Creative-reuse rules at Hatch Festival Feb. 26-March 14

Contact:  Gail Rost, Co-Chair, Hatch, a creative-reuse art festival

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —Runway models in fashions made from food wrappers, eyeglass lenses reimagined into pendant necklaces, and an ethereal art installation created using plastic strapping used to bundle newspapers. These are just a few of the amazing transformations of trash into art that await audiences, shoppers and gallery-goers at the third annual Hatch, a creative-reuse art festival.

The two-week-long festival kicks off Feb. 26 and runs through March 14, with nearly a dozen events and activities planned at venues throughout Champaign-Urbana and Savoy.

“Bigger, better and even more amazing than before” is how Hatch Co-Chair Gail Rost describes the festival, which she and a team of volunteer organizers have programmed to inspire the community. “With a diverse line-up of events and activities featuring art, trash-fashion, music and more, our goal with Hatch is to celebrate, educate and inspire. The festival celebrates the creative spirit of artists to reimagine everyday discards that other might perceive as trash. But we also want to educate our audiences and inspire them to think twice before adding more to the waste stream and instead think creatively themselves about what else they might do to breathe new life into some of these materials.”

That goal mirrors the function of The I.D.E.A. Store, which produces the annual festival. The I.D.E.A. Store, Central Illinois’ premier creative-reuse marketplace, is a social earned-income enterprise of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. Income generated from store sales and other programs — more than $25,000 to date — directly benefits teachers and students in the Champaign and Urbana public schools.

Among the events and activities planned as part of the 2015 Hatch festival are a juried art exhibition, juried art fair, community pop-up art show, community “trashion” show, lectures, performances and workshops. The crown jewel of Hatch is its Visiting Artist-in-Residence Program, which brings to the community nationally known artists who work with area school children, present a public talk and workshop and exhibit their work in the Hatch Art Exhibition.

This year Hatch is doubling its vision with two artists, husband-and-wife jewelry artists David and Roberta Williamson of Berea, Ohio. The Williamsons, who teach on the art faculty at BaldwinWallace University, Berea, and were featured on the PBS series “Craft in America,” create one-of-a-kind brooches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other mixed media art using found manufactured objects, vintage ephemera and other items which some people may regard as useless. They sometimes combine those objects with materials found in nature.

To get the party started this year, the festival opens at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 (Thursday) with a free public talk at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., Champaign. The talk will be presented by the Williamsons, who plan to share stories about how they approach their work and create together. The next day, they will work middle and high school students in Champaign.

“The Williamsons will be leading a four-hour studio class with Centennial High School art teacher Shannon Percoco’s class of 20 advanced ceramics/sculpture students,” Rost said. “The students will create wearable art from repurposed items that have personal significance. Some of the source material for the art will come from the students, some from The I.D.E.A. Store, some supplied by the Williamsons, who will be bringing a large stash of art-history slides, which will be reused to make contemporary art.”

Following that, she said, the Williamsons will work with 6th-8th grade students from an after-school art club led by Jefferson Middle School art teacher and Hatch organizing committee member Scott Fernsler. The younger students will make their own personal art in a two-hour studio session.

Hatch’s opening weekend events continue the evening of Feb. 27 (Friday), starting at 6 p.m. in the atrium of Lincoln Square in downtown Urbana when models hit the runway at the Hatch Trashion Show. That event, which will be emceed by Hatch Media Sponsor Stevie Jay Broadcasting’s on-air personality Diane Ducey, features trash-fashions and accessories created by designers of all ages and abilities, including community members, students from area K-12 schools as well as students of University of Illinois professor Susan Becker. This year’s event includes a new “paper” category; Becker’s students plan to tailor their designs to fit this category.

For an idea of what to expect at this year’s Trashion Show, rewind to this Youtube video from the 2014 Trashion Show:

Opening weekend activities continue on Feb. 28, when the artists-in-residence teach a jewelry-making workshop for adults in UI art + design professor Billie Theide’s Metals Studio at the University of Illinois. The workshop, “TELLING STORIES: How Found Objects and Recycled Materials Become Your Voice,” is open to anyone age 18 or older, but it is suggested that participants have some familiarity with metals or jewelry-making or have hands-on experience in another fine art/fine craft area.

The Hatch Art Exhibition, another signature festival event, opens its doors to the public this year from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave, Champaign. Doors re-open from 7-9 p.m. for the exhibition’s opening reception. That event is open he public, with a $5 suggested entry fee, to benefit The I.D.E.A. Store and CUSF.

The exhibition features jewelry pieces by the Williamsons as well as work by 22 local and regional artists whose art is made from materials that are at least 75 percent reused/repurposed/recycled. This year’s jurors for the exhibition were UI art + design professor Eric Benson; Lisa Costello, director of Parkland College’s Giertz Gallery; and artist Viktoria Ford.

The exhibition will remain open to the public throughout the festival. Gallery hours are Saturdays, 11-5 p.m.; Sundays, 1-5 p.m.; Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m.

The second weekend, Colten Jackson of Makerspace Urbana and the UI Fab Lab, will present a free lecture-demo at 7:30 on March 6 (Friday) at Indi Go titled “Electric Waste Orchestra: Learning and Teaching Music, Electronics, Programming, and Repurposing.” On March 7 (Saturday), the “Art Teachers’ Hatch Clatch: Corks, Crafts and Connections” will be an opportunity for area art teachers to get together informally at The I.D.E.A. Store’s classroom, 28 E. Springfield, Champaign, to network, compare notes and receive instruction from The I.D.E.A. Store co-founder Carol Jo Morgan on how to make cold connections to use in jewelry-making projects. Then they’ll apply what they’ve learned by reusing corks and other “waste” materials from champagne and wine bottles to  make jewelry. The cost to attend is $5; space is limited. Advance registration is required online at the Hatch website. At 2 p.m. on March 8 (Sunday), several local artists exhibiting work in the exhibition will discuss their work, methods and materials in an informal gallery talk. The event is free and open to the public.

The culminating event of the festival is the one-day juried Hatch Art Fair, a marketplace where shoppers can find original one-of-a-kind art and fine craft for sale by 30-plus artists from throughout Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Tennessee. Items offered for sale are made from 50 percent reused/recycled materials and range from jewelry, sculpture, wall art and upcycled clothing to musical instruments and functional and whimsical home and garden décor. The art fair takes place at the Savoy Recreation Center, 402 Graham Drive, Savoy, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $2; children 12 and under are free.

Jurors who selected the artists featured in the art fair are The I.D.E.A. Store General Manager Clorinda D’Agnolo; Stacey Gross, Centennial High School art teacher and Unit 4’s K-12 art coordinator; and Hatch Co-chair Melissa Mitchell.

In conjunction with the art fair, Hatch organizers are also planning a community pop-up art show in which members of the public of all ages are invited to bring examples of their own creative-reuse art or crafts to display in the Savoy Rec Center’s activity room. The pop-up show is free and open to the public. More information about how to participate is on the Hatch website.

Also on the website is a button for community members who would like to volunteer to assist with the festival’s many events and activities. Opportunities range from gallery-sitting to helping out at the art fair and pop-up show.

For more information about Hatch, check out the website here or contact festival organizers at or call The I.D.E.A. Store, 217-352-7878.