Stories

Inspiration for any occasion.


How it's Made

Enchanting Jewelry for Spring

Are your accessories missing some magic? Cast a spell this spring with our newest jewelry collection. Join us for a visit to designer Anne Vaughn's Virginia studio to see how she and her team conjure these captivating creations.  

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In Focus

Capture Light with Venetian Glass Decor

Have you ever wondered what gives Venetian glass its distinctive luminescence?  The particular quality of Venice's light is reflected in its artistic traditions and embodied in its glass.  Read on to learn more about the history and process behind this elegant art.  

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Artist Spotlight

Celebrating Piet Mondrian

Artist Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872–1944), may be best known as a vanguard of abstraction, but his paintings are rooted in figurative traditions. As his career progressed, Mondrian gravitated gradually and methodically towards pure abstraction, a language he felt best expressed universal aesthetics and values. Nearly a century later, Mondrian's work still inspires artists, architects and designers everywhere. 

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How it's Made

Achitecture-Inspired Modern, Minimal Jewelry

Here in Chicago, we can't help but to derive inspiration from our city's acclaimed architecture. Encompassing evocative design with a modern vision, our minimalist jewelry is wearable architecture conceived and handcrafted by Julie Crosson for her line, Crosslyne. In today's edition of "How it's Made," we get a sneak peek at her process from concept to completion.

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Artist Spotlight

Back to Nature: Think Spring with Wildlife Designs by Charley Harper

The waning weeks of winter can be a drag, so we're here to awaken your senses with great design. Playful products inspired by American artist Charley Harper (1922-2007) will help you think spring with stylized wildlife illustrations on delightful decor for your home. 

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How it's Made

The Magical Minimalism of Argaman & Defiance Textiles

Discover magic in minimal design. Our mesmerizing silk shawls from Argaman & Defiance are the perfect transition pieces. Super sophisticated and very versatile, they are handmade of 100% silk right here in Chicago. In this edition of "How it's Made," we visit the studio of School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumna Lydia Crespo to learn about her process and intriguing inspiration.  

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Artist Spotlight

The Whimsical World of David Shrigley

David Shrigley (Born: 1968) is a British artist who lives and works in Brighton, England. Best known for his crudely composed humorous drawings, his work draws on satirical traditions, creating drawings, sculptures and animations that reflect the absurdity of contemporary life and culture. Read on to learn about our collection inspired by his deceptively simple designs.

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Sneak Peek

New Spring 2019 Arrivals

While you may not be quite ready to think spring, we'll help you beat the Feb-blue-arys with a sneak peek at our exciting new arrivals. You'll get a pick me up courtesy of au courant color and components to refresh your aesthetic. 

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How it's Made

Color Your World with Cloisonné

Hey, cloisonné: You're looking fine after all these years. What's your secret? Read on to explore our resplendent range of colorful product and learn about the history of this timeless technique.

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How it's Made

A Global Perspective on Design with KJK Jewelry

Designer Katherine Kornblau's business had humble beginnings: From it's inception in a red wagon on Fire Island, KJK Jewelry has grown over 35 years into a busy Madison Avenue studio in New York City. However, while her studio has continued to evolve, Katherine's lifelong love of global art and culture has remained consistently evident in her work. 

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In Focus

In Living Coral: Pantone's Color of the Year is a Natural Beauty

Color company Pantone's new color of the year for 2019 is Living Coral. An antidote for the winter blues, this hue is energizing and animating, inspiring creativity and imparting intuition.

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How it's made

Handcrafted Glacial Glass Jewelry

We know you crave substance with your style, and we're here to help. Welcome to the West Coast, land of luminous light, where good things come in pairs (of earrings). Today we are in the Los Angeles, California, studio of designer Jess Panza to learn more about the artistry, philosophy, and technology involved in creating her delicate glass jewelry designs. You're in for some inspiration and education in this edition of "How it's Made."

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In Focus

Art-Inspired Gifts that Give Back

We're not lion! You can give and give back at the same time. Find the perfect gift or holiday accessory for your home while supporting the arts and featuring our favorite feline! Our iconic lion sculptures by Edward Kemeys (American, 1843-1907) have guarded the museum's entrance since it opened for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Read on and see suggestions to help you make merry and support the museum's mission as we roar through the holiday season.

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In Focus

Hand Knotted Lace Jewelry from Paris

Be the conversation piece. Perfect for all your holiday parties and gatherings, our hand knotted lace jewelry occupies the intersection of art and craft, inviting both conversation and admiration. Romantic, baroque and inspired by craft tradition, this wearable art epitomizes creative evolution.

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In Focus

Great Gifts Under $100

From the art lover to the festive fashionista, discover unique gifts for everyone on your list. 

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How it's Made

Diamond Dust and Concrete Jewelry by Konzuk

Minimalism and material ingenuity unite in jewelry that is simultaneously architectonic and ethereal. Featuring a fusion of concrete with diamond dust and astrological inspiration, this collection is truly extraordinary. Join us in the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia studio of designer Karen Konzuk for this edition of "How it's Made."

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In Focus

Lana Jewelry for the Art Institute of Chicago

Channel your inner celebrity with glam accessories created for the Art Institute by Chicago designer Lana Bramlette. We are thrilled to announce this collaboration, inspired by our museum and dynamic city. These pieces are party perfect yet versatile for every day, artfully reinterpreting luxury for the modern woman. Read our interview with Lana to learn what inspires her to create:

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How it's Made

Gifts that Give Back from Mercado Global

Mercado Global is focused on transforming the lives of women. The Brooklyn-based accessory brand and non-profit empowers rural Latin American women to become entrepreneurs, uplifting their families and communities and weaving social consciousness into each of their chic accessories. Read on to learn about their process and mission.

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How it's Made

Woven Wool Scarves from Scotland

It isn’t your traditional tartan, but these Scottish textiles are made with just as much care and custom. Fifteen years ago, design duo Jess Quinton and Jane Chadwick fused their fashion and textile backgrounds to launch a knitwear collection made exclusively in Britain. Today, they've achieved this mission and exceeded all expectations with their unique hybrid of traditional craft and contemporary design. Read on to learn and get inspired.

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How it's Made

Block Print Silk Scarves by Harshita Lohia

Woodblock printing may be a time-honored technique, but in the workshop of designer Harshita Lohia, it yields surprisingly modern designs. Read on to explore her combination of contemporary color and textile tradition in this edition of "How it's Made."

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In Focus

Party Perfect Holiday Host Gifts

With the holiday season fast approaching and festive fêtes filling calendars, you'll need some gifts of gratitude for your hosts with the most. While wine's fine, we'll help you stand out with unique gifts that will charm and delight all year long. 

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How it's Made

Modern Glass Design from Epiphany Studios

We came for the color and stayed for the handmade. Welcome to the Midwest, where the folks are friendly and the artisan glass is gorgeoous. Today we are in the Pontiac, Michigan, studio of April Wagner, artist and founder of Epiphany Studios, to learn more about the creative process behind her delightfully dazzling glass designs. You're in for some inspiration and education in this edition of "How it's Made."

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How it's Made

Sculptural Sterling Silver Jewelry by Zina

Zina Sterling Silver is a family jewelry studio that has been creating signature sculptural jewelry since 1984. Located in Beverly Hills, California, designer Zina Sherman and her son Andrew were exposed to the world of jewelry manufacturing by her father.  When Zina took over the family business, she immediately imbued it with her bold, fashion forward flair. Finally, Andrew joined the team, bringing his Computer Aided Design (CAD) techniques into the mix and further modernizing the production process. Read on for a sneak peek into their studio.

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In Focus

Accessories at Artistic Intersections by Meghan Patrice Riley

Time for a brief introduction: Fashion, meet our old friend, Architecture. Architecture, this is Fashion. When dynamic artistic forms collide, magic can happen. 

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How it's Made

Wire and Glass Jewelry by Barb Levy

Inspired by a love of mathematics, geometry and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright®, Alexander Calder, and Piet Mondrian, our Wire and Glass Jewelry appears to have it all. Today, join us for behind the scenes look into the studio of designer Barbie Levy to see the process that takes these pieces from wire to buyer!

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How it's Made

Water Lily Jewelry

One of our enduring favorite flowers at The Art Institute of Chicago is the water lily, an inspiration for many iconic works by Impressionist painter Claude Monet. The translucent lavender petals of our Water Lily Pin and Earrings capture the luminous beauty of these ephemeral flowers in jewelry form. In today's edition of "How it's Made," take a closer look at our artist's process using and adapting the traditional lost wax casting method.  

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How it's Made

The Natural Beauty of Botanical Jewelry by Michael Michaud

Artist and jewelry designer Michael Michaud has been passionate about nature for his entire life and the outdoors are the setting of his earliest and fondest memories.  Consequently, in 1992 he combined his skills as a master precious metal caster and mold maker with his love of natural phenomena when he founded Silver Seasons jewelry. Join us for a sneak peek into Michael's Long Island, New York, studio and learn how he transforms nature's ephemeral beauty into lasting keepsakes.  

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How it's Made

Behind the Scenes with McKernan Woollen Mills

Layer up in luxurious Merino wool with our chic and cozy scarves. Handmade in the picturesque Lough Derg region in County Clare, Ireland, these scarves are the perfect fall into winter warmers. Join us for a look behind the scenes at the historic McKernan Woollen Mills to discover how they're made!  

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How it's Made

Graphic Glass Designs by Case Island Studios

Both nostalgia and innovation and form and function converge in our Bauhaus-style vases by Case Island Glass Studio. The fusion of fluid movement and creative color combinations characterize these handcrafted conversation pieces.  

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Artist Spotlight

Hand-painted Silk Scarves by Joanna Alot

Joanna Alot is a silk artist, constantly creating beautiful hand-painted textiles and accessories.  Whether it is a geometric, floral, or abstract print, Joanna is always innovating.  Join Joanna as she takes us through her creative process, inspiration and even some of her favorite things at the Art Institute.    

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How it's Made

Collectible Japanese Kokeshi Dolls

In the Jomo District of Japan, a town called Shinto lies at the foot of Mt. Haruna, surrounded by dense forest. These verdant environs combined with a deep appreciation for Mother Earth help inspire the artisans of Usaburo Kokeshi to pour their hearts into their handmade designs. Join us to learn about the process behind this centuries-old tradition.  

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Artist Spotlight

Behind the Scenes with Stefanie Wolf Jewelry

Stunning and incredibly versatile, our Czech glass tile jewelry can be dressed up or down and adapted to suit your sartorial style. Join us as we travel from the Czech Republic to Martha's Vineyard alongside the talented designer behind these handcrafted and organically inspired accessories.  

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In Focus

May We Interest You in Embroidery?

Give flowers that last. Our Embroidered Silk Shawls are the perfect gift for luxury lovers and art appreciators. Read on to learn  about this timeless tradition.  

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How it’s Made

The Unique Universe of Patricia Locke Jewelry Design

If you regularly read our blog, you know we love local artists, but as an encyclopedic museum, our global outlook persists. This perspective is embodied by designer Patricia Locke, who seamlessly fuses fashion and fine art with a global sensibility into her handcrafted jewelry line.  Join us as we drop into her Chicago-area studio to see why her designs are becoming fast favorites at the Museum Shop! 

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How it’s Made

Autumn Glass Leaves

In the heart of Pittsburgh, there resides a glass blowing studio where unique and colorful glass leaves are produced. After creating glass pumpkins exclusively for nearly 10 years, our makers decided to design something complimentary, and similarly representative of fall. Starting out with four or five simple colors, our artisans subsequently expanded their line to those you see today in our Museum Shop. Find out how these remarkable glass leaves are made.  

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How it's Made

Volubile Jewelry from Paris

Welcome to the Montmartre district in Paris, city of love and light and the origin of our handmade Volubile Jewelry. Delicate, intricate webs spun of durable plated brass and nylon, these pieces are artistic innovation realized in wearable form. Step inside our jeweler's atelier for a glimpse into the creative process at the intersection of design, fashion and visual art that is behind these exquisite pieces. We're in inspirational Paris for this edition of "How it's Made."  

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How it's Made

Pick of the Patch: Glass Pumpkins by Luke Adams Glassblowing Studios

Featuring luminescent ombre effects and pleasantly plump shapes, our handblown glass pumpkins look to have been harvested from a fairy-tale garden. Ripe for the picking in an amazing array of sizes, colors and finishes, our pumpkins are ready to enchant during your fall festivities. Read on as we reveal how they're made.  

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How it's Made

Modern and Minimal Mixed Metal Jewelry by Sue Rosengard

Deriving inspiration from modernist designers and architects, our modern and minimal mixed metal jewelry by artist Sue Rosengard embodies an enviable balance of form and function.After studying French and residing in Paris and Italy, Rosengard returned to her home town of Chicago to pursue her true passion of designing and crafting jewelry. Today we get a glimpse into her studio and a sneak peak at her process in this edition of "How it's Made."  

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How it's Made

Behind the Design: Catch Good Vibes from Our Groovy Scarves

Need a breath of fresh air? Get easy breezy with us in coastal California while we take a glimpse into the textile art studio of Sharon Gellerman for ColorVibe Design. Using fabric as her canvas, our designer transforms each piece of silk into a unique piece of wearable art. Come along to sunny San Luis Obispo in this edition of "How it's Made."  

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How it's Made

Behind the Scenes with Elias Studios Glass

There is a simple explanation why our Glass Circle Pins and Pendants are consistent customer favorites. Elegant and exquisitely crafted, the supple swirls of these pieces perfectly round out any outfit. Fortunately, the duo behind these artful accessories has allowed us behind the scenes for a sneak peek at their process. Take a spin with us to the coastal village of Westport, Massachusetts, and into Elias Studios in this edition of "How it's Made."  

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How it's Made

Inspiring Design at Glass Eye Studio

Sometimes an object captures our attention; other times it takes our breath away.  At Glass Eye Studio in Seattle, WA,  creativity is key as teams of artisans assemble art objects that astound. Whether purely abstract or infused with narrative allusion, their paperweights feature intricate, hypnotic layers of glass that radiate from within. Read on to get inspired.

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Artist Spotlight

Need an Aesthetic Update? The Time is Wright (Now)

Need some inspiration to beautify your surroundings? We've got the Wright stuff. Our Frank Lloyd Wright® (American, 1867-1959) accessories are every bit his signature style. Featuring simple geometric shapes yielding to more complex ornamental schemes in the Prairie Style he helped innovate, they are magnificent micro-manifestations of his modern aesthetic. 

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Artist Spotlight

Our Exclusive 2018 Patricia Breen Ornament has Arrived

The newest collector's ornament from our long-time collaborator Patricia Breen has arrived! We have a brand new exclusive ornament inspired by Renoir's Two Sisters (On the Terrace), and quantities are very limited. Get yours before they're gone!

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How it's Made

Inside the Artist's Studio: Handmade Jewelry by Claudia Vallejo

Perhaps you've seen an accessory so striking its nearly stopped you in your tracks.  In Claudia Vallejo's line of handcrafted, laser-cut jewelry you'll find plenty of such uniquely stylish stunners. The line both reflects and embodies the ideas and intentions of Claudia, the multifaceted artist at its helm. Today, journey with us to Vallejo's Bogotá, Colombia, workshop for a sneak peek at her creative process.

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How it's Made

Sublime Shibori Scarves by Cathayana

Tactile tucks of lightweight silk help you float through the day looking absolutely fabulous. You may be familiar with the shibori method of fabric dyeing that is having a moment in the fashion scene.  However, you likely have yet to experience the truly artful execution of the technique by Min Chiu for her Cathayana line of textiles. Min's playful patterns and combinations of colors elevate this traditional craft, taking it from admirable to exceptional.  

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Artist Spotlight

Andy Everywhere

You need more Andy in your life. Pop art pioneer Andy Warhol (American, 1928 - 1987) would have loved his current ubiquity and apparent immortality.Already a successful commercial designer, in 1962 Warhol broke into the fine art world with his now infamous "Campbell's Soup Cans." By depicting everyday objects, he instigated a departure from his predecessors, the Abstract Expressionists, and ushered in the era of Pop Art. Throughout the rest of his career, Warhol consistently and simultaneously exemplified, glorified and criticized commercial consumption with his innovative work.  We're celebrating all things Andy Warhol with a collection inspired by this work. Scroll below to learn how you can Andy up!  

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How it's Made

Fall into Fashion with Stunning Statement Necklaces by History + Industry

This fall, let stylish statement necklaces do the talking.Welcome to Seattle, Washington, the "emerald city" and origin of our exquisite necklaces by designer Irene Wood of History + Industry. Featuring impeccably chic, modern silhouettes inspired by cultural history, these pieces are a simultaneous style statement and an artistic innovation. Step inside our jeweler's studio for a glimpse into her creative process fusing fashion, design, history and modernity. You're in for inspiration in this edition of "How it's Made."  

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