Taliesin Gift Guide: The Ripple Effect
By: Elizabeth Maske
For this year’s gift guide, we wanted to take time to consider how we give during this holiday season and dig a little deeper into the intent behind gift-giving. That is, how might we look beyond an item’s aesthetic value? How might we consider an object’s potential to shape a memorable experience? How might gifting be an opportunity to uplift and support one another? We hope that gifts from our store create lasting memories, rather than fleeting moments of joy.
Returning to Nature and Reflections on Craft
This year, Taliesin has curated a selection of designs from local artisans Esther Hill, Ali Kauss, and Aris Georges, who inspire us to return to nature and reflect on the process of craft. Esther Hill traces the flora of the Driftless Region, the ecologically diverse and agriculturally abundant landscape encompassing Wright’s Wisconsin estate. Hill reminds us of the delicate and often overlooked beauty in our backyard while encouraging further reflection on the land that inspired Wright’s organic architecture. This season, we spent a lot of time hiking the Driftless and reconnecting with nature. The process of discovering new growth and appreciating nature’s serenity is a gentle reminder that gifts can invite us to see the everyday anew; gifts can be experiential and inspire healing.
Handcrafted objects have distinct forms that entice us to meditate on their craftsmanship. These inherent qualities often direct our thoughts to their creator, as we consider the motivations behind a particular design. Artisan Ali Kauss translates the geometry and colors that grace the estate to silver and brass through a process that combines traditional metalsmithing techniques with alchemy and Reiki. Her collection often references a distinct moment of inspiration from her Taliesin experience. We see her particularly drawn to the windows in Olgivanna Wright’s bedroom, highlighting their subtle beauty and their role in blurring the boundary between nature and architecture.
Kimberly Elman sees Wright’s organic architecture as “a reinterpretation of nature’s principles as they had been filtered through the intelligent minds of men and women who could then build forms which are more natural than nature itself.” Taliesin Fellow Aris Georges’ designs make us consider the process of abstraction from nature in a similar manner. Georges examines the geometry of natural forms by hand before translating them into rendered designs. He repeatedly learns from each iteration, reminding us that sometimes our best work is a result of an evolving process. How might we embrace processes as pathways to growth?
Disconnecting and Rediscovering the Tangible
As a result of this global pandemic, many of us have been forced to embrace a virtual world. Certainly, for a few of us, it’s been some time since we’ve picked up a pen and explored the art of writing. When was the last time you took time to write out your goals, journal your thoughts, or render your ideas? How might a holiday card help you to rebuild relationships put on hold during the pandemic? We invite you to disconnect and rediscover simplicity this holiday season.
How might one give the peace found in rituals? When we think of rituals, many of us often think of our morning routine and the ritual of our first cup of coffee. In the gift shop, we love to hear about the connections people make with items. A visitor this season shared that he collected mugs from every Wright site so that he would think about his visits while drinking his morning coffee. It is strange how this simple, shared ritual can create connections —how in it, we find moments of reflection, inspiration, and motivation.
This season we welcomed a new Gift Shop Manager, Sara Turner. With her extensive experience and non-profit background, Sara brings a fresh perspective to Taliesin Preservation. Sara not only oversees our physical gift shop here at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center during our April-November season, but she manages our online store, which is open year round. This season, Sara faced challenges with grace and curated items that inspire meaningful connections.