Hybridity: New Assemblages by Jan Brandt

June brings us the awe-inspiring installation of Jan Brandt’s brightly colored and inviting soft sculpture assemblages.

Join us for the opening reception on Friday, June 10 from 6-8pm. Jan will give a short talk about her work at 7pm. Or stop by any of the following 3 Saturdays (June 11, 18 & 25) between 1pm & 5pm.

Inspired by the rich history of quilt-making and fiber art, Jan Brandt hand-stitches disparate textiles such as donated clothing, pompoms, and muslin into three dimensional hybrid assemblages. An organic process drives this intricate work evoking growth and accumulation. The assemblages may read as biological experiments growing in petri dishes, specimens under glass, or fantastical landscapes of overgrown organisms while referencing feminine artistic techniques and traditions.


With each installation of Jan’s work, the creative process is repeated anew, with fresh pieces added, and decisions regarding placement and pairings made on the fly. Individual pieces are available for sale, and can be combined to suit the taste and will of the collector. Stop by or stay tuned to our Facebook page for pricing.

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Jan Brandt is the owner/curator of Jan Brandt Gallery in Bloomington, IL, which features year-round rotating artist exhibits. Jan holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Illinois State University. Her work has been exhibited nationally, included in multiple print and on-line publications, and selected for numerous awards.

View Jan’s curatorial work at www.janbrandtgallery.com and learn more about her artwork at www.janbrandtartist.com. See more images of this installation of Jan’s work at www.facebook.com/swellgallery.IL.

Alisa Steady: The Animal Soul

Alisa Steady is a painter, known for her vivid, whimsical and soulful depiction of animals and wildlife. Her brightly colored animal portraits sit atop energetic, abstract backgrounds. Each one seems to tell a story, and have a personality all its own.

Alisa is quoted as saying, “Color is like a second language to me. I use it boldly as a means of expression.” She also uses paper, molding paste and thick paint to bring depth and voice to her work.

Alisa grew up in a family of artists, actors and writers who have mentored and influenced her art over the years. She graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 2010, majoring in watercolor and illustration. She now works as a full-time artist from her studio in Antioch, Illinois.  This exhibition will be her first solo show in the Chicago region.


An Artist’s Reception will be held on Friday, May 13 from 6-8pm. Plan to be here at about 7pm, when Alisa will tell us a bit about her work.

The show runs for 3 weeks, and is open on 3 Saturdays, May 14, 21 & 28. The show/gallery will be open from 1-5pm those Saturdays. Private viewings can also be arranged – email Kim at curator@swellgallery.com. Kids are always welcome!

For more info, visit www.swellgallery.com.

Return of Spring

We are highlighting the Return of Spring for 3 weeks in April by assembling a broad spectrum of handmade items, all of which celebrate nature in form or function.

The show opens on Friday, April 8 with an Artist’s Reception from 6-8pm. Regular hours continue April 9-24 on Fridays from 12-5pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5pm.

Nature Market: April 8-24

More than 25 artists are participating in The Nature Market, including:

Abby Mielke / Sunny Hill Craft Co.
handpainted cast leaves

Amanda Dell’Aringa 
original watercolor paintings

Ania Perrone
paintings & jewelry 

Anna Fredrick
felt succulents

Barb Kirpluk
paintings & illustrations

Barbara Turcan

Carole Lockerbie
leaf art

Claire Fredrick / Wax & Wane Fiber Studio
naturally dyed wearables

Cherylyn Gnadt / c-lyn designs 
greeting cards, printmaking, paintings

Christian Chlebek

Cindy Kennedy

Douglas Center “Art from the Heart” Program
artwork created by adults with developmental or physical disabilities

Erin Cramer
vegan taxidermy

Ginny DaValle
handfelted fiber art

Jenni Tamburrino 
fabric home decor

Kari McDonald / Lemuette 
prints, greeting cards, gift tags

Kay Vucsko / Garden Glimmer
dishware flowers

Kim Granstrom / made by kim
botanical paintings & prints

Kim Zoph
illustrations & prints

Madeline Canmann / High Tower Jewelry
sea glass jewelry

Mark Pawl
wildlife painting on reclaimed wood

Matt Varchmin / Green Roots 
hand built/carved functional wooden items

Nikki Hollander / Duck and Cover / Jet Set Vintage  (co-owner of swell gallery)
vintage-inspired jewelry, ornaments & paintings, vintage resale

Robyn & Christopher Bernd / Lickabee
hand drawn whimsical illustrations & felt flowers

Sally Tibbetts
handmade paper collage

Trephina Bedell / The Laughing Dog 
amazing smelling soaps & other body products

Vincent DeBartolo
faux finish fine art

Lisa Callaghan: Images of Ireland

Please join us to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, surrounded by the beauty of Ireland as depicted by native artist Lisa Callaghan.

Lisa Callaghan was born in Dublin, Ireland and immigrated to Chicago in 2014. She is a self taught artist, working predominantly in oil and acrylic mediums. Her work has hung in various cafes and exhibitions around Ireland and now here in Illinois she is involved in Arts in Bartlett, where she exhibits regularly and works as assistant director to this volunteer based organization, promoting arts in the greater Bartlett area.

Her academic qualifications are in tourism marketing and management and she worked for the State Tourism agency in Ireland for 6 years. In this role she travelled the length and breadth of the island promoting it to overseas visitors. It was in this pursuit that she gained an in-depth knowledge of Ireland and fell in love with her homeland all over again-compelling her to begin depicting it through her artistry.

Today Callaghan’s work is a balance of staying in touch with the beauty and sentimentality of Ireland through paintings of rural Irish scenery, Irish culture through her series of Celtic letter work designs, whilst allowing time to become lost in this new environment she now calls home, with colorful, complex studies of Chicago.

She is married to Blake from Elgin, IL and mother to 3 rowdy boys; Fionn, Killian and Rónán.


This exhibition opens as part of the Dundee St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, which includes fireworks over the Fox River at 7:30 pm Friday, March 11, and a full day or activities on Saturday, March 12 including a parade, 5K and Adult Big Wheel Race and much, much more. Click below for info on some of the fun.


For more information, visit www.facebook.com/swellgallery.IL


Coming up in 2016

Mark your calendar for a full slate of exhibitions and artisan markets coming to swell gallery in 2016.

We are excited to host 3 solo exhibitions by talented area artists.

We are also seeking artists and crafters for a nature themed artisan market in April. Please email us with images of your work for consideration.

Stay tuned for more information!

Holiday Craft Workshops for kids & adults

Please consider joining us for a DIY Workshop this holiday season. It is a fun way to destress an slow down a little  this holiday season, while exercising your creative side to make a few keepsakes for yourself and/or your loved ones. Email us at curator@swellgallery.com or stop by to sign up!

For kids ages 8-14, check out the Winter Art Camps being offered by our friends Artisticology just down the block. Artisitcology also offers BYOB Painting Parties! Give Crystal a call to learn more.


Holiday Market Artists

We’ve brought together 25 local artists and crafty people for this year’s swell Holiday Market, including:

Alisa Steady 
paintings & prints

Amanda Dell’Aringa 
original watercolor paintings

Amelia Stoner
lego earrings

Ania Perrone
paintings & jewelry 

Anna Fredrick
guitar string bangles 

Cherylyn Gnadt / c-lyn designs 
greeting cards, printmaking, paintings

Cindy Kennedy

Dee Basso / Trinity Dog & Kitty Treats
Dog & cat treats, hand-painted picture frames

Drew Tibbetts
fingerless gloves, felted mittens, tailgating mittens, baby sweaters

Hanan Hall Jewelry / Maille Werks 
polymer clay and chain maille jewelry

JC’s Naturals 
organic beeswax purification candles, organic foaming hand soap, sanitizer and linen sprays

Jenni Tamburrino 
aprons, ornaments, gift bags, table runners, pillows

Jewelry by Gail
steampunk jewelry

John Mayer / Dunworth Designs 
Tin ceiling tile art, restored furniture 

Kari McDonald / Lemuette 
prints, greeting cards, gift tags

Kim Tibbetts  (co-owner of swell gallery)
paintings, bookmarks, prints 

handdrawn whimsical illustrations immortilized in jewelry

Lindsey Clark
kids/babies headbands, scarves and more, sugar scrubs

Lisa Callaghan
celtic knot lettering paintings 

Matt Varchmin / Green Roots 
hand built/carved functional wooden items

Miki Noland / Designs by Miki 
pillows, character hats 

Nancy Gher
eco-print, dyed and felted scarves and sweaters

Nancy Pizzaro & Andy Witt / Circa Ceramics 
ceramic cylanders, trivets and magnets

Nikki Hollander / Duck and Cover / Jet Set Vintage  (co-owner of swell gallery)
vintage-inspired jewelry, ornaments & paintings, vintage resale

Suzanne Hallett / Savannah Fairy Designs 
ornaments (Savannah Fairy Globes)

Tanya McTague / Happy Chickpea 
little zipper pouches, crochet snowflake & star tree garlands, crochet trimmed gift tags, crochet infinity scarves

Tony Rokusek / ColorWerks
custom printed home decor

Trephina Bedell / The Laughing Dog 
scented soy candles, cold press soap, double butter soap, lip balm, lotion tubes (<– for people), paw wax (<– for dogs)

More items arrive in the gallery every day now in anticipation of next Friday’s preview event. Below is a sneak preview…

10-For-10 Shop Local Event 
Do you love to support local, independent stores? Join the West Dundee Ambassadors for a Shop Local Event on Wednesday, December 16 from 6-8pm, featuring swell gallery, Honey Poo Poo’s (one of our sister art shops) and Emmett’s Brewing Company. We are all within a block or each other in Downtown West Dundee. Grab some dinner or a few Emmett’s beers brewed on site, and shop for handmade, unique gifts at both swell and Honey Poo Poo’s.

DIY Workshops 
We are planning a few do-it-yourself workshops led by our artists, including at least one to make your own keepsake ornaments. On December 27, make a Christmas Card keepsake book and/or a Gratitude Jar. More information is yet to come.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for frequent updates, more photos and information about our artists throughout the month of December.

Thank you for supporting swell gallery and local independent makers this holiday season and throughout the year!

swell Holiday Market 2015

The annual swell Holiday Arts, Crafts & Vintage Market will be open every weekend in December to help you find unique and thoughtful handmade gifts for everyone on your list.

Our traditional Preview event will take place on Friday, December 4 from 5-9 pm during Dickens in Dundee (our very own quintessential small town holiday kick-off event).  Meet the artists while you shop at an Artists Reception on Saturday, December 5 from 5-9 pm, or stop by any Saturday or Sunday thereafter between 1 & 5 pm until month’s end.

Follow us on Facebook (or via our Facebook feed to the right of the screen) for more information on specific artists and offerings.

Interested in submitting your wares for inclusion in this year’s swell Holiday Market? Email us some photos for consideration, to curator@swellgallery.com. We are always on the look out for new artists!

swell Holiday Market Dec 4-27, 2015

Main Street Dundee – Student Art Show

Join us for a one-day only event on September 26, as we host a Student Art Show and meet & greet  featuring 16 watercolor paintings of lovely downtown West Dundee.

This series was created by Paul Krotser’s students at Dundee-Crown High School toward the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. We are proud to contribute to DCHS’s Homecoming Week by bringing together the work of both current students and graduates. (Dare I mention that our own Nikki Hollander is a graduate of the DCHS art program? I think I just did.)

Stop by and say hello!

Call for Group & Solo Exhibitions

swell gallery is accepting group & solo exhibition proposals for our 2015 and 2016 schedule.

Artists, crafters and curators at all levels of experience are encouraged to apply.

Any and all artistic mediums will be considered, including but not limited to painting, printmaking, photography, mixed media, installation, film, jewelry, fiber, paper arts, ceramics and sculpture. Vintage items are also welcome in conjunction with artwork.

For consideration, please submit:

– Theme, concept and/or title of proposed exhibition.
– Images of specific works to be included (at least a representative selection).
– If you have a theme for which you do not have specific artists in mind, an explanation of the process you intend to undertake to develop the artist roster.
– Bio &/or Resume/CV representing your relevant experience and include complete contact information.

If selected:

– You must be committed to being present at swell gallery as needed to meet with the gallery owner, set up, tear down and work during the exhibition.
– You will be expected to participate in development of exhibition advertising and getting the word out/driving visitors to the exhibition.
– Individual artwork for the exhibition must be reviewed by the gallery owner for final approval prior to inclusion.
– 25% gallery commission will be applied to sales made from all exhibitions.

Submissions will be reviewed monthly on an ongoing basis. Please understand that response may not be immediate.