Husband-wife jewelers are 2015 ‘Hatch’ headliners

Contact:  Gail Rost, Co-Chair, Hatch Creative Reuse Art Festival,  

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Jewelry artists David and Roberta Williamson of Berea, Ohio, believe everyone has a story to tell. And when they visit Champaign-Urbana next February as the Hatch Visiting Artists-in-Residence, the Williamsons will share their own life story — a creative partnership built on a dual foundation: their love for each other and their passion for beautiful objects with a history.

While in residence in Champaign-Urbana, the couple — who met while both were students at Northern Illinois University, then crafted an artful life and career together — also will provide opportunities for school children and community members to create and share their own personal stories with found objects and repurposed items and artifacts.

The Williamsons’ residency is part of the multifaceted Hatch Creative-Reuse Art Festival, an annual celebration of resourcefulness and reinvention produced by The I.D.E.A. Store. The store is billed as the area’s premier creative-reuse marketplace and an earned-income social enterprise of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. The 2015 festival will take place Feb. 26 through March 14 in various venues throughout Champaign County.

In addition to hosting the Williamsons’ residency, Hatch includes a juried art exhibition, on view throughout most of the festival (Feb. 28 through March 14) at Indi Go Artist Co-op in downtown Champaign; a trash-fashion, or “trashion” show at Lincoln Square on Feb. 27; a juried art fair March 14 at the Savoy Recreational Center; and a number of other auxiliary activities.

“The festival celebrates the creative spirit of local, regional and even nationally known artists who work in the creative-reuse genre, using cast-off materials that might otherwise end up in the landfill,” said Gail Rost, co-chair of the Hatch organizing team and co-founder of The I.D.E.A. Store with Carol Jo Morgan.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to bring the Williamsons to our community, as they have been blazing the trail in the field of repurposed and recycled art for many years,” Rost said. “Their whimsical brooches, necklaces and other works of art typically marry ephemera and three-dimensional artifacts from the past — passed down in their families or acquired from antiques stores, flea markets and other sources — with fine jewelry-making techniques and craftsmanship.”

The Williamsons teach at Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. Roberta Williamson, a lecturer in the university’s studio art department, received her bachelor’s degree in education from NIU and a master of fine arts degree in jewelry and metalsmithing from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. David Williamson is professor of studio art at Baldwin-Wallace and has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from NIU in DeKalb and an MFA from VCU.

They have collaborated as partners in their metals studio for nearly 45 years, each contributing individual strengths to their collective enterprise. Roberta brings her intuitive sense for creating design combinations to the table, while David contributes his top-notch technical skills.

The jewelry artists’ fascination with nature often surfaces in their work. They also are inspired by their lives together and their individual histories and memories. Their work can be found in a number of international collections, including the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2009, the pair was featured in the popular two-part PBS series “Craft in America.”

As Hatch visiting artists-in-residence, they will kick off the festival at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Champaign Public Library with a free public talk titled “Garden of Dreams: The Work of Artists David and Roberta Williamson.” The next day (Feb. 27), they will work with local middle school and high school art students. On Feb. 28, they will present an all-day, advanced-level jewelry workshop for adults (age 18+) in the University of Illinois campus studio of Billie Theide, a professor of art and design and the James Avery Endowed Chair of the College of Fine and Applied Arts.

Through their workshops, the Williamsons encourage students to “find their own stories” by incorporating meaningful, memory-inducing objects into the jewelry they create. In the Hatch workshop, geared toward college-level students and members of the public with some experience and skills in jewelry-making or other hands-on visual arts or fine craft, the Williamsons will teach participants how to transform found objects into “reservoirs” for preserving ephemera or other small items, and how to preserve the materials using resin. They’ll also demonstrate how to create a bezel and use cold connections to join elements of the pieces they create.

More information on the workshop, which will cost $100 per person, and how to register will be available soon on the Hatch website, here.

The Williamsons’ work also will be featured in the Hatch Art Exhibition at Indi Go as well, and they will appear at the show’s free public opening reception from 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 28.

Rost said frequent updates on all Hatch-related activities will continue to be added to the festival website. She encourages those interested in attending, participating in or even volunteering to help with the festival to consult the Hatch website and Facebook page, often for the latest news.




(REPORTERS, EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: High-resolution images of the Williamsons’ work are available by contacting Gail Rost at

2015 ‘Hatch’ festival seeks creative-reuse artists

Contact: Gail Rost, Hatch Steering Committee

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —Volunteer event organizers from the The I.D.E.A. Store in Champaign once again are talking trash. And art. They’re also making plans to bring both together in fun and innovative ways Feb. 27-March 14 during the third annual “Hatch” Creative-Reuse Art Festival.

Applications are now available online for artists seeking entry into Hatch’s juried art exhibition Feb. 28-March 14 at Indi Go Artist Co-op in downtown Champaign and/or the juried art fair March 14 at the Savoy Recreational Center.

Art juried into the exhibition must consist of at least 75 percent reused, recycled or repurposed materials. For the art fair, the requirement has been revised from past years’ 75 percent “re-” materials to at least half in 2015. Artist information and applications are available on the festival website,

Produced by The I.D.E.A. Store, Champaign, Illinois’ premier creative-reuse marketplace and an earned-income enterprise of the CU Schools Foundation, Hatch draws artists, art appreciators, shoppers and co-sponsors from throughout Central Illinois and beyond to the Champaign-Urbana community. The festival features some of the most imaginative and resourceful local, regional and national artists known for their abilities to create whimsical and sometimes functional work from discarded materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

“We’ve been pleased, but not surprised, by the community’s enthusiastic response to Hatch as it has evolved since its inaugural year in 2013,” said Gail Rost, co-founder of The I.D.E.A. Store and one of the festival’s lead organizers. “Since we opened our doors in 2010, the people of Central Illinois have demonstrated their devotion to The I.D.E.A. Store, to creative reuse and to becoming more aware of their role in preserving our natural environment and reducing the waste stream.

Rost said the Hatch festival’s programming has become more extensive each year since it began in 2013 as a three-day event. Last year the festival grew to its current two-week length, with multiple venues spread throughout Champaign and Urbana.

“In 2014,” she noted, “we added a trash-fashion show to the festival line-up, which also included a residency by Santa Fe, N.M.-based guest artist Nancy Judd, who led a one-day project with children from Garden Hills Elementary School in Champaign. Judd also gave a free public talk at the Champaign Library and presented community workshops at The I.D.E.A. Store.”

Rost said the popular “trashion” show will return in 2015 to kick off the festival on Feb. 27 in the center courtyard of Urbana’s Lincoln Square Mall.

A notable change this year will be a slightly delayed opening of the art exhibition at Indi Go Artist Co-op. The show will open on Feb. 28 and run through March 14, with an opening reception planned from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 28.

The art fair, which in the past has featured fun and functional art, home and garden décor, jewelry and accessories and upcycled clothing by creative-reused artists from three Midwestern states, will again take place at the Savoy Recreation Center from 10 a.m.-6 p.m on March 14.

The 2015 artist-in-residence and additional Hatch programming will be announced in the coming months, Rost said. Updates on these and other Hatch-related happenings — including volunteer opportunities —will be posted on the festival website.

Rost, along with co-founder Carol Jo Morgan, launched The I.D.E.A. Store in 2010 as an earned-income enterprise of CUSF. Surplus revenue generated from store sales and other programs — more than $30,000 to date — directly benefits teachers and students in the Champaign and Urbana public schools.

In addition to providing local businesses and individuals with an alternative means of discarding unwanted but reusable materials and making them available at affordable costs to teachers, students, artists, crafters, hobbyists and others, The I.D.E.A. Store staff and volunteers offer workshops and other educational programs, and engage in community outreach activities that emphasize ways to protect the environment, conserve energy and other resources, and reduce the local waste stream.

For more information about “Hatch,” contact festival organizers at or call The I.D.E.A. Store, 217-352-7878.

‘Hatch’ festival to highlight repurposed art, ‘trashion,’ music and more Feb. 28-March 15

Contact: Gail Rost, General Manager, The I.D.E.A. Store

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The prefix of choice in Central Illinois Feb. 28-March 15 will be “re” as The I.D.E.A. Store — Champaign-Urbana’s premier eco-edu-art creative-reuse marketplace and earned-income enterprise of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation — shines a bright, hot spotlight on recycled, repurposed and reuse art during its second annual “Hatch” festival.

The 2014 creative-reuse art festival, which expands to two weeks this year, takes place in a variety of venues throughout Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy (See the complete festival final schedule).

Once again this year, the public will be able to view and purchase work by dozens of talented and resourceful local and regional Hatch artists and designers. Their work will be featured in a juried art exhibition (Feb. 28-March 15 at Champaign’s Indi Go Artist Co-op) and at a one-day art fair (March 15 at the Savoy Recreation Center).

A number of new auxiliary activities and events have been added to the 2014 Hatch line-up as well. Notable among them is a runway-style “trashion” show (think trash plus fashion) featuring designs made from materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Participation in the show, set for 6 p.m. at Urbana’s Lincoln Square on March 7, is open to all community members. Online registration for the Hatch Trashion Show continues through Feb. 14.

Also new this year will be a music lecture-demo at 7 p.m. March 8 at Indi Go by percussionist Chad Dunn; cigar-box guitar maker Tony Taylor; and Ben Juday, owner of Analog Outfitters in Champaign. All three make musical instruments and/or equipment created from repurposed materials.

Another integral component of Hatch is its Visiting Artist-in Residence program. The 2014 visiting artist is Nancy Judd, an internationally recognized public artist, environmental educator and founder of Recycle Runway based in Santa Fe, N.M. Judd creates awareness of environmental issues through her inventive “trashion” designs, which have been exhibited in high-traffic venues throughout the world — from museums to airports, including the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Several major corporations, such as Coca Cola and Target, have commissioned Judd to create eco-fashions as well. Her “Obamanos Coat,” created from Obama campaign “door-hangers” is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Judd, who also is founder of the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival — which recently celebrated its 15th year — will be in residence at Hatch Feb. 28-March 1. Although she will not be in Champaign-Urbana during the Hatch Trashion Show, she will serve as a consultant to show organizers.

“Over the years I have found trashion to be a surprisingly useful way of engaging people in thinking about sustainability,” Judd said. “Fashion attracts our attention because of the connection that clothing has to our bodies; this allows me to connect with people on a more personal level.”

Judd hopes to keep making connections as she prepares — over the course of the next three years — for a second exhibition of her work in the Atlanta airport.

During two-day residency in Champaign-Urbana, Feb. 28-March 1, Judd will lead an all-school assembly and hands-on repurposing project with third- through fifth-graders at Champaign’s Garden Hills Elementary School on Feb. 28. She also will present two workshops (one for youth and one for adults) at The I.D.E.A. Store on March 1, and will give a free public lecture at 4:30 p.m. on March 1 at the Champaign Public Library. Two of her trash-fashions will be exhibited in the Hatch Art Exhibition at Indi Go through March 15.

Judd said the take-home message she emphasizes in her public talks is personal empowerment.

“I think it’s really important to focus on personal power and hope,” she said. “We are facing huge challenges as our climate is changing, and it is essential that we find the places in our lives where we can be eco-leaders, inspiring others to recycle more, drive less, eat local, etc.

“Students will include their own eco pledges as part of this collaborative reuse art installation,” Barber said.

“We are very excited to be able to host someone with Nancy Judd’s reputation for making environmental education fun and engaging by how she incorporates the creative art-making process in her work with kids,” Barber added. “Her elegant fashion sculptures are sure to leave a lasting impression on our students, especially considering that she creates them using trash. ”  

A number of Hatch events are free and open to the public; others have entry fees (to participate in the Trashion Show or attend workshops at The I.D.E.A. Store an advance registration and payment is required). A “Hatch Passport,” which admits holders to most other events, may be purchased in advance at The I.D.E.A. Store for $5 before the festival starts on the 28th.  Come to the opening of the art exhibition, which costs $5, and get a passport for an additional $1.

For more information about Hatch, including a complete listing of festival events and visit the Hatch website.


(REPORTERS, EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: Photos of Nancy Judd are available in the press section of Judd’s Recycle Runway website. Contact Gail Rost at The I.D.E.A. Store for representative photos of art included in the Hatch Art Fair and Exhibition.)

Strut your stuff on the Hatch Trashion Show Runway!

Strut your stuff on the Hatch Trashion Show Runway

Organizers of “Hatch,” The I.D.E.A. Store’s creative-reuse art festival Feb. 28-March 15, are seeking resourceful, inventive and stylin’ wanna-be fashion designers to enter The Hatch Trashion Show. The runway-style event featuring haute couture made from materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill, will take place at 6 p.m. March 7 at Urbana’s Lincoln Square Mall.

Participation in the Hatch Trashion Show is open to community members of all ages — there’s even a category for kids age 10 and under — but requires advance registration and payment of a $15 registration fee (per entry). Participants must submit a completed online form with payment and submit a garment design description by Feb. 14.

The trashion show is being produced in association with the selection of renowned trashion designer/environmental educator Nancy Judd as the Hatch Visiting Artist-in-Residence. Judd, co-founder of the Recycled Santa Fe Art Festival, has exhibited her designs in high-traffic public spaces across the nation — from museums to airports. She will be in residence in Champaign-Urbana Feb. 28-March 1; two of her trash-fashion designs — one made from pop-can cut-outs, the other from cassette and audio tape — will be on view through March 15 in the Hatch Art Exhibition at Indi Go Artist Co-op in downtown Champaign.

To learn more about Hatch Trashion Show and how to register, go to the event website.

More information on the Hatch festival’s other events, including the art exhibition; art fair at the Savoy Rec Center; Judd’s public lecture, hands-on projects with children at Champaign’s Garden Hills Elementary School, and workshops at The I.D.E.A. Store as well as an evening of music made from instruments made from reuse materials is available at

Internationally known trash-fashion artist to headline Hatch festival

Contact: Gail Rost, General Manager, The I.D.E.A. Store

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Nancy Judd may never have made a silk purse from a sow’s ear, but give her a roll of crime-scene tape, a stack of junk mail or some rusty nails and she’ll use her creative powers to transform that trash into runway-worthy haute couture.

Judd, an internationally recognized public artist, environmental educator and founder of Recycle Runway based in Santa Fe, N.M., uses her inventive “trashion” designs as a hook to get people to pay attention to how everyday choices and thoughtless throw-away practices can negatively impact the planet. Judd’s quirky, yet often elegant, eco-fashions have been exhibited throughout the world. In March 2014, she will bring both her fashions and her environmental message to Champaign-Urbana audiences as the Hatch Creative-Reuse Art Festival’s Visiting Artist-in-Residence.

The first Hatch festival, produced by The I.D.E.A. Store — Champaign-Urbana’s premier eco-edu-art creative-reuse marketplace — was held in March 2013. The 2014 festival will expand to two weeks, with events scheduled Feb. 28-March 15 at various locations throughout Champaign-Urbana. Key features of Hatch include a juried art exhibition (Feb. 28-March 15) and a one-day art fair (March 15); artists selected to participate in the exhibition and art fair are listed on the Hatch website.

Inspired by Judd’s whimsical work and her participation in the 2014 festival, organizers have added a new event this year: the “Hatch Trashion Show.” The runway-style trash-fashion show, set for March 7 at Urbana’s Lincoln Square, will be a couture event featuring garments created from the creative reuse of everyday items — recycled, reused, repurposed and upcycled materials that might otherwise be tossed in a dumpster and ultimately end up in the landfill. Participation is open to the public (non-juried), with entrance categories designated for children and adults. The registration fee is $15. More information and the registration form are available on the Hatch website.

“We are beyond thrilled by the opportunity to introduce Nancy Judd and her work to Central Illinois audiences,” said Gail Rost, past executive director of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation and full-time manager of The I.D.E.A. Store as of January 1, 2014. “The icing on the cake is being able to host a trashion show. We are calling on creative individuals throughout the area — young and old, whether they’ve had a previous interest in fashion and design or not — to fire up their imaginations and get involved.

“Now is the time to start percolating those ideas, collecting cast-offs and creating some trash-centric and divine designs,” Rost said. “It’s also the time for folks to go online and register to guarantee they’ll have a spot in the show.”

Rost added that Hatch Trashion Show designers can strut their reimagined stuff on the runway or select someone else to model their designs.

During her two-day Hatch residency, visiting artist Judd will lead a daylong, hands-on project with students at Champaign’s Garden Hills Elementary School on Feb. 28, with assistance from Garden Hills art teacher Megan Barber. Judd also will teach two separate workshops for children and adults on March 1 at The I.D.E.A. Store, and will present a public talk that evening. Two of her sustainable fashion designs will be featured in the Hatch Art Exhibition at Indi Go Artist Co-op Feb. 28-March 15.

Judd, co-founder of the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival — which recently celebrated its 15th year — will be in residence at Hatch Feb. 28-March 1. Although she will not be in Champaign-Urbana during Hatch Trashion, she will serve as a consultant to show organizers.

Judd’s own sustainable trashion sculptures have been exhibited in high-traffic public spaces such as shopping malls, airports, museums and art centers, and her work has spotlighted by major media outlets, from CNN to the Wall Street Journal. In 2011-12, 20 of her eco-fashions were highlighted in a yearlong installation at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; she has been invited to install a second exhibition there in 2016. Judd also has received corporate commissions from Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Target and Toyota.

Since 2012, 18 of Judd’s couture fashion sculptures have been touring the nation in the traveling exhibition “ReDress: Upcycled Style.” Following the exhibition opening at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Judd’s work has wowed gallery-goers in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The exhibition currently is on view through Feb. 28 at the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pa., and will move to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wis., April 12-June 15, 2014.

One of Judd’s most recognized and highly publicized trash-fashions is the Obamanos Coat, created from Obama campaign “door-hangers.” The coat and two other wearable trash sculptures made from yard signs and other campaign materials — comprising the “Change Couture Collection — were showcased at the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball and at other inaugural events in Washington, D.C. The Obamanos Coat is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

In addition to designing trash couture, Judd is known as engaging and charismatic public speaker. She often creates site-specific public art in conjunction with her speaking engagements, residencies and workshops. For instance, her Jellyfish Dress, created from plastic bags, was made during a workshop in the Oregon coastal town of Lincoln City to draw attention to marine conservation issues. Her piece titled “Tireless Couture,” was created during an engagement in Chapel Hill, N.C., related to community efforts to encourage citizens to drive less and instead take advantage of the area’s bicycle paths.

In 2012, Judd was recognized for her environmental education work with a TogetherGreen fellowship. An initiative of the Audubon Society, with funding from Toyota, the fellowship was awarded to 40 individuals nationwide and included a $10,000 grant, which Judd used to design a yearlong energy-efficiency curriculum for economically disadvantaged Santa Fe 6th graders. The students then applied classroom lessons in their own homes. Part of the award also funded the creation of a Recycle Runway garment made from waste materials related to energy conservation. The wearable sculpture represented the amount of carbon monoxide that was not released into the environment as the result of the student projects.


(REPORTERS, EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: More detailed information about Hatch festival activities, times and dates will continuously be added to the Hatch website in the weeks leading up to the event. Photos of Nancy Judd are available in the press section of Judd’s Recycle Runway website. Contact Gail Rost at The I.D.E.A. Store for representative photos of art included in the Hatch Art Fair and Exhibition.)

Deck halls, gift lists with repurposed “Merry Treasures”

Contact: Melissa Mitchell, The I.D.E.A. Store, 217-352-7878

Champaign, Ill. — Local artists and crafters are busy putting finishing touches on handmade items they’ll be offering for sale The I.D.E.A. Store’s annual “Merry Treasures” DIY bazaar December 13-14.

The sale will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Dec. 13 (Friday) and and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Saturday) at the store, located at 28 E. Springfield Ave., Champaign. The bazaar features handmade stocking stuffers and other small gift items created from recycled, reused and repurposed materials.

Most of the dozen-plus vendors, who will be selling one-of-a-kind goods in The I.D.E.A. Store’s classroom area during the event, are regular store shoppers and volunteers. Sale items are made from a range of repurposed materials — from fabric samples, neckties and sweaters to ephemera and vintage costume jewelry. The upcycled gifts include functional items and personal accessories, such as market bags, scarves and jewelry, as well as eclectic whimsies and assemblage art created from found objects.

Most vendors will accept cash or checks only.

The I.D.E.A. Store celebrates its 3-year anniversary month with long list of successes!

News Release
Released October 28,2013
Contact: Gail Rost, General Manager, The I.D.E.A. Store , 217-398-2873

In October 2010, the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation’s board of directors took a leap of faith – based on good research – to open an earned-income enterprise to help support their K – 12 classroom programs in Unit 4 and District 116 schools. The I.D.E.A. Store, co-founded by the current CUSF Executive Director, Gail Rost and Carol Jo Morgan, opened with donated merchandise, 3200 square feet of warehouse and retail floor, ran with a core team of volunteers and was open to the public 25 hours a week for donations and shopping.

“I only knew that we needed to make $20.00 per hour to pay the rent and the bills those first few months. We had a dedicated volunteer team, the good fortune of a $6,000.00 gift from a dissolved non-profit, HomePlanet, Inc. (which was originally started by Morgan), and a no-interest loan of $10,000.00. We started taking donations of materials immediately and quickly started to fill the floor with items that fit our mission – discards, broken but useful bits, factory mistakes, household “kitchen drawers”, partially-used craft items, paper, wood, plastics… At the same time, we hit the promotion scene. Mail, print ads, blowout sales, television opportunities, the talk-circuit and the internet became our vehicles for getting the word out. Thank goodness for Facebook and electronic newsletters. Social media just made a HUGE difference.”

The I.D.E.A. Store of October 2013 has doubled its space with storage capacity, has 60 active volunteers, 1.5 paid employees, interns, many members of the originating team and has made itself dear to the community’s heart as a “beloved community institution” (Chambanamoms, 2013). The vast majority of new small businesses that open up never hit the 3-year mark. Rost knows that they are fortunate their hard work has paid off. Literally. The store has not only met its philosophical goals but has already given the foundation $30,000 of support, paid off the $10,000 loan and has money in the bank. And, it just received the 40 North Arts Council ACE 2013 Business Award, something that she feels is a true mark of success.

“I get calls and email inquiries several times a month to share our “secrets of success”. I had the honor to be recognized nationally because of its success and have had the privilege to speak at a statewide level about our work. It isn’t really a secret about how this happened. It’s just long hours and plain hard work, understanding the market and the issues involved with store management and what we call “a positive Karma” about the place. It just feels good to be in the store, to share ideas, to be doing good social work, to support such a great organization as the foundation and our kids and the environment all at the same time. It is a true marketplace. A community. Plus, the prices of the merchandise are outrageously inexpensive. Our quality gets better all the time.”

What’s next for the store? Rost hopes the store is here to stay and all indicators point that direction.

“We just changed our newsletter format to a blog, The Reuse Shopper, and have stepped up our educational outreach programming to truly promote and integrate the environmental message of reuse. Last year in March we had our first 2-week long creative-reuse arts festival, Hatch. That is happening again in 2014. We have fantastic partnerships with the schools and other community organizations. We are open 35 hours a week and handle hundreds of transactions during that time. More industrial donors are coming on board, too. The next steps are staff and procedural development so that I and the team can move on confidently. So many organizations don’t really think about succession planning. But I know that we must. That is how we can stay vital and continue to provide what the community is looking for into the future.”

For more information about The I.D.E.A. Store, the CU Schools Foundation and how you might get involved, contact Gail Rost, 217-398-2873 or email

Or, check out our social media outlets:

On Facebook and Twitter:
Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation

‘HATCH’ art festival to crack open March 1-3

Contact: Gail Rost, General Manager, The I.D.E.A. Store

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Something big and green — and infused with artistic energy and imagination — has been incubating for months at The I.D.E.A. Store, Champaign-Urbana’s premier creative-reuse marketplace. And it’s all about to crack wide open March 1-3.

That’s when HATCH, the area’s first-ever creative-reuse art festival, produced by The I.D.E.A. Store, will emerge in various venues in and near downtown Champaign. HATCH includes an art exhibition and gallery talk; a one-day art fair; and a host of activities led by visiting artist-in-residence Michelle Stitzlein of Baltimore, Ohio. Stitzlein is a found-object sculptor and educator who has been dubbed the “the Bottle Cap Lady” for her efforts to teach children and others how to transform otherwise disposable plastic trash into art.

With the exception of a daylong plastic-bottle-cap mural-building exercise Stitzlein is leading with children at Champaign’s South Side Elementary School on March 1, most events are open to the public.

A complete schedule of activities and list of participating artists is on the Hatch website.

While the term “creative reuse” is somewhat new in the vernacular, The I.D.E.A. Store General Manager Gail Rost noted that people have actually been practicing creative reuse for centuries.

“When used in the context of artmaking, 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. “Results may be whimsical or functional, but almost always are clever and compelling.”

Along with a team of volunteers from The I.D.E.A. Store, Rost has put together “a vibrant, multifaceted festival with a full menu of simultaneous activities to give attendees a multi-course sampling of the many ways artists throughout the Midwest are embracing the tenets of creative reuse.” The festival, she added, is intended “not only to inform but also to inspire others to rethink the way 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 also is Executive Director of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. “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.”

Rost said entry into the juried art exhibition and art fair was competitive. HATCH jurors reviewed nearly 100 entries from more than 50 artists and artist-vendors from throughout Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. Selected work — created using at least 75 percent recycled, reused or repurposed materials – ranges from assemblage, collage, jewelry, fiber and paper arts to functional design, including garden décor, lighting fixtures and clothing.

Twenty-five pieces by 16 artists were chosen for inclusion in the exhibition, which takes place March 1-3 (Friday-Sunday) at Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave., Champaign, and continues on view through March 17 (see online schedule for hours).

Twenty-six artist-vendors — including several teams and collectives — were selected to sell their art made from recycled, reused, repurposed or upcycled materials at the art fair, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 2 (Saturday) in the McKinley Fitness Center gym, 500 W. Church St., Champaign. The exhibition also will feature large-scale moth sculptures made from found objects by artist-in-residence Stitzlein.

Another festival highlight is a “mini-bottle-cap mural” workshop for teachers and other interested adults, led by artist-in-residence Stitzlein. To guarantee a spot in the workshop, preregistration is advised, though walk-ins may still be available the day of the event. The fee is $30. Participants may preregister at The I.D.E.A. Store, 28 E. Springfield, Ave., Champaign; by phone at 217-352-7878; or by sending email to and making a payment via PayPal to

Also in conjunction with HATCH, award-winning local artist Lisa Kesler has created a limited-edition, signed and numbered 18 x 12 inch poster to commemorate the festival. The two-color poster features linoleum-block-print illustrations of craft-making/reuse materials and vintage wood type from the Living Letter Press in Champaign. The poster paper is from French Paper Co., and is made from recycled fibers.

Kesler’s posters are available for sale now at The I.D.E.A. Store and also will be sold at the HATCH exhibition and art fair for $30 each. Half of proceeds will be donated by Kesler to The I.D.E.A. Store/Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation.

“HATCH is really something special for this community — nothing like it has ever taken place here before; we are lucky to be able to attract professionals that usually go to larger cities,” Rost noted. “In order to sustain this kind of festival, we need the community to come out and get behind HATCH. We want people to come see the creative reuse of just ordinary materials at the exhibition and be inspired — and to ensure that artists will come back next year, we need shoppers at the fair to purchase the really cool stuff that the artists have handcrafted. Think birthdays, Mother’s Day, wedding gifts, graduation, something for yourself…We want to break-even on the event. And, if we do better than that? proceeds will go to help run the store.”

For more information about “HATCH,” contact festival organizers at, or contact The I.D.E.A. Store, 217-352-7878.


The I.D.E.A. Store was launched co-founders Gail Rost and Carol Jo Morgan in 2010 as a social earned-income enterprise of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. Income generated from sales and other programs directly benefit teachers and students in the Champaign and Urbana public schools. In addition to providing local businesses and individuals with an alternative means of discarding unwanted but reusable materials and making them available at affordable costs to teachers, students, artists, crafters, hobbyists and others, The I.D.E.A. Store staff and volunteers offer workshops and other educational programs, and engage in community outreach activities that emphasize ways to protect the environment, conserve energy and other resources, and reduce the local waste stream.