You can shop for the usual mass-produced items this holiday season, or you can head over to the Winter Arts and Crafts Expo in Evanston, where over 100 selected artisans will offer unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list. The event runs from Saturday, Nov. 17 through Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 at the Evanston Art Center. Items featured at the expo include original paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and works of fiber, metal, glass, and mixed media. Painter Molly Cranch and ceramist Lisa Harris are two among the numerous talented participating artisans.
Molly Cranch is a painter and Chicago elementary school teacher whose works are inspired by quiet, intimate, and restorative moments in nature. Birds are predominant subjects, whether depicted as little nestlings, parents in search of food, or solitary birds at rest before taking flight. “I try to stay true to the soft colors and the transitory feel of a bird in motion,” the artist says. Natural elements such as tree branches, seed pods, or wildflowers often appear in her images. Occasionally, these objects are featured alone, with their small, intricate patterns appearing as abstractions from nature. Cranch received a BFA in painting from Washington University in St. Louis and a certificate in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ceramist Lisa Harris, who is on the Lillstreet Gallery faculty, has been a practicing artist and instructor in Chicago for over 20 years. She has evolved from creating functional pottery—plates, cups, bowls—to more sculptural work such as architecturally inspired vessels, decorative bas-relief tiles, as well as larger scale mural installations. Her tiles reflect her interest in both ceramic history and architectural ornamentation. Hand-made from white earthenware, the tiles are press-molded or cut from slabs, individually decorated, and glazed. Some tiles are hand-painted to achieve an ancient, time-worn appearance. Others receive a single glaze for a more traditional look. Harris holds a BFA from Grinnell College and completed post-graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In additional to the regularly scheduled exhibition dates at the Art Center, several special shopping events are planned. A “Jewelry Fest” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Rosalyn Broder of Red Ava Designs will be exhibiting her beautiful, modern handcrafted jewelry with a vintage feel. Broder is a Chicago-based graphic designer, jewelry designer, and filmmaker who received her MFA in filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Visit the Evanston Art Center website for information on additional special events at the expo.
The Evanston Art Center is located at 2603 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Winter Expo hours are Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays from 12-4 p.m. (The expo is closed on Thanksgiving). Bring the whole family along to shop locally, support artists, and enjoy original works of art.