Thursday, June 21, 2018

How it's Made: Modern Hand-blown Glass Art from Epiphany Studios


April Wagner, "Rabbit Lives at Claire's House"

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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  April in the studio, photos by Sebastian Sullen

Initially, April designs each piece with careful consideration of form and function. The designs are then fabricated by a team of at least two people in her studio. This process involves solid sculpting the object in front of a 2400-degree reheating chamber using molten clear glass. Next, colors comprised of minerals and metallic oxides are mixed in to create the layers and patterns, followed by a clear glass overlay. 

April has been creating paperweights for over 20 years. Her signature style is showcased in both the Rainbow and Sea Urchin paperweights, evocative of underwater creatures or flowers and shapes found in nature.  


Color in glass is not like color in paint. For example, mixing blue and yellow does not make green;  copper, depending on the elements it is mixed with, can be either green, red or blue. April has spent many years honing her expertise in color theory and technical abilities associated with her craft. By mixing multiple colors, she creates vibrant, layered objects that are beautiful to behold. 



When fashioning her Heart Paperweights, April puts playful color into a resprentational shape. By manipulating both contrasting and complemetary colors, the idea is to evoke the dynamic emotional intensity of love.



A passionate animal lover, Aprils affection for her two rescue cats inspired these sweet slumberers.  Using a mix of colors in a cute curled shape, the Black Glass and Calico Cat Paperweights are a daily desktop reminder of the joy animals bring to our lives. 

April Wagner, "Primary Fete"

For even more info on April's adventures and her production process, watch her video here.

To find your perfect paperweight today, shop now: 




To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.






Thursday, June 14, 2018

It's a Face Off: The Freshest Finds from our New Summer Collection!


It's a face off! Our new summer assortment features such fresh finds that we can't figure out favorites! With ample artful accessories and du jour design, who can choose? Cruise on through our latest to locate your next best home or wardrobe staple!


Be Wright on trend with our latest architecture inspired accessories. Get outta town with our Frank Lloyd Wright® Totes or have a patio game night with our Frank Lloyd Wright® Dominoes. Whether you're stepping out or staying in, you're sure to have a playful day!



With designs inspired by the outdoors, our newest silk scarves are so apropos. Perfect for a party or a day at the beach, they should sit pretty on your summer "it" list.


Make a summer style statement and accessorize everything effortlessly with our bold new baubles. Take 'em on a vacation or for a night on the town -- you can be sure they'll get around.


There's no need to compete: we're showing local love and wanderlust in equal amounts. Select your next destination abroad or close to home with our classic Desktop Globe or Chicago Neighborhood Cutting Board.

From local to global, homebody to the world traveler, our summer assortment has something for everyone! Get over here and get yours before they're gone:


http://www.artinstituteshop.org/default.aspx

To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.







Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Father's Day Gift Guide: Our Best New Gifts for Dad in 2018

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? 
Great food, no atmosphere!

Father's Day is June 17th, and we're preparing to celebrate with Dad jokes, giant hugs and fatherly advice. But first, we'll help find the perfect present for your pops. We've curated a collection of our favorite gifts, including things your doting dad will definitely love. 


 Let Dad show off his cool side with our assortment of Chicago Map Accessories. Laser-etched and handcrafted, he'll never have to ask for directions again!

Is your dad a tie guy? You've come to the right place! Our selection of art-inspired ties guarantees both gifting and sartorial success!


For the dad who's a literature lover, look no further. We've got titles to tickle the thinker and delight the eyes. Yep, we said, "tickle the thinker." Thanks for that one, Dad. 


Speaking of thinkers...look what we have here!  Based on one of Auguste Rodin’s (French, 1840–1917) many versions of The Thinker, our sculpture is ready to occupy a prime shelf spot. Solid and speculative, it's a thoughtful gift for any dad.


And finally, beautifully bookend his day with some famous felines. Our Lion Bookends feature one with a tail up and another with tail down, reflecting the museum's defiant guardians out front. Perfect for the dad with attention to de tail!

http://www.artinstituteshop.org/default.aspx


 To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.







Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Best Way to Wine-d Down Your Week: National Wine Day USA

Amici e vini sonomeglio vecchi. --Italian Proverb

Translation: "Friends and wine improve with age."

Don't doubt Dionysus, just dive right in! Today is National Wine Day and we've got the goods to help uncork your happy hour. 




Doctor said you need glasses? We're here to help. 
Dress up your drinks with our glitzy glassware. With three distinct designs in glittering gold on a sleek silhouette, these glasses are easy to hold and behold.  


Summon your inner sommelier to serve with sophistication. Decant go wrong with our sleek and chic Gold Band Carafe.



Don't lose a drop of your precious cargo. Put a stop to spills and make it easy to halt happy hour with our Recycled Glass Bottle Stoppers. Wine not open that second bottle when you can preserve it in style?

Yes, we aim to please. Make National Wine Day a literal picnic with our Swiss Cheese Cutting Board Set. Featuring quite possibly the world's cutest cutlery.



Try this rack and you'll never go back. To regular wine racks, that is. Go green with our eco-friendly Bamboo Wine Rack with seven cubbies to view your vino. 



Finally, it would be rude if you didn't have food, but never fear, vin-spiration is here! Capture the Mediterranean wine bar feel in your own home with  Wine Bar Food: Mediterranean Flavors to Crave with Wines to Match by esteemed restauranteurs Cathy and Tony Mantuano. 


http://www.artinstituteshop.org/

To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.










Hosting for Mother's Day? We Can Help.

 Take the pressure off your Mother's day entertaining situation. You'll be the host with the most when you choose from our select, elegant tabletop accessories, now 30% off until 5/13.  

Yes, we aim to please. Make Mom's cheese course a literal picnic with our Swiss Cheese Cutting Board Set. Featuring quite possibly the world's cutest cutlery. 




Go green this Mother's Day with a wine rack that gives back. Our eco-friendly Bamboo Wine Rack creates seven cubbies to bear Mom's bubbly.  


Postpone the parade. You can make Mom the toast of the town with our elegant Brass Bar Tools Set. These entertaining essentials will satisfy, whether she likes them shaken or stirred.


Serve Mom with sophistication with our Gold Band Carafe. Let's just say: decant go wrong.

Finally, when you just want to get it right for Mom, follow us to the finest blend of form and function in our Brass Cocktail Shakers. Choose from large or small; either way, you'll have it all!


http://www.artinstituteshop.org/browse.aspx?view=SalePromo&q=1995#!/products


To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs. 




Thursday, May 10, 2018

Flesh: Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago


Join the Art Institute of Chicago this spring in celebrating the life and work of American artist and School of the Art Institue alumni Ivan Albright (1897 - 1983). Open now, Flesh: Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago, is a focused retrospective featuring works from the museum's permanent collection. Get a glimpse here in our preview and then come see for yourself!


 Characterized as the "master of the macabre," Albright's enigmatic and hyper-realistic style evolved in part from his time spent creating medical illustrations for a French hospital during World War I.


His laborious, meticulous technique utilized garish color contrasts applied through thousands of tiny brushstrokes and incorporated myriad shifts in perspective on an individual canvas. For Albright, portraiture was a visual language through which he conveyed the uncanny and embodied the mundane in everyday life.


Albright's thematic focus on temporality, the ephemeral nature of life, materiality and decay remained consistent subjects throughout his career and are manifest in his renowned work the Picture of Dorian Gray, c. 1943/44 (above), created for a film based on Oscar Wilde's infamous novel.


Get up close and immerse yourself in mystery!
 Flesh: Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago  is on view through August 5th.  Learn more here

Our exclusive framed poster is available here:
http://www.artinstituteshop.org/item.aspx?productId=5487


To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.






Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May We Interest You in Embroidery?


May flowers are finally here and this Mother's Day you can give her flowers that will last. Our Embroidered Silk Shawls are the perfect gift for luxury lovers and art appreciators.

A centuries-old technique, embroidery is again having a major moment and we're here for it. Artifacts of this craft can be dated back to the 5th-3rd Century B.C in China, and embroidery's cross-cultural significance is undeniable. Examples can also be found globally in the traditions of present-day Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and South America, with applications ranging from the Imperial to the quotidian.
 
Embroidered Silk Red Floral Shawl

Continue the tradition and embody the season with the delicate and detailed designs of our Embroidered Silk Shawls.  Stunningly sumptuous to the touch, she'll feel the luxury and appreciate the history. Your search for the perfect present ends here.

http://www.artinstituteshop.org/item.aspx?productId=7733


To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.