It can be stressful thinking of unique gifts that stand apart from the rest. Whether it’s your significant other, friend or coworker, gift ideas become stagnant year after year. Choosing gifts from big chain stores can be a little predictable and you are always running the risk of duplicating gifts given by other people. However, there is a simple way to stand apart from the pack. Choose a unique and one-of-a-kind gift while helping local artists right here in Chicago. Chicago artists have a wide variety of items to choose from and it can make a great alternative to the mundane gift-giving routine that seems to happen every year.
Shades of Grey
5137 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Designer Attalie Dexter founded the Shades of Grey jewelry line which is filled with limited-edition collections along with one-of-a-kind pieces. Many pieces incorporate vintage beads, natural materials and heavily textured layers. Sold through the online store or through specialty boutiques, Shades of Grey jewelry will make the perfect holiday gift this year. Many pieces can be found at Milk Handmade in Chicago where the company boasts, “Milk Handmade sprouted from childhood dreams, a deep passion for clothe, and a desire to bring handmade, high-quality style to Chicago.”
499 W. Pennsylvania Ave.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Designer and creator Julie Schwanbeck handcrafts every single piece of jewelry in her studio in the Wicker Park area of Chicago, along with her design team. Her jewelry ranges from rustic ID necklaces to sapphires and black diamonds encased in a creative artisan design. The creator depicts her jewelry saying, “Jules pairs eclectic materials with distinctive metalsmithing techniques to produce inherently one-of-a-kind pieces.” Items can be found on the jules website or at a number of boutiques and shops in and around the Chicago area. Click here for a list of stores that offer collections from jules.
Laura Lombardi Jewelry
1509 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Although Laura Lombardi is a jewelry designer living and based out of Chicago, her line is a fusion of her New York and Italian roots. Fusing together classic elegance of Italian culture with the many subcultures found in New York, Laura Lombardi jewelry has been featured in everything from Lucky to Martha Stewart. What makes this jewelry line stand apart from the rest is the way each piece is made from vintage elements and repurposed materials to become a new and modern piece of jewelry. Pieces can be purchased online or by stopping by one of the many boutiques that offer collections by Laura Lombardi, like Eskell.
5247 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Artist and designer Dayanara Garcia specializes in handmade dolls and toys. All items are made from natural materials that are safe for children of all ages to play with. The dolls are unique and simple with a cozy touch that comes with handmade gifts from the heart. Perfect for the holidays, these dolls and toys will bring a smile to any recipient’s face.
Elk Grove Village, IL
Designer Jill Scales birthed the idea of this handmade handbag company in 2004 when she decided to make her own. After a few demands from coworkers and friends, Jill quit her job to design and craft full time. She now uses her home to make the bags and sells them on her website, Etsy page and through personal requests made to her through her social media sites. Daisy Bags participate in 20 to 30 art shows a year and with a quick look of creativity, it isn’t hard to see why. This is a great way to gift a unique handbag for the accessory lover during the holidays.
Sara Lugardo is a Korean American who thrives in writing about Asian community news in Chicago. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.