“I love plants,” says Christa Cianciolo, co-owner of Il Bosco with her husband, Trevor Danielsen. “I grew up in the ‘70s where there were plants everywhere – and macramé.”
Il Bosco means “the forest” in Italian, her Sicilian family’s first language. And the couple’s Walker’s Point shop – open since February – is chock-full of sustainable, nature-inspired home goods, accessories and furnishings.
At the shop’s entrance, a deer head mounted on a living wall of greenery with a trickling pond beneath sets the tone. Ciancolo points to an ethically-sourced teak-root table from Indonesia. Local artisans there dig up the roots of trees that have been harvested in the area and use them to make tables, leaving them as close to their natural state as possible. Above the cash wrap hovers a chandelier crafted from twigs by a Southern Illinois artist.
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Opening in Walker’s Point, known for its historic warehouses and foot traffic, was non-negotiable. Cianciolo’s father ran a vegetable-packing business in the neighboring Third Ward. And Danielsen owns Stack’d Burger Bar, just a couple of blocks from Il Bosco.
Cianciolo continues to form new relationships with artisans and bring handmade work into the store. She doesn’t limit herself to the United States. “Our hides come from Denmark, from a family farm of sheep,” says Cianciolo. Small-space furnishings crafted from repurposed boat wood are another fun find.
Odes to the Midwest are in lilac-infused honey from a Wisconsin honey farm, Heather Hambrecht’s (h(o)m)e) threads recycled-leather bags crafted by hand, local artist Maria Knier’s wall-mounted ceramic animals, and Wallygro wall planters born out of recycled milk jugs in Missouri. Il Bosco is also the exclusive retailer for a Portland, Ore., artist’s plates, a riff on Fornasetti’s Italian designs. Ciancolo’s sister’s jewelry pop-up (Ann Marie Cianciolo Designs), formerly in New Orleans, is now at Il Bosco.
When she opened the store, Cianciolo left her career in pathology behind. “I really loved science – animals, plants and all of that,” she says. But those interests seem to be blooming, albeit in a different way, at Il Bosco.