As the gift-giving season approaches and shoppers venture out to local stores and holiday arts and crafts shows, the question arises:?Where will buffaloes roam next? That's buffalo, with a lowercase "b," and the popular bison is popping up on much more than coffee mugs, shot glasses and T-shirts.
Stitched or etched, painted or stenciled, buffaloes present themselves on a wide assortment of items for the home – from coasters and bread boards to ornaments and toss pillows.
Many are designed by local artists and artisans; others are crafted in places including Vermont or Missouri.
So who is buying the beast? "Everybody is buying it. They're buying it for wedding gifts, attendants' gifts and tons of house gifts – for people moving into new homes," said Marsha Dautch of Reeds/Jenss, which sells items including buffalo-etched martini glasses and buffalo-shaped bookends in its stores in Amherst, Orchard Park and Victor.
Where to look for buffalo-theme items: local gift and specialty shops; events such as the annual Artists in Buffalo Holiday Open Studios and Galleries from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 (check the Special Events listings in Gusto for others); online through sites such as shopbuffalo.com; the Museum Store at the Burchfield Penney Art Center; the Buffalo History Museum Shop, and elsewhere.
Buffalo textile artist Amanda Valentine, who calls her business Buffalovely, designs pillows with a herd of brightly colored buffaloes on them. She sells them for $26 on her Etsy store.
"[Buyers] are either Buffalonians or people who just love the animal or people who are from areas like Nebraska or Kansas, where they have a Buffalo [city or county] – but it's not Buffalo, N.Y.," said Valentine, who also designs pillows with Buffalo street names on them that are available at several local stores.
Here is just a sampling of the types of buffalo-theme home items we're seeing around town:
Kitchenware and decor: Buffaloes are the star on several cutting boards, including buffalo-shaped boards in two sizes at Premier Gourmet, 3904 Maple Road, Amherst. These are crafted in Missouri from recycled oak and are priced $14.99 and $19.99. At Village Artisans, 5560 Main St., Williamsville, locally made solid maple cutting boards come in two sizes and sell for $25 and $50.
And at Blue Hill Kitchen & Home, 1374 Hertel Ave., a line of cutting boards, farmhouse bread boards and other products by J.K. Adams of Vermont feature a custom-marked buffalo in one corner.
For a dash of seasoning, a set of salt and pepper shakers in a choice of two sizes ($18 and $25 at Thin Ice, 719 Elmwood Ave.) are hand-painted with buffaloes by local artist Gretchan Grobe.
And while Michael Morgulis is long known for his Buffalo-themed T-shirts, his buffalo wall clocks would be right at home in any kitchen. Check them out at New Buffalo Graphics, 1417 Hertel Ave., and online at www.newbuffalographics.com.
Artwork: Williamsville artist Eta Rottenberg paints colorful trees, with the leaves forming an outline of a buffalo. Look for them framed at the Burchfield Penney Art Center Museum Store; Village Artisans; the Perfect Gift, 6000 Goodrich Road, Clarence Center; and online on her Etsy store. They're priced $25 to $80.
Also at the Museum Store: glass artwork featuring buffaloes by Bruce Verbeck and other buffalo-themed works by local artists and artisans.
Textiles: Hooked rugs and pillows with buffalo designs come to mind here; Blue Hill Kitchen & Home sells them. Reeds/Jenss sells a hooked pillow as well.
Finally, kitchen towels with buffalo motifs may be the hostess gift you have been looking for. Thin Ice has a collection by local designer Cindy Young. Premier Gourmet sells buffalo-theme towels as well, in addition to locally-inspired aprons, cocktail napkins, mugs, beer steins and more.