LEGOs at the MSI

Last week I finally got to see the fabulous Brick by Brick LEGO exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

This exhibit showcases landmark buildings while also teaching about structural engineering and other scientific feats pertaining to construction and architecture. We even get an inside view of the Giza Pyramids.

Adam Reed Tucker is the architect behind all these amazing structures. Who knew one could turn LEGO-building into an artistic career?

The Golden Gate Bridge had to be completed onsite and is 60 feet long.

Each display has facts about the real building as well as the number of bricks and hours it took to construct the replicas. Who wants to go to Rome’s Colosseum now?

Children of all all ages can build their own LEGO structures, and interact with a few other exhibits.

The buildings range from historic to modern around the world, and even a structure in outer space that is actually built like LEGO components.

Adam Reed Tucker took the solar panel bricks from Harry Potter sets. He also designs the architecture kits you can buy in stores.

Of course the MSI had to be replicated.

So much detail in each structure!

Visitors are encouraged to use the force.

There is a wall where all types of LEGO bricks used for each display are highlighted.

Disney’s Cinderella Castle is so lovely.

Engineering, calculations, patience and lots of imagination!

I love all the land-and waterscapes as well.

It makes me want to visit the real-life structures too, though I may not want to ride the American Eagle Rollercoaster.

Smaller structures are highlighted throughout as well, though I am not sure who created those.

After all that, we wanted the Great Train Story to be all LEGOs too, but that would be too much to ask.

Prompted by Cinderella’s LEGO digs, I told my friend about Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, and was thrilled to introduce her to it for the first time.

The Castle sparkles after its recent renovation.

There is so much to see, and each time I marvel at Colleen Moore’s dedication to this project, and her desire to help children with this ambitious hobby.

I reread the book about this project, and love how all the artisans and celebrities involved were captivated by the project as well.

We clowned around in what I call the Circus Wing.

I learned more about some of my favorite elements.

My visit is not complete without chuckling at Jollyball, my favorite pinball machine in the whole wide world (as far as I know thus far).

The museum is such a great blend of playful learning along with instruction about history, the environment, inventions, nature, scientific phenomena, and life.

Brick By Brick remains at the Chicago Museum through September 4.

Everything is AWESOME at the Museum of Science and Industry, and all the other museums Chicagoland cultivates.

What’s your favorite exhibit?

Black History Education at the Cultural Center

Last week I commuted downtown and decided to stroll over to the Chicago Cultural Center.

First, Angel and I passed the Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet.

I walked in on a prototype of the story chair from the Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, which apparently doubles as a table and turns into a throne as stories are told.

Then I decided to start my exhibit exploration upstairs, where Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College are on display.

This exhibition features all 32 doors painted by Eugene Eda for the stairwells of the original, now demolished Malcolm X College. Painted in 1971 they are considered a landmark of the Black Arts movement in Chicago.

The doors are thematically distinguished in 4 categories, based on their original stairwell locations.

  • A: Egyptian Hieroglyphs
  • B: West African and Sankofa
  • C: Black Aesthetics, Black Family
  • D: Black Power and Survival

Eugene Eda started with ancient Egypt as the foundation of his works, and then narrates the history of African culture and heritage with the other door themes. I was fascinated by all the symbolism represented in stairwell B, and want to learn more about Adinkra symbols used in West African culture.

Fortitude, unity and community are themes for stairwell C, showing scenes representing the various areas of study at Malcolm X College (currently arts, general studies, science and applied science), along with depictions of family. In Stairwell D, according to Michelle R. Perkins, the doors are to remind those passing through to “rise above anything that imprisons the body and the mind.”

Part of the interior design of the walls in this room had the inscription “lūx et vēritās”, meaning light and truth, which was very appropriate for this particular exhibit. As a European, I have a cursory acquaintance with American History, and even my world history education was quite Euro-centric, so learning more about Black History, African(-American) culture, Indigenous culture and what is essentially ‘non-white world history’ requires awareness and alertness.

I am grateful there is much activism to have these stories told and celebrated. Attending art talks and exhibits about marginalization is uncomfortable, but makes me a better human being who can hopefully respond better to the impact oppression has had on any group than be clouded by my own perceptions.

The next exhibit was 50×50 Invitational / The Subject is Chicago: People, Places, Possibilities, with artists from various Chicago Wards represented to make statements on the current state of the world, ranging from a postcard exhibit in which people wrote an artist about their wishes to statements about the current political climate.

Then I wandered on to The Wall of Respect: Vestiges, Shards and the Legacy of Black Power, where Eugene Eda was mentioned again. The history of this particular wall spoke of the difference in opinion even among a group that society at large tends to homogenize, and was educational in so many ways.

The activism on making voices heard about cultures and groups that have been oppressed, suppressed and ignored is important, and while it takes effort to gain understanding, it is vital to deal with the discomfort of historic inaccuracy and work to rectify it.

I wandered through a corridor that landed me in the ramp, where Passage by SO-IL from New York City, U.S., featuring photography by Iwan Baan from Amsterdam, The Netherlands is an ongoing exhibit.

From that window I also got a good view of the Piranesi Circus (Atelier Bow-Wow in Tokyo, Japan) in the Atrium, which intrigued me on all levels of the cultural center. Both these architectural masterpieces were part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, a global exhibition of contemporary architecture, showcasing the visionary ideas of 100 architects and designers from 30 countries.

It is certainly a playground for the imagination.

Of course the internal architecture of the Cultural Center is a feast for the eyes as well.

With its original intent as Chicago’s first central public library in 1879, the building was designed to impress with rare imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, and mosaics.

This building is home of the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome.

Healy & Millet designed the other glass dome.

The workmanship is mesmerizing. You can learn more about the Chicago Cultural Center exhibits on this link.

I also came upon lovely quilts like this one by Laverne Brackens.

These quilts are held in library collections and loaned out for display after their cleaning before being placed in their conservatorship’s collections again.

With so much history and creativity to ponder, I left the Cultural Center to make my way home.

Chicago is such a diverse and vibrant city, and I strive to be more alert to the expression of voices that may not reflect my experience or point of view, but require me to get through some cognitive dissonance to grow as a human being and be a more compassionate citizen of the world.

Small Business Saturday Consignments

It’s been a whirlwind of making enough angels and frosties for my pop-ups as well as the four spaces I am consigned to this holiday season.


Just in time for Small Business Saturday, my ornaments are now in three Chicagoland retailers: The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle in Evanston, and ChromaK8 Beautique and Sacred Art in Chicago. My angels went under the sorting hat to determine which ones would fly off where.


A few went to Chromak8 Beautique, where I get my hair done. ChromaK8 strives to deliver the highest quality beauty services with the cleanest, high performing products.


On Black Friday, ChromaK8 will debut special holiday gift sets and a local artist showcase. The salon is located at 5425 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.


I am thrilled to be in a new location in Lincoln Square as well.  Sacred Art offers a variety of gift items for the whole family, including wonderful Chicago-themed items. Owner Kate curates a selection of work from 110+ makers with a focus on Chicago-made art.


Check out the Facebook page for extended store hours on Small Business Saturday, with nibbles offered to shoppers. Sacred Art is located at 4619 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.


I hope these characters enjoy their slumber party and find new owners.


The sneak peek in the store is gorgeous.


I switched out my inventory at See Jane Sparkle on Tuesday, so you will see brand-new pendants, bracelets and earrings in Sara Jane’s store. 


The new pendants went straight from my studio to her.


I hope you like perusing them.


You can also peruse my sparkle ornament collection, created specifically for the boutique. 


I’ll have my full collection available on December 8 during the Warm Bevvy Walk.


The Collage Cafe also has brand-new pieces in the shop, and I cannot wait to see how my ornaments look in this lovely playspace.


A few angels incorporate alcohol inks purchased at the store.


Both The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle are participating in the Hip Circle Studio Holiday Hike on Small Business Saturday, with special bags and goodies for shoppers walking off their Turkey coma.


Check out the holiday offerings online at The Collage Cafe  and See Jane Sparkle


I am so excited to be supported by these lovely women entrepreneurs, and look forward to visiting their holiday setups soon!

Local Artist Bazaar at Esquina

It’s pop-up after pop-up for me. On Sunday I will be at Esquina’s Local Artist Bazaar.


Founded by neighbor and fellow jewelry artisan Nomadic Ant, Esquina is “a place to explore your creative superpowers”.


The space hosts art openings, poetry readings, shared stories, workshops, travel talks, a music listening room as well as discussions and gatherings.


This month’s Local Artist Bazaar or LAB will be Sunday, November 13 from 12 pm to 5 pm at 4602 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL.


Throughout the afternoon local artists will gather and support each other in a cool community space. Marvin Tate will have a few live performances, cocktails will be provided by Jo Snow Syrups, and tarot card readings will be available.


Participating artists include:


Esquina can also offer private events. Come and join us on Sunday, and see what fun can be had here.


Ravenswood ArtWalk recap

The Ravenswood ArtWalk turned out to be a good event for me.


On Saturday we had the coldest day of the season, which had me running home to get a heavier coat after my coffee run.


No one was ready to get their winter coats out, but even gloves were necessary. I have to say that my bangle does look good on black leather.


The big tent from last year was nixed for smaller sections of shared (and RAW-provided tents).


We were sprinkled among the professionals who have their own pop-up tents, which was a nice layout.


Not many people milled about on Saturday, but those who did were actually dedicated to shopping, so most of us made some sales in spite of the chill and rain.


A kind soul from another booth loaned us in Tent B her extra tent walls which made the day more bearable.


I gladly took the ‘pity sales’ of customers feeling sorry for us in this weather. Since I was battling a cold I lasted til 5 and then packed up, even though we were slated to go til 7 that day.


Sunday warmed up and the sun was out, which made for better attendance and a much brighter mood.


The view was brighter too.


It was the first Fall day to legitimately wear a scarf pendant.


Beer was flowing from the beer truck, and the wafts of Pierogies and other delicious food-truck goodies made me wish I could have run down there for my lunch.


But since it was just me in my booth I had to stay put.


There just is no inner peace to walk away when you feel like a sale could happen any moment.


Surprisingly people were ready for Christmas, and getting a head start on their gift shopping. My caroling ornaments (those with Holiday songs on them) flew off to new homes.


I heard some interesting bands and wish I had a program to look some of them up.


Dogs were abundant, as were strollers and kids.


A model used the ArtWalk as a photoshoot backdrop.


I loved Anidem’s copper creations.


Amelia Kieras makes amazing pop-up cards that are stories within themselves.


You can peruse all exhibiting artists on this link.


I might return next year if I re-establish some weather bravery.


Ravenswood ArtWalk this weekend!

Time is a’flying, and this coming weekend I will be packing up and putting my wares out at the 13th Annual Tour of Arts & Industry. My booth will be at the Ravenswood ArtWalk Detour in Tent B on Ravenswood and Berteau.


The official Art walk kicks off with a reception on Friday, October 3, 2014 from 7:30 to 10:30 PM at the Ravenswood Events Center, 4025 N Ravenswood (donation of $10 requested). A wide array of artistc vendors will open their booths Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. along Ravenswood and Sunnyside Avenues between Irving Park and Lawrence Avenues. On Saturday, October 4, the main walk will be until 7 p.m. But the detour (food and music) is open until 9 p.m. On Sunday, October 5, the festivities end at 6 p.m.


The Ravenswood Art Walk’s mission is to generate community investment in the artistic, industrial and historic importance of Ravenswood and to raise awareness for the unique hub of creative practices that exists here. Part of Chicago Artists’ Month, this year’s annual Ravenswood Arts Advocate Award Ceremony honors artist Judith Roth. Additional events include a performance by the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra and belly dance group Amaranth.


The Detour features a street fest-style center to the ArtWalk that will feature artists, live music, a craft beer garden, a children’s corner and a food truck roundup. The Ravenswood ArtWalk Detour provides a logical rest and meet-up point where festival attendees can pause, grab a bite and a drink, enjoy some entertainment and then move on to explore the art blossoming around Ravenswood. Come see me on Saturday and/or Sunday, and check out the newbies I’ve been creating just for the walk!


From the Fire Pit: Glimmers opening

Lauren and Rory Coyne do a lot together, and so it is with exhibits. On the heels of Lauren’s Wolf Peach Opening Friday night, Rory Coyne opened his solo show at Galerie Fledermaus on Saturday.


Rory’s inspiration for the show comes from the fire pit or hearth as a gathering place.


“It’s not just the fire itself, but what it provides: a place to gather with family and friends and the perfect situation to talk and dream. Stories are born here, histories told, and heritage handed down masked in allegories, myths, and grandiose creatures,” said Rory.


From the Fire Pit: Glimmers features oil paintings by Rory that morph gorgeous human beings into furry creatures, creating mythical characters that could spin stories of their own. Detailed photos of the paintings can be found here.


“The light of the blazing fire
combined with the dark, gloomy shadows by the hearth
to transmit sharp contrasts,
shaping the expectations of listeners and inspiring the tellers.”
~ Maria Tatar, Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore
and Mythology at Harvard University


Rory said he is “discovering my characters and revealing them one by one stripped from any surrounding in order to focus on just them. They will grow and mature, and take part in many sagas. Some already have, some have just come to be, and many have yet to come to life. They are the sparks that start the fire, a glimmer of what’s to come.”


Galerie Fledermaus specializes in Symbolist works from Germany, Austria, France and Italy 1880-1920, and contemporary figurative artists.


It is a joy to peruse the Klimts and other wonderful art works.


I want to learn more about Koloman Moser.


In addition to paintings and prints, Galerie Fledermaus also offers vessels, and other art deco pieces. This box is a treasure even without anything inside of it.


Rory may host another event before his show closes on September 28. So swing by 2136 W North Avenue in Chicago soon.


In October, Jason McPhillips will reveal his latest works in his Ghosts series, from October 3 through November 2.


There were some fabulous outfits at the show.


Rory’s trademark, an axe, was incorporated in his ensemble.


Lauren is always stunning.


My reflection snuck into some photos accidentally.


Go peruse the gems at Galerie Fledermaus. I’ll see you there October 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.


Birthday Celebrations

Birthday week was such fun. Emergency Vehicle Night spawned an impromptu pub evening with two lovely ladies. Thursday was spent making party preparations.


On Friday I went to Pritzker Park for a free concert with Ian Maksin. Pritzker Park hosts weekly Friday lunch events through the Chicago Loop Alliance and King Art Collective.


King Art Collective curates music, performance and art every Friday at noon in Pritzker Park for the Loop Placemaking Initiative.


Free to the public, Pritzker Park—a small, scenic space located off State Street—will be activated through October with free performances, food trucks and family-friendly activities.


Ian Maksin introduced us to Cello arrangements with pop songs by the Beatles and Ray Charles, then pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, and played his own compositions inspired by folk music and Sting.


It was fun to watch the crowd react.


Some window washers got mesmerized.


Ian’s latest arrangements are recorded on his new album, Soul Companion. The album includes original compositions for cello solo as well music by Sting, Ilya Levinson, Seth Seth Boustead and Paul Yeon Lee.


Ian will be releasing his new album at 8 p.m.  on September 20 at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.


The park, which was recently reimagined by the Chicago Park District, is conveniently located at the south end of the State Street corridor, in the intersection of several Loop universities and just north of the Harold Washington Library.

Harold Washington Library

The Loop Placemaking Initiative is an expansive series of innovative public space activations throughout the Loop supported by Chicago Loop Alliance. Check out upcoming activities by going to the Loop Chicago webpage.


At home I was showered with flowers.


Then I unwrapped presents.


Being spoiled is such a delicious feeling.


On Saturday I was pampered with a Facial and Massage, and then set up my table with munchies, including chocolate, of course.


Friends came in bearing goodies and we had a lovely evening conversing into the night.


It is good to have friends you celebrate and share with.


On Sunday I enjoyed the weather at Emily Oaks Nature Preserve and was thrilled to see multiple Monarch butterflies frolicking in the sun.


I’m looking forward to more flowers tomorrow at Platt-A-Palooza. Join me in Bloomingdale from 1-6 p.m. at Platt Hill Nursery!


June Outings

June marked its arrival with numerous outings. It truly is summer when your social calendar fills up.


My friends and I dined at Nightwood one lovely evening and savored every bite.


Then we saw Redmoon’s Spring Spectacle: Bellboys, Bears and Baggage and were transported to a magical world of vignettes with hidden meanings and thought provokers.


I attended the much-anticipated Queen + Adam Lambert Concert on June 19.


Their tour kick-off was fabulous and I am glad I got to experience it.


I highly recommended the show to any Queen or Adam Lambert fan.


Go see!!!


The next day I met some fellow Thunderbirds for a scrumptious dinner on Michigan Avenue, with a limo ride, no less!


On Saturday I saw the Monarch movie at the Museum of Science and Industry with friends and played shadow games with them.


Fred Urquhart’s 39-year quest to track Monarch butterflies is inspiring (I am so impatient with myself!).


We had fun exploring the newly renovated Fairy Castle — my favorite exhibit next to the Swiss Pinball Machine.


Yesterday I had my annual funnel cake and then participated in the flash mob of Hip Circle Studio at the Custer Street Fair, where the World Cup was live streamed.


This is going to be a GREAT Summer!