Made in Chicago: Something Beautiful
By Jess D'Amico in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 6, 2008 5:15PM
With wedding season officially in swing (we've received three invitations already) it can be hard to find original gifts. Luckily, this cranberry cardamon and clove teacup candle from Something Beautiful is useful and pretty, unlike those monogrammed towels.
Run by Marcie Schenck, 29, Something Beautiful grew out of her own wedding. Marcie's originally from Kentucky and moved to Chicago three years ago to work in architecture with her now husband. Their wedding was themed Alice in Wonderland; for favors, Marcie made candles out of teacups, and the theme stuck.
Made in Chicago sat down with Marcie and she told us all about what it's like to be the candlestick maker.
Chicagoist: How do you make your art stand out from everything else out there?
Marcie: Well, I love color in everything I do. I try to look at the teacup and compliment the design using color in the soy wax. It is quite ironic because black is a staple in my wardrobe. I also think it is so interesting when an object, such as a teacup, is used in a different way, like a candle.
C: Where do you want to go with your art? Where do you see yourself in five years?
M: Since I have only been really showing my work to the public for 7 months I guess 5 years is hard for me to digest. However, I am doing a lot of art fairs and shows now and that is wonderful, because I get to know the buyer and tell about the process, it is also great to know their reactions. I love constructive criticism, because it helps me to make my art better. I would love to have my own boutique, where I sell my teacup candles, and my jewelry. I also knit so I would love a shop to sell all handmade/art from local artists.
C: How did you start making stuff?
M: I have loved Alice in Wonderland since I was a little girl; it was my favorite Disney movie! Since then I have seen and read anything Alice related. When I got married to my husband we decide to do an Alice in Wonderland Themed Wedding. It wasn't overboard or anything but we collected vintage teapots for our florist for the centerpieces, we had a kid's table with games and play tea sets, etc. For the guest favors I found teacups and saucers and made them into candles. Well, I made over 170 teacup candles, we had a big wedding, and everyone loved them. One of my friends told me about Etsy that day and how my teacup candles might do well on the site. That is how everything happened.
C: Why is the sky blue?
M: The sky is blue because of some type of reflection or something, I can't remember, but I love it!
C: What does your process look like?
M: I guess it looks like 4 or 5 teacups on a table with towels around them and wicks inside of them. There is also a scale, fragrance oils, dye chips, and a couple boxes of wax on another table. Then in my kitchen there is a huge pot with water. And my pouring pot is in the huge pot heating up with wax, dye and a candy thermometer for about 1/2 hour, until 180 degrees. Then I take the max off and cool it down to 150 to add fragrance. It will not be ready to pour until 125 degrees. The whole process takes about 1 to 2 hours for about 4 or 5 teacups.
C: What's the best thing about Something Beautiful?
M: The best thing about Something Beautiful is I am able to make something I love to do and others are able to enjoy what I design/create also!
C: Tell us a secret. . .
M: I am a PC gamer; I watch G4.
C: What's the Chicago art scene look like for you?
M: Every time I do an art fair I see beautiful art and unique items! I think Chicago has great artists. However I think there are not enough venues for small artists to be seen, or it can be very selective and hard for an artist to get in the door.
C: Where do you see that culture going?
M: With all the mass production right now and the economy it is hard to say. It is hard right now for people to buy art or items for enjoyment. However with so much mass production I feel people like uniqueness and will always try to find something different.
C: Any advice for beginners wanting to sell their stuff?
M: Try to find your niche. Always create something you enjoy and love; it will show in your work and people will see it also. Etsy really helped me get off my feet. It is a great place to start and expand from. I have had many wholesale accounts from just people finding me off Etsy, and everything on Etsy is handmade.
If you want to buy some of Marcie's goods in person, you can find her at:
Randolph Street Antique Market June 28th & July 26th from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Southport Green Market July 12th & 19th, August 2nd & 16th, September 20th, October 18th from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Think you should be featured? Tell us: MadeinChicago[at]chicagoist[dot]com