White tulips from Epoch on display
Epoch Proportions

Chicago florist Mike Hines has been creating artistic, atypical, not-your-grocery-store-variety arrangements for private clients and upmarket hotels for the past ten years, at his lofty Epoch studio on the West Side. I’ve seen and admired the firm’s work at charity benefits and auctions, and always snoop in the windows when I’m going to an event at the MCA’s warehouse space down the block. (Design blog Strange Closets did a nice photo tour and profile of Epoch last year.) On a whim, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hines and his business partner Mikel Laughlin have opened a pop-up floral market in Lincoln Park at 1211 West Webster Avenue (in Furla’s old storefront), where they’ll offer a fresh daily selection of bunched cut flowers, à la Martha Stewart or European petal mongers. The market will be open for about four weeks, Thursdays to Sundays, from noon till five, and also this Monday, Feb. 14, 10–6. Don’t run over for roses, however—this V Day they decided to push tulips. “Roses are outrageous in price right now,” says Mike. “Our schtick is ‘Tu-lips are better than one rose.’ You can get 100 tulips for $100, and at some florists, that’s what you’ll pay for a dozen roses.” If the pop-up market really blooms, Epoch may stick around for as long as the concept is working.

Ceramic feet, sculpted by Mary Seyfarth

Evanston Artspace

In other breaking pop-up news, the venerable art and antiques dealer Harvey Pranian has culled through the works of some 11 quiltmakers, photographers, printmakers, and ceramicists for a temporary exhibit at 716 Main Street, in downtown Evanston (next to Goods of Evanston framers). Pranian will also be showing antiques, and all work will be for sale. The opening party is Friday night, February 11, 6–9, and regular hours are Wednesdays through Sundays from 11–5, until the show ends on February 27. I’m tickled by these ceramic feet sculptures by Mary Seyfarth that she’s envisioned as part of an outdoor garden series, but I could totally picture planted outside someone’s front door, next to a pile of kids’ winter boots (just to see the mailman’s expression). Seyfarth participated in archaeological digs in Greece, thus the inspiration for these fragmented body parts. I’m sure she’ll be putting her best feet forward tomorrow night.

A scene from 'Bring It Home'

TV Guidance

Cancel brunch plans (or set your DVRs) for the premiere episode this Sunday of the much anticipated Bring It Home, a weekly television design show based on the popular feature in Chicago Home + Garden magazine and produced in collaboration with our high-stylin’ editors. Host Rochelle Vayo Adkinson starts each episode with a tour of a ritzy local residence, chatting up the designers to home in on their high-end sources for inspiration and installation, then runs all over town with a camera crew to select the necessary ready-to-buy trappings to recreate the look on her own. At the end of each show, judges Heidi Klum and Padma Lakshmi will stare icily at her and order her to pack up her knives and kiss them on both cheeks . . . hold on, that might be from a different network. Oh yes, sorry—here she gets critiqued by a designer on how well she did with the project. I’m sure we’ll see lots of favorite Chicago shops and personalities, and I’ve enjoyed this effervescent host on HomesPlus, so it’s bound to be a fun watch.  A fresh Bring It Home airs every Sunday at 11 a.m. on WGN-TV, with repeats on CLTV (check your local listings).

Patrons at Urban Folk Circuit

Berlin Artist-Marketplatz

Just the other day, I was thinking to myself: I could go for another one of those crunchy, collaborative craft and vintage shows so prevalent during Chicago summers and the holiday season. Well, lo, have you met behold? The roving Etsy-centric band of candlemakers, knitters, crafters, fashion designers, vintage dealers, and other kind souls known as the Urban Folk Circuit are setting up shop at Berlin nightclub, of all places, this Sunday, February 13, from noon till five. (It will be cool to see Berlin with the lights on, without having to hear “Last call!”) There’ll be a lot of jewelry and accessories, for sure, but also pillows, handmade soaps, and miniatures. Admission is free, there will be live folk music performances, and Berlin has $6 bloodies on special. The pic here is from a similar event held at the Elbo Room.

Colorful lava lamps on display outdoors

Secrets of Chicago

On a recent taxi trot back from O’Hare, I couldn’t help but watch one of those increasingly omnipresent video screens in the backseat. Couldn’t shut it off, couldn’t turn the volume down, just couldn’t. But I ended up learning a few fun facts about our city on a looping “Chicago Secrets” segment. Did you know that we’re responsible for the Lava Lamp’s introduction to America and that they still are manufactured here, by Elmhurst’s Haggerty Enterprises? I didn’t. A couple of forward-thinking Chicago entrepreneurs saw the trippy transmogrifying light fixtures at a Belgian tradeshow in 1965 (the lamps were invented in England), bought rights to stateside production, switched the name from Astro Lite to Lava Lite, and changed the décor of fashionable 1970s homes, hippie havens, and stoners’ studios forever. Another flashing factoid told me that those iconic red Radio Flyer wagons started out here in 1917, invented by a Venetian immigrant. Hey, this is pretty interesting stuff, and definitely a better use of time than playing solitaire on my Droid. But this bit of schooling stumped me: “The Art Institute of Chicago has the largest collection of Impressionist paintings.” Where? Something must be missing there, because while AIC has an amazing number of haystacks, water lilies, et alia, I’m pretty sure that the Louvre has a few more.