Holiday Open Studio Sale!

Posted by Melissa Banks on December 19, 2013

I'm all set up and ready for the open studio tomorrow and Saturday!  Stop by for a drink and some snacks, try on some jewelry, and see the work of 3 guest artists. 

Rapt in Maille will be offering the following sale during open studio:   Buy 3 or more items and get one at HALF OFF (lowest priced item)

Friday, December 20, 5-9pm
Saturday, December 21, 12-6pm

Guest Artists:

Weener Ware
Harbinger's Art by Jennifer Evans
Twisted Tines (wind chimes, jewelry, ornaments, and other accessories from vintage silverware)

Going home to make some last-minute pieces!  Hope to see you soon :)

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It's time for One of a Kind Chicago!

Posted by Melissa Banks on December 03, 2013

I just got done setting up my booth at the Merchandise Mart for the biggest show of the year!  I have changed my booth location to the Fashion District on the other side of the floor - #7108.  I'm excited to see how things are in this new space.  

I decided to go all classic black and white for the booth, and I like how it's looking!  I can't wait to fill those displays with all the jewelry I've been working on.  I hope to see you downtown this Thursday through Sunday….

Show Hours:  
Thursday & Friday 11am-8pm
Saturday 10am-7pm
Sunday 10am-5pm

8th Floor, Merchandise Mart, Chicago

And don't forget the new location:  BOOTH 7108 !!!


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Cyber Monday Sale!

Posted by Melissa Banks on November 26, 2013

The biggest shopping weekend of the year is just a few days away!  Rapt in Maille would like to offer its customers a special deal for online shopping for Cyber Monday.  Here's the scoop:

Starting at midnight on Sunday, you will find a new collection listed on the website called CYBER MONDAY SALE.  All items in this collection are eligible for a 15% discount.  You will find the original prices listed, so you must enter the promo code CYBER13 at checkout in order to receive the 15% off.

Please note:  The sale is one day only, and ends at midnight on Monday.  The very next day, on Tuesday, I am heading downtown to set up my booth for my biggest show of the year, the One of a Kind Show!  The event runs Thursday-Sunday, so all orders placed that week, including Cyber Monday, will most likely ship the following week, December 9-13.

Mark your calendars and set your alarms so you don't miss this 24 hour window - and don't forget to use the promo code CYBER13!

Wishing everybody a warm and happy Thanksgiving weekend - and happy shopping!

~ Melissa

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August show cancellation

Posted by Melissa Banks on August 07, 2013

This August I booked myself for 4 shows, which I never do.  My June and possibly July were going to be sparse this year, so I thought I'd overbook August to make up for it.  Well, as it turns out, the weekend of August 17-18 is when my best friend is getting married, and my niece is turning the ever-so-important age of 13, so I had a decision to struggle with.  As art fair artists, we work on weekends, and therefore miss a lot of fun and important occasions:  concerts, parties, family functions, etc.  I had to ask myself:  How would I feel missing an important wedding and birthday for the sake of work?

This 3rd weekend of August I was accepted for the Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts in Wisconsin.  I have never done the show before, so I had no point of reference for how I would do, or how easy/difficult it would be, not to mention I didn't have show help lined up.  However, I had heard positive things about the show from other artists as far as the location, the show staff, etc.  So the unfamiliarity of the show also presented some anxiety with my decision. 

In the end, I decided that I would give myself a break and take the weekend off to enjoy my family and friends.  In 14 years, I have only had to cancel one art fair, and that was due to a back injury.  So it was not a decision I made lightly.  But I think it was the right one.

I'm sorry that I will miss the Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts this year, but I hope that all of the artists and the show producers have an excellent show.  And I hope that anyone who was planning on seeing me there this year can catch me at one of my other many events.


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July's Art Fairs!

Posted by Melissa Banks on July 10, 2013

I'm getting ready to go on my July marathon, which includes Madison Art Fair on the Square and the State Street Section of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs.  I'm here in the studio working my last full day, then tomorrow will consist of running errands and cleaning the house (I hate coming home to a messy house), and hopefully making some last minute jewelry pieces.  Friday I'll be packing the car and heading up to Madison to set up my booth!  I'm really excited to be back at this show.  It's been 6 years since I've done the show, at it was a great success.  The weather looks just about perfect for the weekend - see you in booth #338 on Main Street!

The Madison show runs Saturday and Sunday, then I will promptly pack up my booth and make the drive back to Chicago, getting home late Sunday night.  I'll have Monday to scramble around and prep for the next leg of my marathon, then it's off to Ann Arbor Tuesday morning!  After my 4-ish hour drive, I'll set up my booth Tuesday evening (#B367 on Liberty near Maynard) and head to the artist party.  The State Street Section of Ann Arbor has a great party for its artists to kick off the show - free dinner and drinks when I'm hungry and exhausted - perfect!  The Ann Arbor show runs 4 days from Wed-Sat, with long, long hours.  After packing up the booth on Saturday, I'll have a relaxing dinner to celebrate, then spend the last night resting in the hotel.

Sunday morning in Ann Arbor I will do my usual ritual before leaving town.  I've gotta have breakfast at Zingerman's deli (love this place!), then I'll head across the street to the local artisan market and visit the shops nearby.  After a nice morning in Ann Arbor, I say goodbye and hit the road, getting home Sunday evening. 

After these back-to-back shows I hopefully rest for a day and's less than 2 weeks until my next stint.  August 2nd starts 8 shows in 10 weeks for me.  Am I crazy?  That's been an open ended question for quite a while now.... ;)

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Chicago Art Girls Holiday Pop-Up Shop!

Posted by Melissa Banks on October 26, 2012

I've been exhibiting my work at art fairs for about 14 years now, and along the way I've met some incredible people, and made some amazing friends.  For much of this time, I've belonged to a group of women here in Chicago that meet once a month to have an informal potluck dinner.  We sit around, eat and drink, and socialize, vent, network, and share experiences.  It has been invaluable to stay in touch, learn lessons from each other, and just connect.  We call ourselves "Art Girls" - simply put.

This past spring, a season where art fairs and shows are scarce, and many of us are looking for ways to generate income during our "down time," the Art Girls decided to pool our resources and have our own event.  It was so successful, and we all had so much fun, that we decided to have a holiday show as well.

This inaugural holiday event will take place at the same space as the spring show:  Helium Gallery at 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago.  This great space is located just south of Lawrence Ave, right across from the Metra stop.  Mark your calendars for the weekend of December 15th and 16th!  We'll be there from 11am-5pm both days.  With bells on!

Go Like the Chicago Art Girls page on Facebook!

Check out our event page:

And our website:

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Posted by Melissa Banks on July 26, 2012

I'm happy to announce that Rapt in Maille will be exhibiting at the DIY Trunk Show in Chicago for the first time this fall!  This year's show takes place at the Broadway Armory Park in the Edgewater neighborhood and is run by the Chicago Craft Mafia.  I'm looking forward to taking part in this great show's 10th year - mark your calendars for Saturday, November 17th!

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Expansion of my Swarovski crystal designs!

Posted by Melissa Banks on March 08, 2012

This blog post is an excerpt from my recent March newsletter - enjoy!

The NOIR Collection has been a big hit since its creation.  I originally offered pieces only in Jet (black) and Silver Crystal (clear/silver).  I wanted to keep things easy and neutral.  One reason for this is that Swarovski doesn't offer every shape of crystal in every color.  So as a designer, it is very difficult to design with certain shapes, and then be able to offer them in any color across the board.  Swarovski does offer most shapes in very neutral colors, so it made the most sense to just stick to 2 neutrals.

As the collection grew, I found the Black Diamond color (smokey gray) in one of the crystal shapes, and decided to offer that for those limited pieces.  The color is a great success (I just wish Swarovski made more shapes in it!)  The Black Diamond also gave me the idea to mix all of the neutrals together, so a few items can be purchased in this "Multi" option (pictured above).  I also recently discovered that all the shapes I use in my designs are offered in Copper Crystal, which is a nice orange/rust color that reflects a pink/yellow/green spectrum.  It is great to wear with a variety of browns & earth tones.  So all of the NOIR pieces can currently be purchased in this copper shade as well.  Although I don't have pictures of the jewelry in this color yet, the option to purchase pieces in this color are on the website.  (See example of copper crystal in the photo below ).

One day recently I decided to randomly order the teardrop shape in green just for kicks.  (They are used in these earrings.)  I loved seeing more color!  Since I can't offer my whole NOIR Collection in various colors (i.e. I can't make everything in blue since the crystal shapes I use just don't come in blue, nothing I can do), I have decided to make limited edition/one-of-a-kind pieces in bright colors.  These pieces will only be offered at my shows for retail, and they will only come in the colors I have designed with.  I am of course open to customers asking for other color variations, but please understand the possibilities may be severely limited.  Thanks in advance for your understanding.  I have already designed necklaces in purple, champagne, & olive green, and have some blues and other colors on the way!

The last update on the NOIR Collection....Please note: I will be taking down the NOIR Red Collection at the end of the month, since this is a limited edition collection.  It will still be available by request, and may be making a reappearance next holiday season ;)

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My life after the holidays...

Posted by Melissa Banks on February 07, 2012

The end of last year/beginning of this year has had a bit of a different vibe for me, and I am currently finding myself struggling with burn-out, and looking forward to some much needed relaxation.  In the past, I've had a bit of a rest between summer show season and the holiday season, then a small break before my wholesale show in January.  Then I fill orders from that show in February and March, which is a little more slow-paced...then when those orders are finished I can rest, design, catch-up on business-y things, and gear up for the shows in May.  An artist's year is pretty unique!  And of course we are our own boss...which means lots of wasted time, and lots of over-time as well!  Self-discipline is a constant struggle for many self-employed people, and I am no different.

As my business has grown, that break I used to have between summer and the holidays is no longer there, so I'm pushing all the way through the end of the year now.  And then this year after Christmas, I put the challenge upon myself to create a body of work consisting of one-of-a-kind pieces that I could photograph and use to apply for art fairs.  I worked pretty intensively on these pieces, and was able to work up to my deadline to have them photographed and apply to the first round of shows.  Whew!  After that project was complete, I realized that my wholesale show was just a week away.  So off to work on preparation for that, then the show itself.....

After the wholesale show, in the midst of starting on orders, I decided it might be good to have a Valentine's Day promotion.  "Bring on the work!" I say ;)  So here I am, making sure I get all orders made and out the door.  I'm hoping to finally see that break I've been dreaming about in the very near future.  I feel like I've been "go, go, go" since last May!  It is GREAT to see growth, and business continuing to come my way - don't get me wrong.  It's just another challenge to manage my time differently - and maybe not put too much pressure upon myself.  Hi, my name is Melissa, and I'm a workaholic...

What I'm looking forward to the most, is having time to focus on my health and well-being.  This includes changing my insane schedule of sleep/work/work.  I have always been a night-owl, and I find I have lots of creative energy late at night.  I also have a hard time STOPPING work.  So I will find myself making jewelry until the wee hours, anywhere from 2-5am.  This of course shifts my sleep so I don't get up until 11am-noon, don't start office work at the studio until 2pm, don't get home until 7, 8, or 9pm, scarf down dinner and sit down to make jewelry again.

And did anyone notice my schedule of sleep/work/work?  Where's my time to play?  That needs to be worked in as well ;)  Wish me luck!  I say shifting my schedule is going to be tougher than quitting smoking there a patch for that?  Or perhaps I should consider hypnosis.....

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Holiday business hours and policies

Posted by Melissa Banks on December 23, 2011

First of all, a huge thank you to all of my customers for making 2011 a fantastic year!  Your continued support allows me to do what I love for a living, and I feel truly grateful.

I will be taking a much needed break between Christmas & New Year's, so I won't be resuming business hours until Monday, January 2nd.  If you need my immediate attention before then, please email me at

Also, I will be extending my normal 14 day exchange policy for the season.  Any orders that were placed between Nov 1st and Dec 31st can be exchanged up until the end of January.

I sincerely wish you all a happy, fun, safe & warm holiday season and all the best in 2012!


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