest are the carved boab nuts which are made by Indigenous artists in the Kimberley region, and other items crafted by artists from remote communities around the state. Beautiful locally-made jewellery is also sold here.
The Western Australian Museum in Perth's cultural precinct in Northbridge, also has some wonderful handicrafts in their gift shop.
Situated just an hour south of Perth in Dwellingup, the Forest Heritage Centre aims to educate visitors about the history of Western Australia's timber industry. For lovers of fine arts, it holds a variety of creative courses and there is also a very well-stocked gift shop with items for sale ranging from small, affordable mementos to more expensive creations such as finely crafted wooden furniture.
Guildford Village Potters Guildford Village Potters is possibly Perth's best known pottery studio, and is located in the heart of the historic village. The Gallery displays a wide range of beautiful work, from traditional styles to those which are more contemporary and experimental.
Guildford Village Potters is another wonderful shopping destination when you need to purchase a special gift.
Liddelow Homestead Arts and Crafts Historical Liddelow Homestead, in Kenwick, is one of Perth's hidden gems. Although it's best known for its wide range of creative courses, it also houses a sweet little gift shop which sells items that have been made by the Centre's members, including hand-knits, needlework, pottery and original paintings. For more information about the shop, as well as the Centre's other exhibitions, check out the Liddelow Homestead website or give them a call on 9459 7228. The shop is open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9.30 am until 12.00 noon.
The little gift shop at Liddelow Homestead in Kenwick sells beautiful handicrafts which have been lovingly made by its members. Image from the Liddelow Homestead website.
Bilby Yarns With its gorgeous assortment of handcrafted woollen garments, accessories and other items, Bilby Yarns reminds me of the country craft shops which were so common when I was a child. This is the place to come for unique hand-knitted, crocheted and felted gifts, made from a variety of high quality natural fibres: items which are seriously difficult to get hold of these days in Perth.
Woolly Latte Woolly Lattes, in Wembley, is not only a great cafe, but it's also a gallery highlighting the work of some of Perth's most talented artisans and designers. Items on display (and for sale) include knitted tea cosies, beanies, photography, crocheted accessories and unique hand-crafted jewellery.
Ellis House On the first Sunday of every month the Ellis House Community Art Centre, situated near the Swan River on Milne Street, Bayswater, holds an artist market, where local artists display and sell their work. This is a lovely peaceful spot to visit, where it's possible to chat with the artists and pick up some unique and beautiful work at very affordable prices.
Ellis House Community Arts Centre holds a wonderful Artist Market once a month.
Apple Gallery Situated at 79 Whatley Crescent in Bayswater, the Apple Gallery is a delightful little shop which mainly sells embroidery supplies. However, they also stock some lovely arts and crafts, especially hand embroidered items and beautiful custom-made picture frames. For more information, give them a call on 9370 1166.
Perth Upmarket Perth Upmarket is considered to be one of the city's premier venues for unique handcrafted products made by local artists and craftspeople. It's held quarterly at Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia. Check out their website for more information.
An afterword The places listed above are just a few of many around the city and beyond where you can purchase unique hand-made gifts. By no means is it a complete list, and possibly you'll be aware of other spots around the city which you'd like to share with other readers.
Handcrafted crocheted items can be difficult to find in Perth these days.
It's also worth noting that, although they're usually held only once a year, school and church fetes are also great spots to pick up gorgeous hand-made goodies, often at a fraction of the price that would be paid at trendier city venues.