From local crafters who work out of their homes

Shop Local: Three last minute handmade gift ideas

Handleless mugs, enhanced photography, minty winter soap $6-$15
Thu, 12/21/2017 - 8:45am

    For the holidays, we’re continuing our series to shine the spotlight on Maine craftspeople who make products by hand and work out of their homes and kitchens to make quality products and work. Here are three last-minute ideas that can be found in the Midcoast and online before the season is upon us.

    Lovin’ Cups

    Handleless pottery that’s part of Waterfall Arts’ Handmade show

    The back story:

    Linda Stec has been teaching clay at Waterfall Arts for over a decade. She has a degree in Fine Arts and has taken many masters’ level classes. Along with clay, Linda has been a performing puppeteer for 18 years and practices calligraphy, cartooning, and weaving. She is a master gardener and the Director of the Starrett Childrens' Center. These handleless, glazed mugs are all affordably priced and all proceeds go back into Waterfall Arts’ programs. Win-win!

    Where to find it/price range:

    $7-10 at Waterfall Arts Handmade show, only open until Dec. 23. She’ll make more after the holidays. Contact her at

    In her words: “I do wheel work and I’m cold all of the time, so I always have one of these cups filled with something hot beside me and without handles I can’t accidentally knock it over,” she said. “They’re glazed to withstand heat and the dishwasher, and I just wanted to make them affordable for everyone. Each one of them is one of a kind.”

    Laurie Bellmore Arts Photographic print

    Birch Trees, Enhanced photography

    The back story:

    Laurie Bellmore, a Maine native, who has recently retired from being “back to the land” farmer with her husband, lives in Owls Head. She is a self-taught artist and jeweler. This artwork was printed in-house, an archival print on paper, along with a 5"x 7" mat with black core, in a plastic sleeve. “In my photographic work, I use the digital platform to enhance my photograph and create an entirely new piece of artwork; some call it digital painting,” she said. “My digitally enhanced work starts with my own photo, which is manipulated and transformed into a new image with the help of digital tools. I do all of the enhanced painting, photography, image editing, archival giclée printing also the matting and framing in my studio, with only my hand touching the work.”

    Where to find it/price range:

    $15 on Etsy or visit:

    In her words: “I took this photo on a back road somewhere in Midcoast, Maine. When I am out taking pictures, I often follow the beauty of the moment, and don't pay much attention to where I am, until I try to find my way toward home,” she said. “I love this picture; it is so exciting when you are in the right place, the lighting is exactly right and it all comes together and makes a great image.”


    Wintermint handmade soap

    The back story:

    Allie Bowman, who works at the Camden Hannaford Supermarket, has a side business at his home in Swanville, where he makes all of handmade soaps, beard care and essential oils in his kitchen. Wintermint,  one of his most popular seasonal soaps, is SLS ( sodium lauryl sulfate) free, dye-free, all natural and vegan and made with a hemp seed oil base. Hemp seed oil is an amazing moisturizer for the skin.  It contains vitamin A, D, and E, and minerals  which help keep the skin smooth and soft. The oil is also known to soothe rashes, reduce redness, and itchy, dry patches on the skin.

    Where to find it/price range:

    $6 online or visit KatWalk, a boutique store in Belfast, which carries Wintermint, as well as other soaps in his line.

    In his words: “It’s made with multiple mints and to me it smells like winter,” he said. “It smells like freshly falling snow. When you shower with it it just makes your senses come alive.”

    Related: Shop Local: Three unique handmade Maine goods

    Shop Local: Three unique Maine edibles

    Kay Stephens can be reached at