Now that December has begun, so too has the countdown for holiday shopping. But in Nashville, Porter Flea makes it possible to find high-end handmade gifts well before the yuletide pressure mounts. This year’s market features 85 artisans selected from a pool of more than 225 applicants. Below, founders Katie Vance, Jessica Maloan and Brent Elrod share their suggestions for vendors not to miss at the market this year.
SoberDough Artisan Brew Bread. They say beer is liquid bread, and mother and son team Veronica and Jordan Hawbaker turned that adage into a business, creating six bread mixes with only two instructions: Add beer and bake. “You can use whatever beer you want with any of their mixes,” Katie says. “And all you need is a spoon.” Look for SoberDough outside at the market’s first annual Porter Pantry, sponsored by Hey Rooster General Store.
HollerDesign. To create his southern-inspired modern furniture, Matt Alexander first chops down a tree. After sawing, stacking and drying the wood for more than a year, he transforms Tennessee lumber into custom chairs, tables, stools and kitchen accessories such as cutting, bread and charcuterie boards. Jessica suggests taking a moment to relax in one of Matt’s high-end rocking chairs. They run a steep $2,400 but the age-old craftsmanship is handmade to last.
Opposite of Far. A child’s imagination may be more stimulated by the box than by the gift inside. To inspire such make-believe, Jessica Near designs and hand-sews felt masks that can transform a child into just about any robot, superhero or creature known to man. From foxes to owls, from tails to tail feathers, the masks may just turn an entire holiday gathering into a zoo (if it isn’t one already). To get your pick of the litter, consider purchasing tickets to Porter Flea’s preview market.
Salemtown Board Co. Finding the right gift for the rebel child (or the kid at heart) can be perplexing. To solve that problem, Jacob Henley handcrafts skateboards from red oak and cuts, sands, stains and paints each one with the help of the urban youth he employs and trains. Each board is durable, customizable and topped with an extra-grippy polyblend that’ll keep your feet firmly in place while cruising. “This isn’t a freestyle trick-oriented skateboard,” Brent laughs. “This is a work of art that you’ll want to ride, display and keep for years to come.”
Porter Flea takes place on December 7 at 1211 4th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37210 and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Photos Courtesy of Hannah Messinger