2015 holiday gift guide

Our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide — Jill’s Picks

Welcome to Sight Unseen’s annual holiday gift guide! Over the next three days, we'll be sharing our best, most covetable, seriously-buy-me-now finds from around the web. We've narrowed it down to 25 items from each editor — a seriously herculean task when it's basically your job to source cool things all year round. First up is Jill, who's got you covered on everything from sneakers to snuff boxes.
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Top 5: Bookends

A periodic nod to object typologies both obscure and ubiquitous, featuring five of our favorite recent examples. Today, our subject is the bookend — a.k.a. five new ways to make your killer design library look even cooler.
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Think Big! Our First LA Pop-up, at Space 15 Twenty

If you've been following our Instagram, you know that we've been spending an awful lot of time in Los Angeles lately. Last Thursday, we finally revealed why (aside from an obvious need to escape New York's subzero temps and un-meltable snowdrifts). Our latest pop-up — and our first-ever venture in LA — opened last Thursday at Space 15 Twenty, the Los Angeles Urban Outfitters concept shop and sister store to Brooklyn's Space Ninety 8, where we hosted a similar event last fall. Called Think Big!, the pop-up is inspired by a 1980s-era Soho store of the same name, which featured scaled-up versions of everyday objects.
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Dusen Dusen Home

The past few years have proven that — every once in a while — a fashion label can make a successful, mostly non-embarrassing crossover into furniture and housewares. Margiela, Hermès, and Rick Owens all come to mind, but who better than a textile designer to make the leap? At last week's Capsule show, Ellen Van Dusen of the Brooklyn-based clothing brand Dusen Dusen launched a brand new line of soft goods for the home that feature her signature geometric patterns — sheets, blankets, rugs, towels, pillows, and a pouf — and the extension feels totally natural, like it was meant to be. Today she's giving Sight Unseen a first peek at the line's lookbook photos, which were shot by SU contributor Brian Ferry and feature cameos by both SNL comedian Aidy Bryant and Van Dusen's official canine mascot, Snips.
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Visit Us This Weekend at Capsule!

Looking for some visual inspiration this weekend? If you're a buyer, a distributor, or a member of the press, head on over to Capsule New York's new home at Pier 94, where Sight Unseen is happy to be participating this year! After years of simply attending the fashion trade show to peep new collections from friends like Ilana Kohn or Ellen van Dusen — and to scout talents from the extremely well-curated mix — we've finally partnered with the newly combined ready-to-wear and accessories show, where we'll be curating a small section of home and accessories brands. There will be ceramic French presses and copper lights from Yield Design, block-printed throws and pretty things by Caroline Z. Hurley, a new line of lower-priced mugs from Ian Anderson of Aandersson Design, geometric jewelry and tabletop goods by Sarah Loertscher, colorful candlesticks and mirrors by Good Thing, and so much more (which we're giving you a sneak peek of below). It’s all happening at Pier 94, 711 12th Ave, from Sunday, February 22–Tuesday, February 24 14, starting at 9:30AM each day. Hope to see you there!
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New Textiles by Alyson Fox for Ferm Living

When we profiled the designer and artist Alyson Fox last year, on a visit to the home she and her husband built themselves in the wilds of Texas, we spent much of the story marveling at the sheer, unrelenting range and volume of her creative output. Which is to say: We could theoretically be writing about some new project of hers every week if we wanted to — she's just that prolific. We won't go there, of course, yet when of-the-moment Danish housewares brand Ferm Living offered to let us be the first to share the new line it's done in collaboration with Fox, in advance of revealing its full 2015 collection to the world tomorrow, we figured it was as good a time as any to check in with the talent.
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"I've been making these desert tumblers since last winter, and the color palatte is inspired by the 
Southwest, which is a place I've romanticized and wanted to visit since I was in high school. I drove around New Mexico for a week on my trip and pulled over whenever I saw that red earth 
I had in mind when I made this cup. I took this one in Abiquiu."

Helen Levi in the American Southwest

Sometime in the past year, Brooklyn potter Helen Levi began making her popular Desert Tumblers, which evoke a kind of faded, windswept, Southwestern landscape by marbling white porcelain with sandy red clay. But the funny thing is, until this summer, New York–born Levi had never even been to the desert. "I’d been wanting to go to New Mexico since high school," she says. "That landscape has always been kind of a dreamy thought, but my tumblers were based on my imagination of a place I'd never seen." This summer, Levi decided to bite the bullet, taking a month off from work to road trip 7,000 miles — all the way to Albuquerque and back — making sure to stop along the way at places like the Pittsburgh factory where her clay is made and leaving enough time to simply wander off the road in search of this country's vast natural beauty.
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Doug Johnston, Basket Artist

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Doug Johnston was surrounded by the Native American art that his parents voraciously collected — woven rugs, Kachina dolls and coiled baskets made from materials such as pine needles, yucca, acacia and bear grass. But when the Brooklyn-based designer decided a few years ago that he’d like to learn coiling himself, to make baskets from stitched lengths of cotton rope, he didn’t travel to the Southwest to train with a master craftsperson. Instead, he went on YouTube, scouring instructional videos for a new approach. “Traditional coiling techniques are really labor-intensive,” he says. “You have to go inch by inch, one stitch at a time, and mastering that technique could take years. I was too impatient.”
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First thing you ever made? Chelsea: “For as long as I can remember I have been making assemblages of objects. I can recall occupying a lot of time collecting rocks, flowers, and shells to make little organized groupings. I did the same with my room and toys. There has always been something self-satisfying in that process for me.” James: “My dad (mostly) and I made a plywood castle to use with my Lego people. It was pretty great.”

Grain, furniture and product designers

To hear the story of James and Chelsea Minola — the married couple behind Seattle’s Grain design studio — you begin to wonder how it’s possible their paths didn’t cross even earlier in life. Both grew up in Southern California — James in San Diego, and Chelsea in Los Angeles, where her parents were the owners of a punk rock store at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. In the early ’90s, both families relocated to the Pacific Northwest, and James and Chelsea moved east to Providence, Rhode Island, around the same time to attend RISD — James as an undergrad in engineering and Chelsea as a graduate in industrial design. But the two didn’t meet until they both enrolled in a short course called “Bridging Cultures Through Design,” where they worked first in Providence, tinkering with ideas about weaving, and then for a few weeks in Guatemala, where they learned how to work with talented local artisans. The trip would eventually lead the two friends down the path to marriage but it also introduced them to the way in which their future studio would run.
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Local Made at Space Ninety 8

When The Future Perfect abandoned its original Brooklyn location last summer, we thought we might never feel the need to shop on that particular block of Williamsburg again. The Future Perfect's gorgeous digs got turned into a Gant, and for years we've felt we were a little too old for American Apparel. But come next Thursday, we'll be making that trek on the L train again: Urban Outfitters is opening a concept shop on North Sixth Street called Space Ninety 8, complete with rotating gallery spaces, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, and, of course, clothing. But the draw for us will be located smack in the front window. That's where a showcase called Local Made will take place, curated by Urban's director of brand relations and special projects Marissa Maximo, who scoured the borough, commissioning exclusives from some of our favorite designers.
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Fort Standard’s Home Goods

Today, a trifecta of awesomeness: The entire home goods line from Brooklyn designers and Sight Unseen favorites Fort Standard, photographed by talented SU contributor Brian Ferry, and styled by Monica Nelson — a new name to us, but you can bet we've been perusing her portfolio of great work for brands like Urban Outfitters and Wilder Quarterly. Greg and Ian of Fort Standard have been majorly expanding the scope of their work lately — designing interiors for clients like Steven Alan Home and Harry's, furniture for Matter and Roll & Hill, and, you know, creating a massive beer luge for our Bowery Hotel party last year — but it's their growing collection of beautifully considered home goods that's making them a household name. Pretty, minty sand-cast aluminum bowls, hanging wood-plank cutting boards, geometric stone trivets — and they've never looked better than they do here.
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Slag Glas Bookends From Bazazas

Thanks to the power of e-commerce, quite a few creatives have felt inspired lately to open small, tightly curated shops featuring weird and wonderful small-batch objects by young makers (see also: Handjob Gallery Store). The newest is Bazazas, founded by the designers Scarlett Boulting of opus and Mary Voorhees Meehan. They've assembled a quirky yet sophisticated selection of objects by folks like Études Studio, ceramicist Giselle Hicks, and jewelry designer Sandra Russell, but our favorite offering is no doubt this in-house series of Slag Glas Bookends.
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