Please, I.D.E.A. Store! Make Hatch, the creative reuse festival you put on this past weekend in Champaign, an annual event.
Gail Rost, one of the organizers and a co-founder of the I.D.E.A. Store, just smiled when I told her that Sunday, the last day of the three-day event. She said she and others will talk about that this week.
Rost and others who hosted Hatch — the exhibition at Indi Go and the fair at the McKinley Fitness Center — considered it a success. More than 170 attended the opening reception for the art show on Friday night at Indi Go, and 450 went to the art fair the next day at McKinley.
Those are good numbers for a first-time event.
Hatch, if you don’t know by now, featured an art exhibition and art fair of works made from recycled, or reused materials; a workshop; and artist lectures.
I love “green” art because I’m always blown away by the creativity and cleverness of the makers. After seeing all the stuff (and buying three things at the Hatch fair) I felt pumped to begin making things myself.
About 20 folks including myself took in the artists’ lectures Sunday afternoon at Indi Go, where the Hatch exhibition closes on March 17. Make sure to see it. Viki Ford, an artist, art teacher and former exhibitions builder at Krannert Art Museum, designed it and did a terrific job.
My only complaint: I would have liked to have seen even more pieces!
One man at the opening was impressed, saying he thought the exhibition would be full of jewelry. Not so. Instead the juried show features upcycled art works made from trash and other recyclables, some with extreme thoughfulness on the part of their makers. Such as Laura Wennstrom's "Security Blanket," made from security envelopes..
There were maybe three pieces you could perhaps call jewelry, among them a giant ring, “Touchstone,” that Christine McClelland, public arts coordinator for the city of Urbana, made from pasta and other materials that she painted silver.
It has a sense of humor. So do the other two pieces she made that are in the show: Two slices of layered cake. One is made of Spackle and sponges; the other, of Spackle and old paperback romance novels.
Hatch artist in-residence Michelle Stitzlein of Baltimore, Ohio, showed two of her giant moths, made from piano keys, sink drainers, parts from bicycles, old dress-size rack separators and other stuff.
They’re large and exciting to see. A friend who saw them Sunday was more impressed after seeing them live, rather than in a newspaper photo.
Stitzlein has made nearly 20 moths, both large-scale and small. She’s shown them in galleries and museums; she said she’s made her last one. But she recently received a request for another. "Never say never," she says.
I dropped by the Hatch plastic bottle-cap workshop she led Saturday at the I.D.E.A. Store. It was fun to see the bins of different colored bottle caps and what the participants were making: Small murals on plywood.
I was particularly impressed with art teacher Shauna Carey’s piece. She was going for a spiral design.
Stitzlein uses drills and half-inch screws, rather than glue, to attach the caps to plywood. She’s written two books on how to use bottle caps in kids’ art projects.
Back to the art show. Another thoughtful piece was Lisa Clemons.’ She made it from a newspaper published the day Osama Bin Laden was killed.
She tore the newspaper, in this case the Springfield Journal-Register, into strips and then knitted them together and created, in low relief, the word truth in a strongly horizonal format. In using newspaper as yarn, she was playing with the idea of spinning, in this case the truth.
“Does truth actually exist?” she asked during the artists’ talk. “It’s there but you really have to look for it and have to read different sources to get your fill of what really happened.”
Now, if Clemons had used copies of The News-Gazette, I would have bought the piece. But it went to a good home: A philosophy professor who attended the Hatch lecture purchased her truth.