Full of Wonder and Delight

We like the feel of winter with its starry nights and gatherings of friends in warm, cozy places. The whimsy and wonder in a new line of beautiful products featured in our Holiday Shops is worth artist recognition. The artist and writer of Eric & Eloise is Jessica Hiemstra. Carol and Becca Massat had the opportunity to speak with Jessica at the Atlanta Gift Show and are delighted to share her vision.

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As a designer for Accent Décor, Jessica’s inspiration for this line came from her childhood playing in Canadian forests, her own imagination, and Scandinavian folklore. She asked herself how she saw the magic in the holiday season and the story of Eric & Eloise was born. Jessica recently told us “I really believe that if we can't imagine, we can't have empathy. And without empathy we can't build a kinder world. For our world to be kind we need to accept each other, and learn to listen, and be willing to change how we think, and even how we feel.”

There is an unexpected delight to her book and products that grew from her curiosity. Imagine her surprise when she walked into a factory and saw all that she had drawn on paper turned into real 3-dimensional objects. There was Eloise the fox and Eric the hare on dishware and décor. Her paper snowflakes turned into sparking Christmas tree ornaments. Her storybook winter wonderland had come to life.

Jessica explains, “In the forest, a fox and a hare would never be buddies! But in the world of our imaginations, it can happen. They can even dance together! When I think about a holiday table, people celebrating love (which is, I think, what we want the holidays to be and what they are!) I think about people sitting together with different politics and histories - and it's my hope, that in some small way, the Eric & Eloise line reminds people that what seems impossible isn't. It IS possible for very different people to sit together and "break bread". And we must strive our very hardest to make it possible.”

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From China, Jessica flew to Nepal and visited a women’s cooperative to see what they had done with her designs. Printed on high-quality paper processed by Nepalese artisans in the heart of the Himalayas, the Eric & Eloise book took shape. The bark of the Daphne plant, locally called the Lokta plant, is used to make the paper, giving it strength and durability. Removing the bark ensures new plant growth. The plants and Nepalese people benefit from the eco-friendly paper process, using raw materials, simple technology, and ancient skills.

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Jessica was struck by all of the people whose lives were changed when she put pen to paper and began to write and illustrate a story. Women are feeding their children and sending them to college. She felt the power of individuals working together, creating unity to bring beauty into our world. We all get something wonderful out of that. It gives us hope.

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In my heart of hearts, I hope that everything I make inspires kindness and imagination. I want these holiday gifts to inspire kindness, spread love, and remind us to hope! And I also just plain want the joy I felt in designing them to be the joy people feel in giving and receiving them! ~ Jessica Hiemstra

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Our doors are open. All are welcome. Inside you will find unique items, including other guest artist designs, for gifts from the heart or for your home hearth. Be inspired as you walk through the greens and glistening lights in both our Aurora and Naperville Holiday Shops, open through December 23rd from 9am-4pm Monday through Saturday and 11am-4pm on Sunday. Follow the story of Eric & Eloise and share the magic. We hope you find delight and wonder this holiday season.

Our Eric & Eloise room in the Aurora Gift Shop

Interested in creating your own designs? We offer scheduled workshops throughout the holiday season for making wreaths and porch pots but they fill up fast! Call 630-355-4000 to register. Details are listed on our Event Calendar for both locations.

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Winter Hours

November 1 - December 23

Monday - Saturday: 9am-4pm

Sunday: 11am-4pm

Growing for the future with
right plantsĀ in right places.