Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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 and baroque yet inspired by craft tradition, this wearable art epitomizes creative evolution.

In a small Parisian studio, artisans utilize the shuttle lace or tatting technique. Once popular in the royal courts of 18th century Europe, tatting is an interlacing of rings and chains formed by tiny knots, using fingers and a shuttle to create intricate patterns.

In this jewelry, our designer has reinvented the traditional technique through formal and material experimentation. With the addition of ornamental pearls, knots are formed of metalized polyester and silk, transforming the lace into exceptionally unique pieces of wearable art.  Adorned in any of these captivating creations, you'll stand out, with a story to tell.

We hope you've learned a bit of knowledge to drop while wearing our hand knotted lace jewelry! Shop now: Hand Knotted Lace Jewelry

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


Monday, August 21, 2017

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!

Stefanie Wolf has been a life long avid collector of objects and in particular rocks, shells, beads and other beautiful objects. After several years in corporate jobs, her collector's eye turned towards jewelry making as a form of therapy and creative expression. 

The designer in Liberec, Czech Republic
When what was a hobby evolved into a career, Stefanie began to travel to the Czech Republic, where the handcrafting of glass beads is a longstanding tradition.

Here she partners with local artisans, designing shapes and color schemes to suit her elegant and sophisticated visions.

Bead bonanza!

Bags and bags of beads

When she has found the perfect pieces with which to execute her overall designs, she returns to her home and studio on Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.
Design and construction
Once in the studio, Stefanie and her hardworking team assemble the beads into wearable works of art inspired by the sublime beauty of the ocean and the charms of island life.
The designer's team and studio on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Thank you to Stefanie for taking us along on her journey!

Shop our Glass Tile Jewelry here: http://bit.ly/2wrJode
Shop our new fall collection here: http://bit.ly/2wrJ6TG

All purchases support the museum's many programs.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back to School: Cuff it Out with Trending Accessories

Amidst all the excitement of the back-to-school season, take a moment to treat yourself to statement making accessories. Alleviate any stress through retail therapy with bold bracelets that will anchor your outfits and help you cuff it out. Whether you're sending the kids back into the fold or looking to update your look for fall, our captivating cuffs and coordinating accessories will attract attention and convey your creativity.

Get geometric with our minimal, modern cuff and matching circle motif scarf or necklace.

Soften things up and cultivate color or texture with our feather jewelry and handmade tie dyed shawl.

And after all, should you need to tie one on, we've got you covered with our range of architecture inspired ties.

Shop our new fall collection here: http://www.artinstituteshop.org/default.aspx
All purchases support the museum's many programs.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New Fall 2017 Arrivals

In anticipation of a bountiful season we're bringing you a preview of our fresh fall assortment! We are so excited to unveil our new fall 2017 collection. You'll find familiar faces available for the first time online as well as innovative design to delight your senses and ignite your imagination! Scroll through to view select favorites, and for the entire collection click here.

First, our jewelry in essential accent color crimson will create conversation and be indispensable to your wardrobe for fall. 

Then get geometric with the technicolor towers of our prismatic Vasa Sculpture or our equally artful architecture inspired jewelry.
Octacgonal Vasa Sculpture/Multi Plane Cube Vasa Sculpture/Multi Plane Triangle Vasa Sculpture/Parallelogram Vasa Sculpture/Wire and Glass Necklace

Make a sleek sartorial statement with our modern mixed metal jewelry. Endlessly versatile with a touch of glam and shine, this trend can anchor any outfit, any time.

Finally, find familiar friends in brand new formats and Museum Shop classics available for the first time online such as our new Paris Street; Rainy Day Tote and Umbrella Set and our customer favorite Chicago City Tie.

All purchases support the museum's many programs. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Artist's Spotlight: Happy Birthday Edgar Degas

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas

Today is July 19th and we're celebrating the birthday of iconic French painter, sculptor and print maker Edgar Degas (July 19, 1834 - September 27, 1917.) Degas had a rigorous academic training and initially worked in the history painting genre. Early in his 30s he changed his stylistic orientation towards contemporary subject matters that were increasingly psychological, such as intimacy and alienation. During this evolution Degas adopted the expressive color and looser brushwork that would associate him with Impressionism, though he rejected the category and thought of himself as a realist. Degas is primarily known for depictions of dancers and bathers, having used them as subjects to explore the possibilities of movement and the human form.

To shop our Degas-inspired product, including dancer sculptures, click here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Local Love Profiles: Martha Mae Boutique and Owner/Artist Jean Cate

While we here at the Museum Shop are located in a museum with a global, encyclopedic collection, there's no denying our appreciation for the local creative communities right here in Chicago. For this reason we are kicking off an occasional series profiling some of the many unique, independent and  hardworking, artists, designers and shopkeepers who are creating, curating and distributing goods and inspiration every day.

Creativity is a way of life for Jean Cate, founder, owner and artist-in-residence at her Chicago boutique, Martha Mae. The shop, situated in the Andersonville neighborhood, is stunningly assorted with art supplies and designed objects and is defined by the motto "Art Supplies and Beautiful Things." Stepping across the threshold from the bustling street is practically transformative: one is transported into Cate's aesthetic vision, and it is exquisitely appointed, light-soaked and delicately sublime.

We were fortunate enough to spend some time in the shop speaking with Cate about her finely curated assortment and visual art, and adoring her dog and shop namesake, Martha Mae. Read on and be inspired. We sure are.

Your product offerings are so unique and your assortment so beautifully curated. How do you select your offerings? Do you have specific criteria or do you choose based on intuition or aesthetics?

I use my mantra for the shop: art, art supplies and beautiful useful things as the armature for my curation. I display my own work (etchings, paintings, drawings) on the walls and carry a few ceramic artists whose work I admire and find engaging. In terms of products, tools and supplies, I look for high quality, well made things. Above the intellectual framework, aesthetics are the guiding force of my curation. There is an idealism behind my aesthetic sensibility:  if something is beautiful, of quality materials and well designed it will be its most functional and enduring. 

How has Martha Mae evolved since you opened and do you have any future plans/goals/objectives? 

The shop began very small, with few framed drawings and a curated selection of products. From there it has been a constant process of evolution building out the shop, bringing in new products and making more artwork. The next major shift will be expanding the retail area by pushing back the register, building out the new found space, and bringing in some new lines from Paris and Denmark to occupy it. 

 Pictured: Cate's original artwork and shop mascot and namesake, Martha Mae

You are also a talented visual artist. Is the shop in anyway inspired by your art or vice versa? How do you balance the responsibilities of a busy shop owner with your personal practice? 

A main motivation for opening the shop was to have a space to show and sell my work, but I also approach the shop as an artwork in itself. Composition, color, visual harmony is and has always been at the forefront of my mind when designing the shop. I don't differentiate between mediums, whether it is drawing, painting, bookbinding, ceramics, shop displays or getting dressed. I think and communicate visually.  

I find balance elusive and difficult to manifest in my daily life, so for the time being, the majority of my time is spent on my responsibilities as a shop owner, then when the demand/ need arises, I make. I find my practice to be a welcome refuge from the very social performance of running the shop.

Thank you Jean Cate and Martha Mae!

Visit the Martha Mae boutique online here: http://marthamae.info/

Visit the Museum Shop online here: http://www.artinstituteshop.org/  

Visit ARTifacts or sign up to receive the blog for future profiles of local creatives.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Happy Birthday Marc Chagall

"Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love." - Marc Chagall

Today is the birthday of early modern artist Marc Chagall (July 7, 1887 - March 28, 1985). Born in present-day Belarus, Chagall's output was incomparably diverse, incorporating elements of many modern movements but never completely aligning with one. In addition, his lyrical paintings and illustrations avoided the modern tendency towards pure abstraction, always incorporating figuration. This methodology, along with his application of religious imagery, facilitated his allegorical style. 

 Marc Chagall by Yousuf Karsh, 1965
Chagall mastered myriad mediums including painting, printmaking, illustration, ceramics, etching, sculpture, watercolor, set and costume design, murals and stained glass. 
In the early 1970s Chagall traveled to Chicago to install his mural, The Four Seasons, in the Chase Tower Plaza. It was during this trip that he was inspired to create the stained glass America Windows triptych for the Art Institute. Chagall intended the windows as a visual representation of the United States' commitment to cultural and religious freedom during the American Bicentennial.

America Windows, 1977
Browse our exclusive American Windows-inspired product, including our best-selling silk tie and scarf here.