Holiday Shopping Guide 2017

by Lynne Rostochil

Thanksgiving is over and the frenzy of holiday shopping has begun in earnest!  If you’re still making your shopping list, here are a few gift ideas for the modern lover in your life.

1.  Give the gift of Goff

This year, former Bruce Goff student and Professor Emeritus of Architecture at OU, Arn Henderson, finally published his highly anticipated and very thorough homage to Goff and his amazing body of work.  Although Goff never received a degree, Frank Lloyd Wright stated that the architect was “one of the most talented members of the group of young architects devoted to an indigenous architecture for America.”  Unlike some of the more academic (i.e., unreadable) architecture books in my collection, Henderson’s book is highly readable and very insightful at the same time, and, of course, it helps that there are a ton of great photos to provide entertaining eye candy, too.  This beautiful tome a must-have for any architecture lover.

2.  Spruce up your outdoor space

Koby Click, who owns and operates Space. 20th Century Modern has put his mod-loving aesthetic to work in designing and producing his unique take on the outdoor fireplace.  Comprised of a series of sharp angles from head to toe, the fireplaces are made of thick steel in a variety of dramatic patinas that will certainly weather a lifetime or two of use.  If these massive fireplaces are too large for your space, Koby is also making smaller, table-top versions that can be used as incense burners.  Pop by his shop and have a look at these beauties, and I’m sure you’ll walk away with one or two.

3.  Ogle over a few (hundred) signs

If you love vintage signs, roadside architecture, and mid-century modern buildings, you likely know all about Debra Jane Seltzer and her amazingly thorough and very fun website,   I don’t go on any road trip without first consulting Debra Jane’s site and making a list of all of the places to see on the way to my destination — and, best of all, she’s a Squadder, too!  So, I was especially excited when she released her first book, Vintage Signs of America, a few months ago.   Not only has Debra Jane documented signs from around the country, but she also knows the detailed history about most of them and shares all of her knowledge with her readers.  It’s a great resource guide, and, in case you’re wondering, several Oklahoma signs made the cut!

4.  Get a little sudsy

Normally, I’m not very girlie and don’t go for fancy toiletries and sundries, but when I spotted these handmade, wool-wrapped soaps at [HIVE], the beautifully curated and eclectic gift shop at [Artspace] at Untitled, I just had to have them.  I will reluctantly part with a couple of them to stuff a few stockings, but I’m keeping the rest for myself.  They are lovely to look at, smell great, and are locally made with all-natural ingredients.  What’s not to love about that?  Supplies are limited, so pick up a bar or two or 10 before they run out!

4.  Embrace the Kitsch

A lot of really wonderful books have come out this year, which is why reading materials make up half of this year’s list.  One of my favorites is by our friend, Charles Phoenix, who made an exciting appearance at this year’s Oklahoma Modernism Weekend in June and charmed everyone he met.  His new book, Addicted to Americana: Celebrating Classic and Kitschy American Life & Style is 176 pages of pure and very exuberant fun and even features Route 66’s Desert Hills Motel sign on the cover — way to go, Tulsa!  Inside, readers will learn all about how Charles created his niche career after finding a shoe box of slides labeled “Trip Across the U.S., 1957”  at a thrift store.  This book is as delightful as Charles himself and would make a great addition to any library.

5.  Invest in a dream

One of the most exciting things to happen in OKC’s thriving art scene this year is the creation of SHIFT by Factory Obscura.  Modeled after Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, the interactive and oh-so-fun exhibition opened at Current Studio a few weeks ago and has been a huge hit — best of all, it’s free!  The organizers would like to create a permanent and much larger SHIFT in the metro and are looking for the public’s help in making their dream come to fruition.  So, if you’d like to give to a good cause in the name of the mod person in your life, consider this as a possibility.  Go here to donate.

6.  Relive the glory days of the mom and pop motel

If you love the cover of this incredible sophomore effort by California’s own Heather David, you will be enthralled by everything inside Motel California, I promise!  Heather has spent years scouring flea markets and antique shops in search of rarely seen vintage postcards, photographs, and ephemera and has researched the history of the hundreds of mid-century-era motels scattered around her home state and compiled all of that into this very informative and entertaining book.  And if you were a kid who couldn’t wait to get to your vacation motel room and put a quarter into the Magic Fingers machine to enjoy your bed growling and rumbling to life, you will love learning all about the history of the company … and where you can find rooms that still boast beds with the technology.

7.  Go for a little color

If you need to add a little color to your life, I highly recommend a visit to Tariq at Abracadabra.  Not only does he carry a plethora of mid-century modern furnishings, pottery, and glass, but he’s also a very talented and adventurous artist who isn’t the least bit afraid of covering his bold compositions with plenty of exciting color.  One of his works would be just the thing to liven up a mod pad for the holidays.

8.  Learn all about Wanda

One of Oklahoma’s best treasures is surely the incomparable Wanda Jackson, and her recently released autobiography, with a forward by the one and only Elvis Costello, is out just in time for the holidays.  If you get a copy of her book here, you will receive a signed bookplated hard cover edition of what will surely become a must-read rock and roll classic.

9.  Support OKC mod

Yeah, I’m doing a little self promoting on this one, but what local mod lover wouldn’t enjoy a copy of OKC’s Mid-Century Modern Architecture?  You can even get a set of postcard images from the book and frame them or share them with friends.  Proceeds from book sales will go toward future Okie Mod Squad projects.

10. Pick up a mid-century modern goodie

If you’re looking for an authentic mid-century modern piece, visit Joe and Mark at RemodernOK in the Paseo and Mike at RetrOKC in the Plaza District.  You will find everything from dishes to lamps to furniture to holiday items in their glorious shops.  Plan to spend a long time looking around both places because there is so much to look at and lust over!

11.  Snap up some groovy wrapping paper

Of course, you need to wrap your mod gift with the perfect wrapping paper and you can’t find anything cooler than this year’s batch from the Wrap Up Homelessness collection.  All of the proceeds from the paper goes to publishing the Curbside Chronicle, which employs and empowers men and women transitioning out of homelessness in the metro.  This year, Wayne Coyne created the starring wrapping paper for the project (above), with 10 other local artists contributing designs to the project.  Featured artists include Ashley Dawn, Edgardo George and Lance King, Gayle Curry, Jack Fowler, Sean Vali, Lauren Miller, Natalie Kent, Peggy White, Steven Paul Judd, and Tiffany McKnight.

Pick up your paper at these local retailers.