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Fun, funky and one-of-a-kind

Dezine99 offers handcrafted items from artists, artisan crafters

DIXON – Fun and funky jewelry. Bling-bedazzled apparel. Statement pieces for the home. Candles. Soaps. Pottery.

From the avant-garde to the whimsical, Dezine99 in Dixon offers one-of-a-kind gifts and graphic design, but it's more of a galley than a gift store.

Take, for instance, Jerry the Giraffe, a 7-foot sculpture fashioned from car and other re-purposed metal parts. The store mascot is just one of several designs by a Kentucky metal-craft artist available at the store.

“On nice days, he goes outside,” said owner Sandy Schuler, who's celebrating her shop's 1-year anniversary this month.

Vowing to make semi-retirement fun, Schuler, 62, persuaded husband Doug to buy a building at 711 N. Brinton Ave. so she could have a place to indulge her love of art and graphic design.

Her boutique offers handcrafted items from artists and artisan crafters from the Sauk Valley and across the United States. Every item is original.

“Basically, I just love finding real cool stuff that I think other people will find cool, too,” she said. “I wanted items that were reasonably affordable, so that just about anyone could have something done by an artist or artisan.”

She sells polymer clay necklaces crafted by Reagan Middle School art teacher Jo Ann Hamer, dichroic glass jewelry by Jude Gonzalez of Sterling, items by woodworker Tom Hall of Sterling, among many others.

On the walls are paintings and prints by local artists, from bold, modern abstracts to nostalgic landscapes. There are watercolors by Sterling artist Ann Potts, oils and other paintings by Dixon artists Kitto and Todd Lorenc.

Outdoor bells artfully fashioned from re-purposed metal gas canisters, accent bowls intricately cut from giant gourdes, and hand-painted scarves, metal sculptures and blown-glass wine bottle toppers and vegan soaps of intriguing designs, vibrant colors, and various scents are among her one-of-a-kind merchandise.

She displays some of her personal pieces, as well, “just because I enjoy them, and enjoy being surrounded by them.”

Looking for a little glitz? Schuler can custom design rhinestone transfers for shirts, caps and accessories to create a blinged-out, sequined illusion. Stencils are hand-cut from letters, logos or images, then hand-brushed with rhinestone pellets and heat pressed onto fabrics.

The store also is home to Schuler’s graphic design business, which “encompasses a little bit of everything from brochures, ads and banners to a variety of printed pieces.”

She began her design business in 2008 in her home. As it grew, she needed more space, and since she has a background in retail merchandising and graphic design, she let her shop evolve into a design and gift shop.

She works closely with regional tourism groups and designs promotional materials for Lee and Carroll counties, and Dixon tourism organizations. With her large format printer, she also can create custom banners up to 12 feet wide.

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