art fair

Gary Beaumont, left, and Mark David display artwork they will have for sale at the Craft League’s art fair this weekend at the Savoy Recreation Center.

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SAVOY — Just in time for holiday gift shopping, the Craft League of Champaign-Urbana is bringing back its annual juried art fair this weekend with 35 arts-and-crafts vendors and free admission.

“There will be no supply-chain issues at this event,” said Champaign ceramics artist Gary Beaumont. “And it ticks a lot of boxes — buy small, buy local and buy art.”

The art fair will be held at the Savoy Recreation Center, 402 Graham Drive, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Mark David, a nature photographer, who, along with Beaumont, will be among the participating artists, said this will be the 38th annual art fair the craft league has held. It would have been the 39th, had the event not been postponed last year due to COVID-19, he said.

Since the pandemic is still around, there will be precautions observed, among them, masks will be required for admission. And there will be a few less artists than there were in 2019 to increase spaces for social distancing, according to David.

“Everybody should feel comfortable,” he said.

A Savoy retired pharmacist who worked for Carle Foundation Hospital until 2014, David said he plans to bring some photos taken at state parks in Moab, Utah and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, among others.

He started doing photography in high school, taking pictures of homes for his dad, who worked in real estate, but, “I’ve always loved the outdoors,” he said.

Beaumont, of Champaign, worked for the University of Illinois College of Agriculture for 35 years before he retired and has been working in pottery and ceramics for decades.

His focus is on crystalline glazes, and he makes both small and large pieces, he said.

Kate Kobak, a fiber artist based in Champaign, will also be among the vendors with her hand-made bags, backpacks, wine totes, eyeglass cases, wallets, masks and other items she makes through her business, Fabrikate.

She uses an old cast-iron Singer sewing machine she had in New York, when she was focusing on making such home furnishings as slipcovers, window coverings and pillows.

Kobak, who formerly also had her own dance company and taught the Alexander Technique for a time, left New York for Champaign-Urbana in 2009 when her husband took a job with Wolfram Research, she said.

In addition to ceramics, fiber and photography, the art fair will include works of jewelry, batik, glass, woodworking, drawing, painting, printmaking, basketry, gourds and mixed media.

The Champaign-Urbana Craft League was founded in 1982. After its early years in empty storefronts and church basements, the art fair was held at the Urbana Civic Center from 1986 to 2018 and was moved to the Savoy Recreation Center in 2019.

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