What, just five days left til Christmas? And all you’ve gotten so far is a Starbucks gift card for your boss? To help you get your shopping ass in gear (and because we had so much fun doing this last week), we asked museum staffers to suggest great gifts from our fabulous Museum Shops that are out of the big-box ordinary.
Lord of the Pings
This little gem has been in the shop for quite some time, but I still revel in its simple, pure genius. The Runbell ($29.95) is efficiently designed and surprisingly fun to wear and operate. And that sound…PING! I don’t know why but it makes me feel warm inside. It’s actually made for runners to politely notify others that they are about to be passed (which is so much better than shouting ON YOUR LEFT!…which never comes out polite). Not a runner? Neither am I, but here is how I’d use it if someone was kind enough to buy this for me:
- Are you a teacher with a rowdy class and want their attention? The PING is so much more effective (and less silly looking) than putting your finger on your nose or clapping three times.
- Have an old dog, like I do, that is hard of hearing? Associate the high-pitched PING with a treat a few times and you’ll have the pooch’s undivided attention (And make Pavlov proud.)
- You’re at the diner and you notice that your hamburger deluxe and onion rings are sitting on the counter getting cold while your waitress scrolls through her Instagram feed…PING. Order up! (Problem solved!)
- Or you can just randomly fire off a PING in a crowded room and get your kicks out of all the people reach for their iPhones to see who just texted them.—Aaron Padilla, Director of Spalding House
Made by hand, made in Hawai‘i
Our Museum Shop at Spalding House carries wheel thrown and hand built planters ($24-$40) by May Ceramics—aka emerging artist Lauren May (she’s also our new Education Programs Coordinator at Spalding House. Hey, gurl.) My house is filled with her stylish, functional cups, bowls, planters, and plates (I also use them daily to style and photograph my food on Buttertooth!) I’m a huge fan of her and her clean and cool aesthetic. They make great gifts for anyone who appreciates handmade one-of-a-kind gifts.—Micah Vargas, Volunteer Services
Blythe is a fashion doll with an oversized head and color-changing eyes created in 1972 by Allison Katzman for the Kenner toy company and sold for only one year. In 2001, Junko Wong, CEO of the illustration agency CWC, teamed with Japanese toy company Takara revive the Blythe doll line (after buying the license from Hasbro). Now coveted by collectors around the world, these “Neo Blythes” have even serves as a muse to designers such as Alexander McQueen and are customized by artists. Most of the designers featured in Harajuku: Tokyo Street Fashion, like Baby the Stars Shine Bright, q-pot, and h.Naoto, have created designs for Blythe. (And Blythe dolls have a Hawai‘i connection—Junko Wong grew up here.)
These Blythe fashion tights ($59.95) help bring some Harajuku style to an everyday wardrobe. The print featuring the big-headed style icon is surprisingly versatile. Pair the tights with a monotone dress for a more subdued look or combine them with a favorite Jfashion coordinate. It’s a great gift for the fashion fan in your life!—Angela Ni, Junior Graphic Designer
Never too much Tutuvi
I’m a Hawai‘i transplant, with all my family back in Texas. Since moving here, I’ve immersed myself in the beautiful textiles of The Aloha Shirt. The Museum Shop is carries men’s shirts, tees, lavalavas, dresses, and pillows by longtime island designer Colleen Kimura of Tutuvi, all made with her striking silk-screened textiles. I recently purchased the Ko’olau/Maile dress for my mother. The knee-length design features a great asymmetrical neckline—and POCKETS! Now she can have a little piece of our beautiful Ko‘olau back in Texas.—MV
Fujifilm out Polaroids Polaroid with its instax mini 8 instant film camera ($125). Unlike original Polaroids, the instax lets you do some basic futzing with a “brightness dial” and you can also soften shots with a high-key mode, before it spits out a mini photo print. It turns even the most run-of-the-mill get together into a party.—Lesa Griffith, director of communications
Give the gift of art—a whole year of it (and this cool tote bag!)
My cousin, who is a junior in high school, has taken an interest in a girl who in turn has an interest in art. He texted me asking what was going on at the museum. I texted him back about the Harajuku exhibition. So he brought his object of affection to the museum for his first date ever. He says it went well. To help him keep impressing her, I’ve gotten him a museum membership. And I got his sister one too. Access to Hiroshige, Monet, van Gogh, Harajuku, Yun-Fei Ji, top Hawai‘i artists, ARTafterDARK, film, music, and more for a whole year. And just $25 too. Or you can go higher, to $100, for invitations to exhibition openings and other special events—and our brand new “totes” bag pictured above. Cute yah? It’s easy to get—just make a few clicks to purchase gift memberships online.—LG