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’ 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.