Good Giving

By Kerry Lachmann and Charlotte Bruce Harvey '78 / November/December 2010
November 10th, 2010

Welcome to the BAM's 2010 Gift Guide. Here you'll find a range of unusual gift ideas all made or developed by Brown alumni. Browse the photos and click on the corresponding links for more information and to order specific products.

Behind each of these products is a story, and this year we feature four of them: Julia Berger ’91 describes how her love fortextiles flourished during a leave she took from Brown to study them inFlorence. Justin Metcalfe ’95 applies the creative ingenuity so commonamong Brown alumni to employ Vermont artisans to make doorknobs—yes, doorknobs—with soul. 

John Feidelson ’78 took an independent study in Theory and Design at Brown and went on to make stunning wooden frames wrapped in lead and copper foil that's been embossed on a letterpress. And reflecting a commitment to helping traditional cultures survive, Christina Des Vaux ’06, who studied international relations at Brown, works with a knitting cooperative in Uruguay to produce handmade seaters, shawls, and scarfs.

If you have a product you'd like to see included the next year's Gift Guide, let us know by e-mailing Kerry Lachmann at 


1 HEADLINER Old news becomes cutting edge with reclaimed newspaper handbags by Ken Solomon ’77. $48-$75.  (877) 752-7162. 

2, 3, 4 FOILER John Feidelson ’78 covers his wooden boxes and picture frames with letter-pressed lead foil. Boxes: $115; frames: $75-$175. (Read more about Feidelson here.)

5 GIVE ME A “B!” Sterling silver pendants take their graceful shape from ink drawings by Jill Moser ’78. $90. (504) 891-8848.

6 SIMPLE TREASURE  Ethan Feirstein ’06 just launched his own line of leather and canvas wallets at Merchants Case Co. $45-$100. (917) 650-0116.


1 HANDYWOMAN A place for everything and everything in its place. Carole Ann Penney ’07 makes chic denim utility belts with pockets for every size tool. $25. (802) 236-2290.

2 A LITTLE FRIDA Novelist Nina Shope ’98 beads ultrasuede ornaments and dolls of folk figures. Frida Kahlo is a favorite. $30. (303) 861-4327.

3 HAMBURGER HELPER  Invented at Brown, Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup is the creation of Mark Ramadan ’08. $9/jar.  

(646) 450-5735.

4 FABRICATIONS Julia Berger ’91 manufactures custom-embroidered linens for the bed and table. Hermonogrammed cocktail napkins come in a wide range of bright colors and fun designs. Set of eight napkins: $195; 10% discount for Brown alums. (203) 329-8248. (Read more about Berger here.)


1, 2, 3 OENOPHILE  Easton Manson ’95 is chairman of Langtry Estate and Vineyards, which makes the highly rated Langtry and Guenoc wines in Northern California’s Lake and Napa counties. $16–$40. (707) 987-2385.

4 NO TIME TO DECANT? Sarah Hall ’91 and her father created the Wine Swirl to speed the process. It quickly aerates a full bottle or just a glass of wine by creating a gentle vortex that puts oxygen in contact with the liquid.  $139.95. (888) 400-7955. 


 1 FOR AVIATION BUFFS Philip Makanna ’62 has spent the past thirty years photographing World War I and World War II warplanes. His handsome calendars are beautifully printed on heavy stock. $14.99. (800) 331-8231. 


1 FRAMED Magnets secure the glass to this copper-wrapped wooden picture frame by John Feidelson ’78. $75-$175. (Read more about Feidelson here.)

2 SAINTLY Among the folk art ornaments made by Nina Shope ’98 is the Virgin of Guadalupe. $25. (303) 861-4327.

3 OPEN AND SHUT This hand-blown hollow-glass doorknob is designed by Justin Metcalfe ’95 and manufactured at his company, Knobworks Vermont. Prices start at $150. (802) 310-4056. (Read more about Metcalfe here.)

4, 5 BEYOND BLING Karen Bizer ’85 crafts these delicate cornucopia earrings using 18k rose- and yellow-gold and multicolor pavé diamonds. The strands of semiprecious stones in her mosaic bracelet are secured by an 18k gold clasp. Earrings: $5,200; bracelet: $4,300. (646) 932-2555.

6 WEIGHTLESS WARMTH A gossamer silk and mohair ascot scarf by Helen Spector ’67. $150. (503) 296-7248.


1, 2 ECO CHIC Sharon Murriguez ’00 prints organic fabric with water-based inks to make these cheery tea towels and throw pillows. Pillow $50; Tea Towel $18. (415) 948-6389. 

3, 4 BORN AGAIN Carole Ann Penney ’07 “upcycles” vintage shirts into aprons and turns the cuffs into luggage tags. Apron $20; luggage tags $8. (802) 236-2290.

5 ITCHING TO KNIT? Make these school-spirit mittens designed by Julie Iselin Turjoman ’79. Her book, Brave New Knits, gathers knitting patterns from the blogosphere. Mitten pattern $5. (212) 808-1684.


 1 SUMMER SCENE Roger Horine ’78 ,’78 AM hand prints his limited edition silkscreens so no  two are exactly alike. “Ocean Stairs” was made with eleven stencils and
transparent inks. $225. (508) 655-3466.


1, 2, 3 SIRENS Mermaids are said to enchant. These hand-beaded ornaments by Nina Shope ’98 sure do. $25. (303) 861-4327. 

4, 5, 6 FOUND ART Geri Williams ’70 makes her necklaces and earrings out of beach glass wrapped in sterling-silver wire. Brown earrings $18; green necklace and earrings $48. (508) 833-4355.

7, 8 NECK LACE Jennifer Knuth ’89 crocheted this delicate ribbon of garnet beads and lariat of turquoise and adventurine. $32.

9 PEAK OF PERFECTION Lucy Golden’83 finds themes for her jewelry in nature. Her sterling and resin “cairn” earrings are inspired by the rock piles hikers leave onmountaintops. $54. (603) 823-8806.


 1 TAGGED You’ll never lose your luggage with these tags. Carole Ann Penney ’07 makes them from old shirt cuffs. $8. (802) 236-2290.

2 LETTERPRESS John Feidelson ’78 wraps his hand-cut wooden frames in lead and copper foil that’s been embossed on a letterpress. $75–$175.  (Read ,pre abpuit Feidelson here.)

3 HAND HELD Ribbed and solid hand-blown glass doorknobs from Knobworks Vermont, by Justin Metcalfe ’95. From $150.  (Read more about Metcalfe here.)

4 FLOWER POWER Jennifer Knuth ’89 calls this necklace Daisy Doodle. A silver flower hangs on a crocheted strand of silver colored glass and crystal beads. $35.

5 WARM HANDS Helen Spector ’67 knits these Brunonian fingerless mittens out of alpaca and silk. $90. (503) 296-7248.



 1 A BAG FOR BRUNO Attorney Robert Goff ’57 hand stitches custom canvas tote bags and donates half the proceeds to the Brown Annual Fund. $1,000. (401) 272-6781.

2, 3 WINTER'S COMING! Christina Des Vaux ’06 imports merino wool from Uruguay and sells knitwear made by localwomen. This shawl is the warmest, most luxurious thing we can imagine. Wool $13/100g spool; shawl $120.  (206) 261-8084. (Read More about Des Vaux here.)

4 HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? Oatmeal soap soothes itchy skin. David Tell ’79 makes his out of organic oats. $5.50/bar. (828) 634-4321.


 1, 2, 3 HAPPY FEET Jonah Staw ’97 cofounded LittleMissMatched in 2004, selling fun socks in odd numbers. Now the company makes everything from pj’s to furniture. Socks from $8. (888) 630-8883.

4 ACE YOUR EXAMS, COLLECT $100 Blaine Grinna ’11 and friends created Brownopoly, available at the Brown Bookstore. Metal game pieces include the Brown Bear, a mortar board, and a laptop. $35. (800) 695-2050.

5 NIGHT LIGHT Warren Kanders’79 recently acquired Black Diamond Equipment, which makes skiing and climbing equipment. This headlamp is designed for hiking but is handy for bedtime reading, too. $39.95.


6 FASTBALL Wiffle Ball move over; there’s a new game in town. Baseball buff Aaron Kim  ’00 gave his plastic Blitzball flat sides for extra speed and distance. $11.99 for four.



 1 SPORTY Clare Hare ’81 makes upscale women’s golf- and resort-wear out of Liberty of London and other fine cottons. Available at select pro shops and online. $100–$130. (203) 655-2703.



1 SPEED OF LIGHT Seattle architect Nils Finne ’76 named this pendant light Foss, which is the Norwegian word for water. An LED bulb above the shade illuminates the handblown glass,evoking the flow of water. $1,700. (206) 467-2880.


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November/December 2010