Get Crafty: Guy Salter’s Christmas Gift Ideas

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London Craft Week Chairman & Founder and judge for our inaugural Great British Brands Awards 2021, Guy Salter shares a few last-minute thoughts about what to get that person in your life who’s super-tricky to buy for (or to just to add to your own Christmas Wish List).

I don’t know about you, but I always cut Christmas so fine that by the time I have come up to speed in imaginative present-giving mode, some things are sold out or it’s all too much of a palaver. So, here are a few pointers for gifts that (I think) are special but hopefully reasonably easy to find if you know where to look, and most can be bought online.

Guy Salter Shares His Christmas Gift Ideas

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The Underground Map of London (1911) by the London Underground

Old maps are often surprisingly good value considering their age and are endlessly fascinating if a place that one knows well. As a Londoner born & bred, I’ve been known to trawl the streets with an old map looking for breadcrumbs or shadows of what used to be there. It’s surprising how often pubs still act as intact reference points, churches too… Given there are maps of almost everywhere, it can be very satisfying to find one that is perfect for a particular person’s interests. This one would be spot on for my elder son who’s autistic and has always loved the tube – except he knows it so well he doesn’t need a map. What I especially like about this early one is that it shows the lines geographically before Harry Beck’s brilliant schematic 30’s version we know so well. And shows stations like Brompton Road or Down Street that are still there below ground but we rattle past without knowing they there. As a child I used to live around the corner from The Map House, so I include it here partly out of nostalgia but mainly because they still have a very good reputation for all things Map. £885,


Castro Smith Tower of Ring

For the man in your life, a truly unique gift from a truly gifted jeweller & engraver. This suggestion is a bit different from my others in that a ring like this is made to order, so you can’t wrap it and put in under the tree. But that’s why it’s perfect for the right person. Even better, maybe give him the bespoke service, which will take even longer – but then you’re giving not just an object but an experience. Plus, he gets two presents; the first when he opens his card on Christmas Day, the second when the ring is ready. £2,300,

Image: Castro Smith

Max Bainbridge / Forest+Found Ebonised Alder Jar, 2020

Max Bainbridge / Forest+Found Ebonised Alder Jar, 2020

For a loved one’s collection or maybe to seed the start of a collection. Take a trip across the river to Barnes or a quick look online: it’s hard to go wrong with Sarah Myerscroft’s careful edit and knowing eye. I love Max Bainbridge’s work and own a couple of his pieces a bit like this beautiful one in green elder. £1,600, 


Floor lamp ‘Bridge’ designed by Severin Hansen for Haslev, Denmark, 1950s

If you’re like me and have a dangerous soft spot for Scandi mid-century design, be careful when you visit the elegant-shabby London outpost of this Stockholm gallery, as you’ll need to maintain great self-discipline. Plus the unrestored Palladian town house is a real treat in itself (Covid-rules allowing, you need to make an appointment). I don’t have room for this willow-like lamp but if someone was feeling generous enough to give it to me, I’d move something to give it a starring role. What makes it even more tempting is that Modernity continue to collaborate with Adrian Sassoon, whose usual stunning selection of applied art is interspersed amongst these classic gems. Needless to say, for someone very special in your life. £6,800,

Image: Modernity 


Eva Brandt Cups

I own a few bigger pieces by Eva Brandt but if someone gave me these beautiful cups I would be very happy. Made in her studio on Bornholm but inspired by the native Indian tradition in New Mexico from her time there, these engaging stoneware mugs are glazed on the inside so also very practical. I especially like the subtle grey one but they come in all sorts of patterns and colours. Just be aware many are sold out, so you may need to move fast. If they are, Yvonna Demczynska of Flow always has a wonderful selection of other stunning pieces at a wide range of price points, so it is a great source of inspiration at any time of year. And now has an easy to navigate e-commerce site. £55,

Image: Flow Gallery


Niwaki S-Type Secateurs

This might seem a lot for a horticultural tool, however important the gardener in your life is to you but at least it’s less than the magnificent hand-forged Damascus steel Hori Hori, which weighs in at an eye-watering £759. In my view, both are actually well worth it, especially these carbon steel secateurs, which sharpen well, so will I’m sure last a lifetime if looked after properly. I also love the wisteria rattan handles, which not only look great but provide grip when tackling those gnarly rose bush stems. £159,


Aerende Gift Card

I only recently came across Aerende when reading the latest version of Crafts magazine but really like its selection of hand-made everyday products. Even better, it aims to support makers facing social challenges. I know sometimes giving a gift voucher can seem a bit of a cop out but actually it is a great way to let someone quietly select something they really want – and hopefully there is more than enough here to choose from. Mind you, you might need to give more than one to avoid Scrooge comparisons. £10 each,

Image: Aerende

For more gift ideas from Guy Salter, visit

Feature image: Unsplash 


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