Thursday, April 27, 2017

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 of 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. These exquisite treasures are handmade in Wakefield, Rhode Island by artist Micheal Vincent Michaud who grew up surrounded by craftsmen in his father's jewelry studio. Here he acquired many foundational skills through observation which he later fused with his own passion for art glass, creating a hybrid practice. 

In today's edition of "How it's Made" take a closer look at his process using and adapting the traditional lost wax casting method.

First, models are hand-carved in the artist's studio using wax to capture exquisite detail and inspiration from natural or design elements. The was is placed in a tube and surrounded by molding material. Once the material hardens, the wax is melted out and the remaining mold is filled with heated, molten glass which takes the shape of the mold.

Finally, the mold is dissolved leaving an impression of the negative space and in this case, revealing the delicate shape of the flower. 

Finally, the lavender petals and bold green leaves are hand-cast and gilded in 24K matte gold, creating an aesthetic amalgam of artistic and natural beauty.

With so many possibilities, where will you wear your wearable work of art?  
Click here to purchase: Water Lily Earrings/Water Lily Pin

Handmade jewelry can be found in the museum's permanent collection. Proceeds from your purchases support  the Art Institute of Chicago.

Friday, April 21, 2017

In Focus: Elegant Tie Dyed Scarves

Tie dye, elevated. 

Our newest scarves are to dye for. 

Handmade in Detroit by a small group of designers and artisans, these sustainable scarves and shawls contain only natural dyes in unique color combinations. The production philosophy is distinct from that of traditional manufacturing in that the intent is to make something exclusive for each customer, thereby encouraging authenticity and originality. With brilliant liquid color and a practically supernatural softness, these scarves look and feel amazing. Whether you're searching for a truly special Mother's Day gift or something to make your spring wardrobe stand out, you'll satisfy your sartorial needs with our singularly artistic scarves. Don't miss the video of the creation process at the bottom of the page!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Artist's Spotlight: Joan Miro's Birthday

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. -Joan Miro

Today is the birthday of innovative Spanish artist Joan Miro (April 20, 1893 - December 25, 1983)!

In his routine experimentation with a rigorous biomorphism and enigmatic iconography, Joan Miro's work was central to Modernism's shift towards pure abstraction. In this way and through experimentation with the interplay of colors, he would become a progenitor and inspiration for the Color Field painters to come after him.  

How do you see his artistic concerns manifested in these 3 works from the Art Institute's collection?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring 2017 Trunk Show: You're Invited!

We are excited to announce our Spring 2017 Trunk Show! Whether you're looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift or spring accessory, you're certain to find a treasure among our assortment, featuring an extraordinary mix of mediums and materials. It's an ideal time to stop and shop! Read on for a sneak peek at the assortment and event details. 

Semi-precious jewelry by Chicago artist Rachel Erceg.
Handmade sterling silver and mixed metal jewelry by designers Zina and Sue Rosengard.
 Handmade jewelry by Chicago designer Nakamol.

Hand-painted textiles by local artist Joanna Alot.
We hope to see you there!

Facebook event page: Spring Trunk Show Facebook Event

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How It's Made: 3-D Floral Jewelry from Spain

Modern and fresh, our brand new 3-D botanical jewelry line is handmade in Spain and provides the perfect pieces for your spring wardrobe refresh. These sculptural yet feminine floral embellishments are absolutely on trend for 2017 and will add volumetric visual interest to any outfit. Read on to discover how our designers bring their creations to life!

The process begins in a workshop in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Parchment is hand-dyed and laser-cut to reflect the designer's specifications.  At this point the pieces are hand-shaped to create volume, and assembled using brass and wire which are cut, welded and polished. Finally, a layer of varnish is applied to the parchment to insure the durability and longevity of each piece. 

The result of natural inspiration, human creativity and diligence, these wearable art objects are available for purchase in our Museum Shop. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Van Gogh's Birthday

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. -Vincent van Gogh

On his birthday, let's remember the complicated and incomparable Vincent van Gogh with this quote, underscoring his compassionate humanism. The Poet's Garden, inspired by the work of 14th century poet Francesco Petrarch (1304–1374), was intended for the bedroom of Paul Gaugin. The lush, verdant vitality of the garden belies this period of relative contentment for Van Gogh, as he anticipated the arrival of his collaborator and friend.

Raise a glass to one of the most influential painters in Western art, the iconic Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch, March 30, 1853 - July 20, 1890).

Learn more: 
The Poet's Garden/van Gogh

Thursday, March 23, 2017

In Focus: Happy National Puppy Day!

Now that we have your attention it's time to get your pure joy on National Puppy Day! You are guaranteed a good time whenever you get out our Dog Bingo!

This beautifully illustrated bingo game features 64 breeds of dogs from around the world. Spot all kinds of dogs – from the tiny chihuahua to the noble Great Dane; from the sleek Saluki to the dreadlocked Hungarian Puli. Simply mark them off on your card and bingo! Dog Bingo brings a fun and educational twist to the traditional game as players learn the names and colorings of both their favorite breeds and weird, wonderful exotic dogs. Contains 64 superbly illustrated dog tokens, one board, 12 bingo cards, and brightly colored counters for you to mark up your card, as well as a leaflet containing basic information and a few quirky traits for all of the dogs featured.
Learn more:Dog Bingo