A slow walk back in time at Oak Park's Cicada Pi

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By David Pierini

Staff Photographer

Artist Veronica Fremont wants people to stop in her shop and studio, Cicada Pi, on South Oak Park Avenue, to purchase her hand-crafted jewelry and assemblage art.

But be prepared for the path from the door to the jewelry counter to be a slow walk back in time.

The store is full of curiosities and artifacts of a bygone era. Old bottles and canisters, wedding-cake toppers and a work bench full of analog tools. Even the bins, bowls, baskets and shelves containing vintage mundane industrial odds and ends seem to serve all at once the utilitarian, the historic and the decorative.

There are price tags on some of the items but much of what you will see could eventually end up playing a role in a Fremont piece. For the time being, just the way these items are arranged in the store and studio is art itself. 

"It's not just sitting there to be looked at because I use a lot of this," said Fremont, who teaches jewelry-making in the studio. "I like to see the imprint of a hand or the imprint of nature on something. What drives me is the potential all of these things have."

Photographer's confession: All photos made to look like late-19th-century tintypes were shot with a smart phone and editing apps that provide filters for vintage effects.

Email: david@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Norri Dowling from Glenview  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 10:39 AM

It's only a "slow walk back in time" upon viewing your B/W photos critiquing Cicada Pi. Veronica Fremont's new gallery-studio in Oak Park is definitely worth exploring. The shop has interesting imaginative windows beckoning shoppers and collectors to come in and peruse the goodies artfully displayed around the shop. Yes, there are bygone era artifacts but so cleverly juxtaposed with other handcrafted items that a stroll through the shop is more than a just trip down

Takara from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 12:50 AM

I recently took a private class with Veronica at Cicada Pi. It was one of the most creative experiences I've had outside my studio. Veronica brings an energy to her studio that is filled with light and creativity. Stop by and find yourself charmed by Veronica and her lovely design studio. You'll leave wanting more!


Posted: May 15th, 2014 9:40 AM

These pictures make it look like this place is a creepy dungeon in a Twilight Zone episode, not sure what the photographer was thinking

visitor from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 10:58 PM

I agree that the photos show an interesting bit of artistry in themselves, but don't necessarily represent the joy of this studio. Veronica is a delight to visit with.

Judy Yang-Murawski from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 10:09 PM

Cicada Pi is an incredible art studio and gallery. Veronica Fremont's eye for design is reflected in her wonderful assemblage art and jewelry. Cicada Pi offers an amazing selection of one-of-a-kind and eclectic pieces you won't find anywhere else.

Elaine from Forest Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 10:02 PM

Your work is gorgeous, as aways David! Great set.

Veronica from Oak park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:42 PM

Thanks for all of the kind, supportive comments. I also appreciate David's text and the Journal's attention. But if "a picture is worth a thousand words" then David's pictures tell a very interesting story, they just don't tell the story of Cicada Pi. We are a colorful studio filled with ceramics, paintings, found objects and a studio full of metal projects in various states of creation. I look forward to the "author's"next book filled with luscious depictions of..........

Veronica from Oak park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:16 PM

As an artist I appreciate David's photos and find a few quite beautiful. As a business owner, not so much, as they are seen out of context with their setting. I agreed to the idea of black & white photos as a creative way to show the studio, but their is no studio shown, just the objects in their very narrow play of altered light & dark shadow. The "creepy" face is actually a charming wooden sculpture. The objects could have been photographed in a garage, as they tell little about the studio.

Gloria Harrington from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:14 PM

I'm inclined to agree with the comments. Black and white photos? When you walk into Cicada Pi you are greeted with a delicious display of color and creativity! The studio is bright and energizing. Veronica Fremont has taught me how to make things I never imagined possible. I am so fortunate to have her and the studio in my life. Cicada Pi is a must see!

Krista Olson-Benisek from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 2:54 PM

I visit Cicada Pi almost weekly. The artistic presence that greets you upon entering the shop draws you in to look into each corner of the shop. While looking you are stimulated to think of memories, ask questions, and get drawn to nature in a new way. Veronica Fremont is always there to greet you, explain items, listen to your own stories, and give you time to take in the treasures she's accumulated. Unfortunately, the photos shown here do not represent the ambiance presented when visiting.

mc from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 2:29 PM

I am finishing up my first 6 week class with Veronica. She is not only creative, but a kind, patient and encouraging teacher. I have created a beautiful ring, set with a stone. Her shop and studio is a wonderful place where imagination and creation come together. I'm so glad we have Veronica and this great place in our community!

Demetra Koelling from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 1:51 PM

Veronica Fremont and guest artists display their works and also teach a wide variety of classes in the awesome studio space in back. At the www.cicadapi.com website, you can access the class schedule and see photos that are more representative of this wonderful retail gallery and art spot. Better yet, drop by and linger much longer than you planned!

Demetra Koelling from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 1:50 PM

I discovered Cicada Pi and it is one of my favorite Oak Park spots! The space is light and airy. You get that really lucky feeling of walking into a gallery where you want to learn more about the works of the artists and take everything home. It has interesting objects some of which were photographed here but the vibe is quite different than the photos (e.g., to Foomer- pic 6 is a really sweet sculpture that comes across quite differently in this tintype shot with shadows). Veronica Fremont

Mary Morse from Chicago  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 12:36 PM

Cicada Pi is a fun, interesting and light place - not at all like the photos in this article. Veronica Fremont has a wonderful artistic sense, an appreciation of design in nature and in industry, a sense of humor and creativity in addition to a great deal of skill and talent. Cicada Pi reflects that as well as her appreciation of other local artists. It should also be noted that anyone who takes a class from her, as I have, will find her to be an excellent teacher. Check out Cicadapi.com

Meredith Morris from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 11:45 AM

Was the reporter at the same Cicada Pi I was at? He sure didn't have the same impression. I was really taken with the different shapes of tree leaves that Veronica captures in her art and the love of nature that's on display. My lasting impression is imagination and creativity, not at all what the article makes sound dark and gloomy.....


Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:12 AM

The 6th picture is very creepy, what is it?

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