Friday, February 23, 2018

Mirroring China's Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes

Experience the elegance of an imperial culture.  Join the Art Institute of Chicago this spring in celebrating a momentous exhibition of Chinese bronze vessels and objects. Mirroring China's Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes is the largest-ever presentation of its kind, with a historically significant scope. 

Used ceremonially in the second and first millenia B.C., these objects were unearthed centuries later and became treasured as sacred in imperial courts. Today they are revered as vital signifiers of cultural heritage, connecting China's past to its perpetually evolving present. Visit now and see how these exquisite artifacts were conceptualized, crafted and collected throughout Chinese history. 

Afterwards, be sure to make your memories unforgettable with an exhibition-inspired memento from the Museum Shop. Read on to see a sampling of items available in-store and online at

Our collection of bronze objects are handmade in China using traditional casting methods. Once they are removed from the cast mold, the intricate decorative motifs are engraved, refined and hand-painted. Revel in resplendent artistry while you harness history for your home.

If you're feeling fanciful, focus on some beautiful birds.  These proud peacocks were thought to be purveyors of luck and symbols of power, divinity and beauty. Wherever you let them alight, they will  manifest magnificence.

Finally, embellish your ensemble with accessories that exude elegance and significance. Our artful accessories include a symbolic silk scarf and jade necklaces hand-carved using historic techniques. Like the exhibition that inspired them, these pieces are both timely and timeless.

Learn more about Mirroring China's Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes here..

To view our entire collection of exhibition related product, visit the Museum Shop online:

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How it's Made: Behind the Scenes with Elias Studios Glass

Glass Circle Pendant-Green Multi / Glass Circle Pin -White Multi /
Glass Circle Pin-Blue Multi / Glass Circle Pendant - Brown Multi

There is a simple explanation why our Glass Circle Pins and Pendants are consistent customer favorites in our museum shops. Elegant and exquisitely crafted, the soft swirls of these pieces perfectly round out any outfit. We love them so much we have made them available online for the first time! In addition, 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."

For over 30 years, the husband and wife team of Jennie and John Elias have collaborated to transform blown glass into unique, wearable art. 
John began his career as a potter and transitioned into glass blowing, finding an appreciation for the immediacy of the process and focus it required.  With a little help from a 2000 degree furnace, John gathers molten glass on a blow pipe to create a base. Small chips of glass called "frit" are then fused in lustrous layers to this base. 

The frit is slowly melted, meticulously layered and twisted to create movement and rhythm across the surface of each piece. The objective is to create a small work of art with all the ebullience of a larger one.
Once the colors are completely heated onto the base glass, the spherical gather is cut from the pipe and pressed between paddles to flatten the shape. A torch is employed to enhance metallic hues and then the glass is placed into an annealing oven to slowly cool. 

Each piece is completed with either a pinback or a pendant loop, allowing it to go forth to fulfill its accessory destiny.  The completed creations are kaleidoscopic canvases, balancing rich color and fluid movement in a fusion of technical skill and creative innovation.

Now we've come full circle on our coastal constitutional to Elias Studios, and we hope you feel inspired! Learn more and view our entire collection of Glass Circle Pins and Pendants here:

To view our entire collection of unique jewelry, visit the Museum Shop online:

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Need an Aesthetic Update? The Time is Wright (Now).

 Instinctively and naturally if you beautify your own life, you beautify the life of everybody around you. 
- Frank Lloyd Wright®

Need inspiration to help beautify your surroundings? Well, we've got the Wright stuff! Our new Frank Lloyd Wright® (American, 1867-1959) accessories have arrived and each item is 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.
 Do you believe in magic? Modeled after Wright's famous sprite garden sculptures at Midway Gardens House in Chicago c. 1913, our delightful sprites will spring forth from your decor. Individually hand-sculpted, cast and hand-painted, these unique pieces are sure to enchant.
Restore the sparkle to your space with scintillating stained glass. All linear harmony and geometric balance, this panel perfectly embodies the Prairie School style of architecture. Inspired by art glass windows, skylights and lay-lights from Frank Lloyd Wright’s® Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, NY (1903) it will invigorate while you decorate!
 Tie these on and you might just feel like a new human. Two brand new tailored ties are handmade jacquard silk with details from Frank Lloyd Wright’s® unpublished Liberty Magazine covers circa 1926-1927. Smarten up your look with gorgeous graphic design and standout style.

Frank Lloyd Wright® Circular Plate / Frank Lloyd Wright® Rectangular Plate
 Thirsty for a burst of bright? Featuring a detail from March Balloons Frank Lloyd Wright® (American, 1867-1959) and hand-painted to give it energy and vibrancy, these plates add kaleidoscopic color to your collection.

Spring decorating: are you doing it Wright?

 To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online:

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

Monday, February 12, 2018

Artist Spotlight: Jim Isermann

 Thirsty for color? Your day just got a little brighter. Our assortment of artist Jim Isermann's designs will bring the spring back into your step. Whether your bag selection needs a boost or you want to distinguish your decor, we've got your number with this colorful collection. 

Jim Isermann (American, 1955- Present) creates disciplined designs featuring vigorous, geometric graphics and a variety of volume and proportion. Throughout his prolific career he has explored the increasingly indistinct margins of art and design, often intermingling vocabularies in work that is simultaneously bold, elegant and exuberant. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA,, LACMA, among others. Why not add a piece to your home?

Inspired by his famed works, our collection of Isermann trays serve up his signature style. Each is created from a single piece of birch plywood and digitally printed paper and handmade in Sweden.

Isermann's fusion of high art and functional, commercial design comes to interior decor in the form of bright, bold graphics that will get your home up and glowing.

For a slightly restrained but no less intriguing take, hit the refresh button on your look with our Isermann Print Tote. The design is an illustration of infinity and symmetry, inspired by the artist's modular installations. Hand-printed in the USA on recycled cotton canvas, it’s a statement that is both sturdy and practical.
Isermann Print Tote

 Whether you've come for the color, the delightful design, or a little bit of both, our Jim Isermann Collection will fight the doldrums and enliven your life. Take that, winter!

To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online:

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

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

In Focus: Recycled Rainbow Glass Jewelry

Feelin' uneven? This time of year it's easy to get caught in the monotony and lose your equilibrium. Restore your balance and color your world with our vivacious Recycled Rainbow Glass Jewelry. 

Mentions of the Chakra energy system first appeared in India between 1500-500 B.C. in the sacred text of the Vedas. "Chakra," meaning "wheel" or "circle," refers to the seven centers in the human body through which energy flows. This energy radiates upward from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and each of the 7 centers it passes through corresponds with a color representing a particular kind of energy.   

Our Chakra Jewelry was created with this system in mind, as it is believed that contact with these colors can bring alignment and restore equilibrium. Made in the USA of recycled glass, each element has found a new life in the harmonious rainbow order. 

Want the color infusion without the connotations? Our Matte Glass Multi-Color Necklace and Earrings Set will revitalize your sartorial spirits.  Made in the USA of the same recycled glass as our Chakra Jewelry, you can paint the town rainbow at any time of day!

Whichever colorful collection you choose, you can't go wrong with our Recycled Rainbow Glass Jewelry.  To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online:

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

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sneak Peek: New Spring 2018 Arrivals

While you may not be quite ready to think spring, let us help you beat the Feb-blue-arys with a sneak peek at our exciting new arrivals. You'll get a pick me up courtesy of au courant color and components to help you refresh your look...before you lose it!

Multi-Colored Bright Feather Marble Scarf / Beaded Amoeba Necklace /
Glass Circle Pin - Red Multi

For a style statement sure to put some spring in your step, look no further than our latest and greatest not-so-basic brights. These candy colored accessories will sweep you off your feet and help you move forward towards lighter days.
Matte Glass Multi-Color Necklace/Earrings Set / Navy Ines Wallet / Multi-Colored Chakra Glass Bracelet / Navy Suede Farida Shopper

Rainbow is in the details of our newest accessory collection! Foreshadow April showers and May flowers with a much-needed color pop.

Beautiful beadwork will help you regain your balance. We're buzzing about our new handbeaded bugs and bracelets! 

Silk Speckle Shawl - White with Black / Chicago City Map Flask /
 Silk Speckle Shawl - Black with White / Chicago Map Leather Journal

Get back to nature with our on-trend accessories made of natural materials via local designers. There's nothing like chic, handmade accent to bring you down to earth.

Pastel Bubble Marble Scarf / Glass Multi-Colored Lily / Pineapples and Birds Vazu Vase Set /
Glass Circle Pin - White Multi-Color

Finally, we've picked only the prettiest pastels for our new collection. Refresh your accessories and make a spring style statement soft-hued silhouettes and elegant or sweet must-have motifs.

For more ideas and inspiration you can view our entire spring collection at the Museum Shop online:

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

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Color Purple: Pantone's Color of the Year is Ultravoilet

Color company Pantone's new color of the year for 2018 is Ultraviolet. An antidote for the winter blues, this harmonious hue is simultaneously elegant and modern, imparting creativity and inspiring intuition.

Utilized throughout history in political symbolism, this opulent yet enigmatic shade has been a favorite of monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth.  Additionally, purple has found its foothold with creatives on this side of the pond. Think of our own very own American "royalty," famed musician Prince! As it has emerged across 2018 fashion runways, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eisman told the New York Times that Ultraviolet "communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking." 

Join us as we look ahead and explore the possibilities.

If head-to-toe highlighter hue isn't exactly your thing, we've got just the accessories to help you incorporate this color and it's future forward ethos into you spring style.

For an accessory soaked in the saturated color of the moment, try a perfect transitional piece: our Silk Felt Frame Scarf. Emanate the cosmic aura of Ultraviolet in ethereal silk chiffon soft and merino wool. 
 Silk Felt Frame Scarf - Indigo/Violet

 Integrate a subtler take on the trend into your home decor with our Blue Frost Bowl. Gradients of color cascade across handmade Czech glass evoking dusk slipping into night.
Blue Frost Bowl

For a more meditative approach try our Amethyst Pendant Necklace.  Derive relaxation and inspiration as you celebrate the mystical/spiritual aspects of this hue.
 Finally, if you love the color but can't quite commit, wear our Bright Stone Glass Necklace with a splash of Ultraviolet for a chic and cheerful approach to the trend. Inspire optimism as you wear your creativity around your neck instead of on your sleeve.
Bright Stone Glass Necklace

How you do plan to incorporate Ultraviolet into your life in 2018?

To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online:

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