clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

10 perfect holiday gifts by Chicago makers

From Midwest-inspired ceramics to neighborhood illustrations and goods by local textile artists

If you buy something from a Curbed link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

No matter who you’re shopping for this holiday season, we’ve selected a handful of gifts by local Chicago makers and businesses that will charm everyone on your list.

From practical Field Notes notebooks to a luxurious Studio Herron throw to a Midwest landscape-inspired handmade mug, there’s a gift at every price point too.

Image courtesy of ALSO / Matt Lamothe

Chicago Brick Three-Flat House print

$30-$55 | ALSO

There’s just something about that red brick and green tile roof combo that we love. ALSO is a team of three artists who’ve turned their fondness for Chicago-style homes into a series of 10 prints. Can’t pick just one? They’ve got a poster with all the illustrations.

Image courtesy of Angela Vernachik

Skokie Lagoons mug

$34 | Angela Venarchik

Ceramics artist Angela Venarchik mines Midwest landscapes for inspiration. Snowy fields, moody Lake Michigan water, and wild prairie flowers are translated into dishes, bowls, pitchers, and mugs. This piece’s glaze mimics the Skokie Lagoons at dawn, bringing in colors from the dark water, duckweed, reeds, grasses, and forest.

Image courtesy of Studio Herron

Studio Herron Architecture throw

$180 | Studio Herron

The West Loop-based textile studio was started by Dee Clements, who has worked with CB2 and the Freehand Hotel. The artist weaves pillows, table linens, rugs, and blankets, focusing on every detail. Studio Herron’s art throws are so striking that it might be hard to keep them folded up on the couch. There are so many ways to display the double-sided art—on the wall, across a bed, as a rug, or even as a table covering.

Image courtesy of Field Notes

Field Notes End Papers notebook

$12.95 | Field Notes

There’s an appealingly practical feeling to Field Notes products. The simplicity comes from the company’s design inspiration: promotional memo books distributed to American farmers over decades by equipment manufacturers and industry businesses. The limited-edition End Papers notebooks are narrow enough to fit in your back pocket and much sturdier than the original notebooks. The special version features two different prints using 19th-century hand-marbling techniques from Midwest-based artists on the inside covers.

Image courtesy of Lillstreet Art Center

Lillstreet Art Center Gift Certificate

$50 | Lillstreet Art Center

Lillstreet has been around since 1975 providing a community for lifelong artists, hobbyists, curious folks and those just looking for the occasional art night out. In 2003, Lillstreet moved out of a converted horse barn and into a 40,000-square-foot former gear factory in Ravenswood, where it offers all-levels classes in ceramics, metalsmithing, jewelry and glass, painting and drawing, printmaking, textiles, and photography. We recommend trying Date Night Throwdown ($65). It’s a one-night BYOB class where you get to test your skills in clay wheel throwing, plus you’ll come out of it with two ceramic pieces.

Image courtesy of Carnevale Clay

Constellation Lamp

$215 | Carnevale Clay

This hand-sculpted red stoneware lamp is made to order and can be personalized with any constellation or zodiac sign. The earthy, sculptural light fixture is handsome in the daytime and delicately sparkly in the evening. This gift does take four to five weeks to ship since it’s entirely handmade, but if you’re in Chicago, you can pick it up at Carnevale Clay’s studio. Can’t wait that long? The artist has one small lamp with a Leo constellation at Foyer Shop and sells another stoneware lamp at Humboldt House.

Image courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority Gift Shop

Elevated: Art and Architecture of CTA

$58 | Chicago Transit Authority Gift Shop

Chicago is home to some of the most remarkable skyscrapers, but have you ever considered the architecture of the city’s public transit? In a new 448-page book published by the Chicago Transit Authority, the agency highlights 70 works of art and 24 pieces of significant architecture across the L. This first-ever collection of its kind features photography by Aron Gent and words by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, architect Iker Gil, historian Tim Samuelson, and cultural journalist Ruth Lopez.

Image courtesy of Humboldt House

Ceramic match striker

$48 | Minima Maxima

Minima Maxima makes this geometric ceramic match striker sold at the art-filled Humboldt House shop. The sharp tabletop decor is handmade and works with strike-anywhere matches. Shop for it online or stop by HH; the store is filled with vintage rugs, pillows, ceramics and textiles from local makers. You might even find a candle to go along this artful gift.

Image courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago Gift Shop

Frank Lloyd Wright Martin House Mirror

$215 | Art Institute of Chicago Gift Shop

Architecture enthusiasts, and Frank Lloyd Wright fans especially, will be keen on this mirror that’ll look stunning in any hall or entryway. The laser-cut cherrywood frame draws from the Prairie School architect’s Martin House in New York. It’s a special piece of decor that references one of Wright’s largest and most significant commissions.

Image courtesy of Steve Shanabruch

Neighborhood WPA-inspired print

$35 | The Chicago Neighborhoods

These neighborhood prints feature designs inspired by tourism posters from the ’30s and ’40s. Perfect for anyone who fancies themselves an amateur historian, each illustration boasts the area’s architectural or natural wonders. The Beverly-born artist Steve Shanabruch highlights Kenwood’s iconic Art Deco Powhatan apartments, the iconic pink Edgewater Beach apartments, and the Garfield Park Conservatory’s Fern Room.