All posts tagged: Craft

Heart & Bone Signs, Electro Pepper Gallery, and Labor-Based Artwork

Kelsey Dalton McClellan and Andrew James Welch McClellan have owned and operated Heart & Bone, Gold Gilded and Hand Painted Signs for the past six years, specializing in gold leaf and hand-painted signs throughout Chicago and nation-wide. The duo has now expanded their repertoire as they open their new gallery, Electro Pepper, in the Uptown neighborhood. Their aim is to use this endeavor as a flexible space to promote learned trades and labor-based artworks. Sixty Inches from Center sat down with Kelsey and Andrew to learn more about their path as sign painters, artists, and now, gallery owners. Emily Breidenbach: We’re sitting in your new gallery space, Electro Pepper. What can you tell me about it? Kelsey Dalton McClellan: The space we are in is multi-use. The front is a flexible gallery space and the back is our sign painting studio. Eventually, we’d like to have workshops and other events outside of art openings. At the moment, we’re kind of testing it out and receiving community response through monthly art openings. The majority of the time, we’re working in the back in our workspace, so …

Unwavering Motivation: Victoria Martinez’s Mark on Chicago

Victoria Martinez is on a mission: to catalyze and foster change by making art in the neighborhood where she grew up in, Pilsen. Over the last eight years, she has evolved her making and teaching work into a deliberate community-based practice that encourages empowerment through material exploration and collaboration. The mixed media and installation artist sees her next step as building an artistic practice that is not only creatively rigorous but also financially sustainable to continue investing in the Mexican folks of Pilsen, whose home is being whitewashed by gentrification. Now, after grappling with the question of graduate school for years, she departs for Yale School of Art this fall to pursue an MFA in painting, embarking on a new chapter in her practice and temporarily leaving Chicago. “My work in Pilsen and in Chicago isn’t done,” she asserts as we share a meal at Currency Exchange Cafe, right next door to her studio at the Arts Incubator. As a working-class artist grounded in community, her decision to attend graduate school comes at a time …

Dissenting through Craft with Aram Han Sifuentes

Born out of frustration at the country’s current political state and feeling unsafe to protest, fiber and social practice artist Aram Han Sifuentes began making fabric protest banners the day after the 2016 Presidential election. During her residency at the Chicago Cultural Center, she presented the Protest Banner Lending Library where the public could make, donate and check-out protest banners at no charge. The ongoing library invites people to support movements of dissent through making something with care: dynamic banners on novelty fabric that proudly wear slogans such as “Multi Culti Cuties Unite,” “Too Cute To Be Binary,” and “The Future is Female and Brown.” Hundreds of banners later, it is still a practical resource for organizers and activists who need the assistance and encouragement. Since then, the library has been presented and activated at Alphawood Gallery in Chicago and is currently at the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis, where Sifuentes is an artist in residence this summer. The Protest Banner Lending Library was an act of catharsis and solidarity for the artist, bringing people together …

Craft Up Chicago

On Friday January 14th, eight people made it over to Inkling, an arts and crafts gift shop in Lakeview, for the first Craft Up Chicago of 2011. Organized by Columbia senior Casey Champion and yours truly, Craft Up Chicago aims to inspire everyday creativity and to create a greater sense of community within the Chicago craft world. From seven to nine pm, participants snacked and chatted while knitting, needlepointing, sewing, and working on paper snowflakes. The latter served as the craft of the night. Though at first everyone marveled at the apparent complexity of the three dimensional snowflakes, after a short tutorial, they soon dove in and began creating their own. The motivations in the room were varied: some worked on gifts for friends, others planned to sell their work, and some just came to socialize. Stephanie Keller (the owner of Inkling), Casey Champion, and I, on the other hand, had similar intentions. Stephanie had previously hosted craft get-togethers in her home, but after opening Inkling in June had not been able to find the …

Lakeview East First Fridays

The city’s newest art walk is happening in a neighborhood most Chicagoans would assume has no art scene to speak of. Still, it seems enough people were aware of Lakeview East’s First Fridays to create healthy crowds in each of its four locations. Launched last month as a collaboration between Inkling, a local art and craft gift shop, and Loose Leaf, a nearby café, the walk also includes Clothes Optional, a vintage clothing and home goods store, and Spare Parts, a boutique and gift shop. Lester Palmiano and Phillip Jolliffe at Loose Leaf had been holding monthly art shows regularly for two and a half years. It wasn’t until last month, however, that Lester and Stephanie Keller of Inkling decided to put a walk together. Stephanie reported that the other two locations were “more than receptive” when asked if they wanted to join in. Together, these four businesses comprise Chicago’s only art walk put on solely by non-gallery spaces. Stephanie said she was interested in using her store’s wall space to bring more awareness to local artists. …