By Isa Giallorenzo
Mary Eleanor Wallace of Tusk
Inspired by: loosely woven fabrics, ceramics and Lucite.
Preferred materials: woven ceramic pendants and large Lucite pieces. She also recently did a line of necklaces with Chad Kouri which incorporated her hand-built ceramic pieces with colorful wooden blocks. Her next project is with Ogechi Anyanwu of Eye Of the Sun. They are going to do a line of leather-pouch necklaces combined with some of Mary Eleanor’s ceramic pieces.
Retails at: Tusk (3205 West Armitage)
Price range: $48-$100
Her pick: Sarah Shikama, because her work is bold and sculptural.
Sarah Shikama of S. Shikama
Inspired by: online researches, museums, film, traveling and talented people she’s surrounded by.
Preferred materials: she primarily uses the method of lost wax to carve her designs and have them cast in either bronze or silver, though her practice is constantly evolving with each new piece.
Retails at: Asrai Garden (1935 West North), Tusk (3205 West Armitage), Penelope’s (1913 West Division) and online at shikama.bigcartel.com
Price range: $70-$150
Her pick: Jacki Holland, because she makes beautiful hand-beaded/crochet jewelry that have striking witchy vibes: “A lot of craftsmanship and detail go into each of her designs—most are one-offs.”
Inspired by: nature, mostly. Also her daughter, trips to the Paris flea market, antique trim and findings, talks with good friends and other designers, and an assortment of authors and artists.
Preferred materials: antique materials mixed with elements from nature such as stones, feathers, antlers and bones.
Retails at: Robin Richman (2108 North Damen), Asrai Garden (1935 West North) and coming soon to occulter.org
Price range: $225-$500
Her pick: Hunter Gatherer Jewelry, because of her aesthetic and the way her collection evolves.
Laura Prieto-Velasco of Hunter Gatherer Jewelry
Inspired by: people who challenge her: “I have been fortunate to work with individuals that draw me into their creative vortex and push me out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory.”
Preferred materials: metal and repurposed leather: “The wear and tear of their surfaces transforming through daily use tells a unique story of aging, like a lived in skin.”
Retails at: City Soles (2001 West North), Tarnish (2024 West Chicago), Wolfbait (3131 West Logan), and online at her own shop (huntergathererchicago.bigcartel.com), Velvit (velvitvault.com) and Occulter (occulter.org).
Price range: basics from $15-$45, most popular designs from $60-$120 and special pieces from $250 – $800.
Her pick: Leah Ball, because she sources inspiration from the ancient world and extends her practice to several different media such as metalworking and home goods.
Inspired by: singular forms that are clever and simple, color and texture, figure studies and unique vintage finds.
Preferred materials: porcelain, because it is beautiful both as a medium and when finished. Wax is really fun to carve and melt and translates nicely into finished metal.
Retails at: Penelope’s (1913 West Division), Dovetail (1452 West Chicago), Humboldt House (1045 North California), Fleur (2651 North Milwaukee), Eskell (1509 North Milwaukee), Urban Outfitters in Wicker Park (1521 North Milwaukee) and online at leah-ball.com.
Price range: $20-$300
Her pick: Meghan Lorenz, because she is making work that is uniquely her own and is brilliant at documenting it; also due to the weight, texture and unique shapes of her pieces.
Meghan Lorenz of Cities In Dust
Inspired by: designs from the Hollywood regency era and also mid century, interior designs of the past and color.
Preferred materials: mostly bronze, silver and various stones.
Retails at: Eskell (1509 North Milwaukee), Penelope’s (1913 West Division), Fleur (2651 North Milwaukee), Modern Co-op (1215 West 18th) and online at citiesindustjewelry.com.
Price range: $40-$200
Her pick: Lindsay Lewis (lindsay-lewis.com), because she works hard and has a really strong vision: “It’s been so inspiring and fun to watch her build her brand and make her work.” Next time we’ll start with Lindsay.