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Fruit Infused Water Recipes with Last Ingredient Blog

In this second part of our Spring Recipe Series with Paige Adams from Last Ingredient Blog, Paige shares recipes for three infused waters. These waters are quick, easy + super refreshing. Here’s Paige with the recipes:

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Infused Waters

I think it’s safe to say that flavored water is officially a thing. While I can’t refuse bottled or canned infused water, it could not be easier to make your own. Then you don’t have wonder what the mysterious “natural flavor” listed on the label actually means. A bonus of making your own infused water is how beautiful the colorful ingredients look floating in their pitchers. (Shop Cylinder Pitcher )

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Fresh fruit, veggies, herbs and spices are all fair game. Don’t be shy about experimenting with different combinations. I added sliced jalapenos to cucumber lemon water to give it some heat. If you want stronger flavor, muddle the ingredients and let them infuse longer. You can even add a splash of vodka or gin or freeze the water into ice cubes and add them to drinks later.

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Blueberries + Blackberries + Mint + Lime

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 small handful mint leaves

1 lime, thinly sliced

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Grapefruit + Raspberries + Rosemary

1/2 grapefruit, thinly sliced

1 cup raspberries

3 sprigs rosemary

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Cucumbers + Jalapenos + Cilantro + Lemon

1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 small handful cilantro leaves

1 lemon, thinly sliced

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Place the ingredients for each infused water in a pitcher. For stronger flavor, gently muddle everything. Fill the pitcher with cold still or sparkling water. Let the water infuse for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

(Shop Epicurean Cutting Board)

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Get more recipes from Last Ingredient Blog

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Spring Salad Recipes with Last Ingredient Blog

We recently ventured over to Last Ingredient Blog founder, Paige Adams’ Wicker Park kitchen to cook up some yummy recipes with our cookware for Spring. In this three-part blog series, Paige takes over and guides us through preparing spring salads, cooking for Easter + infused waters.

Without further ado, here’s Paige:

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Spring Salads

After a winter filled with hearty meals and comfort food, I get very excited about spring produce and especially salads. What better way to show off delicate fruits and veggies than keeping things seasonal and simple? For a fresh and easy from-scratch lunch or dinner for friends, I like to serve a variety of salads, each with a different base—baby greens, grains and even toasted bread.

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What makes salads satisfying is using a mix of flavors and textures from the salty & sweet combination of strawberries and smoked almonds in a spinach salad to crunchy croutons and creamy cannellini beans in a spring panzanella to crisp green beans and radishes in a bowl of fluffy quinoa. Go light when dressing the salads. You can always add more or serve extra vinaigrette in a small bowl.

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 4

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

5 ounces baby spinach

1-1/2 cups quartered strawberries

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup chopped smoked almonds

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In a large bowl, whisk together the shallots, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper followed by the olive oil until fully combined. Tip the bowl around to coat the inside and pour the excess into a small bowl.

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Toss together the spinach, strawberries, onions, goat cheese and smoked almonds in the large bowl. Add more vinaigrette as desired.

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Spring Panzanella Salad

Serves 4

1/2 loaf crusty country bread (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups baby arugula

1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus shavings for serving

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Tear the slices into rough pieces and place on a sheet pan. Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake the bread until it toasted and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

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In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and remaining salt, pepper and olive oil until fully combined.

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In a large bowl, toss together the bread, beans, arugula, grated Parmesan and vinaigrette. Top with shaved Parmesan before serving. (shop Epicurean Slate Utensils + Merchant White Bowls)

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Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Peas & Radishes

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 pound green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced chives

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Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. (shop Epicurean Slate Cutting Board)

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In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. (shop the Knob Spice Grinder)

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Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the green beans and peas until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl of ice water. After a few minutes, drain and stir the greens beans and peas into the quinoa followed by the radishes, scallions, chives and vinaigrette. (shop the Falcon Prep Set)

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Full list of Unison cookware used:

Epicurean Cutting Board

Eve Chrome Salad Servers

Merchant White Bowls

Epicurean Cutting Board

Epicurean Slate Utensils

Knob Spice Grinder

Thanks Paige! Stay tuned for more fresh recipes for spring, and check out more on her blog: Last Ingredient

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Celebrating Women Owned Businesses for #InternationalWomensDay

We celebrate women-run businesses all year long. But especially today —
it’s #InternationalWomensDay. As a salute, we chatted with some of our favorite Chicago boss girls and want to share their unique stories with you.

Danielle Lenczuk is the co-owner of gift boutique Bow & Arrow Collection.
Matti Sloman and Emily Winter are the owners of artist-run industrial
weaving studio The Weaving Mill Chicago. And Kelly Marie Thompson is the
proprietor of floral design studio Fleur.

Enjoy the Q&A and happy #InternationalWomensDay!

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Unison: How did you get started, and was there an awareness or desire to
build your business with women at the forefront?

Danielle: We have always had a passion for personal gifting and a desire
for us to create something together! We took a look at our skills and
realized that with the three of us, we could create something really cool
and meaningful to others. We are a girls support girls kind of store! We
actively support other women owned businesses. Not only do we focus on our
vendors but we put in the extra effort to make sure every type of girl is
appreciated in our store. The Bow & Arrow sisters strive to provide things
that are not only unique to Chicago, but unique to retail in general, by
incorporating our forever and current obsessions IRL. We think the best
part about Bow & Arrow Collection is that we get to do this together, as
sisters. We each bring something different to the table and together we are
stronger than any of us are alone. #sisterbosses

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Matti & Emily: The Weaving Mill is an outgrowth of the Chicago Weaving
Corporation, a textile company that started in the 1940s. The CWC began in
Wicker Park, moved to the suburbs in the mid 80s and in 2005 partnered with
social services agency Envision Unlimited to create a job training program
for adults with developmental disabilities. We took over the facility in
the summer of 2015 and have been running the studio together ever since.
The decision to work together was not primarily about women working with
women, but we do see it as one strength of our partnership.

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Kelly: I was very young when I first began Fleur, and to be honest I didn’t
have much background in running a business. I knew I loved floral design
and was good at it, but that’s pretty much it. Because of that I began to
reach out with a lot of questions, and soon realized that there are a lot
of people out there searching for guidance, reassurance and offering one
another encouragement. I think the acceptance that I had a lot to learn
and losing my fear of asking questions when I needed help is what drew me
to build a lot of relationships with other women owned companies.

Unison: What makes running your own business rewarding?

Danielle: Having a creative outlet that allows us to share our passion for
gifting is incredibly rewarding! We have had such a warm welcome from the
Chicago community filled with positive feedback and fun times. From our
supportive neighbors to kind customers, we cannot believe how gratifying it
is to watch our business grow. Being small business owners can be stressful
at times but the outpour of love & support makes the whole process
worthwhile.

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Matti & Emily: We work very closely in collaboration with one another, both
creatively and on the day-to-day operations managing TWM. We come to the
studio with different skill sets, as well as creative instincts and
interests. Keeping both of our voices present across all the work we do
together is fundamental to our studio practice. What has been satisfying
has been developing our own systems and strategies that complement both of
our working styles. By prioritizing open communication with one another, we
have developed shared expectations for each other, while allowing space and
freedom for our work as individuals.

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Kelly: I think it has a lot to do with accomplishment. I have a very goal
driven personality and I love the feeling when a project is completed, and
we’re ready to pour everything into the next one. Equally as important is
witnessing the happiness that people receive from Fleur. Making sure other
people are happy from our guests to my team is a number one priority, and
their joy makes me always want to do the absolute best that I can.
Happiness is encouraging.

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Unison: Do you feel there is more equality/acceptance of women run
businesses?

Danielle: We are extremely fortunate to be in an industry where women
support each other.

Matti & Emily: We recognize the tireless work of feminists in previous
generations that made it possible for us to think of ourselves primarily as
artists instead of women artists. We embrace and celebrate our feminist
histories. We know that this focus on work over gender is a luxury not
extended to many people, namely non-binary and trans people and we try to
challenge any complacency we might feel in our privileged gender positions.

Kelly: I think we have a long way to go. Without a doubt I’ve experiences
a lot of sexism, and I think that there are also a lot of women out there
who can be very judgmental.

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Unison: Do you support or engage with other companies that are also
women-run?

Danielle: It is a major focus of ours. The vast majority of our vendors
are women and we are constantly partnering with local women business owners
to collaborate on workshops, pop-ups, events, etc.

Matti & Emily: All the time! We have collaborated with artists and several
brands on projects, and we are constantly looking to mentors and teachers,
many of which are women. Our collaborators have included Rebecca Atwood
Designs, founded in Brooklyn by Rebecca Atwood; Studio Herron, Dee
Clement’s Chicago based business; Production Mode, a Chicago fashion label
by Jamie Hayes to name a few! We also get all our buttons made at Busy
Beaver Button Company, owned here in Chicago by Christen Carter.

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Kelly: In addition to our brick and mortar boutique, which is open to the
public we have a special events studio in the back half of our location.
We design an average of 70 weddings a year, and in the wedding industry
there is a huge amount of women owned companies. It’s wonderful and I love
it. We always have an ear to lend, a shoulder to lean on and an extra pair
of arms to lift one another. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a
warm and intelligent and kind industry.

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Unison: What advice would you give to women that would like to launch
their own business?

Danielle: Some things to keep in mind: don’t underestimate yourself, be
bold in your choices, collaborate with women instead of competing against
them, always trust your instincts and don’t compromise your vision. Stay
true to you & your brand.

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Matti & Emily: Do not wait for permission or an invitation to declare
yourself ready. Trust your talents and be courageous enough to learn on the
fly. Do not let your ego or pride stop you from asking for help and advice
from others – getting help is not a sign of weakness. Allow yourself space
to evolve and be responsive to what is happening in your work.

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Kelly: It’s an invigorating and exciting thing, and don’t be afraid of what
other people say or think. Watch your numbers, and make decisions that
best reflect what your goals are. But be sure to have flexibility in your
plan, because you don’t always end up where you think you’ll be. Running
your own company isn’t always the most comfortable, but when you realize
that leaving your comfort zone from time to time is a good thing you’ll
really begin to grow.

Thanks ladies for all the insight and Happy #InternationalWomensDay!

Learn more and support these amazing ladies here:

bowandarrowcollection.com

fleurchicago.com

theweavingmill.com

 

 

 

 

 

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#ALittleFuller: Alex Fuller’s New Addition

We recently caught up with Chicago Designer + Unison Collaborator Alex Fuller to talk about his new baby boy Owen, becoming a parent and his upcoming design projects.

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It’s been a real joy to see you now as an adoring father. Tell us how life is going now with a tiny version of yourselves in your lives? 

Life is much fuller! See what I did there?! Sharing our world with Owen and teaching him about all the things we love and cherish is my favorite part of being a parent. Honestly, it’s every emotion all at the same time and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, maybe with 1 more hour of sleep a night.

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Owen is probably soaking up all the good art and design in your home. Are there places in Chicago you like to bring him to for more inspiration?

I love bringing him to the Smart Museum on the University of Chicago campus. It’s a perfectly curated collection of art that spans the big movements with nice little rotating exhibits. And it’s tiny and free! (Shop ABC print here)

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Now that you have a little one in your home, has that made you look at your space differently and how you use it? 

We have always been very aware of creating a livable space. We love the reductive nature of modernism but it must feel warm and inviting. And yes, child-proofing is also a real concern now.

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Looks like you probably love to share music with Owen. What does he like best? Are you surprised? 

We play so much different music all the time so it’s hard to tell. When Jessa was pregnant it was a lot of old reggae tunes. I think that chilled them both out. This week it’s Yo Yo Ma, Dirty Projectors and Chance the Rapper. I hope he develops a love for all music! (Shop Shapes Gray Baby Bedding here)

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You use your last name (Fuller) a lot in your Instagram hashtags – in fact your handle is fullfullerfullest. We love #alittlefuller to describe the ones with Owen. As he grows, do you expect to come up with more of them?

I’m sure! It’s too easy! We also love messing with his name. We like to say, “HellOwen, where ya gOwen?!

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Anything new on the horizon with your own work?

I’m actually working on my first font called, Fuller (of course). I’m also focusing more on my art book publishing project, 5 x 7 — 5x7books.com. We are participating in the Toronto Art Book Fair in June and launching a pop-up shop this Fall in Chicago. On top of that, i’m always exploring furniture and product ideas!

Thanks Alex + Jessa! Check out the full line of Alex Fuller’s products for Unison here.

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Spring Planting with Fleur Chicago

Spring is on it’s way. Birds are chirping, the sun’s up just a little bit longer each day and the urge to get some green in your home is on high. Don’t have the greenest of thumbs? No worries!

We partnered with Fleur, a local florist + plant shop to get the low-down on best practices for planting indoor foliage and succulents, using our Eden Terrarium and Arc Planters.

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Follow along to get expert tips from Jennifer Page at Fleur and watch our video for a step-by-step terrarium planting tutorial.

  1. Choose your pot. Add a layer of rocks to the bottom of planter, this provides an area of drainage for excess water to collect at the bottom of the soil level.

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2. Start by adding a layer of soil, periodically gently patting down the soil to get rid of any air pockets. Try not compress the soil too much, ensuring that the roots are comfortable and not too compacted.

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3. Once you’ve filled the planter about 3/4 of the way full, start prepping your plant to be added to the fresh soil. Begin by loosening up the root ball of the plant by gently breaking apart the roots, this allows the roots some room to breath after being in a grower’s pot.

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4. Put the plant into the soil, and begin to fill in more soil around the sides and on top of the roots, remembering to gently pat the soil down to fill in any air pockets.

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5. Finish filling in soil around your plant and take a step back, you did it!

Now that you’ve mastered planting indoor foliage, step up your green thumb game and take a on a terrarium! Watch our step-by-step video with Fleur Chicago:

For more planting fun, join us in store on 03/19 for our planting workshop! Spots are limited, get your tickets here.

Special thanks to Fleur + Potluck Creative

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Unison Q+A: Joslyn Villalpando of J.Villa Workshop

We recently hosted a Weaving Workshop using our scrap fabric with Joslyn Villalpando, founder of J.Villa Workshop. We talked to Joslyn about her practice, and how her love for teaching translated into hosting events, and what’s next for J.Villa Workshop.

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1. How long have you been teaching as J.Villa Workshop and how did it begin?

While teaching art for Chicago Public Schools, I was working on my thesis at the School of The Art Institute Chicago around creating community with craft and fiber art. After a long day of teaching and writing paper after paper for grad school, I was craving two things: time with friends and making art again, so I started hosting craft gatherings in my little Chicago condo with my friends. Each gathering, usually around a holiday, was paired with a cocktail and treat.

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For instance, I had a group for Valentines Day and we made block print cards, sipped a pink gin drink, and ate sugar cookies.  I love craft media; weaving, embroidery, macrame, etc. because of its implications of approachability and I love seeing what contemporary makers are doing with the traditional techniques.

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Curating a whole craft experience brings me so much joy so I started reaching out to various venues around Chicago to see if they’d be interested in hosting my craft gatherings that would involve them, in some way. I was pleasantly surprised that most are really into it and have fun coming up with the workshop with me! I’ve done some fun events with Bang Bang! Pie, Antique Taco and The Barrelhouse Flat.

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2. You teach a wide variety of workshops, including printmaking, weaving and embroidery. Do you have a favorite that you like to teach?

I love teaching each one for different reasons. Embroidery is so gratifying because I know how intimidating it can be for beginners and its fun to create an accessible workshop where people leave saying, “oh ok I can do this, I got this!” Weaving…that was my first love so I know my joy for that one comes through when I teach! I just love them all! 

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3. You also create custom weavings, how do you determine the color palette and patterning for those pieces?

I love creating custom weavings. I’m usually inspired by a color palette and I’ll stick with that for a weaving or two. I love switching it up between tight, laborious weavings with a more intricate design and textured, loose, minimal weavings. 

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4. What’s next for J.Villa Workshop?

I’m working to make J.Villa Workshop my full time job, this coming April will mark one year and I’m having so much fun continuing to come up with new gatherings! I started with a few contacts and venues who wanted to work together and those have each led me to new ones. I love collaborating with new makers, venues, and small business owners as my own business grows. I’ve found such a beautifully supportive community in Chicago and I’ll keep curating craft gatherings as long as people keep joining me! 

Learn more about J.Villa including upcoming workshops here

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Dream Weavers: Introducing Makaua Woven Baskets

 

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Beautiful things happen in the hands of artisans. Now imagine what’s possible when more than 500 artisan families are empowered to use their talents for the betterment of their community.

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That’s the story behind Makaua Baskets, a new addition to our Spring collection. The aesthetic of the baskets was what first grabbed our attention; they’re made from rustic natural palm leaves but manage to look so perfectly modern. Then we discovered their story and knew we had to share them with you.

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Makaua Baskets are made by in-need families in Mexico, who use traditional hand-braiding technique passed down through generations. These artisans have been making the baskets since 2002 and have been able to improve their quality of life with their income. It’s true — more than 500 families have been involved and positively impacted.

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The palm used is a sustainable natural fiber that’s abundant in the south of Mexico. Its gorgeous neutral color goes well with any living space. Also, those leather handles – they add refinement and make the baskets easily tote-able.

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We hope you love them as much as we do. Shop Woven Natural Baskets here

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Stylist Feature: Janelle Gonyea

At our recent store event: Well-Fashioned Feast, we asked stylist extraordinaire Janelle Gonyea to bring her table styling tips and tricks to assist Unison customers with their own holiday entertaining. We chatted with Janelle about her background, style inspiration and how she entertains in her own home.

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Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in styling:

I have always been interested in telling stories through creating beautiful color palettes and styled vignettes. I have an arts education, and that has informed much of my creative career. I began as an illustrator and graphic designer drawing and arranging items on a page. From there I moved onto arranging flowers and have since eased into styling objects in space.

My love for styling arose out of a fascination with storytelling. You see a scene and wonder what is happening there, and the objects begin to give you pieces of that story. It can take you back in time, recall a memory, or inform a brand’s aesthetic and lifestyle.

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We especially loved the handmade elements you added to the table, particularly your illustrations. Is that something you often incorporate into your table styling?

I certainly do! Adding handmade elements to styling gives it a more personal touch and adds more life to the table or scene. I think if it can be handmade, it should be! My education was in illustration, so it’s a skill that I love to embellish with when appropriate.

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How did the Unison products inspire you in creating your tablescapes?

Unison products are incredibly inspiring, especially because you really cannot go wrong with any combination. They defy rules, and encourage you to play. I adore the minimal patterns and limited color palettes, because they provide a foundation for incorporating your own style. By mixing and matching details you can be playful, dramatic, quirky, or romantic. 

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Styling for the holidays with Unison products gave me a chance to explore all of the pieces of place settings that I may not use on a regular basis.  I love having an opportunity to be expansive and really embrace table settings for multiple courses. Their cast iron collection was incredibly enticing, and I could just picture one at each place setting overflowing with an earthy homemade individual pot pie or ginger pear crisp!

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What was your main goal in executing each of your table settings? Do you often have an overarching concept for your tables that dictates your styling?

My main goal was to showcase various place settings and creative ways to play with napkin placement while adding personal elements. While some people tend to worry about them, I don’t believe in following all the rules. That being said, I wanted to provide a range in settings from basic to formal because the holidays tend to bring together traditions and honoring many generations.

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When styling tables, I am often drawn to particular palettes or ambiguous concepts like “desert landscape” or “wintry mountain” and build out from there. Florals always play a huge role, and I am still a fan of family style tablescaping and long communal tables. They’re more interactive and allow you to really play with settings and accompanying details.

What is your general philosophy regarding entertaining? Do you like to entertain within your own home as well?

I love bringing people together and sharing a meal over delightful conversation. With entertaining, I think atmosphere plays a huge role, and I like to create tablescapes that would set someone at ease and make them feel welcome. Recently I held a gathering on the night of a Supermoon, so I used a deep indigo runner accompanied by marble cake stands, milky white platters, speckled blue bowls and lunaria flowers. 

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Do you have any additional tips for last minute holiday entertaining prep?

I would say not to worry too much about the “rules” and just have fun with it. Be yourself and embrace your unique style. Beyond the essentials of table settings from lovely shops like Unison, consider adding a simple name tag for seating or drink labels. Handmade elements are always nice, and adding a small vase of flowers gives your table a warming touch.

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Textiles are a great way to lay a foundation for color, and have a transformative effect on any table setting. A simple white, black or grey plate set can look fun and quirky on a Market Plaid tablecloth or deep and dramatic on the Garland Wine Tablecloth. Holidays are the time to bring out all of the special details you might not use on a daily basis!

See more styling from Janelle Gonyea here

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Unison x The Weaving Mill

Here at Unison, we seek out and collaborate with an array of independent artists and designers, offering distinctive accessories, hard goods, and art that infuse homes with the clean beauty and functional substance of modern American design.

This year we’re especially excited about our most recent collaboration on a limited edition throw blanket with artists and co-founders of The Weaving Mill, Matti Sloman and Emily Winter. We sat down with Matti and Emily to learn more about their creative process and all things weaving. Read on to learn more and watch our video of the weaving in action!

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Briefly introduce yourselves

Emily: I grew up in San Francisco and moved to Chicago for college. I got my B.A. in History from University of Chicago. I started weaving right after I finished college, interning with Natalie Boyett at the Chicago Weaving School. I spent the next couple years working with her, teaching at Envision Unlimited and doing various odd jobs. I moved to Providence in 2013 for a Master of Fine Arts in Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design. Matti and I overlapped for one year in the MFA program and hit it off.

Matti: I grew up in Boston and got my BFA (Painting) and MFA (Textiles) from RISD. I have worked for a number of artists over the years as a studio assistant, which informed my desire for a collaborative studio practice. After grad school, and before moving to Chicago, I participated in the Land Arts of the American West residency which expanded my understanding of the studio as a practice vs. a place.

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What is the history of The Weaving Mill?

The Weaving Mill is an outgrowth of the Chicago Weaving Corporation, a textile company that started in the 1940s. The CWC began in Wicker Park, moved to the suburbs in the mid 80s and in 2005 partnered with social services agency Envision Unlimited to create a job training program for adults with developmental disabilities.

I (Emily) worked at Envision Unlimited as a teaching artist and knew Jim, who ran the mill. When I was in grad school, I learned that he was retiring and that there weren’t any concrete plans for the textile equipment. I started talking with people at Envision and at RISD about the possibility of restarting the weaving program at West Town Center. I asked Matti if she would be interested in coming to Chicago to work on this together and she said yes, she would. We both moved to Chicago in the summer of 2015 and started cleaning up the workshop, learning the equipment, and teaching sewing classes to Envision’s clients.

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What is it about the art of weaving that you’re drawn to?

Textiles are always in some in-between territory, between art and design, utility and aesthetics. This makes it a really meaty medium to work in, because it always pushes a little bit against some of those conventions. We like that the fabric we make always moves into the world in ways we don’t anticipate.

Can you talk a bit about your residency program?

Hosting an artist-in-residence was a fundamental program of The Weaving Mill since our initial brainstorming conversations. We always imagined The Weaving Mill as a multifaceted organization. Looking towards The Fabric Workshop as an inspiration, we believe the integration of working artists into our studio and the art program at West Town Center would elevate everyone’s practice. We received a Propellor Fund grant last fall that has funded our pilot program. This summer, three artists, staying for a month each, have brought their studio practices and energy to West Town Center. Each artists contributes 16 hours of workshops for Envision Unlimited clients. The remarkable response to the workshops has solidified the importance of continuing the residency next year.

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Do you find weaving to be a fairly accessible medium for your students?

West Town Education for Textiles (W.E.F.T.) is our textile education program at West Town. We work with two groups of Envision clients twice a week, building up sewing skills. We work on cutting, measuring, design, and sewing machine skills. Our hope with this program is that participants will become comfortable with these skills and be able to use them in their personal lives and in the future, for paid production work.

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How did you begin working with Unison?

When we discussed The Weaving Mill prior to moving to Chicago with our RISD faculty, they would nod and whisper “you need to talk to the people at Unison,” as if they were giving us top secret stock tips. We have admired the level of design coming from Unison from afar, but it took Liz Collins, mentor, artist and former classmate of Unison Co-Founder Robert Segal, to give us the moxie to make contact. Eventually we hosted the team here to The Weaving Mill to geek out and talk weaving. Several months later, when Unison Production Designer Erica Lubetsky proposed this collaboration, we were beyond excited.

Shop the Unison x The Weaving Mill Throw Blanket here

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Have you partnered with other brands before? If so, which one(s)?

We are working in 3 realms right now: we do our own projects (TWM Projects), which are single-run editions of textile objects. We have done 3 of these projects so far (100 Blankets, VA! Jackets, and A Very Big Blanket) and have more coming up. We also work with artists to do more experimental yardage—this involves a process of collaborative sampling and really thinking about how to push the possibilities of our looms. We are currently working with Portland artist Sarah Wertzberger on a project, as well as Providence artist Jungil Hong. We do collaborative design and production work with other businesses—we have done projects with print designer Rebecca Atwood, apparel designer Jamie Hayes and artist Nuria Montiel (for Jamie’s line Production Mode), and textile studio Herron.

What is next for The Weaving Mill?

We recently had an exhibition at Wheaton College and we are working on the next TWM project (Navajo churro wool blankets), and we have a couple of collaborations cooking. Sign up for The Weaving Mail!

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Inn Style: Unison + Longman & Eagle

Our latest bedding is custom-made for a Chicago destination that’s anything but ordinary.

We’ve been told our bedding is perfect for guest rooms, and Chicago’s iconic Inn at Longman & Eagle agrees. It now features Unison special-edition bedding that was created as a collaboration between Cody Hudson (partner at Land and Sea Department, which owns and operates the Inn at Longman & Eagle) and Unison co-founder Robert Segal.

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You can purchase the bedding, a quilt that reverses from navy blue to light grey, online or in or store. But we hope you’ll visit the Inn, too, to see it in its native environment. The Inn features six small eclectic rooms and sits above a whiskey bar serving Michelin-star-rated food. Inside each room: a mix of furniture designed and built by Land and Sea partners Mode Carpentry, plus curated artwork by Stephen Eichhorn, Ryan Duggan and other noteworthy creatives.

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We caught up with Cody, who shared more about this unique Chicago destination and what makes its new Unison bedding such a special touch.

Unison: You’ve had a longstanding collaborative relationship with Unison. What made the bedding the natural next step?

Cody: We’ve been using Unison bedding at the Inn since we opened. We like to support local companies so Unison was a perfect fit. After a few years of using the bedding we thought it could be interesting to do more of a custom comforter for the rooms.

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Unison: What were some key things you kept in mind when creating the design?

Cody: [We wanted] something simple, clean and a little utilitarian that would hold up in an inn setting. Also, there’s a lot going on in the rooms already so we wanted something with some color and pattern but not too much.

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Unison: These aren’t your typical hotel rooms. What’s the vibe?

Cody: It’s a pretty casual experience, almost like staying at a friend’s house who has a really cool guest room and has great taste in music, art and whiskey.

Unison: Another one of your collaborations with Unison, the Anchors bedding, was based on your hand-drawn illustrations. Tell us about your process for the Longman & Eagle bedding.

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Cody: I had a few meetings with [Unison co-founders] Robert and Alicia and talked about what fabrics would work best and what would go with the sheets and pillowcases we were going to use. We landed on this clean combination.

Unison: All beds at the Inn will also have the Sailor pillowcases. Why go with these?

Cody: We wanted the colors on the comforter to work nicely with everything else on the bed — it was a good fit.

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Unison: Tell us a bit more about your own studio practice. What’s your main focus and any new evolutions as of late?

Cody: I split my time between Land and Sea Department projects, traditional graphic design work and working on my personal art in the studio. In my personal work I’ve been focusing on more abstracted paintings on linen as well as steel and wood sculptures. I spent the last two months painting quite a bit getting ready for a few shows but now I’m back pretty heavily focusing on a few new LSD projects in the works.

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Unison: Where else can people see your work?

Cody: I had a show at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago last month, I’m doing a small show of sculptures in Amsterdam in December at Mini Gallerie. I’m slowly working towards a few other painting shows later next year as well as wrapping up details on a few mural projects for later in the year. That and raising two young kids is keeping me pretty busy right now.

Want to learn more? Click here for a peek inside The Inn at Longman & Eagle. Or, get immediate gratification and shop the new L&E Reversible Quilt here.