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2008 and older Events:

Michelle Sales

On Friday, September 5th, Vale Craft Gallery will host an opening reception from 5:00 until 8:00 PM for the exhibition Strata: Sculptural Fiber by Michelle Sales. The artist will be present for the opening. The show will continue through November 15th.

This exhibition features Chicago artist Michelle Sales’ innovative wall pieces and sculptural objects made from hand-dyed and stitched synthetic fabric. The artist recycles spun-bonded materials used in the construction and garment industries, sometimes combining the fabric with small found objects, such as stones or beads.

The show will include textured wall pieces from the artist’s “Imprint” series that are built up horizontally with layers of hand-dyed materials, denoting erosion and the passage of time. Also on view will be sculptures referencing articles of clothing and footwear that are made from natural and synthetic materials combined with found objects, suggesting the accumulation and preservation of memories.

Michelle Sales received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had work shown in numerous exhibitions including SOFA Chicago. The exhibition at Vale Craft Gallery is part of Chicago Artists Month, the thirteenth annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant visual art community organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Michelle Sales:
"Imprint 2"

Recycled synthetic materials, hand-dyed & machine stitched, 39" x 25"

Click here for images of the works from the show.


April 18 - August 30, 2008

Opening Reception: Friday, April 18 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM
Additional Friday Openings (5-8pm) : June 6 and July 18

Click here for images of the works on display

This exhibition features a half dozen of Lauren Camp’s larger-than-life images of jazz instruments and musicians made entirely from cloth and thread. Among the highlights are portraits of jazz greats such as clarinetist Benny Goodman, as well as depictions of instruments such as drums, vibes and trombone, all created from threadwork on layered and dyed cotton, silk and other fabrics.

Lauren Camp says, “Why do I make art about jazz? Because I love the way the music makes me feel. I am intrigued by the complete sound that comes from several instruments collaborating. To me, it’s very much like choosing fabrics for one of my artworks. I might pick a color I don’t care for but, if I integrate it with others that are comfortable to me, the whole thing sings. When you think about it, jazz is just like me — creative, improvisational, sometimes moody, sometimes whimsical, curious, demanding, constantly in motion, roots in the blues but head in the clouds, fearless, fanciful, free”.

The works on view at Vale Craft Gallery were included in an exhibition of 19 pieces entitled The Fabric of Jazz, which toured museums in ten U.S. cities between 2004 and 2007. Lauren Camp’s innovative, award-winning pieces are housed in many private and public collections: Mack Avenue Records in Detroit, St. Vincent Children’s Hospital of Indianapolis, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, and the United States Embassies in Turkmenistan and Mali, among others. The artist’s work has been featured in numerous publications including Fiberarts, Surface Design Journal, American Quilter, SAQA Journal, The Santa Fean, and the Albuquerque Journal. Lauren Camp is a founding board member of the Southwest Jazz Orchestra, and an audio producer and on-air jazz programmer for public radio station KSFR 101.1 FM.

Lauren Camp :
“Just Swing” (portrait of clarinetist /bandleader Benny Goodman), threadwork on layered and dyed cotton, silk and other fabrics, 50" x 41"


Click here more images of the works on display

October 19-November 24 ,2007

As part of Chicago Artists Month, we will feature jewelry by local metalsmiths Michele Friedman, Nancy Deal, and Mark Kanazawa.

Opening Reception:Friday, October 19 from 5:00 until 8:00 PM

Michele Friedman:
“Since developing my first metal line of jewelry in 1994, I have wanted to incorporate color into my work. The challenge was developing a line of color in an alternative material. After much trial and error, felted wool became the solution to my color dilemma. It had the rich, saturated color I was looking for as well as a great texture. As I played with the material, I began to realize how much I loved the richness of the felt set against the oxidized sterling”.

Nancy Deal:
“While my work finds its origins in natural forms, modern architecture, and industrial design, its destination is always the human body. I aspire to make jewelry that is bold, curious, hand wrought; able to capture modernism with a spirit of ancient crudeness”.
Mark Kanazawa:
“In my work, I like to use traditional, natural materials: silver and gold, pearls, coral, wood - but in a modern context.  I am constantly working to expand my creative vocabulary – and take great inspiration from form and pattern, both natural and man-made.  Utilizing graceful linework, simple geometric shapes, or an outline inspired by an ancient Peruvian hairpin, I strive to create work that is textural, beautiful to look at and interesting to wear”.

April 27 - April 29, 2007

Come and see beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry by local metalsmith Holly Stein. Combining intricately detailed sterling silver with recycled elements such as antique mother of pearl and bakelite buttons, Holly’s work is unique and very wearable.

Friday, April 27 from 10:30 AM to 8:00 PM
Saturday, April 28 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, April 29 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

April 27 - June 16, 2007

Garden Inspired will feature fine crafts with a garden theme by 14 gallery artists. The exhibition will include art quilts, ceramics, metal sculpture for the outdoors, jewelry and mixed media works.

Opening Reception: Friday, April 27 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Natalie Blake, Ceramics
“The work marries my love of abstract and figurative drawing with the challenge of the thrown form; a curved porcelain ‘canvas’. The drawing is spontaneous and carved in relief. After being applied, the glaze is removed from the design’s raised designs, revealing the white porcelain. I love the vividness of this technique. It allows me to see clearly my dream world etched in the round.”

Suzanne Crane, Ceramics
"I sometimes think of my botanical work in stoneware as preserving a type of fossil record of biological diversity. My functional pieces are rooted in the rituals of human culture and are reminders of our absolute dependence on the natural world." Growing up in a family of botanists, Suzanne watched her mother collect, identify and press rare prairie plant specimens. She loved the abstract patterns that resulted. Crane now gathers flora from creek sides and the slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains to press into the stoneware clay of her ceramic pieces. Influenced as much by chaos theory and fractal geometry as the Arts and Crafts Movement, Crane creates stylized abstractions on every pot, urn and platter.

Sara Drower, Art Quilts
Sara explores rich floral detail through highly magnified and richly embroidered miniature quilts which invite a closer look and appreciation of nature. "I love the coloring, pattern, design, form of fruit, vegetables, flowers. For years I created large wall-quilts using these images; now I love the detail in one magnified image. I sew using multicolored thread embroidery, emphasizing line, movement, form, texture; it is like painting with a sewing machine!

Steve Gardner, Ceramics
Seattle artist Steve Gardner studied art and biology at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, then received his M.F.A. in ceramic sculpture from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. His three-dimensional work is sculpted in architectural terra cotta, utilizing traditional techniques with new innovations in surface color. His works focus on the human figure, surface pattern, and a sense of story.

Idelle Hammond-Sass, Jewelry
“As an artist, I work to fulfill my need to create and express myself visually. Jewelry presents an opportunity to create tangible objects that incorporate all of my interests and abilities. After more than 20 years of exploring jewelry, my passion is constantly renewed by the endless possibilities and combinations of gemstones and metal. As my life has changed, so has my jewelry. It reflects the richness of my life experience as well as my spirit.”

Alison Mackey, Jewelry
Since 1998 Alison has been working with photographs and metal. She enjoys challenging people to see beyond the symbolism of what jewelry is in our society, to a place where the jewelry becomes art. The differences between a precious gemstone and photographs beneath resin are subtle. If she feels she has challenged people with something unexpected, and created a beautiful piece of jewelry at the same time, she has been successful as an artist.

John Neering, Metal Sculpture for Outdoors
“I approach my art from a rather basic ‘feet on the ground’ perspective.  My designs are uncomplicated and attempt to make a direct statement.  Handcrafted techniques seem to be my forte, having worked most of my life as a commercial lithographer, studio potter and silkscreen artist.  I presently am working full-time as a metal sculptor.  My work is basically welded steel, incorporating found and specifically cut objects in addition to copper, brass and epoxy filler.  I am heavily into various surface textures and metal color variations.  All pieces are epoxy coated for outdoor use.”

Anita Powell, Ceramics
“My work is the visual manifestation of an authentic response to life. It is also an attempt to detach myself from any particular feelings of inferiority associated with the typically feminine, by the process of owning them. This way I can use sentimentality, domesticity, quaintness and beauty as devices to confront those who hold negative attitudes about these traditionally female traits. I can also validate and encourage the reactions of those who can see beyond the surface to find a message of tenacity, power, resourcefulness and the transformation of limitations into strengths.”

Laurie Shaman, Ceramics
“My ceramics combine a love of working with clay and the need to draw on its receptive surface.  The vessel, whether it be a vase, a bowl or plate form, holds an interest for me as a utilitarian piece, as well as being an object that tells a story.  I use all sides of the vessels to relate a dramatic moment in time or what I intend to be a flow of images.  I work with several drawing approaches on the surface of my vessels.  Sometimes I choose to simply utilize the spontaneity of brushwork for an atmospheric effect.  For a woodcut type of surface, I use the ‘sgraffito’ technique, carving through a dark underglaze to reveal the white clay underneath.  In other instances, I draw directly into the wet clay and later emphasize the lines with glazes and stains.”

Holly Stein, Jewelry
"I challenge myself to create works that are conceptual in nature and stretch the limitations of my own ability as well as others’ preconceptions about art.  I like incorporating common and recycled materials, altering their purpose and usefulness, and elevating what is perceived as refuse, into art.  Many of my pieces employ unexpected twists: an unusually finished back, hidden talismanic words, or jewelry as a decorative element on a completely functional box.  I strive to make a connection with the viewer and wearer that makes the work exciting and original, enjoyed for its beauty and quality.

Peter Vale, Ceramics
Peter Vale is the owner of Vale Craft Gallery in Chicago’s River North gallery district.  Since 1992, Peter has studied ceramics extensively at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago.  He has attended summer ceramic workshops at Ox-Bow in Michigan and at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado.  “My recent inspiration comes from the natural world, especially from working in the garden of my Chicago townhouse.  I enjoy making ceramics that can be viewed as simultaneously whimsical, sculptural, and functional, such as my “plant people” heads and masks that function as planters.” 

Laura Wasilowski, Art Quilts
Laura is a contemporary quilt artist, author, teacher, and creator of hand dyed fabrics and threads.  “I combine vivid fabrics and whimsical stories to make pictorial art quilts.  My colorful, hand-dyed fabrics inspire me, as do stories of my family, friends, and home.  These pieces often chronicle my life.  Each wall piece I make is of my own design, of fused appliqué, and machine quilted.”


Also included in the show will be works by:

October 13 - November 25 ,2006

Opening Reception: Friday, October 13th from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Fall Colors featured fiber art with an autumn theme by gallery artists Maureen Bardusk, Karen McCarthy, Sharon Meyer Postance, Carol Schepps, Anna Velez, and Kathyanne White. The exhibition included handmade paper vessels, textile assemblages, stitched paintings, paper quilts, and mixed media collages.

MAUREEN BARDUSK starts with a blank sheet of very sheer white paper, which is then stained and painted on the reverse side with acrylic paints. By varying the order in which colors are introduced, thickness of the paint, drying time between layers, whether the paper is wet or dry, and other variables, she is able to achieve different effects that emphasize edges, opacity, color mixing and texture. The painted paper might be torn and combined with other painted papers, or simply treated as a single piece, fused with additional layers, then stitched by machine and embroidered by hand.

KAREN McCARTHY fabricates her own collage materials, implementing painting and printing methods (paste paper, disperse dye transfer, gelatin printing, etc.) on paper and fabric, which allows for a gradual buildup of imagery. Karen chooses techniques that can result in a wide range of textural effects and moods, with varying degrees of transparency and depth. In the final stage, she machine stitches the constructions, utilizing the stitched line as a design element while celebrating her passion for textiles.
SHARON MEYER POSTANCE combines the forms of clay vessels with the tactile qualities of fiber. In creating her vessels, Sharon uses recycled paper, handmade paper, papers from Japan, Thailand, Nepal and India, silk from Japanese kimonos, embroidery thread, sisal and jute twine, fleece, wire and pigment. “The coarse fleece of ancient sheep evading extinction; dried, seemingly dead grasses, which in winter bend before the wind but do not break; seed pods with their roughly textured exteriors and silky inner membranes; these are my influences. I want to pay attention to the small, the seemingly insignificant part of our world, the caterpillar that becomes the butterfly, the iridescent green beetle that hides behind the flower. I want my vessels to capture the spirit of the natural world we all inhabit.”
CAROL SCHEPPS has successfully merged her love of fabric, color and graphic design with textiles and thread as her medium. Using clean lines and meticulous construction techniques borrowed from years of training in graphic design and a career in fashion design, she incorporates design integrity and construction complexity with the highest degree of craftsmanship. “My artwork examines the light, reflection and complex elements that comprise otherwise common objects. By unfolding the relationship of lights, darks and color, I break down an image and translate it into a mélange of fabric and construction techniques. My abstract work examines shapes juxtaposing the same elements.”
ANNA VELEZ uses traditional quilt patterns with non-traditional materials. Anna’s paper quilts are created from Japanese yuzen chiyogami, a highly detailed silkscreened paper. These papers, mixed with intense or subtle colored textures, beg to be touched and admired at close range. Nepal, India, Thailand and the Philippines are some of the other countries that produce beautiful papers. Anna cuts, assembles, glues and top-stitches her compositions from these wonderful Asian decorative papers. She uses traditional quilt patterns and creates original designs as well for her one-of-a-kind wall pieces.
KATHYANNE WHITE has based her new Kauri series of textile assemblages on time spent in New Zealand visiting the Kauri forest. “My main purpose with this work, that I base on the Kauri trees and the textures of the forest, was rooted in looking for texture and creating ways to express what I felt and experienced in the forest.” Kathyanne uses heavier textiles such as hand-dyed canvas and burlap, along with digital printing on twill, lutradur and silk. They are pieced together into many layers, which are machine stitched together, and hand embroidered to add an extra element of texture and interest. “As the series continues I am using digital fabrics that I have created on my computer and printed on archival printers in my studio. The digital prints used in this series all came from photographs that I took in the forests while visiting New Zealand.”

April 28 - June 3 ,2006

This exhibit featured work by a select group of 13 national jewelry artists. Their work is notable for its innovative use of color and alternative materials, including glass beads, polymer clay, pigmented resin, wood, felt, paper and found objects, as well as sterling silver, copper, patinated brass, and anodized aluminum.  This exhibit was held in conjunction with the 2006 SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) Conference Metals Week in Chicago, May 24-27.

Bijou Graphique was started in 1995. Since that time, artists Dawn Estrin and George Wilson have combined forces to create their unique vision of what jewelry can be. The artists have lived and worked together for twenty years, both exploring many mediums and materials. Their work together reflects a common interest in themes such as art, romance, and humor. Materials include miniature photographs, sterling silver and semi-precious stones.

Carol Windsor “I want my work to express the ephemeral nature of life.  I use paper because it’s organic and conveys fragility.  Sterling silver provides structural integrity and coveys preciousness.  My intent is for the work to appear fragile while remaining resilient.  These pieces rustle softly when worn.  The auditory element is a gentle reminder to celebrate life in the moment.”

Chickenscratch  Schooled jewelers and metalsmiths with over twenty years experience, Lisa and Scott Cylinder began collaborating on jewelry pieces in 1988. They are best known for their production work under the name Chickenscratch, which is shown in galleries across the U.S. and Canada. The ideas for their jewelry are derived from numerous sources: nature, modern art, folklore and pop culture, to name a few. They blend these influences into clever narratives and plays on words. Materials include patinated brass, copper and  sterling silver, as well as found objects, each creation a miniature kinetic sculpture!

Deb Karash “Jewelry, for me, is really about intimacy. Windows, layering, and texture are metaphor for the mystery and richness of personalities. Jewelry becomes a part of people’s lives, a part of their stories.  I draw inspiration from natural textures, fiber, stone, and mixed media painting and sculpture. Surface, color, and texture are as important to my work as are the forms themselves. I’m constantly grateful to be able to make my living doing something that I love so much. I hope that the joy of making will always be evident in my work.”  Materials used include sterling silver and patinated copper drawn on with Prismacolor.

Elise Winters The Japanese influence, in both its reverence for nature and its respect for subtlety of design, has informed Elise's work with luminous polymer clay jewelry. Her signature pieces of jewelry and sculpture feature a technique she has come to call "crazed acrylic," a subtle combination of polymer clay with acrylic paints which results in shimmering colorful surfaces.  Elise is recognized as one of the nation's leading polymer clay artists and jewelry designers, having had her work illustrated and written about in numerous books and periodicals. From time to time she curates exhibitions with the purpose of educating the public about the finest work being done in polymer.

Laura Timmins  “Many of the processes I use to create these pieces have been invented in my studio, and are unique to my work. Colored and translucent polymer clays are blended and layered together to construct the intricate patterning in each piece. Patterns often contain gold or silver leaf and other inclusions embedded in translucent clay.  Thin slices of each pattern are then applied to a base form, creating a rich polymer collage. Texture is often added using hand carved texture plates.  Precious metal elements, pearls and other items are often imbedded in the clay.”

Laurie Shovers  Using a combination of  old and new elements, Laurie hand beads each of her small weavings (one bead at a time) combining colorful Japanese seed beads with antique metal beads.  With a unique approach to bead making, Laurie
designs machined aluminum ‘spools’, which are anodized for color and covered with her delicate seed beading.  “I feel that the beauty and the joy I find in my work is a reflection of the love and support given to me by my unbelievable family and friends.  I hope you enjoy wearing my jewelry as much as I enjoy making it!”

Lulu Smith Jewelry is the exploration of a colorist. An artist and designer, Lulu hand-pigments and hand-pours the resin in each piece. Simplicity and bold color outlined by sterling silver are the central elements of her distinctive style. What results from her craftwork and insightful energy is an ever-developing narrative between sterling silver shapes and an unlimited color palette. Some of her jewelry features sensual, haphazardly poured color, some are complex, conceptual and exotic, while some just make you smile from the simple, happy visual impact.

Mary Kanda began making mosaic jewelry shortly after moving from New Mexico to New England in the early 1990s. Her designs of plant and leaf motifs colored with glass beads imbedded in grout and set in silver is a synchronistic fusion of many interests; gardening, tribal arts, the profusion and variety of trees in New England, a lifelong preoccupation with glass and ceramics, and not least, cooking and sewing, the arts of the home.

Michele Friedman “Since developing my first metal line of jewelry in 1994, I have wanted to incorporate color into my work. The challenge was developing a line of color in an alternative material. I had no desire to set stones or work with resin, and enameling was not an option either. After much trial and error, felted wool became the solution to my color dilemma. It had the rich, saturated color I was looking for as well as a great texture. As I played with the material, I began to realize how much I love the richness of the felt set against the oxidized sterling.  As I play and try to push the envelope of this new technique, I am trying to incorporate more metalsmithing into the pieces.”

Mio Studio Using exotic hardwoods as an expression of life in organic moving forms, Mayra Orama Muñiz has created a line of jewelry that reflects on her life growing up in New York City and the more recent influences of the last five years living in Puerto Rico. The many landscapes of her life, from the modern industrial city to the tropical rain forests in Puerto Rico, have become an inspiration to her. The miniature sculptures Muñiz creates are a melding of richly textured woods and cool metals. She creates forms that hint at the natural flowing beauty of the lush green mountains of Utuado and the pristine white sand beaches of Vega Baja.

Tana Acton has created a sleekly classic jewelry series from her Santa Fe studio.  From bracelets to tiaras, each piece possesses originality and bold geometrics in a cool-to-wear, light-to-feel architecture. Strands of silver and gold are tautly strung in a sculptural armature. Some have precious beads playing freely on silver threads, providing endless secret messages for the wearer who feels the elegance of Tana’s timeless artistry.

Tina Fung Holder “In 1970, when my formal art education began, I was exposed to the idea of expanding traditional boundaries as well as technical knowledge. Concentrating my studies in the fiber/fabric area, I explored the idea of creating technical structures with nontraditional materials.  Because I grew up in a non-industrial environment, the quantity and availability of mass-produced material became very appealing to me.”  Tina’s work is comprised of beaded safety pins, which are crocheted into functional jewelry pieces with cotton cord.