Monday, December 5, 2016

How it’s Made: Baah Humbug Throw & Pillow Set

Our cozy and whimsical tapestry woven Baah Humbug Throw and Pillow create feelings of warmth just in time for the cold winter holiday season. Made with 100% cotton, our throws are yarn dyed; producing long-lasting color, safe for machine washing and years of enjoyment. Learn more about how our Baah Humbug throws and pillows are created.

To weave a tapestry throw or pillow, a modern version of a very old technology is used: the simple warp and weft loom. Both the warp and weft are made of dyed cotton yarns that are woven together in sequence to produce the final effect on the tapestry.

Each loom is set up with 9600 dyed warp yarns, which will establish the colors for the base of the design. Each design is different in color, so the warp yarns are carefully chosen to create the best final effect.

When combined and woven together with the corresponding weft yarns, the tapestry design will begin to take shape. 

You can see the multi-color warp yarns set up tightly on the loom and ready to start weaving here.

The weft is usually made up of two colors, primarily black and natural. A third color is added if it’s needed to enhance or boost a predominate color. In the Baah Humbug throw, a red yarn is added to boost the overall red in the final woven design. If you look closely at the yarn on the weft edge of this throw, you will see the red weft yarns combined with black and natural.

The weft yarn is designed to weave strategically over and under to combine visually with the multi-color warp yarn to create the image you see on the final throw. These yarns run horizontally on the loom and are positioned and adjusted to achieve just the right result in the final piece.

Once color yarns are chosen for the warp and enhancer yarns chosen for the weft (if needed), the loom is set up and the weaving begins.

You can see the process of a partially complete weaving here as the weft yarns make their way across the loom to create the image. The tension of all of the yarns is critical to keep the quality of the image on the final throw.

Our final throw design is the optical effect of the warp and weft yarns mixing together to create the finished image. If you look closely, you can pick out the original color threads.

Once the weaving is complete, each final throw is trimmed and inspected prior to packaging.

Our Baah Humbug Pillow is woven in the same fashion, with three pillows set up to weave across the loom at one time. Once the pillows are finished weaving, they are trimmed, sewn, and then stuffed for final finishing.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

To You: Holiday Glass Desktop and Smartphone Wallpaper

‘Tis the season to update your digital wallpaper. We have, not one, but two gifts for you! Download your choice of two wallpapers featuring our Murano Glass Holiday Sculptures and Italian Glass Trees, for your computer, phone, and tablet. Both styles of wallpaper are free, so choose one, the other, or both!

Simply save the images below to your computer or mobile device and set as a background and/or lock screen. Having problems? We've provided some tips below to ensure these lovely images are tailored for your computer or mobile device.

Computer Desktop:



Computer monitors vary in size. If the image appears too large or too small for your monitor, simply go to your Control Panel : Appearance : Change Desktop Background. Here you can change the picture position to Center, Fill, Fit, Stretch, etc. Our recommendation is Fill, but it's up to you!

Mobile devices vary in size. Go to your mobile device’s Setting app to set and adjust the appearance of the wallpaper on your screen.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

The madness of Black Friday weekend has come and gone, and now is the right time to put some careful thought into finding the perfect gift for your family and friends.

What often feels like a daunting task, we hope to help you narrow down the overwhelming search with our Holiday Gift Guide!

Gifts for Her

Gifts for Him

Gifts under $100

Click here our Gift Selector to help find the perfect present!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Five Must-Have Items for the Holiday Season

As we say thanks today, the season of giving commences. It’s that wonderful time of the year to embark on a search for the perfect tree, deck the halls with boughs of holly, and reserve your tickets to see The Nutcracker at the ballet.

Let us help brighten up your holiday traditions with five items that promise to add twinkle, fun, and comfort to you and your home this season.

Rustic glamour with a treasure trove of jewel tone gems, this handmade mix of pearl and crystal is truly fashion forward. To learn more or purchase, click here.

A beloved symbol of the holidays, the pointed petals and deep crimson color of the poinsettia are a fitting choice for this remarkable set of plates. Each plate is hand-spun and patinaed for an antique look, then covered in silver for contrast. To learn more or purchase, click here.

Polished and beaming with beaded brilliance, this scarf is perfection. Lustrous beads and shimmering sequins are strung by hand and knit using traditional techniques. To learn more or purchase, click here.

Just a day in the life of nature's creatures. Charley Harper's stylized illustration of wildlife captures a harmonious moment in the ecosystem. Hang this glass panel and watch the sunshine bring the image to life inside the comfort of your home. To learn more or purchase, click here.

Cuddle up with our playful pup, lapping up gently falling snowflakes on a woven throw made of soft cotton.  A peaceful image adapted from the original designs of School of the Art Institute alumna Sher Schier. To learn more or purchase, click here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Holiday Giveaway: Sweater Cat Ornament

Bundled up with his holiday sweater, this festive feline is a delightful addition to any Christmas tree, which is why this week we’re giving away one for free! Our mouth blown and hand-painted glass ornament is inspired by designs from School of the Art Institute alumna Linnea Riley. Kick off the season right by entering for a chance to win our Sweater Cat Ornament

How do you enter to win?
Enter your name and email in the Rafflecopter application below. Rafflecopter is an application that randomly selects a winner. Once you submit your name and email, it will ask you to complete a few tasks as entries into the giveaway. The tasks include sharing the giveaway on social media, following “The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop” on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please note that every time you complete a task, you increase your chance of winning! Come back every day to gain more entries.  The contest ends on midnight CST 11/27/16. One winner will be contacted via email. By entering this giveaway, you are opting in to receive email updates and special offers from The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop. Good luck!

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

How it Made: Wooden Tree Whirligig with Candles

Wooden Tree Whirligig with Candles
Widely considered as “wooden art with heart,” a family-owned workshop in Germany has manufactured wooden folklore for over a century. Nestled in the heart of the Ore Mountains, a region famous for its many Christmas traditions, is where our charming Wooden Tree Whirligig with Candles is made.

Choosing from more than 35 different types, including both locally sourced and exotic woods, each piece of wood goes through a quality check. Then, it is cut manually to length and enters further processing. Throughout the production process, quality is top priority.

Tiny or big, each piece goes through the workshop staff's skillful hands. Paying careful attention to detail, nearly all of the thousands of components are made in the workshop. The artisans put their hearts in what they do.

In the assembly department, these wooden products come to life. The well-experienced staff strives to touch customers' hearts with tiny details.

To make the wood color shine, clear varnish is applied in two steps. These are interrupted by a period of drying and intermediate whetting, a step which takes time but is inevitable as it evens out the little fibers of wood which are raised by varnishing. The varnish also helps resist both UV-radiation and dust.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Short Films of Iconic Artists at Work

One of our most popular Pinterest boards is Artists at Work. It does not surprise us that many are fascinated by seeing artists caught in the middle of their next masterpiece. It’s a special and rare moment to observe an artist in his or her element. Luckily, a few of these moments were preserved by film and are available to watch on YouTube. 

Portrait of Henri Matisse in his apartment in Nice, late 1910s. [Source]
Filmed in 1915, a 74-year-old Claude Monet is seen painting near a lily pond in his garden at Giverny.  This footage was part of Sacha Guitry’s film, Ceux de Chez Nous.

The following video features a first hand look at abstract painter Vasily Kandinsky drawing in 1926.

Henri Matisse was 76 years old when this footage was filmed of him sketching a portrait of his grandson at his home in Nice, France.

Also from Ceux de Chez Nous, there is a clip of artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting at home with the assistance of his son.

In 1915 and at the age of 74, French sculptor Auguste Rodin was filmed at his studio in Paris’s Hôtel Biron, currently known as the Musée Rodin.

Hans Namuth’s short film, Jackson Pollock 51, featured footage of Pollock at age 39 discussing his work and creating one of his iconic drip paintings.

Belgian filmmaker Paul Haesaerts captured Pablo Picasso painting on glass in his 1950 film, Visite à Picasso

For more art inspiration, follow our Artists at Work board on Pinterest.