Stories


Lana Jewelry for the Art Institute of Chicago

Channel your inner celebrity with glam accessories created exclusively 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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2018 Holiday Gift Guide

When the stockings are hung by the chimney with care...better make sure there's something in there! Don't let the holidays sneak up suddenly this year.  We've got you covered with unique finds to jump start your holiday shopping. 

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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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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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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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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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Artist Spotlight: 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How it's Made: The Magical Minimalism of Argaman & Defiance Textiles

Discover magic in minimal design. Our mesmerizing, monochrome Silk Speckle 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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