For the first time in more than 25 years, Sue Regis of Sue Regis Glass Art in Joliet will not be making Christmas ornaments to sell on Small Business Saturday.
Regis, a self-taught glass artist and longtime small business owner in Joliet, is still recovering from cancer and two extensive surgeries.
So this year, local artists are invited to make ornaments to benefit Regis. The community buys them at “Sue’s Small Business Saturday,” which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 26, at Sue Regis Glass Art, 32 West Clinton Street in Joliet.
Artists can make their ornaments at home or come to Regis Glass Art and make ornaments there, said Erin Blazer, board president of The Art Movement.
The Joliet Art Movement and The Strange and Unusual Art Gallery, also in Joliet, are coordinating the fundraiser “in the spirit of Sue and her shop,” said Christine Nordstrom, owner of The Strange and Unusual Gallery.
“Sue is not well enough to make her own ornaments,” Nordstrom said. “But it’s important that it still happens … we can’t let her tradition die.”
Ornament making hours are 1 to 4 p.m. on November 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on November 19, and 1 to 4 p.m. on November 20.
Nov. 20 is the turn-in date for all ornaments made off-site, Blazer said. In addition, Nordstrom said several local artists also create collaborative ornaments that are top sellers.
“They’re taking her embellishments and putting their own stamp on them,” Nordstrom said.
In early January 2022, Regis was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, which required “extensive internal reconstructive work,” according to the Sue Regis Glass Art Preservation GoFundMe page.
A few months later, Regis was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Regis plays an important role in Joliet’s artistic community.
Chicago Street Pub is also hosting a fundraiser for Regis from noon to 6 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the pub, located at 75 N. Chicago St. in Joliet. Admission is $10 and includes light appetizers and live music.
People can also donate on the Regis GoFundMe page at gofund.me/d4c83e53.
Godmother of the art community in Joliet
Regis co-founded The Art Movement in 2017, chairs the Visual Arts Committee for the Old Joliet Burnt District Artists and is a commissioner of the Joliet Artist Commission.
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In a 2018 Herald-News story, Regis said her goal is to bring together “people from all walks of life who love art” for a larger art movement in Joliet.
“Joliet has all these amazing artists that nobody knows about,” Regis said in the 2018 story. “It’s a great way to create an art movement down here.”
Her introduction to glass art began after high school, when she took a jewelry-making class at Joliet Junior College and learned to make glass beads, according to a 2009 Herald-New story.
Regis was so fascinated by the whole process of using a glass melting torch that she purchased equipment to continue the process outside of school.
In 2005, Regis started Regis Glass Art, where people marvel at the colored, fused, layered glass inside pieces of clear glass, or “like little explosions of flowers,” Regis said in a 2009 Herald-News story.
Over the past decade, Regis created the Lightways Hospice and Serious Illness Care (formerly Joliet Area Community Hospice) Lights of Love Memorial Service at the Rialto Square Theater in Joliet.
In a 2013 Herald-News story, Regis expressed her dedication to making these ornaments.
“It makes my heart smile just talking about it,” Regis said in the 2013 story. “Helping people through their grieving process makes me feel good about myself.”
For more than a decade, Regis has also made memorial items for customers with cremains—the cremated remains of beloved family members or pets—that Regis encases in glass.
Blazer, who previously called Regis the “godmother of the arts” in Joliet, said artists outside of her and Nordstrom’s reach have contacted them in hopes of making ornaments as well.
“It’s kind of nice because now we know some people we didn’t even know before,” Blazer said.
Regis still brings people together through art.
For more information, visit regisglassart.com and artmovementjoliet.org.