Our trip to Atlanta a few weeks ago required a saint’s patience to resist road rage and pedestrian angst. Evidently Thanksgiving heralds the season for every Georgia resident to hit the road to the capitol city to find that elusive gift or attend a Christmas concert. Stop! Shop online or look at the plethora of gift ideas and entertainment in our city, especially plentiful this time of year.
On First Friday downtown, the art galleries were full of shoppers taking advantage of the variety of arts and crafts appealing to every age and every persuasion. Macon Arts Alliance looked like Santa’s gift shop, with items representing the best of some of the exhibitors from the past year’s schedule.
Set up on the sidewalk, this month’s featured glass artist Charles Wells demonstrated his craft on site where spellbound onlookers hovered close to his furnace to ward off the cold. Standing in shirt sleeves, Wells was turning out glass Christmas ornaments in candy colored swirls as fast as you could say Kris Kringle. In the gallery, his bowls in cobalt blue and milky pastels were reasonably priced; one would make the ideal centerpiece or accessory for the well appointed room.
Lisa Moore and Windy Blanks selected choice glass baubles, jewelry for the Christmas tree, from several baskets. There are still more and for $15 you too can own a permanent memento of the season.
Michael Williams’ photographs of downtown Macon, though current shots, replicated the look of old colored tintypes. Captured in one scene was the blue shadow cast at sunset on Cherry Street, a phenomenon that has always fascinated me. For a native or for a transplanted Maconite, one of these familiar scenes would be an enduring gift.
Joining familiar jewelry makers Cheri Lesauski and Lauren Bausch was new artist Maggie Matthews-Gonzalez, all of whom have an array of one-of-a-kind pieces that would fit in a stocking. After canceling her Cabin Sale this year, Meg Campbell joined the show with her distinctive pottery, complementing the paintings of Fran Thomas, who visited the gallery in the fall. The Middle Georgia Woodturners were back with their intricately carved vessels, which defy explanation. How can one hollow out a knot of wood without shattering it? Visit the gallery and figure it out.
Teddi and Bill Wohlford joined co-owner Will Robinson at Robinson Home for extended First Friday hours in the store, which sells everything from a simple set of measuring spoons to the latest in culinary wares. Teddi is an onsite chef and instructor who can elevate you from cook to chef if you attend her classes, held in a special dine-in kitchen in the back of the store. A gift certificate for one of the fast-paced classes led by a witty and forgiving chef would convert the most reluctant cook.
On Cherry Street, Travis Jean Gallery hosted Priscilla Esser’s show of her most recent paintings. Esser’s creations speak volumes about her fun-loving personality and interpretation of her surroundings -- whether she is exploring the beach or finding humor in something as simple as a wild-eyed rooster. Jean Bragg, owner of Travis Jean, has an eclectic collection of antique and contemporary furnishings. Classically painted old oils watch over monogrammed linens and delicate collectible silver next to a sleek art deco daybed and chair.
Moving back to Macon from New Orleans, where Bragg owns another gallery, her collections reflect a well-traveled lifestyle. Returning to her hometown, she has embraced downtown living with an evangelist’s fervor, promoting local artists and convincing her friends to experience downtown living.
On the first weekend in December, Ingleside Village businesses served up spiced tea and home-baked goods to welcome shoppers, some of whom were visiting the village for the first time, according to Cathy Brantley, manager of the Ingleside Village Antique Center. A raffle with unique prizes required having the raffle ticket punched by at least 25 stores, a definite impetus to seeing what this little treasure of a shopping area has to offer.
You can visit a real hardware store, Karsten-Denson, which moved from downtown several years ago, or be sure you have all the napkins, candles, gift boxes and greeting cards you need for the holidays at If It’s Paper, Jeff Logan’s delightful shop. Shop Ingleside Village and leave your car in one place.
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.