Hatch -- a creative-reuse arts fest -- is born

CHAMPAIGN — A festival called Hatch, described as something big and green, will take place this weekend in Champaign after having incubated for months at The IDEA Store, Champaign-Urbana's creative-reuse marketplace.

Believed to be the area's first creative-reuse art festival, Hatch will open Friday evening and run through Sunday, featuring:

A juried art exhibition as well as gallery talks at Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave., C. The exhibition opening reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, with a lecture from 7 to 8 p.m. by Hatch artist-in-residence Michelle Stitzlein of Baltimore, Ohio.

She is a found-object sculptor and educator who has been dubbed "The Bottle Cap Lady" for her efforts to teach children and others how to transform otherwise disposable plastic trash into art.

Stitzlein will spend the day Friday at South Side Elementary School, helping students build a mural with reused materials.

Suggested admission to the exhibition opening-night event is $5 and will cover admission to the art fair the next day. The exhibition will remain open through March 17, with viewing hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. this Sunday and then 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Indi Go is closed Mondays.

A juried one-day art fair featuring works by more than 20 artists from Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in the McKinley Fitness Center, 500 W. Church St., C. Suggested donation for admission is $2.

10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday is Stitzlein's workshop for art educators and other adults at The IDEA Store. Pre-registration is advised, though walk-ins might be able to get in. The fee: $30.

Participants may preregister at The IDEA Store, 28 E. Springfield Ave., C; by phone at 352-7878; or by sending email to hatch@the-idea-store.org and making a payment via PayPal to info@the-idea.store.org.

2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Indi Go is a gallery talk with select participating artists, moderated by Kelly White of 40 North 88 West.

All of the artists in the exhibition and art fair reuse materials. While the term "creative reuse" is somewhat new, IDEA Store general manager Gail Rost said people have practiced it for centuries.

"When used in the context of art making, creative reuse is what occurs when artists and designers take discarded materials destined for the landfill — everything from bottle caps, corks and spools to old trophy parts and packing materials — and add their creative touch and talent to 'hatch' something brand new," she said in a news release. "Results may be whimsical or functional, but almost always are clever and compelling."

The Hatch festival, Rost added, will "not only inform but also inspire others to rethink the ways they interact with materials previously regarded only as junk or trash.

"We want our community to have a full experience in learning about creative reuse through Hatch," said Rost, who's also executive director of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation, which benefits from The IDEA Store. "We want you to see it, touch it, hear about it, explore it, support our artists with your purchases, love it with your friends and help us help the world to slow down, use fewer materials and create less waste. We want you to see the fun, beauty and potential in the everyday waste object."

Entry to the Hatch exhibition and fair was competitive. Judges reviewed nearly 100 entries from more than 50 artists and artist-vendors.

The judges chose 25 pieces by 16 artists for the exhibition at Indi Go. That show also will include large-scale moth sculptures made from found objects by Stitzlein. Twenty-four artist-vendors — including several teams and collectives — will be at the art fair at McKinley.

The selected works — created using at least 75 percent recycled, reused or repurposed materials — range from assemblage, collage, jewelry, fiber and paper arts to functional design, including garden dcor, lighting fixtures and clothing.

And in connection with Hatch, award-winning artist Lisa Kesler of rural Champaign created a limited-edition, signed and numbered 18x12-inch poster to commemorate the festival. It features linoleum-block-print illustrations of craft-making/reuse materials and vintage wood type from the Living Letter Press in Champaign.

The poster is available for sale at The IDEA Store and will be sold at the Hatch exhibition and art fair for $30. Kesler will donate half of the proceeds to The IDEA Store/CUSF.

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