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Here are some of our favorite Pacific Northwest geek crafts and geeky handmade gifts.
Do you have a geek in your life that has a large display of Funko pop figures, a closet full of cosplay, and a shelf full of comics or manga and want to get them something different this year?
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have so many talented artisans creating quality handmade items based on comics, anime, folk legend, or other topics that appeal to our “inner geek.”
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Every year at conventions, my daughter and I encounter some of the same, talented artisans creating art or handmade items based on manga, anime, comics, or other pop culture figures, and we discovered new ones. And, usually, a few things end up coming home with us.
Here are a few of our favorites — I’m sure I’ve missed a few (I can’t recall who made that Princess Mononoke Christmas Stocking that hangs on our mantle, for instance.) We were at Geek Craft Expo this year and are adding a few new favorites from that event!
Crocheted by Rikki
Other artisans have crocheted Pokemon and other figures, but Rikki is “Plus Ultra” in both quantity and quality in the realm of Pacific Northwest geek crafts.
Her crocheted figures are adorable and would make a perfect stocking stuffer for your fan. Or if you crochet yourself, her Etsy shop also features crocheting patterns.
This is one time I’m hoping my significant other doesn’t actually read my website…because I have to say I bought one of these awesome boxes for him! And not the safe, pictured here, though it’s one of my favorites. Bill Whitaker of Sohi Design, makes geeky but well-made boxes from the Tardis to House Greyjoy stash boxes (I imagine Theon kept his stash in one just like it!)
Mint Tea Menagerie
On Mint Tea Menagerie’s social media, you’ll find many adorable drawings of teacup dragons. However, where she shines is in her incredible fabric creations from pipe foxes (spirits from Japanese folklore) to her “teacup tatsus,” — antlered dragon-like creatures. Her more massive dragons carry a steep price tag but are so unique and well-made that they sold out at Kumoricon.
Jessica Mick is another talented artisan doing soft sculpture and plush toy design. One of our favorites was the friendly arm-hugging dragons, but the overall fan-favorite seemed to be her Wooloo Pokemon plush.
Robin Kaplan’s (aka The Gorgonist) designs stand out among much of the art at conventions due to her “monstrously charming” (and a little bit retro) style. The Totoro print is one that proudly hangs on our wall, but she does everything from Alice in Wonderland to Dr. Who. In addition to her prints, her Etsy shop also features accessories like enamel pins, necklaces, and stickers, which would all make great stocking stuffers.
I have to admit that I looked at these mugs at least three times at GeekCraft Expo…but I didn’t buy. Now, I’m sort of wishing I’d bought the “introvert mug.” SmooLove’s mugs, handmade in Duvall, WA, are well made and they have some attitude! They come with a somewhat hefty price tag (for a mug) but are worth it for the quality and the time that goes into making a mug like this.
Helen Mask is a Portland-based illustrator and designer whose geeky themes are sometimes cleverly hidden within her art-nouveau-style designs.
Birdzilla Studios features the art, animation, and ceramics of Mary J. Lai of Hillsboro, OR. Our favorites from the conventions were her Japanese-style teacups. Some of her cups (like the Moogle shown here) fall into the realm of geeky handmade gifts. Others aren’t really geeky, but are very cute!
I was sure I took a photo of Aaron Bowersock of PopMuertos‘ colorful designs, but I can’t locate it now – but his pop-culture-dia-de-los-muertos-sugar-skull mashup designs certainly caught my eye! The image here is one of the t-shirts for sale on his website. Ghibli, Disney, and more have all been colorfully sugar-skull-ized.
Clouds and Sunbreaks
Kathy Manzella, a Seattle-based artist, makes these adorable geeky-themed pottery pieces featuring (my favorite) Ghibli characters, among others. At the time of this post, she doesn’t have an online shop, but you can find her on Instagram.
Dave Ryan Pop Art
I came across Dave Ryan’s art during a recent stroll around the Pike Place Market, and I wasn’t sure what I thought…but it drew my attention. Do I buy that close-up of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys for my husband? Decisions… No! Hopefully, he’ll never read this post, or it will end up in our pantry.
Many of Dave Ryan’s images seem to be pop culture mash-ups from Michael Jackson and ET to “Ron Solo.” I like his “Loch Ness Incident,” which features a Space Needle top reimagined as UFO (not too hard to do) beaming up Nessie.
Cirque de Fantomes
If your gift recipient’s tastes run toward the dark side, check out the beautiful, but sometimes dark, art by Pat Lillich and D2 of Cirque de Fantomes.
My photo of the unicorn here doesn’t do their work justice. Just a note: Currently, Cirque de Fantomes’ Etsy store features more beautiful-but-disturbing ball joint dolls than prints, but if you can catch them at a show or convention, their booth also included cards, magnets, and other small items.
And NOT from the PNW, but I had to include them as I love their chopsticks so much…
2 Bros and a Bard
Accio Sushi! The perfect gift for the Harry Potter and Sushi fan (it also comes with an HP themed cloth chopstick pouch). 2 Bros and a Bard make “Nerdy Wood and Bronze Art.” But their chopsticks stand out both because of the quality wood AND because of the quality sushi puns (“She thought she could do it. Suhi did!”)
Their Etsy shop is taking a short break while they reconfigure their website, but I include the link here for when it reopens.
Do you have any favorite geeky, PNW artists or makers? What are your favorite Pacific Northwest geek crafts (or other geeky handmade gifts )? Let us know in the comments below!