Name of Event: American Crafts Exposition
When: September 23 – 25, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday
Location: Chicago Botanic Garden
Who does this event appeal to: Nature lovers, craft enthusiasts
Cost: $13 for members, $15 for nonmembers
On a stroll through the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend, you may pass by a model showing off her handcrafted jewelry and handbags — the beauty of nature meets the beauty of handcrafting.
The American Craft Expo, now in its 32nd year and second consecutive year at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, brings in over 140 artisans whose work in 12 mediums showcase the best of American crafting. The craftspeople set up their wares in booths spread throughout the garden, allowing for a simultaneous appreciation of nature and art.
The mediums range from basketry to furniture to jewelry to wood, and all wares on display are available for purchase. Among the artisans is emerging artist Baiyang Qiu, a jewelry artist and goldsmith whose pieces resemble a golden woven web. Her technique combines traditional fabrication with new technologies and results in dainty yet powerful pieces.
Exposition-goers also have the opportunity to learn about the process from the artists themselves at artist lectures. Six artists will speak over the course of the weekend, with standout sessions including ceramic artist Bennett Bean’s presentation on the interplay between ceramics, cooking and painting, and leather artist Michelle LaLonde’s session on handbag making from sketch to finished piece.
Even for those who don’t walk away with a purchase, guests still have the opportunity to see wood-turned vases and intricately woven fabrics, discuss artists’ work, and experience the forefront of American crafting.
For more information on the American Crafts Expo, visit americancraftexpo.org.