Although the majority of patrons who visit the Artistic Portland Co-op tend to be women, there is a strong contingent of men who either accompany someone or who come in alone to look at the many art and craft works we display. With this in mind I thought I would discuss the items in our store that might appeal to male customers who may be looking for himself or, as is often the case, looking for a gift for others.
There is a vast array of goods to satisfy this desire. We have almost 50 artisans and craftspersons, all from the Portland area. All items must be handmade and juried to be considered for the store. Much of it is made from recycled or restored materials.
Among the first items I have seen men consider when they come in are photos, paintings, or prints. Often they are curious about what the inspiration was or who created the image. Many customers are drawn to an image that remind them of some experience or memory that takes them out of the present and momentarily into a past world. We have a full range of works from abstract and still life paintings, Northwest landscape paintings, photos of Portland landmarks, some as unique multi-dimensional photos, and even photo reproductions on metal. Some of our artists work with pen and ink or other drawing materials such as crayons to produce very intricate and interesting images. One artist creates mosaics from paper.
Another area of artistic works is done in metal and wood. The metal sculptures are a big draw and often men will be especially interested in these creations. One metal sculptor produces very interesting and often whimsical pieces that are featured throughout the store. The Giant Blue Heron that sits overlooking the store is one of my favorites. We have a new metal sculptor starting March 1 who has a very different point of view. There are several excellent woodworking artists who produce an array of articles such as finely crafted tables and clean wooden boxes. Another artist creates beautifully crafted decorative pieces made from hard-to-find imported wood. Many wooden items are quite functional like cutting boards and rolling pins.
An item that I find interesting (and bicyclists have a special interest in) are the clocks made from recycled bike parts. These come in all sizes and shapes. They all have a special look and could sit on a dresser or hang on the wall. Guys usually enjoy looking at these clever cast-off parts that are made to perform a new function.
As mentioned above, men often come in looking for a gift or a card for someone else. We stock many items that satisfy this need. During seasonal changes or holidays we have many gift items that provide the perfect choice for a birthday, anniversary or holiday gift. There is a wide assortment of cards, jewelry, soaps and lotions, accessories such as shawls and handbags and items for the kitchen. Many small items make a perfect gift for a child: stuffed animals, puzzles and games, coloring books, and imaginative fairy houses. Buttons and pins along with some clothing items complete the list. All these creations are made by local artists and reflect an imaginative sense of what appeals to local tastes at a variety of price points from $1.00 on up. Some of our co-op members are also willing to make a custom order upon request.
Whether for yourself or for someone you care about there is plenty for men to choose from to purchase or just browse to get ideas for a gift. Check it out!