10 Artful Gift Ideas from Tastemaker Riley Reed
Huma Blanco shoes, Claire Sommers Buck jewelry and RF. Alvarez paintings make the list, amongst other beautiful pieces
By Riley Reed
Riley Reed is the creator of Woke Beauty, a creative studio offering photography, brand storytelling, and community building services, with a deep commitment to celebrating the resilience of women everywhere. She uses thoughtful photography and poetic prose to capture the world in a different light, one that centers life’s intersections and the curiosities behind our collective identities. For Tribeza’s Art Issue, we tapped the tastemaker to share local art pieces she’s admiring that make for beautiful, thoughtful gifts. Follow on IG: @rileyblanksreed
Ultimate Evergreen Mix Wreath ($89)
Beginning in the way-back of her suburban, Elle Worsham’s mother, Vicki, birthed Gracious Garlands in her neighborhood in Nashville over 25 years ago before her greenery biz grew beyond capacity. Elle has since adopted the brand and landed in Austin, popping up locally and shipping nationwide throughout the holidays. With family all over the country, my husband and I can’t be with everyone over the holidays. It feels meaningful to spread holiday cheer with a classic evergreen wreath. And I’ll take a slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains any day.
The Southern Magnolia Original Print ($390)
One of Parker Thornton’s original pieces hangs in our dining room. It is a beautiful, delicate reminder of the power behind nature and our connection to it. Whether illustrative or photographic, all of Thornton’s work is deeply rooted in a curiosity, respect and appreciation for the outdoors. His photographs feel intentional, light filled and soothing. His illustrations have a three dimensional effect balancing light and shadow exquisitely. “The Southern Magnolia,” shown here, is available as an original drawing on paper.
Salvador Shoes ($270)
Nestled in Hyde Park, Huma Blanco’s boutique is crafted to bring you the warmth of the brand’s designer, Adriana Crocco — a third-generation shoemaker with Peruvian and Italian heritage guides. My feet are long, narrow and particular; and I rarely wear heels. Huma Blanco’s Salvador shoes remain my go-to for all occasions. Comfortable and chic with a slight edge, I couldn’t ask for anything more in a shoe. Craftsmanship and raw beauty — steeped in materials like suede, alpaca and calf hair — is at the heart of each pair and honestly, I can feel it in every step.
Golden Oil ($46)
An eighth-generation Texan, founder Cassie Courtney has poetically explained, “The hill country is an extension of my roots and my roots extend into West Texas.” I love everything about High Sun Low Moon, and it has been incredible to see it expand into boutiques nationwide. In many ways, Courtney’s streamlined, ritualistic line is an ode to Mother Earth and a dedication to self love. My favorite product, The Golden Oil, is an “everything oil” suitable for … well … everywhere. It has gold and bronze mica, which is a finely powdered, iridescent, shimmery rock. It’s the perfect gift for yourself or someone you love.
Trio of Pieces from “Forming Connection” ($500-$800 each)
I’ve never seen a piece of Keith Kreeger’s I didn’t want. Lucky for me, a few times a year I can expect limited edition drops of exquisite, hand-thrown ceramics. There’s nothing like the gift of a vessel, for flowers, sentiments or an elegant centerpiece. An artist, designer and maker, Kreeger has been making pots for over thirty years (let that soak in). He works to bring joy to any space through elegant porcelain pieces. A few select pieces are available online. Drops have a certain mystique to them, but a little birdie told me one is coming soon. Sign up for Kreeger’s newsletter on his site for early access. And here’s a peek for your eyes only.
Sacred Roots Earrings ($220)
Where do I begin? I have never witnessed jewelry representative of such depth and exploration, handmade through a story. Independently owned with a humble studio based in East Austin, Claire Sommers Buck is committed to quality and integrity. It comes through in her naturally sourced gemstones and metals as much as her inspiring capsule collections. Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s painting ‘Roots,’ these beautiful jade earrings are the perfect gift to remind a strong woman in your life that everything is interconnected.
Tony Chase 80s beaded fringe dress ($1,195)
A vintage collection curator, Masha Poloskova opened Garment eight years ago. Within the walls of the Austin boutique, “where clothing can be appreciated as wearable works of art,” you’ll find an intersectionality between timeless fashion and design. The collection is fresh, desirable, diverse in details and high in quality, with pieces reigning from a plethora of designers like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Thierry Mugler. What I love most of all about Garment pieces is that while they are elevated, they are also everyday. That aside, we all need a show stopping holiday dress. Look no further than this Tony Chase 80s beaded fringe dress.
(Price available upon request)
Nostalgic, vivid and archaeological, RF. Alvarez’s paintings are simply enthralling. His work has this rare spell not just over the eye, but over the heart, stirring past memories and compelling its viewers to recall deep human connection — to land, to one another. With roots in Mexico, Alvarez grew up in Texas, where he has found a distinguishable interest in translating the environment into one that feels welcoming, universal, communal and filled with color. His current exhibition, “The Invitation,” gives insight to the queer lived experience of the Texas and American landscapes of Alvarez’s origins. I’ve had the pleasure to connect with Alvarez and can promise that the charm and kindness you see on social media doesn’t compare to real life. Needless to say, when I collect one of his pieces, I’ll be checking off an item on my bucket list. I currently have my eye on “Into the Morning Light.”
Dandi Kaftan ($188)
When I wear my Fanm Djanm headwrap, I feel like a queen. It’s no wonder the meaning behind the name, written in Haitian Kreyol, is “strong woman.” The brand could stop at designing stunning, handmade headwraps, but instead founder, Paola Mathé, and her team have expanded into creating an empowering, sustainable lifestyle brand — with a brick and mortar — right here in Austin. With bucket hats, bandanas, headbands, kaftans and other accessories, there is something for everyone. Beyond the store, Fanm Djanm’s social media presence empowers us to live boldly, whether in community, with a pop of color, or through an infectious laugh. Browse the dandi kaftan for the woman in your life who’s always looking for the next vacation.
Silk Charmeuse Scrunchie ($28)
What do you give your minimalist grandmother who has everything she needs? A naturally dyed silk scrunchie. The 90s are back after all, and she remembers them fondly. Not only functional, Miranda Bennett’s scrunchies are non-toxic, plant-based and representative of the studio’s commitment to zero waste practices. Her artful, perennial designs are designed, dyed, cut and sewn by a woman-owned team right here in Austin.