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Gift Guide 2021

December 10th, 2021

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.

Photo depicting three holiday ornaments hanging from branches. Recommended in the Taliesin 2021 Gift Guide.

Wrightsicle Set. Gift Guide Pick.


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.

Olive green t-shirt design depicting six illustrations of plants found at Taliesin. Photo depicting three holiday ornaments hanging from branches. Recommended in the Taliesin 2021 Gift Guide. Photo depicting three holiday ornaments hanging from branches. Recommended in the Taliesin 2021 Gift Guide. Recommended in the 2021 Gift Guide.

Taliesin Six Plants T-Shirt by Esther Hill. Gift Guide Pick.

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.

Set of silver earrings and a copper-colored broach pin inspired by window designs at Taliesin. Recommended in the 2021 Gift Guide.

Single Window Drop Earrings and Window Pin by Ali Kauss. Gift Guide Pick.

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?

Holiday greeting card depicting an abstracted cardinal design. Pictured on a green fabric background. Recommended in the 2021 Gift Guide.

Cardinal Winter Card by Aris Georges. Gift Guide Pick.


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.

Set of three notebooks in red, blue and gold pictured with a red mechanical drafting pencil. Recommended in the 2021 Gift Guide.

Writer’s Notebook Set and Architect’s Mechanical Pencil. Gift Guide Pick.


Celebrating Rituals

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.

Two Tree of Life Mugs. Recommended in the 2021 Gift Guide.

Tree of Life Mug


Fresh Perspectives

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.

Sara with landscape.

What has your experience been like with the shipping crisis?
  • It has been a waiting game, but it also makes it a fun surprise when we get something I have been excited to receive-even with the shipping delays. The crazy thing is that whatever we have had in stock all season has sold out quickly, but the struggle then was getting the store to look full again. Our guests were always very understanding, and I appreciated that. 
What has it been like to become our gift shop manager amid a pandemic?
  • It has been challenging but also fun. I am learning a lot. I try to be optimistic about things, and things can only get better from this point. I am excited to see the world around us starting to open back up again, and people are ready to get out more-some even more than before- I think it will be good for us in the next year. 
What do you hope to spark in people when they buy an item from our shop?
  • I hope they can buy something to help them remember what they learned here and how they felt and inspire them to bring that knowledge home. I hope when visitors see their souvenir later in their life, that they will smile and remember that one time they went to Spring Green, WI, and witnessed the magic that a home can possess and that they one day come back and visit us. 
How might our items inspire people to live a more beautiful life?
  • Our items can inspire our visitors to live a more beautiful life in many ways – from the trivets that brighten up any kitchen or table with their art glass influences to a children’s book about how to interact with nature. There is a bigger story to what we sell here and hopefully inspires people to think beyond the ordinary.