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Handmade Ornaments

Where to Find Beautiful, Handmade Ornaments in Los Angeles
While glossy, perfect store bought Christmas tree ornaments do a look stunning on a tree, nothing gives cheerful warmth and holiday spirit quite as much as handmade ornaments. But not all of us have a gift for crafts, and sometimes what started out as a crocheted snowflake can end up looking like a bird’s nest of yarn. So what do you do if you love the look of handmade ornaments but lack the time (or in my case, the talent) to make them? If you like in Southern California, the answer is simple: Unique Los Angeles.

 

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Every December, the 200+ vendors that make up Unique Los Angeles rent out California Market Hall to offer a collection of handcrafted wares that include everything from personal stationary to scarves to silkscreened shirts. The idea is to create a Christmas market that eschews the mass-produce commercialism of Christmas and focuses on what the idea Christmas present should be: personal. While smaller craft fairs appear around Los Angeles throughout the year, Unique Los Angeles’ proximity to Christmas makes the offerings decidedly more holiday inspired. Shirts, scarves, and stationary in red, white, and green are everywhere, as are hand-stitched stockings and hand-pained “Santa’s Cookies” plates. One of the areas where designers can really shine is handmade ornaments, a medium that allows the artist to use their traditional medium—paper, clay, wood, or cloth—and turn it into something purely decorative.


Some booths go for higher-end handmade ornaments, while others use special paper folded into unique shapes. When it comes to the jewelry stores, it isn’t uncommon to find silver and gold workers have cut out angels or snowflakes from thin sheets of precious metals, decorating them with semi-precious stones. On the other end of the spectrum, handmade ornaments made by the stationary craftsman are often elaborate origami pieces made from stiff cardstock.


There are also ways to get involved in handmade ornaments if you’re a visitor. One of the vendors in Unique Los Angeles is Fresh Pressed, a silkscreen printing studio that operates out of Lose Angeles. At these fairs, Fresh Pressed sets up a booth that allows people to try the process for themselves, creating small squares of printed fabric in unique Christmas designs that can be taken home and turned into handmade ornaments.


Another up-and-coming Southern California crafts fair is called the Felt Club, which meets at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. The Felt Club lives up to its name: it’s a Club devoted to all things craft related, particularly one-of-a-kind crafts. Just like Unique Los Angeles, there are craftsman of every kind selling in this December market, but the crafts pull ever so slightly in the direction of sewing.


When it comes to handmade ornaments, cloth provides a welcome contrast from time to time with the hard glass and resin ornaments that usually decorate the Christmas tree. At the Felt Club, booth vendors like Aguiniga Design offer felt accessories that are folded into origami-like shapes—hats and bags, sometimes even coats. They also use these techniques to fashion smaller versions of their designs specifically as handmade ornaments. The results are so stunning you may be looking for places to display these objects once the holidays are over.