NSML July 2014 : Page 70

[ART & CULTURE] ART MAteRiAL obsessioN Clockwise from top left: Cinnabar elements necklace by Valerie hector; veiled organism glass piece by Jon Goldberg; thistle necklace by Valerie hector—all on display at this year’s ACe expo. THE ART OF CRAFT THE AMERICAN CR AFT EXPOSITION CELEBR ATES ITS 30TH YEAR OF SHOWCASING THE COUNTRY’S FINEST, MOST INVENTIVE ARTISANS. By Rebecca Gibson Th e American Craft Exposition is known as the creme de la creme of contemporary arts and crafts. For the past 30 years, it has brought the most innovative work by artists and craftspeople from across the United States to the city of Evanston. And, for the past 11 years, ACE also has partnered with the Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem to raise money through the expo for breast and ovarian cancer research and care. Nearly 150 juried artisans participate each year, bringing a wide variety of work to showcase and sell. Th eir expertise ranges from basketry, furniture and jewelry to ceramics, glass and metal; the pickings are rife with creativity. Also impressive, some of the country’s most accomplished and talented artists owe their success to the expo, including some North Shore residents of note. Jewelry artist Valerie Hector, for 70 ns summer 2014 instance, is a Wilmette native with a distinct aesthetic that has evolved quite a lot in her 26 years of self-taught jewelry design. Th e most unique part of her work is how she integrates metal and beaded structures; the tension and balance between the two very diff erent materials are crucial to Hector’s designs. “With metal, the issue is the economy of forms, and making those forms compelling enough so that color is irrelevant,” she says. “With beads, it is a question of fi nding lush enough colors.” Th e artist works up until the very last moment before an exhibition, both to perfect her work and to push it in radically new directions. ACE has not only been a vital part of Hector’s career, but it helped her graduate from outdoor art fairs to much more upscale venues and audiences to showcase her jewelry. She was fi rst continued…

Art & Culture Art

Rebecca Gibson

THE ART OF CRAFT

THE AMERICAN CRAFT EXPOSITION CELEBRATES ITS 30TH YEAR OF SHOWCASING THE COUNTRY'S FINEST, MOST INVENTIVE ARTISANS.

The American Craft Exposition is known as the creme de la creme of contemporary arts and crafts. For the past 30 years, it has brought the most innovative work by artists and craftspeople from across the United States to the city of Evanston. And, for the past 11 years, ACE also has partnered with the Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem to raise money through the expo for breast and ovarian cancer research and care. Nearly 150 juried artisans participate each year, bringing a wide variety of work to showcase and sell. Their expertise ranges from basketry, furniture and jewelry to ceramics, glass and metal; the pickings are rife with creativity.

Also impressive, some of the country's most accomplished and talented artists owe their success to the expo, including some North Shore residents of note.

Jewelry artist Valerie Hector, for instance, is a Wilmette native with a distinct aesthetic that has evolved quite a lot in her 26 years of self-taught jewelry design. The most unique part of her work is how she integrates metal and beaded structures; the tension and balance between the two very different materials are crucial to Hector's designs. "With metal, the issue is the economy of forms, and making those forms compelling enough so that color is irrelevant," she says. "With beads, it is a question of finding lush enough colors." The artist works up until the very last moment before an exhibition, both to perfect her work and to push it in radically new directions.

ACE has not only been a vital part of Hector's career, but it helped her graduate from outdoor art fairs to much more upscale venues and audiences to showcase her jewelry. She was first accepted into ACE in 1992, and it has given her the license to take risks and receive national recognition every year since then. Aside from being able to present her work in one of the top craft shows in the country, Hector is grateful to all of the committee women who organize the event to support such a wonderful cause.

Dynamic husband and wife duo Jack and Alice McLean share Hector's appreciation for ACE, as it served as a launching pad for their success at many other shows nationwide. The pair was accepted to show at ACE about 12 years into their business. A Wilmette native, Jack was thrilled to be able to share his work with the North Shore community. On the boundary of fine art and craft, the couple uses bronze and copper to create three-dimensional structures, wall pieces, and bronze panels and wall tiles.

A series they have been working on for some time titled Strength in Vulnerability will be showcased at this year's expo. Jack McLean describes it as a "latched, hinged and welded bronze box that opens to panels to reveal an interior composition." The backside of the box is created out of gold leaf and glass inclusion, which is an addition rarely seen in bronze structures. Who knew? "Our work is truly collaborative," he explains. "We are probably best known for our bronze wall tiles, which we've been creating since 1991. We take the pieces back and forth between my studio and Alice's, to ensure that we each put in equal effort. They are very well-received, truthfully one-of-a-kind pieces."

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Art+%26+Culture+Art/1748098/215327/article.html.

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