Global and Vintage Treasures at Chicago’s Randolph Street Market

Sunday was a scorching day in Chicago — 106 degrees in the shade according to our car’s outdoor temp gauge, no joke! — and we spent it under the sun at the Randolph Street Market. However the heat didn’t feel that horrid because we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, checking out the wares and meeting people.

I have admired the global goods at Mayseek for awhile, and had the chance to meet the owner Eileen Kroll, who travels the world and brings back souvenirs … to share! With us! Yay! Here’s a few shots of her booth and items she chose in Turkey, India and other places: Kantha quilts, rugs, textiles, weekender bags and much more:

Look at these colors!

Now that I’m taking a longer look, I love that textile behind the bags:

Eileen and her daughter are off to Cambodia and Vietnam now and I can’t wait to visit Mayseek again at a future Randolph Market. We don’t have anything in our house from Vietnam yet, and with my love for Southeast Asian styles, certainly we need something. Also for  lovers of India style, she has a shipment coming from South India soon.

I was also drawn to African textiles at the market, such as the mud cloth upholstery on this chair:

This chair sat greeting everyone right inside a market entrance, and I can’t believe it was still there at closing.

Similarly, check out the upholstery on this sectional:

I liked the fine work on these kuba cloth textiles from the Congo:

This vendor travels from New York and I hope he’s back at a future Chicago market. You know how some things you leave behind stick in your head days later? This is one of those things. (Edited to add two years later: These are STILL stuck in my head! I’m headed back to Randolph Street Market to see if something similar is there again and it’s 2014 now!)

Our garden will need more trellises. I was seeking iron grates that could be repurposed as trellises, such as these:

We also met the delightful Heavy, creator of outsider art. Because you absolutely must stop when confronted with a painting like this:

We spent much time chatting with Heavy and laughing here. How could you not enjoy paintings such as these:

He paints on found wood and metal, with repurposed paints. He shared a philosophy about second chances, both for himself as well as the supplies that make up his art. Sometimes you find a second calling in life, either by choice or by necessity. We could all learn lessons from listening to what naturally drives us because that is what sustains us.

It was appropriate that we picked up a fun rooster painting for our sunroom:

At Randolph Street Market, the current rage for country/industrial style was evident among sellers. We even found a “FRESH EGGS” basket. Here’s a few snaps of these trendy items:

From Lake County Furniture, barn wood and corrugated metal pieces are a perfect example of the farmhouse+industrial trend. We saw this cabinet at the market:

And other things that caught my eye …

Love the contrast of trade beads piled in a huge rusty industrial platter:

More industrial touches, mixed with gardening and creatively so:

Maybe the heat fried my brain, but it took awhile to figure out what these letters could spell, appropriate for this blog too!

My husband liked this scooter (made in India) with a paint job that’s more subdued in color than you see in India, but no less showy:

He was only half-joking when he said he could bid on the scooter (it was being auctioned for charity) and then ship it to Chennai for our India apartment! Or, keep it at a friend’s house in Bangalore to use when he travels there for business. Somehow I think a future project in India will involve scrawling words all over a scooter …

Randolph Street Market, discounts, and other weekend fashion sales and events (

Festivals For Everyone (

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

5 Replies to “Global and Vintage Treasures at Chicago’s Randolph Street Market”

  1. I am just reading this for the first time and you sure covered your bases, what a beautifully written and photographed article, thank you so much! We’ll post this on the Randolph Street Market site and hope you’ll come back to Chicago and visit us, we have many more wonderful global pickers including Carter & Aveesh of Gypsy Temple(India); Marla Showfer of Winding Road(Morocco) and other wonderful fair trade textiles, beads, housewares from exotic lands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *