Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Hammer Staff Picks

December 5, 2014

In case you’re still searching for a gift for that special someone, we asked some of our most enthusiastic Hammer staff shoppers to tell us about their favorite items in the store this winter.

Keytags by Various Projects

Holiday parties, play dates, dinners, birthdays... These are the moments when I am so grateful to work at the Hammer for our fab collection of unique gifts available just across the courtyard! A lifesaver for me recently has been these delightful keychains–I give them as gifts or tie them with a ribbon around a bottle of wine. The store has a wide selection of colors and playful phrases/labels to choose from, so these are my go-to whether I'm buying for an artist acquaintance, a fellow parent, relatives, or friends! In a world where we all have too much 'stuff,' these are both usable and thoughtful, a real find! –January Parkos Arnall, curatorial assistant, public engagement

A CURATOR key tag by Various Projects is the perfect gift for your curator loved one. The key tag carries a clear message, has a minimalist design, and it's not flashy at all, just like your favorite curator. Or, if CURATOR is not the best noun to define your bestie this holiday, check out Various Projects's other designs. With words and phrases such as GIRLBOSS or LORDE KNOWS, you won't find a reason not to buy one (or several) of these. –Marcela Guerrero, curatorial fellow

GOLDA Hiba Wood Atmosphere Spray

Produced in Topanga Canyon by an artist and a holistic qi therapist, GOLDA Mist is a purifying and calming fragrance. Composed from the essential oil of 300-year-old Hiba trees from Aomori, Japan, this atmospheric room spray not only smells brilliant, but it also has a myriad of uses and benefits. –Christopher Mangum James, assistant manager, visitor experience

Buy it online here.

ShapeMaker and FaceMaker Wooden Toy Block Sets by MillerGoodman

A girl with a beauty mark and bobbed hair, a grumpy froggy-looking man, a nose-less alien with red eyes, and a lot of other cute & goofy people are inside of this box of blocks. This set of blocks is filled with entertainment and visual thrills for kids & grown-ups alike. –Lauren Molina, retail coordinator, Hammer Store


This holiday season, give the gift of networks. Curl up with the latest issue of this uniquely crafted annual interdisciplinary journal, designed and printed in Los Angeles. Issue Five includes essays by Mary Clark and Cat Yang, art by Josh Bitelli and Abigail Collins, and an interview with Edgar Arcenaux. Plug in to the world of various intersections of artistic disciplines separated into eight different pamphlets so you make the connections on your own and directions are not included. This one-of-a-kind project is curated by the Hammer Student Association. The next issue of GRAPHITE journal comes out June 2015. –Noelle Valentino, academic programs coordinator

KIOSK Cups & Dart Board

I am obsessed with the KIOSK pop-up currently in the Hammer Store. As one of the only locations outside of its New York City base, you are not going to find these fun and funky gifts anywhere else in L.A. What’s even more original about the wares for sale is they are curated from various countries and brought back to the U.S. Right now, I am loving the Oinometra cups and am thinking of getting a set of three for my mom who loves to entertain. I also think the Finnish Dart Board would be a great gift for my little sister or even my husband! –Julia Rome, administrative coordinator

Give More Than You Take Tote Bag

Can’t decide on a gift for someone? You really can’t go wrong with this stunning Jim Hodges-designed tote. Perfect for beach trips, bike rides, and regular daily use, this versatile bag serves as a charming reminder to all who see it that success is measured not by how much we acquire, but by how much we give and enrich the lives of others. –Jen Ho, coordinator, corporate relations and visitor experience

Hammer Museum Membership

HAMMER PLUS membership of course! If you know anyone who enjoys meeting new people, attending private events, special access at Hammer public programs, and learning about contemporary art—then you can stop looking. It’s also the only gift that doubles its impact. Your loved ones receive an entire year of new experiences, and the contribution allows the Hammer to present free public programs almost every day, enriching the lives of so many people in our community. –Laura Sils, membership manager

Children's Books by Jon Klassen & Oliver Jeffers

Right now I’m obsessed with Canadian author and illustrator Jon Klassen and his books I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat. The illustrations are gorgeous and the stories are fun for kids while being deliciously dark for parents. I’m also in love with Oliver Jeffers who has a new alphabet book, Once Upon an Alphabet, that features short stories for each letter of the alphabet. It’s quirky and hilarious, and the artwork is extraordinary. –Jen Gould, senior manager, communications

Beyond, behind, within.

What better gift this season than a mini art zine by Jim Hodges and Julie Ault? This colorful creation will add whimsy to a friend’s holiday cheer. Describing Hodges’s work with such statements as “a flower, taken apart, becomes a falling star; a disassembled bouquet –a constellation; a mass of white organdy is a possible cloud,” this pocket-sized journey through the artist’s work is sure to be a special gift this year. And best of all, it’s free upon request only at the Hammer Store. Give More Than You Take. –Samuel Vasquez, director, events & visitor experience

Queen Anne's Lace tea strainer by Ted Muehling

Ted Muehling’s sterling silver tea strainer is as elegant as it is functional. Inspired by Queen Anne’s Lace, the perforated disk sits beautifully on any surface making it a very special gift even if it’s rarely used. –Michael Nock, administrative coordinator, curatorial

Books, Sweets, Soaps + More

In adolescence, I gifted pebbles, sea shells, and dried flowers in hand-sewn fabric bags with thrift shop finds such as metal charms and amber beads for my few dear friends. Well into adulthood, I maintain that giving (and receiving) a thoughtfully curated collection of small, affordable gifts is a true delight. Here’s a trio from the Hammer Store for this holiday season: Tomorrow’s Man by Jack Pierson – a compact and beautiful book of longing with a great story by Veralyn Behenna; Quin Salty::Sweet Caramels – a scrumptious treat which the recipient may choose to share with others, doubling the gifting pleasure; and Jacobsen Salt Co. Sea Salt Soap – a simple and ever-so mildly fragrant bathtime escape from the hustle and bustle. As a bonus, include a set of postcards depicting artworks from Hammer’s Made in L.A. 2014 exhibition, and Beyond, behind, within., a free tiny book by Julie Ault accompanying Hammer’s Jim Hodges exhibition (while supplies last). –Darin Klein, public programs associate

Animal Parade 3D Puzzle by Ingela P Arrhenius

For the holidays this year, I'm getting my 4-year old nephew the Animal Parade 3D Puzzle. He's obsessed with puzzles, Legos, and building things, and since there are 12 animals in the set, he can also learn how to share with his little brother. –Jackie Hwang, academic programs assistant