The holiday gift-giving season offers not only the opportunity to make our friends and family happy, but also to help our local stores remain prosperous and in business.
With so many artisans in The County, giving gifts that are locally produced is easy. Here are some ideas for where to find items crafted in Wallowa County and sold in local stores in Joseph and beyond.
If you have a yen for a nice drive through the scenic Wallowa River Canyon, Sharp Saddlery, who recently moved their shop to the mouth of Big Canyon, offers hand-made leather goods that showcase Clay Sharp's leather working talent. For example, the shop sells a collection of eight hand carved leather coasters in a leather holder for $99.
With the majority of Wallowa Countians being firm believers in Second Amendment rights, the Sharps offer two works of leather catering to that market. First, are rifle slings, either carved or hand stamped that can be bought off the shelf or custom ordered for $75 and up.
Sharp's Saddles also offers custom made holsters for virtually any pistol. These start at $85. Custom wallets start at $25 while one of a cowboy's best friends, a tally book, goes for $35.
JOSEPH: Probably our first spot for holiday shopping, don't forget some off-the-beaten-path options.
Down at Sally Brandt's Sheep Shed, at Main Street, Brandt is offering a number of handmade, unique gifts created by herself and others. Among her favorites are kangaroo socks knitted by Vicky Neveau for $39. These also have a "cable braid" (see photo). Mariah Blackhorse is a Native American woman who sells her handmade jewelry in the store. Janet Hohman makes small and mostly wild animals from carded wool for only $10 each. They make great ornaments.
Brandt herself knits handwoven and painted chenille scarves for $55 and she really loves the handwoven kitchen towels created by Judy Roberts.
Wandering south on Josephs Main Street, one can walk into Missy Marshall's "Missy's Uptown Art" for a number of economical gift ideas.
On a table in the middle of the shop are ceramic coasters by wet paper and watercolorist, Dean Crouser. Marshall said that at four for $40, they're among the most popular items in her store. She also pointed out some fetching maple burl baskets priced at only $45 that have also proved popular.
Local sculptor, Maria Parks, has two works on display at Missy's: One is a bee in recline pose after indulging in pollen titled: "Bee Happy." The other denotes a ladybug reading a book. The painted ceramic tiles of Gig Harbor, Wash. artist, Kate Larson, are also proving a popular item with customers.
Known for her discriminating eye for western art, Marshall said the works of esteemed western artist, Carol Griggs, are being rediscovered. Griggs, a very popular artist about 25 years ago is finding a new audience. Marshall has a large print called "Brave Horse" hanging that features a Native American woman with a serene look riding an Appaloosa horse with an equally serene look.
Also on the west side of Joseph's Main Street, Janyel Share's Flannel Lantern is one of those stores where you never know what you'll find. Share carries a large variety of eclectic items, including 5'x6' tapestries and prints of her own photographs at $45 and $25 respectively. "I'm probably more known for my pillows than anything else," she said. "They're my bread and butter."
Hanging in one corner of the Flannel Lantern are purses made with Pendleton wool and leather. These are the creations of local artisan, Tammy Spours. Share said she tries to feature a number of female artisans, including Wild Soul Boutique in Prineville that offers ball caps with a carved or stamped leather rectangle on the front.
Just a few doors up is the Dog Spot, a combination restaurant and pet gift store. Co-owner Amy Wolf was happy to show off her selection of gifts. She started with Pet Pail, that looks like a Thermos lunchbox that holds a collar and leash that double as handles and sealed containers for wet food and water along with other amenities. It retails for $65 and comes in a variety of colors. Locally-made items includes cards and signs. Next, Wolf showed off her CBD treats for dogs. Wolf said that CBD's biggest assets are in the treatment of anxiety and joint relief.
"It also helps with immune health and cardiovascular health," she said. "My most popular item for the dogs is the CBD infused peanut butter."
Next on the list was a puzzle game dogs can earn a treat from if they solve the puzzle by moving pieces around the playing board. "I've had great feedback on these," Wolf said.
Last, but not least, were human treats: in this case, bottles of wine. Wolf noted her selections in that department are unique. rather than focusing on local wines or beers, The Dog Spot stocks wines from excellent Oregon wineries that don't distribute in the area. For example, R. Stewart & Co. Winery in McMinnville as well as wines from the Rogue Valley and other places.
"People are still discovering that we offer a lot of goods and wines unavailable at the other retailers. It's nice to be able to offer something a little different," Wolfe said.