Elmhurst Art Museum

Last week I visited the Elmhurst Art Museum, which has two lovely exhibits up.

The cartoon-like works of the Forced Field exhibit by Hebru Brantley seem cheerful at first, but have an underlying message that is more serious. Hebru’s Flyboy is a recurrent theme, based on the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II.

The collection is a vibrant array of 2-d and 3-d art, and the power of repetition is clearly illustrated in both his painted and sculptural works. His Lil Mama character is also featured in the exhibit.

In the exhibit notes, the works showcased at the Museum also allude to the way communities keep each other in check, not wanting a person to break out of the mold. It is interesting to consider that we want our younger generations to excel, yet if they get too adventurous those around them will over-protect and try to reel them back in.

The title “Forced Field” is a reference to South Siders not letting anyone go past a certain point of their neighborhood out of fear and/or ignorance.

The titles add a sinister dimension to the vibrant paintings on display. Some were over my head, but others indicated the state of the nation very clearly.

Not being American I am learning a lot about the history of race relations, yet I suspect that many viewers will be introduced to new ideas through Hebru’s art.

There is a graffiti wall by Hebru in the museum where people can add art and take selfies as Flyboy. I like the accessibility of the art work, even with the subtle messaging behind it. Forced Fields is up through November 26, and is definitely worth a visit.

I also perused Wesley R. Baker’s American Images exhibit, which closes September 22. This striking art work also addresses various political subjects, with artist statements going in depth about the meaning of each piece. Wesley’s love of motorcycles is evident in one half of the room, and I enjoyed his depiction of the freedom he and fellow riders experience while taking road trips.

The painter also illustrates his awareness of historic and political events. One sculpture serves as a stark reminder of slavery’s shackles. 

I learned about Ira Hayes through another sculpture.

His native American themed paintings evoke both the beauty and the struggle of indigenous tribes in America.

I didn’t realize that the museum also owns the McCormick House. Built by Mies van der Rohe, the building is undergoing renovation to its original state after being relocated to the Elmhurst Museum site in 1992. The house was originally built in 1952 for Robert Hall McCormick, Jr. and his wife.

Mies designed the minimalist house as a prototype for a proposed group of smaller, affordable middle-class homes in nearby Melrose Park. Unfortunately,glass, steel and brick on a concrete slab design proved unpopular and the project did not take off. The house has a framework of peripheral columns and ceiling beams, which allowed for an open and adaptable interior with movable wall partitions, now configured as storage spaces.

There are also some large scale sculptures on the museum grounds to interact with. It was a lovely outing prior to the Girls Nite Out event.

Ravenswood ArtWalk this weekend

Fresh off the Girls Nite Out event in Elmhurst, I am busy prepping for the Ravenswood ArtWalk. Ravenswood ArtWalk is celebrating its 16th anniversary, once again bringing hundreds of artists into the community and filling the street with art, music, great food and local craft beer. The 2017 Ravenswood ArtWalk takes place on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 along Ravenswood Avenue between Irving Park and Leland, from 11 AM – 6 PM.

I’ll be setting up in the Hayes Building, located at 4043 N Ravenswood, just down the street from the outdoor portion of the festival (on the east side of the tracks). You can stroll the outdoor market, beer garden, live music, food trucks and children’s activities at Ravenswood Ave and Berteau, and then meander into our building. 

The ArtWalk features more than 300 artists and 50 venues, while placing special focus on the diverse talents of the Ravenswood Corridor. Attractions for this year include a rooftop party at the Airstream building, tours of the All Saints’ bell tower, free group dance lessons, a peak at specimens from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum archives, kids’ building projects from Bit Space and a public installation from local artist Dana Parisi.

All businesses are open from 11-6PM. At the center of the festival is the outdoor RAW Street Fest, which features two stages of live music, artists in tents, Begyle Brewing’s craft beer garden, a food truck roundup and children’s activities.

Participating venues include:

  • Manz Building (Multiple Attractions!)
  • Ballroom Dance Chicago
  • Hayes Properties Marketplace (me and a few other artists!)
  • Thresholds
  • RAW Street Fest
  • Deagan Building (Multiple Venues!)
  • Mathias Spider Schergen’s Garage Gallery
  • Lillstreet Art Center
  • Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church
  • Beyond Design

  • DEFY MFG Co
  • Lucila’s Homemade Alfajores
  • John Roggari Studio
  • CHEX Studio
  • Wellbeing Personalized Healthcare
  • All Saints’ Episcopal Church
  • Bill Bartelt Watercolors
  • Images Gallery Cooperative
  • 4500 Artists

  • Alternative Schools Network (Airstream Building)
  • Blackbird Gallery & Framing
  • Manifold
  • Tam Wim
  • Platform Coworking Pop-Up Market (where I used to have a spot
  • Viva Vintage Clothing
  • a. favorite design
  • Dovetail Brewery
  • Begyle Brewing Co.

It is the ArtWalk’s mission to generate community investment in, and public awareness of, the unique hub of creative industry that exists in Ravenswood. You can share your impressions of the weekend with: #RAW2017 on social media.

The  Ravenswood ArtWalk is easily accessible by Public Transit: CTA Brown Line: Montrose – Irving Park | CTA Bus: Ashland – Damen – Irving Park- Montrose | Divvy | Metra: Ravenswood Station.

As you can see, fair prep includes tagging new pieces, ensuring I have enough necklace cords of varying lengths to go with my pendants, reviewing the art fair instructions and checking off the items I need to bring along!

Girls Nite Out and ArtWalk week

It’s a busy week for me! Tomorrow I head out to Elmhurst for the Girls Nite Out Event. Since I had a blast at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art last year, I might stroll the Elmhurst Art Museum Wednesday morning prior to my setup time.  

The Wilder Mansion hosts Girls Nite Out from 4 to 9 pm on Wednesday, September 13. Organized by RGL Marketing for the Arts, this annual event is going to be full of exciting vendor booths, food and wine samples, and lovely people to mingle with.

On Saturday and Sunday, I am off to the Ravenswood ArtWalk. The 16th annual festival will include pop-up artist markets, live music, open houses and a street festival with local bands, Begyle beers and plenty of art projects for kids. I will be on the first floor of 4043 N. Ravenswood. RAW takes place along Ravenswood Avenue from Irving Park Road to Leland. It includes an outdoor market, beer garden, live music, food trucks and children’s activities at Ravenswood Ave and Berteau.

4043 N Ravenswood is a remodeled industrial building that’s home to a variety of artists and local businesses. This space has been a cornerstone of RAW for a number of years and is located just down the street from the outdoor portion of the festival (on the east side of the tracks).  Attractions for this year include a rooftop party at the Airstream building, tours of the All Saints’ bell tower, free group dance lessons, a peak at specimens from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum archives, kids’ building projects from Bit Space and a public installation from local artist Dana Parisi.

My location, 4043 N Ravenswood, was originally built in stages from 1910 to 1930 for the Manz Corporation, an engraving and commercial printing company. Eventually the building extended from Belle Plaine Avenue to Irving Park Road and across the alley to another building on Hermitage Avenue. In the 1960s manufacturing declined, and the neighborhood deteriorated.

The Manz Corporation moved to the suburbs and the building was partially sold, then fell into disrepair. After serving as a multi tenant industrial venue until 2000 the building got tied up in litigation. In 2005 Hayes Properties bought the property and started restoring it. Now it looks like sections of the 90,000 sq ft.building are available for leasing.

So come take a stroll and peek into other venues that are not generally open to the public. You will have a blast examining art work, learning more history, and sipping and noshing on local libations.

Girls Nite Out September 13

On Wednesday, September 13 I am off to Elmhurst for their Fourth Annual Girls Nite Out. I had a blast last year meeting wonderful shoppers and admiring the works of other vendors. The event begins at 4 pm and runs until 9 pmThe Wilder Mansion is located at 211 S Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, Illinois.

Treat yourself to a fun night out with more than 60 vendors including pampering services, wellness experts, wine tastings and wine for sale provided by Tannins Wine Bar, boutique shopping, artisans, food tastings, and live music performed by Scottie Long outdoors. There will be free giveaways and raffle prizes. Admission is $10 at the Front door.

The event is presented by Brewpoint Coffee, Sponsored by Elmhurst Park District, and produced by RGL Marketing for the Arts, Inc.

The following business will be represented: Practical Girl Designs, Pink Clouds, Artis Senior Living, Blue Violet Candles, BeMo Designs, Gratitude Greetings,

Danielle’s Lipstick Divas, Valerie William Additions, Maike’s Marvels, Tannins, BarcacaoChocolat, Brewpoint Coffee, Jo Syrups, Spice Done Right, The Rach Place, Math Tutor Elmhurst,

Color Wheel Products, Black Angel Designs, Cookies for Kids Cancer, Vasayo, In Motion Foot and Ankle, OMG! Olive Oil, Hand & Stone Massage, Gorlus Whips, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Elmhurst Symphony,

4 Girls Jewelry, Couch Clarity, Barbara Bettag Jewelry, Brim and Dash, SAOR Perfume, Rebellion Bags, R2 Creative Designs, Fly 2 Buy, Edward Jones, Blossom Wellness Centre,

Vitality Women’s PT and Wellness, Sue Rosengard Jewelry Design, Threadings Handwoven Designs, Illinois Spinal Care, Victoria on Main, Chiro One, Modere, The Juice Plus Co, Pinot’s Palette, Chocolate Moonshine, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Savvy Sister, Nourish + Flourish, Rodin + Fields, Hazyl,

benessere…to be well, Charlotte Muzik Jewelry, Core Interior Design, European Wax Center ,Tree of Life Chiropractic Center, Lights and Health, Fleet Fleet Sports, Olympia Chiropractic/Physical Therapy, Mion Artisan Soap, Pavel Adamek Photography, RGL Marketing for the Arts, Scottie Long Productions.

I’ll be bringing sparklies, pearls, and other jewelry adornments. Of course the angels, ornaments and stakes I have in stock will also come along. I hope to see you at the Mansion, and maybe I’ll bump into you at the museum earlier that day.

Heart in Texas

I’ve been trying to maintain normalcy since August 25, but there is a lot of emotional upheaval when the town you spent 8 years in is devastated by a catastrophic storm.

My mom and brother still live in the greater Houston area, as do many of my high school classmates whose parents are still rooted in the subdivision I finished High School in.

Since the airports were closed and the surrounding infrastructure tentative, I wasn’t able to rush out and be with my family. Now I keep tabs on them daily, watch the Facebook feeds of my friends in the aftermath, and feel helpless and guilty and on edge. I was too agitated to go into the studio last week; it felt too trivial to make art when lives were in danger.

The beauty is that so much unity is coming out of this. A lot of kindness and helpfulness and an abundance of love.

With my heart heavy, I decided to get back into my commissions yesterday, and worked on a Texas angel as well. Concentrating on the wire and pieces I have been assigned to make helped settle me again. I should remember that art is therapeutic, and that it would have helped me last week as well.

This storm has marked my family and friends. The full extent of the aftermath is not yet known. Neighborhoods that made it through numerous storms have become floodzones. My family was lucky in spite of the material losses. For my friends, their kids are displaced as Kingwood High School undergoes repairs, some of their families are dealing with devastating home damage, and emotionally everyone is spent.

I am aware of raging wildfires, more water damage around the world, political craziness going on, and all the microcosmic events my friends in non-disaster areas deal with day to day. I see the cynics utilizing images and opinions to promote their divisive agendas.

But Hurricane Harvey is deeply personal, and it is OK to sit with that for a moment while the rest of the world rages on.

What gives me peace is that my firefighter brother is utilizing his skills to help his neighbors, completely in his element, as weird as that seems. I know mom will be OK, and we all still have each other.

As volatile as the world and life seems just a few weeks after my birthday, I will continue to pursue what I am called to do, which means sending more angels out in to the world as I gear up for my mid-September fairs.

Ayla’s Trunk Show Fun

In mid-August I spend the weekend at Ayla’s Originals, a lovely bead bazaar.


I frequently peruse this treasure chest of beads, and my wallet was shivering slightly at the thought of being surrounded by sparklies two full days.

It was fun to have two big tables to set up.

I dedicated one to jewelry.

The other held my critters and angels.

Ayla’s does a lot of jewelry repair. On Saturday, the lovely Phyllis was working on re-knotting a strand of pearls. A father and a little girl picked out charms for a bracelet and necklace, and several people came in to replace clasps on their jewelry, pick up repaired pieces, or drop off items that needed time to be fixed.

All of this was done with cheerfulness and a variety of findings to choose from.

At the Bead & Button Show I had purchased some large hole pearls and did my best not to scratch them while wrapping them in wire. I am a bit attached to the end result, but hope they will find a home at the Girls Nite Out show on September 13.

I also made other pieces for the event incorporating beads purchased at Ayla’s various trunk shows and bazaars.

I browsed the gift wares, including You Are Beautiful magnets, coin purses, notebooks and other small gift items.

Of course the majority of the store is dedicated to ready-made jewelry as well as a wide array of colorful beads and pearls to convert into your own pieces.

The array of David Christensen Beads was very tempting, since they fit 16 gauge wire so well.

Two Charming Chix has a great sense of humor.

Ayla’s also has the tools for jewelry making, and offers a variety of workshops, even as live streams, so you can hone your skills. I browsed and made a pile of items.

Since it is birthday month, I didn’t feel too bad about adding these tools and beads to my collection.

Sunday brought in a flurry of early visitors, and I was thrilled to see pendants adopted by new owners.

Then my stakes fluttered off to a new garden.

The angels were admired and enjoyed basking in the sparkle.

Soon it was time to tear down and go home.

I am definitely inspired to incorporate more of Ayla’s treasures into my pieces, and will display those in mid-September!

Visit 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston for some sparkly inspirational fun.

Sidewalk Sale fun

It is interesting to see how different pockets of Evanston participate in the Sidewalk Sale. Last year I had a blast with See Jane Sparkle on Chicago and Dempster, where the Sidewalk Sale is a big event. This year I learned that on Sherman Avenue in Downtown Evanston, the participating merchants are less concentrated.

I set up a table in front of the Evanston Pop Up Gallery to help boost their recent grand opening.

Several of the other resident artists popped in and out throughout the day, and it was nice to get to know each of them better and learn more about their chosen art forms and lives.

 

Steve made some adjustments to the window display and goofed around.

Pop Up Pat paid a visit.

On Sunday I strolled the Chicago Dempster corner which was full of bargains.

I met friends at Bagel Art Cafe and enjoyed a lox bagel.

Then I strolled by Ayla’s temptations, but didn’t linger since I had a table to be at.

I took a selfie with Wonder Woman at The Other Brother cafe.

It was good to see the signage directing people around the giant Fountain Square construction zone.

My table had already been pulled out, and I had more fun conversations with fellow artists.

Pop Up Gallery owner Sally Beach had just been featured in Evanston Woman Magazine.

 

While foot traffic wasn’t as heavy as the Sidewalk Sale last year, we still had several people pop by and the store itself gets great traffic.

I left a Howlite set to be featured by Steve on Pop Up Television.

The window changes each week with new offers.

Over the month I made several sales, a few in person as I popped in.

It is nice to see the positive response to this unique gift boutique.

Before long the second day was done, and the balloons also lost steam.

Pop in and see my shelf, as updates keep happening.

A video interview is in the works.

You can find all kinds of art work at varying price points here, some with the bonus of smelling delicious. The Evanston Pop Up Gallery is located at 1627 Sherman Avenue in Evanston, and open 7 days a week.

Reflecting in Nature

I am taking a little pre-birthday time-out.

It is easy to get overwhelmed in calls to actions, FOMO, grass-is-greener and doomsday thinking with the barrage of headlines and ensuing social media reactions.

My Atlas of World History confirms that territorialism began when land ownership started in 9000 BC. As Billy Joel sings, we didn’t start the fire. The mid-eighties were full of songs about the End of the World, and When the Wind Blows still flashes in my head on occasion.

So I go to the lake to stare at the horizon and ponder the tides going in and out.

Hopefully the skyline will remain for a bit.

It is lovely to be a tourist in my hometown. I rarely visit Bennison’s, so strolling there is worthy of a treat for here and one to go.

There is a private park with little reading nooks that is open to the public part of the day.

Shimmying at the beach is a lovely way to start the day in summer.

I love the Brothers K baristas and used up the last bit of my gift card for this gorgeous creation.

A moth hung out by the basement as I was doing laundry.

Flowers are blooming so gorgeously.

I recite the Desiderata in my head when things seem too depressing.

Then I ponder the bravery of Sophie Scholl, Anne Frank, Miep Gies and Corrie Ten Boom.

The Little Prince has left a reminder by the lake as well.

The upcoming solar eclipse is supposed to be auspicious, and I sincerely hope it will bring with it goodwill and peace.

But for now, I will reflect on all the agitation of the world in silence, and hope that my plans for my next year aren’t too frivolous for this time in history.

After all, my town can sometimes seem like I’m in wonderland, so anything can happen!

See you sometime next week.

An Emerald Keychain

Sometimes a newsletter can lead to a commission. In response to my July newsletter, I got a request for a keychain. My friend wanted to carry a reminder of her ‘emerald green’ aura with her, and as soon as I read that I was thrilled.

I wasn’t sure if I had Emerald, but it turned out that I had picked up a small strand at the Bead & Button Show a few years back. So then I set about matching that green to my stash of green wire.

Bridgette has a family of four, so I picked 4 beads to encage into her scribble ball.

Then I wrapped the wire around the steel, and made a keychain.

After that I perused my crystal healing books for information on the beads and the color green related to the heart chakra, and made an information sheet. As always, the gems incorporated in my projects tend to suit the person who will receive the piece. So this one was especially fun to read about.

Bridgette is a fabulous encaustic artist and painter, and recently completed a 100 day drawing challenge, for which she chose to capture birds.

I own two of her beautiful encaustic paintings, and love her journals as well. One of my encaustic classes was with Bridgette.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

You can learn more about Bridgette’s upcoming art events here.

I am happy another keychain is traveling elsewhere in the U.S.

Plant Stakes for the Trunk Show

Last summer I made a dragonfly stake on a whim and it was well-received. This year I took the production level up a notch and added ladybug stakes to the collection. I distributed them at my various boutique outlets, and they steadily fly off to new homes. A post on Facebook prompted Ayla’s Originals to coordinate a trunk show with me.

So for Ayla’s Trunk Show this coming weekend, August 12 and 13, I am replenishing the batch. The traditional ladybugs go fastest, so red was on the brain this week.

Meanwhile, the jig I had set up for the Morpho application needed to be dismantled. However, I was inspired to create a stake form that setup before making the change.

I had also just made two mini-books, and that book setup led me to make two bookish stakes.

Then I changed the jig to my custom-created dragonfly template, and started bending wire into the popular dragonfly stakes. When my fingertips were sore I closed the studio for the evening.

The next morning I fired up the griddle and my irons, and started laying out the outfits for each critter. I hand-stamped lime green paper and interfacing fabric to reflect the writings of a book. Then I painstakingly added each page, which takes a lot of aligning, adjusting, cutting and realigning.

The books are my most time-consuming piece at this stage, followed by the dragonflies and their waxing intricacies.

I hand-colored interfacing with rainbow stripes (in permanent marker) for the ever-popular rainbow dragonfly.

One ladybug was begging for polka-dotted fabric, and the other two were given red tissue paper.

Storm clouds were brewing, so I also used that tissue paper and another fabric scrap for a test ladybug ornament, which I swiftly hung outside.

Soon the buckets came down and even splattered onto the deck.

Nonetheless, I stepped out in the rain to see how my own two creatures were faring. Rain was bouncing off the dragonfly.  The ladybug was shielded from the onslaught, but soon the angle changed and it too started getting wet.

After the storm, both ornaments were wet, but undamaged.

Upon closer inspection you can see spots of rust in the dragonfly, which has accumulated since I hung it in April.

But overall the droplets just hang out on the wax until they evaporate, and the fabric and tissue strips remain intact.

I waxed my new creations. The whimsical oval piece was fun to design.

Then I photographed them as the light and angle allowed.

Stakes are harder to take pictures of than my other pieces. They don’t lay flat like regular ornaments, and getting all the angles in a photogenic way is challenging.

The Everlasting Fire Studio vases showcase each one well, though.

I really like the bookish ones, which will be a whole other outdoor test run. As ornaments, these books are more fragile than my other pieces. So for now I’d recommend them indoors only.

Good thing I have a volunteer with an outdoor plant I can send one of these off to.

My fireplace mantel is also a bit crowded, so I played with one corner for now, which isn’t ideal.

I will need to work on a light box setup to block out the windowsill.

Meanwhile, they look pretty as a bouquet and by themselves, and make me happy.

Since I will be showing at a bead store next, I also wanted to play with some bling on a stake.

The organic creation received 3 led crystals, which I know will hold up outside.

I plan on asking Ayla what else is suitable for outdoor sun catchers when I set up my trunk show this weekend.

The new creations will have their own table at the Ayla’s Originals Trunk show. I will also bring my jewelry and angels of course. 

Ayla’s Originals Store is located at 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. I will be there Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm. Then all unsold pieces go home with me again.

There are lots of fun shops and eateries around 1511 Sherman. Be sure to take a selfie with Wonder Woman at the Other Brother Coffeehouse!