The Art of Giving Art

Affordable, last-minute ways to say: 'You've got taste.'

IF A PICASSO LITHO doesn't fit the budget and the fridge is already covered with Matisse magnets, the perfect present for art mongers this holiday season may hang at the Henry Art Gallery or other museum gift shops, where Seattle's own masters are found between shelves of ponderous books, repros, and postcards. A variety of artsy retail outlets are making local art treasures affordable for a creative mall alternative.

Area 51: Beyond the pink-flocked Christmas trees in the windows and mid-century furnishings, there are gads of gifts at the Trademark show. The collection of "artist products" from over 70 participants lines the walls with limited-edition items, often with consumer commentary. Put your butts out on Henry Kissinger ashtrays, wear glittery ovary T-shirts or "U break It U Buy It" sweats, wipe your boots on a "Want Buy Have" rug, pop your birth control wallet in a handbag adorned with crosses or inside a pop art suitcase. There are mousetrap mouse pads, talking monkey plush toys, hand-carved tiki candles, coloring books, videos, CDs, and wall cabinets with nicely twisted takes on Hogan's Heroes and Jerry Lewis. And it wouldn't be Seattle without glass. Many one-of-a-kind stocking stuffer pins, magnets, key chains, stickers, and coasters start as low as 25 cents. (401 E. Pine St., 206-568-4782; noon-7 p.m. Sun.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat.)

CoCA (Center on Contemporary Art): Striped Superhero Doll Dogs (frogs and cats) and slide-mounted paintings are part of the "Little Things Count" exhibit. The fine-art-comes-in-small-sizes-and-prices concept ranges from $7 ornaments to $1,000 sculpture, with photographs, prints, jewelry, and metalwork by artists including Wanda Pelayo, Alex Schweder, and Etsuko Ichikawa. And glass bell jars for your sprouts. (1420 11th Ave. 206-728-1980; 2-8 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sun.)

Henry Art Gallery: Packed into this tiny and terrific gift shop is a neat set of playing cards with poster art from Bumbershoot, art walks, Seattle Rep performances, and old Moe Caf頣oncerts created by local outfit Modern Dog; also Kiff Slimmons jewelry made of natural fibers—bangles, chains, and neck cuffs are a standout—as well as smart sushi plate sets by Mesolini Glass of Bainbridge. (University of Washington campus, 206-543-2280; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat., Thurs. until 8 p.m.)

Roq la Rue Gallery: Jeff Koons' postcards, rhinestone cowgirl switch plates by YeeHaw Cherry, as well as prints by Shag and Jim Woodring are on sale at Belltown's home for pop, surrealist, and lowbrow art (from $30 to $300). There's also a fabulous collection of books; hot rod, black velvet, tiki, and psychedelic posters; and the Collect Club series of miniature artifacts (such as a baby Buddha and petite Sphinx) for only $4,including a bag of candies. (2316 Second Ave., 206-374-8977, 2-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 1-5 p.m. Sat.)

Souvenir: The ultimate stocking hangs in the window at this exquisite card shop in Ballard, decorated with antique Edwardian embroidery. Curtis Steiner displays a wall of his designs—elegant hand-painted images and delightful vintage photos with mix 'n' match frames—cameo, engraved, or embossed vellum. Choose a holly sprig or merry ornament with a "season's greetings" banner (from $6.50 to $8—or get a box for 10 percent off). Also featured are David Wright's egg ornaments from silly Santas to wacky birds. (5325 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-297-7116; 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., noon- 5 p.m. Sun.)

Sue Gundy: Neckties inspired by the monorail and architectural patterns from the Vance Building and Old Federal Building. Nature is another source for the digitally printed materials on hats, tees, curtains, lamp shades, purses, and napkins at her studio gallery in Phinney Ridge. Her koi scarves have been sold at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and her fringy boas and shawls are big now. (6259 Third Ave. N.W., 206-706-8883; 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tues.-Sun.)

Pratt Fine Arts Center: For those who want to hang onto history, a Lou Piniella collage card is available at the Holiday Art Sale here at the old Wonder Bread Thrift Store building. Choose among nearly 6,000 pieces of art from over 250 artists (many alumni and faculty), ranging from $10 jewelry to several- thousand-dollar bronzes and covering the gamut from photography to prints, clothes, books, and glassworks. (20th Ave. and Jackson St., 206-328-2200; 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. daily through Sun., Dec. 22.)

Crackerjack: Carries Mikele Keiffer's "Tussie Mussie" party hats—elegant velvet yet quirky numbers with elastic chin straps are adorned with baubles and beads. (1815 N. 45th St., Wallingford Center, 206-547-498; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.)

Portage Bay Goods: Among the recycled stuff, find Bedrock Industries' set of Corona bottle tumblers for getting really juiced. (706 N. 34th St., 206-547-5221; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.)

Frank and Dunya: Carries an array of local wares, from Bella Luz night-lights to Frenittiks' paper goods, but check out the fleecy goods: a loopy boa called the Rainy Day Lei and a clever notion named Smittens, Wendy Feller's single glove for holding hands and staying warm. And select glass tree ornaments—of course. (3418 Fremont Ave. N., 206-547-6760; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.-Mon., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tues.-Weds., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.)

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