You might never guess that these lovely pieces by Erica Schroeder are made of concrete, not clay.
Made in the Ozarks
We love that southwest Missouri is packed with creative and handy people who know how to make some seriously cool stuff—and we found 32 of them for this feature.
by Katie Pollock Estes
Each one of these local makers creates products that are unique, artistic, useful and always beautiful. Read on to learn about some fun maker-created finds in southwest Missouri and the Ozarks.
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For the Home
American Flag Signs
by artist Kristine Grippo of American By Design, available at Schofield + Gray
What you’ll find: Artist Kristine Grippo (a former art director and artist in the TV and film industry) uses pieces of reclaimed wood to make rustic and attractive flags that are perfect for filling that big space on your wall that’s just begging for some art. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own personality.
Why we love it: Because the flag signs are made with reclaimed wood and then painted by hand, every single piece is unique. The character and age of the wood becomes part of the art, and we love the story that tells.
Who it’s for: Someone who’s both patriotic and an art fan.
Decorative Vent Covers
by Patti Brown of Simply Inspired Co.
What you’ll find: This spot sells a variety of interesting and attractive home products, like decorative arches, blanket ladders, metal trough candles, yard signs and more. We especially love the things that add beauty to necessities (like the house number signs, wall hooks and—our favorite—the decorative metal vent covers).
Why we love it: How often have you thought about your vent covers? Probably not a lot. Who does? But we love that these decorative items can take a mundane household feature and turn it into a conversation piece by adding just a bit of artistic good looks. The Elysian design of interlocking circles is our favorite.
Who it’s for: Someone looking for small home items with big impact.
by Jeff Walker of Hillcreek Pottery at Silver Dollar City
What you’ll find: Hillcreek Pottery sells a variety of thrown pottery created by craftspeople like Hillcreek’s master craftsman Jeff Walker. There is bakeware that will cook a perfect casserole and then look great on the table. There are decorative items like soap dispensers and wind chimes, and lots of items for beverages like sturdy mugs and tall pitchers.
Why we love it: Our favorite pieces have the perfect balance between form and function, serving as sturdy pieces that we can use every day and little works of art that we get to show off in our kitchens. Plus, when you shop at Hillcreek Pottery, you can get a little lesson in pottery or a demonstration at the wheel.
Who it’s for: Anybody who likes their works of art to do work.
Blown Glass Ornaments
by Terry Bloodworth and available through Waverly House Gifts & Gallery
What you’ll find: Beautiful works of blown glass art are available from artisan Terry Bloodworth, who creates some of our favorite Christmas tree ornaments. Every single piece Bloodworth creates is gorgeous.
Why we love it: These ornaments have a heft to them that makes them feel substantial, but they have a delicate preciousness as well. We love the way the colors swirl through the glass in each one in its own unique way, creating one-of-a-kind pieces that you can mix and match to fill your tree. Bonus: The way tree lights twinkle through them is pretty amazing too.
See them in person: You can purchase Bloodworth's ornaments through Waverly House Gifts & Gallery (417-882-3445, waverlyhouse.com). And you can even meet Bloodworth in person. He'll be at the store Saturday December 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Who it’s for: Christmas-lovers ready to spruce up their trees.
Custom Porch Swings
by Rebecca Fracas of Restoration Grove
What you’ll find: For comfort, style and a handmade touch, you can’t beat the custom-built porch swings from Restoration Grove. In addition to swings, artisan Rebecca Fracas creates beautiful furniture for inside your home, like dining tables, coffee tables and mid-century modern console tables.
Why we love it: Fracas’s pieces are beautiful in their simplicity, with modern, sleek designs. But the porch swings are especially fun because there’s also that little bit of whimsy (I mean… you get to swing, right?) in a piece that ultimately looks chic.
Who it’s for: Anybody with a great big front porch that’s a little underused.
1. Jane Troup
Although Jane Troup has long been known for her painted animals and landscapes in bright and vivid colors, we are currently obsessed with her mushroom series, featuring earthy yet otherworldly fungus.
2. Julie Blackmon
Julie Blackmon’s iconic photography work is not easy to come by—and it’s definitely a splurge. But it’s a splurge that’s 100% worth it.
3. Hannah Bunch
We can’t decide which we like better from Hannah Bunch, her paintings of pups in bold oil or her paintings of ocean waves that look so vivid it feels like they will roll right off the page.
4. Farley Lewis
A home portrait can quickly become a family heirloom, and we love the ones Farley Lewis creates. Check out the gorgeous landscapes too.
5. Betty Parnell
Look for her work at OH Gallery at Obelisk Home. Betty Parnell’s large-scale abstract paintings are a celebration of color and movement, and they make gorgeous focal points in any room.
6. Colby Kern
See Kern’s work at OH Gallery during the February First Friday Art Walk. Colby Kern has both an artist’s eye and an interior designer’s eye, and his chic black-and-white painting series features pieces that complement any type of space.
7. Michelle Houghton
Michelle Houghton is another artist on the list whose bold use of color elicits big emotion. We love it all, but the florals are always a favorite. We’re also fans of her more abstract work, with their colors that blend together in ways that feel a bit like movement.
For Gift Giving
Simply Ozark makes a variety of body products, from handmade bars of soap to salt scrubs.
Concrete Trays and Planters
By Erica Schroeder of Branded Concrete
What you’ll find: You might never guess that these lovely pieces are made of concrete, not clay. Branded Concrete creates items with modern lines like an oval serving tray, with natural vibes like a trinket tray made to look like a ginkgo leaf, and with geometric designs like the geodesic sphere planters.
Why we love it: We like the form-plus-function of all the pieces, but the planters make an especially lovely gift. You can fill them with an easy-to-care-for plant before giving them away. That brings even more local businesses into the mix, as you can find the perfect plant at a local nursery. And those ginkgo leaf trays are just perfection.
Who it’s for: Your plant parent friend.
by Simply Ozark
What you’ll find: Simply Ozark makes a variety of body products, from handmade bars of soap to salt scrubs and—our favorite—soaking salts. You can buy the products online or find them at spots like MaMa Jean’s Natural Market or the Simply Ozark Boutique inside Little Bluebird Vintage Boutique.
Why we love it: We love bath and body products that are minimalist, beautiful, aromatic and functional—and these soaking salts fit the bill. Plus, they come with an adorable little wooden scoop, so you can feel like you are dipping into something from an apothecary while you draw your bath.
Who it’s for: That friend who could use a little “me time”
by Tyler and Kala Headly of Onie & Sky
What you’ll find: You’ve probably noticed that beaded bracelets are having a moment, and Onie & Sky is a local business that has been ahead of the trend. The handmade pieces range from chic (like tile bead or bar bracelets) to sweet (like kid-size bracelets with letter beads spelling out their names). And new owners Tyler and Kala Headly know their stuff when it comes to jewelry; they also own the popular Lala Links bracelet line.
Why we love it: When it comes to gifting, these are a dream because you can order a custom piece just for them—in their favorite team colors or with a meaningful message spelled out, for example.
Who it’s for: The stylish friend who wants a unique piece.
Handmade Wooden Spoons
by Mike Weber of Swan Creek Crafts, available at Farmers Market of the Ozarks
What you’ll find: Owner Mike Weber, has been creating spoons for nine years and started selling at the farmers market seven years ago. He makes 17 wood products, including varying sizes of spoons, chopsticks, charcuterie and cutting boards, earrings and other Ozarks-related or Ozarks-themed items.
Why we love it: With 150 types of hardwood from all around the world in his shop, the color and grain variety of the pieces is gorgeous. Plus, spoons can be customized by burning names into them.
Who it’s for: The friend who loves to cook and appreciates a hard-working utensil.
Turned Wooden Bowls
by Mike Ilkiw of Bowls for Breasts and available at Formed Gallery
What you’ll find: Mike Ilkiw’s beautiful turned wood bowls and rolling pins make beautiful, functional gifts. They are turned on a lathe to create pieces that display the nature of the wood and all its grain’s variant colors. Some feature a natural edge, and they are all made from the reclaimed wood of downed trees instead of freshly cut trees.
Why we love it: These turned wood bowls are as great for serving a salad as they are for putting on display as part of your décor—but we love that they benefit a good cause too. A portion of Ilkiw’s proceeds are donated to Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks in memory of his wife, Connie.
Who it’s for: The friend who loves to cook and values form as much as function.
by Carlton Johnson of Reborn Candle Co.
What you’ll find: This one’s simple: Candles. Just candles. (Well, okay, there is room spray and a wax melt collection, but we’re nuts about the candles.) And boy do these candles smell amazing. They are hand poured using soy wax—made from soy grown in the United States.
Why we love it: The scents are always stellar in a Reborn candle. Our favorites are any of the fresh scents (like the Grove Spa variety) and any of the more masculine scents—and there are several. Magic Library, for example, is a combination of leather, vanilla and wood. Mmm! We also love that the candles are often poured into chic and minimalist corked amber glass jars for a look that melds into any décor.
Who it’s for: The good-smells addict in your friend group.
Flavors of Southwest Missouri
Apple Spice Moscow Mule from 417 Cocktails
Tastes like: Warm winter spices in a cold copper cup
Dark Chocolate + Avocado & Rosemary Bar from Askinosie Chocolate
Tastes like: Creamy sweetness with just a hint of herbs
Spicy Garlic Hot Sauce from Springfield Trading Co.
Tastes like: A little bit of heat, a little bit of acidity, a garlic punch
Spumante Rosé from Good Clean Wine
Tastes like: Dry wine with a celebration of itty bitty bubbles
Goldfinch Songbird Gin from Ty Iechyd Da Distillery
Tastes like: Woodsy and botanical brightness with a clean finish
Colombia Roast Coffee Beans from Kingdom Coffee
Tastes like: A bold and aromatic brew with a subtle hints of lemon, caramel and vanilla
Chevre from Terrell Creek Farm
Tastes like: Tangy, savory, mouthwatering delightful
Herb De Provence from Lavender Falls Farm
Tastes like: A delicately floral complement to your favorite dish
Leong’s Cashew Chicken Sauce from Leong’s Asian Diner
Tastes like: Savory nostalgia to flavor your fried chicken
Date Lady Pure Date Syrup from Date Lady
Tastes like: An apple slice’s sweetly delicious new best friend.
Lake Map Signs
by Josh and Jen Marrufo of Homestead Design Company
What you’ll find: Homestead Design Company makes a variety of custom wood furniture and other cool things like beautiful built-in bunk beds and barn doors. But there’s one item they’ve made that can really show off your lake pride. The Table Rock Lake signs feature a map of the waterway in a simple, chic design.
Why we love it: If you have a lake house, condo or shore-side cottage, you really need this for your wall. It’s the perfect lake property piece—or you could hang it at home as a reminder of one of your favorite places on earth.
Who it’s for: The lake-life-lover at heart.
Pineapple Whip Candle
by Jesse Tyler of SGF Co.
What you’ll find: While this lifestyle brand mostly makes local pride apparel, they got into the candle game this year and it was a huge hit. The Pineapple Whip candle is fruity, summery and sweet—and 10% of the proceeds from its sales go to Ozark Greenways, a nonprofit chosen by Pineapple Whip.
Why we love it: Well, it smells like one of summertime’s sweetest treats! We love that we can catch a nostalgic whiff of something tropical and delicious all year long. So when we’re stuck in winter and wishing for a frozen treat, we can just light our candle and enjoy.
Who it’s for: Anyone with an insatiable sweet tooth.
Local Pride T-Shirts
by Missouri is Awesome and sold at 5 Pound Apparel
What you’ll find: There are a lot of tees at 5 Pound that show off a love of 417-land like the classic “Springfield, MO Where Dreams Come True” sunshine design you’ve probably seen around town. You can get it in gold if you want to stand out, or in gray for a more subtle show of pride. (Bonus: They have fun local love socks too!)
Why we love it: You can wear your city and regional pride on your chest and look cool while you’re at it. Hot tip: Wear them while you travel, and see if you run into any other 417-landers while you’re out exploring the world. Plus when you buy a shirt from 5 Pound Apparel, the company provides 5 pounds of food to someone in need in the Ozarks.
Who it’s for: Anybody who doesn’t just feel local pride, they want to wear it too.
Springfield Park Board Shirts
Available at The Local Bevy and a few Park Board locations like the Springfield Botanical Gardens Gift Shop and Lake Springfield Boathouse.
What you’ll find: Do you have a favorite local park? Some beloved spots have earned spots on fun T-shirts with designs that remind us of vintage National Parks artwork. There are tees for Sequiota Park, Jordan Valley Park, Springfield Botanical Gardens, Phelps Grove Park and Doling Park.
Why we love it: The artwork is oh-so-charming, and we love that vintage vibe that they have. Plus, who wouldn’t want to wear something that reminds them of lazy afternoons strolling some of Springfield’s prettiest places?
Who it’s for: Someone who really appreciates all of Springfield’s green spaces.
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