October 7, 2006 • Magazine



Sat, 2006-10-07 11:00

Julie Ghatan

Until Chicago has a department store that offers all things hand-crafted, visit DEPART-ment, the seasonal and sometimes traveling store with a vast and original inventory supplied by a diverse group of local vendors.

Though DEPART-ment may not have Macy’s department-store status, it lives up to the claim of being “satisfying on every fundamental level,â€? as it carries nearly everything a person could want on a shopping jaunt.

The inexhaustible list of handmade goods found at DEPART-ment includes one-of-a-kind bags, dresses, jewelry, knit/felted goods, custom-made clothing, silk-screened t-shirts, amazing stationary, plush toys, re-interpreted clothing, stoneware, knitting needles, home accents, and personal accoutrements. And if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, someone at DEPART-ment will be eager to make it for you. There are no limitations placed on the goods offered. The only requirement is that products be handmade and unique.

Since its maiden voyage in December 2003, DEPART-ment has amassed over 100 vendors and is always looking for fresh talent. The creative coalition was also invited to join last year’s Intonation Festival, as well as this summer’s Pitchfork Music Festival.

No one can be happier about this success than organizer Marshall Preheim, who describes DEPART-ment as “a temporary autonomous zone.” It differs from the traditional craft fair, as it is a collaborative effort that facilitates those exploring creativity in designing functional objects.

The Open-End Gallery, located at 2000 West Fulton Street (Damen and Fulton) will host opening night festivities on Friday, October 13 at 7pm. The event continues through Sunday, October 15.
For more information, visit

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