Written by Shayda Windle 

There’s nothing quite like the gift of art. It’s a personal, one-of-a-kind gift, often lasting a lifetime. So, we’ve done the work for you and rounded up some of our favorite gifts of art currently available in Loudoun County. Stop by any one of these retailers for your holiday shopping and give the gift of art — a memorable gift that will last a lifetime.  

Byrne Gallery  

The Byrne Gallery is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special exhibition from internationally-acclaimed artist Yuri Gorbachev. The exhibition will feature rare works from his private collection, on display from now until Jan. 3.  

Gorbachev creates colorful, richly-textured canvases in oil and gold leaf. His pieces include a radiant kaleidoscope of folk celebrations, street fairs, circuses, fairy-tales, animals, snowy winter landscapes, and images of the Romanov dynasty. When you purchase an original Yuri Gorbachev piece, you are buying a piece of the Russian heritage and the whimsical nature of their orthodox festivities that come with it. We can’t think of anything more vibrant than an original piece from  Gorbachev this year. 

Left “Two Horses,” 20”X24,” oil and mixed media on canvas. Right “Santa Claus and Cat,” 20”X24,” oil and mixed media on canvas. 

In addition to the Gorbachev exhibit, The Byrne Gallery will be displaying pieces from Debbie Cadenas, including a series of hand-painted fox silhouettes by local artists. Stop by today to see these whimsical Hunt Country-inspired pieces in person.

 Left: “Fox Study IV,” Gail Guirreri Maslyk, 12”X12,” oil on canvas. Right: Two fox Christmas carolers, hand-painted and sculpted fox faces, Debbie Cadenas, 10” tall.

Twigs

Just a few miles north of Middleburg is Twigs, a boutique situated in Purcellville, offering an eclectic variety of products, including fair-trade and locally made goods. Whether it’s an art print, a piece of pottery, handmade jewelry, or a gift for the kids, there’s something for everyone at Twigs.

This year, Twigs is featuring works from Virginia artists like Clara Cline of the Wild Wander, who creates natural history inspired paper goods and gifts that she says are “inspired by dusty libraries, cluttered studies full of artifacts, and an abiding curiosity for forgotten history and the natural world.” Cline’s collection at Twigs includes hand-drawn illustrations like these botanical prints you see here. 

Prints from the Wild Wander. Photo by Shayda Windle.

Perhaps you’re looking for something functional and decorative like a piece of pottery, dinnerware, or trinkets dishes. The artists at Dock 6 Pottery create stunning pottery pieces fused with glass to create the famous “geode crackle” you see here. As durable pieces, they are perfect for everyday use and always maintain their vibrant colors.

Dock 6 pottery. Photo by Shayda Windle.

How about a piece of jewelry for the mother, daughter, or sister in your life? Twigs carries a wide variety of bohemian and eclectic jewelry from artisans all over the country. 

Anne Vaughan Jewelry designs and creates handcrafted layered jewelry collections with innovative color palettes. Using hand-selected gemstones and natural materials, Anne Vaughan’s designs are both aesthetically pleasing and sustainable. Anne Vaughan Jewelry has grown from a solo artisan venture to a thriving small business in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. When you shop at Twigs, you are truly shopping local. 

Jewelry by Anne Vaughan.

In addition to these locally sourced gifts, Twigs is celebrating the holidays every Saturday between now and Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. — 1 p.m. with a variety of food and drink vendors. Get your holiday shopping done while grabbing a bite! While the vendors are on location every Saturday, Twigs has extended holiday hours and is open seven days a week. 

Paul Bolinger Carvings 

Paul Bolinger is the brainchild of the iconic “Father Christmas” carvings seen throughout Neiman Marcus retailers in the ‘90s. Bolinger started carving when he was an executive with a semiconductor company in Silicon Valley and “needed an outlet.” As a self-taught artist, he says, “My wife wanted some Father Christmas figures for our house, so I carved a few, and she painted them. A friend with a small shop asked if he could try to sell a few in his window; the first three sold the first day they were there. After that, we were unable to keep up with the demand for carvings.”  

“Luminati’s,” 14 inches tall. 

These figures have a distinct “old world” look to them. We call them Father Christmas, as they do not resemble the American Santa Claus at all. Inspiration comes from pictures of antiques, books about old-world Christmas, and the whims of the wood as it is being carved.  

While there are no carvings ready-for-sale at this time, Bolinger does take special orders through his website paulbolinger.com. Collectors usually wait 4 to 6 months before carvings are complete.

Atelier Design & Décor  

Located in the heart of Middleburg on Washington Street, Atelier Design offers a variety of contemporary art, including gifts from all over the world. Today, Atelier carries work from many different artists, including local artist Leslie Archer. While Archer came from a family of artists, her calling into the arts wasn’t clear until she spent two decades working for a think-tank in Washington, D.C. It was then she realized “the calling for the arts was never silenced in me. Spending my free time with a paintbrush in hand, my body of work can now be found in private collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.”

“Horse 1 & 2,” 41-1/2”w x 31-1/2”h. Courtesy photos.

Left: “Welkin,” 49-1/2” w by 73-1/2” h. Right: “Go Deep,” 49-1/2”w x 73-1/2”h. 

You can, of course, find many of Archer’s grand-scale paintings throughout Atelier Design. As Archer says, her “love of nature is the impetus for the fluidity, motion and layering” found in her work. Stop in today to see her work in person. ML

Published in the December 2020 issue of Middleburg Life.