One of a Kind Show Celebrates 13 Years

Ivan Ring

The 13th annual One of a Kind Show and Sale is coming to the Merchandise Mart on Thursday, December 5, through Sunday, December 8. Exhibiting over 600 talented artists from North America at the show, expect to fill that holiday shopping list in one trip. Exclusive items for sale include ceramics, fashion, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, glass, and photography among others.

Don’t miss the extraordinary jewelry designer Julia Failey displaying her collections, current and custom made, at the event. What is her connection to Chicago? Her jewelry is designed and crafted here. Ms. Failey operates a ‘green’ business using reclaimed metals and ethically sourced diamonds whenever possible. Celebrating five years, Ms. Failey launched her eponymous line in 2008. I spoke with Ms. Failey about her background in art and about her plans for the near future.

When asked about her education in the arts, Ms. Failey responds, “After graduating from Davidson College in North Carolina, I moved to New York City to pursue a career in the art world. I started creating jewelry in my studio apartment and expanded my skill set through classes and workshops. My desire to learn more led to an apprenticeship with a master jeweler on Maui and graduate degrees from the Gemological Institute of America. These experiences helped me build a solid foundation in design, gemology and fabrication.”

On finding inspiration at a young age, Ms. Failey talks about her upbringing. She shares, “My grandmother, a fashion influence and model environmental philanthropist, opened my eyes to the beauty in small details. From a young age, I was exploring the outdoors, collecting rocks, feathers and fossils. Natural elements continue to inspire my jewelry, and my concern for the preservation of these resources is reflected in my designs, choice of materials and sustainable business practices.”

Starting out as a creative entrepreneur at an early age, Ms. Failey explains the start of her business career: “I started my first fashion business, Tree House Art,  in the late 1980s. Inspired by the pop art movement, I used textured paint and found objects in creating the clothing and jewelry line. I sold the collection at lemonade stands around the neighborhood.”

Don’t expect the every day ordinary jewelry you see at trunk shows and boutiques. Ms. Failey’s designs are exquisite and unique. She shares, “My jewelry is intricately handcrafted pieces that reflect my appreciation for natural environments and concern for the preservation of natural resources. I find inspiration in fine details and movements in nature. My intention is to remind us of the subtle beauty that surrounds us and raise awareness of our connections to our environment.”

For tickets and additional information, please visit One of a Kind Show and Sale.


About Cindy Burns

Cindy Burns is an author, researcher and freelance writer. She has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and The Women's Auxillary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She’s also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital and writes as TCW's "Woman About Town," covering Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, interviews with women who are making a difference, and more around Chicago