Store Stories – Illinois Artisans Gallery Chicago

Established in 1985, the Illinois Artisans Shop was the first gallery of its kind in the state. It showcases one of the most diverse collections of handcrafted work in the Midwest. ILArtisans The Illinois Artisans Program focuses national attention on the rich heritage of the fine crafting that exists in Illinois. Juried artists participate in art sprees, craft festivals, exhibitions and other events held at three locations throughout Illinois.

  • Illinois Artisans, Chicago,  James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. Suite 2-200, Chicago, IL 60601. Open Monday – Friday 9AM-5PM by the Clark/Lake EL stop.
  • The Museum Store, Illinois State Museum, Springfield: Museum Events
  • Dickson Mounds Museum Store, Lewistown, IL

illinois artisansAt the Chicago gallery, visitors can browse work by over 350 artisans from throughout Illinois, and learn more about the process and materials from their knowledgeable staff. On display are jewelry, ceramics, metal, painting, wood, glass wearables and much more! My jewelry been part of the Chicago gallery since 2009 just after I started my business. I’m so grateful for the gallery’s support, which has been integral to building my business. Among the opportunities have been trunk shows and art sprees. I was also selected to design and create a brooch for “straight-shooter” Dawn Clark Netsch and an awardee who exemplified her leadership.

Dawn Clark Netsch's brooch made out of sterling silver with oxidization

Dawn Clark Netsch’s brooch made out of sterling silver with oxidization

This month, I was selected to be part of Celebrating 30 years of Craft: Made in Illinois. An exhibition celebrating the Illinois Artisans Program at the State Street Gallery of Robert Morris College 401 S. State Street in Chicago, IL. The closing reception is Thursday, June 25th from 5-7pm.

If you find yourself downtown looking for a unique gift, please make a stop at the shop at Thompson Center, it’s really a treasure in the heart of the city!

Store Stories – Citywoods

Citywoods is a beautiful little gallery located in downtown Highland Park, IL and specializes in unique handmade pieces from all over the country. This gem of a shop first opened in 1988 and is still run by its original owner, Diana and Robert Schaps. Citywoods showcases a vast variety of art pieces ranging from beautiful wooden furniture and room decorations to fine handmade jewelry and clothing.

Nearly five years ago, at my first One of a Kind Show, a buyer from Citywoods came by my booth in the emerging artist section and bought an original Luna Pendant with peridot for herself. A couple of weeks later, they contacted me with a wholesale order. Citywoods was one of the first galleries to sell my jewelry, and it has been a wonderful relationship ever since. They continue to feature the Luna pendant with a variety of gemstones as it’s one of their best sellers.

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We love Citywoods, because we share a similar mission – making art more accessible to people and enriching lives with one of a kind pieces of art. So if you are ever looking for a unique gift idea, drop by Citywoods, or check out their online shop here, because chances are you will find just what you are looking for!

Photo Credits: Flickr.com – YoNorthShore

Store Stories – The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum, which is one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast, was founded in 1893 as the Denver Artists’ Club and today features a collection of more than 70,000 works of art.

One of the Denver Art Museum’s more well-known pieces is ‘Linda’, the sleeping, life-like sculpture of a woman by John DeAndrea. Linda is made out of polyvinyl and human hair (on head and arms) in an effort to make her look as real as possible. While Linda is always a massive attraction, she only comes out periodically, in an effort to preserve her for the future. When Linda isn’t on display she is safely stored in the Museum’s dark, temperature-controlled storage.

In 2006 the Denver Art Museum opened the doors of its newest building addition, the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, designed by Daniel Libeskind. While designing this building, Libeskind let himself get inspired by the peaks of the Rocky mountains and the geometric rock crystals found in the foothills near Denver. The architect was also inspired by the light, which is why he decided to cover the building in 9,000 titanium panels that reflect the sun.

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My collaboration with the Denver Art Museum started two years ago, after someone passed along my line sheets to one of the gift shop’s buyers. They immediately liked my work and I began to make a wide range of pieces for them on a regular basis. The pieces featured in the slideshow above are an example of some of the work displayed in the giftshop.

My pieces fit well with the Denver Art Museum because it’s the perfect thing to take home with you after visiting the museum – artful, unique and yet can be enjoyed everyday. If you’re in Denver, please stop by and have a look, the building itself is worth the visit.

Photo Credit: Kwong Yee Cheng

Store Stories – Mark Shale

As some of you may remember, in the beginning of 2012 I created a jewelry collection for Mark Shale, a Chicago-based department store that opened its doors in 1929. The store is known to greatly value design, craftsmanship, and individuality as well as care deeply about the environment, the city of Chicago and the way women dress.

Last December, the Mark Shale team decided to showcase a few local designers and singled my work out. We then met to create a customized exclusive collection just for the store. The pieces were elegant, simple and made out of sterling silver and gold-filled. Most of the pieces in the collection where inspired by my classics, such as the double satellite pendant. Some of the pieces also included stones, a favorite being labradorite, a beautiful trichromatic stone with brown, blue, and green colors.

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Unfortunately, after nearly 100  years, Mark Shale filed for bankruptcy this summer, and has decided to close its doors forever. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such an important store. They welcomed me into their family and I will be forever grateful. It was a wonderful experience for me, and the collection that came out of this collaboration was simply elegant just like Mark Shale was famous for.

Take a look at Mark Shale’s “A Day-Date with Rebecca Zemans” and get an idea of what a collaboration such as this looks like!

Store Stories – Embellish

Embellish was one of the first stores to carry my jewelry and has been one of my most exciting collaborations. We started our businesses around the same time and it’s so exciting for me to part of what has become a fixture of the neighborhood. The space is warm and inviting and Barb is so awesome that I just want to stay there for hours to chat.

The story with this fabulous boutique in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, started through a mutual friend, who told Barb Skupien, the owner of Embellish, about my jewelry. Barb then took a look at my website and agreed that we HAD to work together… Her store and my jewelry are a match made in heaven and I am really grateful that our relationship has grown so much stronger throughout the years.

In 2009 we collaborated on a very special piece for Barb- her anniversary band. I took the diamonds from her wedding rings and reset them into an updated version of it that people are still raving about. The result was the stunning 14K white gold ring you can see in the slide show below!

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For those of you who have never been to Embellish I encourage you to go, because if you like my jewelry you will not be disappointed with what this great boutique located at 4161 North Lincoln Avenue has to offer! For me it’s all about accessories and Barb has a collection of pieces to accentuate any outfit. From necklaces, to rings, to bags you will find anything your heart desires. And what makes shopping at Embellish the most fun is the focus on local artists. So while you are getting a great new accessory to revamp your wardrobe you are also supporting your community!

Store Stories – Lillstreet Art Center

Hey Everyone,

I’m continuing my ‘Store Stories’ series with Lillstreet Art Center, which besides selling my work is also where my studio is located.

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When I returned to Chicago in 2007 (has it really been almost 5 years already?!) I became the metals resident artist at Lillstreet Art Center, which is located at the corner of Ravenswood & Montrose Avenue. I started my first jewelry collection based on my continuing sculpture practice, which I had been doing the years before returning to Chicago in the San Francisco Bay area.

After my residency, I didn’t want to leave this incredible community so got a studio on the 3rd floor to begin my jewelry business. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at Lillstreet, because as an artist working in Chicago, this is by far one of the best places to be. The community of artists working at Lillstreet is so special, as is the ambiance of the old brick building. There are over 30 artist studios working on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the building that are open to the public (including mine:). The gallery promoting Fine Craft has been newly renovated and having some very innovative and exciting shows. And First Slice Cafe, which helps fight hunger by donating a portion of every purchase made,  just add to the charm and the integrity of this wonderful place.

Lillstreet Art Center offers classes and workshops for kids and adults all ages with all levels of experience. Classes are offered for people of every age and range from Textile Art to Printmaking to Metalsmithing. There is something for everyone, so if you feel like getting your creative juices flowing again, this is the place to go!

I myself actually just took a painting class not too long ago, because I wanted to extend my artistic horizon and reach out into the unknown. It was a great experience, and while my first paintings contained similar shapes to my jewelry when it came to medium, I managed to break out of the familiar and find new creative inspiration while doing so!

April Featured Artist Lillstreet Gallery

Just as I catch my breath from the excitement of winter to enjoy this incredible spring weather, I wanted to let you know that I will be the featured jewelry artist at Lillstreet Gallery in April. Lillstreet Art Center, located in Chicago’s historic Ravenswood Industrial Corridor at 4401 N. Ravenswood, is a large art facility that offers art classes ranging from Ceramics to Digital Photography. They also have about 30 studios of working artists on the 2nd and 3rd floors of which I am one, so I’m quite enthused to be the featured jewelry in their newly renovated gallery on the 1st floor.

Comet Cluster Bib

Comet Cluster Bib with Tourmalated Quartz – by Rebecca Zemans

If you have a chance to stop by the gallery, please let me know when you are planning to visit. If I am around, I would love to give you a tour of the building and show you my studio. Please visit my website to set up an appointment. If we can’t catch up at Lillstreet, summer is around the corner so stay tuned for all the exciting shows that are coming up…