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Chicagoland inspiration: Cantigny Park

Paper crafts  |  September 6th 2011  |  0 Comment

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cantigny gardens

As Paper Source expands in Chicagoland I thought my weekend adventure to a destination near two of our newest suburban stores might interest artists and crafters who seek local inspiration.

A good friend told The Mister and I about Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. History buffs and journalism folk might know this as the estate of the late Colonel Robert R. McCormick, famed editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Our friend simply described the gardens, the historical home and the tanks, which line the grounds outside the First Division Museum, as a must-see for any Chicagoan. Truth be told, we’re transplants – Hoosiers through and through – but highly invested in living like local anywhere we go, so we strayed from our usual West Town Sunday happenings and headed West… further West.

It was definitely worth the 40 minute drive and $5 per car admission (so cheap!). Obviously, the botanicals provide inspiration with the fabulous colors and wonderful variety spread throughout the estate, but you might be surprised to find the industrial works round out the experience and inspiration nicely.

As a lover of antiques and textiles, I really enjoyed the home tour (Photos were not allowed, but you can take a virtual tour online.) From to the Art Deco theater on the lower level to the wooden spindles lining the first and second floor walkways, the home had little treats for every kind of designer. Industrial artists would enjoy the mission style woodwork and unique lighting featured in Freedom Hall. Fine artists would appreciate the hand-painted works and collections of Amy Adams McCormick. And paper artists, like most of us, would spend hours studying the 70-foot-long hand-painted mural that lined the formal dining room. Painted on rice paper and hung with linen, this Chinese treasure inspired me to write this blog.

It’s refreshing to be reminded of our roots – the color, the pattern and the tradition of fine paper – and take away a piece of local history. But, even if you prefer the clank of metal or the sound of songbirds, a day trip to Cantigny Park will leave you with plenty of color, sound, and relaxation to get those creative juices flowing.

– Liz
PS colors: peacock fig
Latest fave: Cavallini Wrapping Paper

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