There is one tradition that many of us indulge in when it comes to holidays, the buying of gifts for ourselves and our friends and family.
Whether it is something we want to bring back as a memory from wonderful vacations or as a present for people we care, gifts are essential to holiday makers. It is also important for locals who want to offer gifts inspired by their country when they go abroad or when people visit them.
Every destination has numerous gifts shops and it is never easy to find the best amongst them. In Bermuda, the Island Shop was awarded the People’s Choice Award of best gifts 2011. This shop is far from the classic outlets selling flashy t-shirts, coasters or key rings that could be have been made – and probably was – anywhere in the world. Instead, the Island Shop has ceramics and linen products, as well as pillows and covers, glass items, wooden products, ties and scarves.
All of the designs of the Island Shop are the works of Barbara Finsness, an American artist who arrived in Bermuda in 1981. A graduate of Fine Art at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and a Bachelor of Architecture from Drexel University, Barbara is inspired by the unique floral, architectural and nautical elements of Bermuda. Beauty and colour are her main focus when she design pieces.
The result is a great collection of colourful and tropical designs that are a faithful reflection of the best images of the island. Every item is unique in itself and specially made, each labelled with the signature of the artist. For those who are looking for an authentic memory of Bermuda, the Island Shop definitely has the best gifts.
The main Island Shop is in Queen Street, in the heart of Hamilton. This was actually the second shop opened by Barbara Finsness, shortly after the first one on Old Cellar Lane (47 Front Street) that started in 2002. The Island Shop was born following the huge popularity enjoyed by the artist’s products – ceramics and linen – sold until then through other stores.
The Island Shop now has four outlets, the two others being in Somer’s Wharf, St. George’s, and in the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, Southampton. The range of gifts is quite wide and you will without doubt find something that suits your taste. The shop sells all types of ceramics (plates, mugs, bowls, tiles, vases, tea sets…) kitchen and bathroom towels, glasses, wooden articles (trays, bowls, napkin rings…), handbags, ties and scarves, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, polos…
Amongst the many gifts available in the Island shop, the Bermuda Cottage Collection is a series of ceramics with colourful classic Bermudian architecture, and the Wedding Collection features the union of two palm trees and two longtails birds coming together underneath. The hand embroidered pillows feature the island picturesque flora and fauna as well as its marine life.
It is one of the rare gift shops on the island where the vision of the artist is so perfectly translated into objects, making the gifts almost pieces of art. From the beginning, the Island Shop has been recognised as a great place for gift and this was rewarded in 2005 by The Bermudian best giftware award.
Whether you are looking for a memory of your time in Bermuda or an original creation by a local artist, the Island Shop certainly has the best gifts on the island.
Island Shop Bermuda – 3 Queen St., Hamilton, HM11; 441/292–5292 ; http://www.islandexports.com/
Island Shop Bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles – ‘Things to do in Bermuda’ series!
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