The Illinois Office of Tourism is proud to announce Illinois Made, a new program featuring the people and places that create, craft and invent in Illinois. We hope you’ll participate in its crafting by helping us find and recommend unique makers and local businesses throughout the state.

Intro to the Series

Everything about Illinois Made will truly be Illinois Made. Keeping this in mind, we present this brief introduction to the series.

The makers featured in the intro film: Dave Stine, Eli Crona, Dennis Weaver of Dave Stine Woodworking, Dow, IL. Dave has been crafting one-of-a-kind furniture from wood he sustainably harvests and mills on his family’s land. His motto: “Craftsmanship is a way of life.”

The Idea & Mission Behind the Program

Illinois is full of inventors, artists, artisans, performers, innovators, pioneers and makers. Their passion for what they do and how they do it has made a positive impact on the people and culture of Illinois. The same way Illinois has made an impact on them. They do it here for a reason. They’ve been inspired here for a reason. They thrive off the culture of Illinois, as well as help shape it.

Illinois Made will help showcase those makers and businesses that are helping to craft Illinois, inspiring visitors and fellow Illinoisans to discover more about our state.

About the Film Series

The series will consist of short films about individual makers or businesses that are creating, designing, building or serving up something that is uniquely Illinois. The films will be featured on the Illinois Made website, which will tell the bigger story of how Illinois artisans, makers and doers are impacting Illinois culture and reshaping perceptions of our state.

Key Criteria for Recommendations

  • Artisans, Makers and local businesses must be in the state of Illinois
  • Each must produce their crafts, products and wares in Illinois
  • Each must embody the “Illinois Made” mantra by sourcing materials or expertise from other local businesses or Illinoisans
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For complete Criteria and Guidelines
Criteria and Guidelines for Recommendations

A wide variety of artisans, makers and businesses—including everyone from handcraft brewers to blacksmiths—will be featured. These stories, each unique in their own way, must share a common thread that reveals their true bond to Illinois. To help bring out that quality across all the films, we are using these guidelines when selecting possible artisans and makers:

  • Subjects must be Illinois through and through. They must reside in Illinois and produce their crafts, products and wares in Illinois.
  • To give stories an intimate feel, we prefer makers who toil in studios rather than in huge manufacturing plants.
  • Small-batch operations will be favored over mass production. Possible exceptions are mass productions rooted in humble beginnings.
  • Subjects should embody the “Illinois Made” mantra by using local resources (if possible) when producing their wares. Example: An Illinois furniture maker using wood from an Illinois forest.
  • While it’s important to personify Illinois, it’s also important to shatter preconceived notions of the state. We will also be looking for subjects who are doing something you wouldn’t expect in Illinois. Example: An Illinois shrimp farm that supplies local restaurants.
  • The more history behind your Illinois business, the better. Whether that means a family-owned business that spans generations or a business housed in a building rich in history.
  • There are many artisan communities in Illinois—from brewers to woodworkers. We would like to profile the most unique members of those communities and show how they help support each other.
  • We will look for Illinois companies intertwined with other Illinois businesses. Example: An Illinois cheese maker whose cheese is served at local breweries, pizza places, wineries.
  • We will look for artisans and businesses who purposely came to Illinois for a specific reason or natural resource. Example: A distiller who left California and came to Chicago for the distinct taste of Lake Michigan water.
Examples of makers and local businesses include (but are not limited to):
  • Artisans & Craftspeople (i.e., Carpenters, Potters, Glass Artists, Painters)
  • Food & Beverage Artisans (i.e., Distillers, Brewers, Cheese Makers)
  • Farmers, Winemakers/Viticulturists
  • Artists, Musicians, Performers (think Second City and the distinct brand of Chicago comedy it became known for)

Submission Form