Skokie artists at Chicago Botanic Garden Festival
Hand-painted silk wearable art by Joanna Alot-Ciecholewski will be on display at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival.
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 6-8 on the Esplanade
Botanic Garden members are invited to an exclusive preview from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 5. Admission to the festival is free; parking is $20 per car
(847) 835-5440 or visit www.chicagobotanic.org
Natural splendor is on display 24/7 at the Chicago Botanic Garden, but there will be beauty of another sort, as a bonus, when the CBG Art Festival returns this weekend.
Ninety artists from around the country, in categories including painting, photography, jewelry and 3-D functional art (pottery, hand-crafted furniture and fashion), will offer original works for sale July 6 through 8 in the juried fest. All the art on display will be botanic-oriented, either in theme, material (anything from dried flowers to earth materials such as stone or gems) or use (think garden furniture or sculpture).
“It’s the botanic tie-in that makes this show unique,” said festival creator Amy Amdur. Amdur launched it nearly 10 years ago, then returned last summer after a break with a fest that broke Botanic Garden attendance records.
“All of the artists in this show are amazing, but excellence isn’t enough to get you into this show. Your work has to be botanical in nature, one way or another. I don’t know of any other festival like it in the country. And it’s so appropriate in this setting, because it gives people the chance to appreciate the natural beauty represented by the Botanic Garden,” she said.
Many exhibitors travel considerable distances to take part in this show, but the Chicago area is well-represented, including two artists from Skokie.
A native of Poland, fiber artist Joanna Alot-Ciecholewski mastered the techniques of her trade at school in Milanowek, a town famed for silk manufacture and design. Alot-Ciecholewski’s own claim to fame for the past 22 years has been her hand-painted silk ties and scarves — each approached as an individual work of art. Her customers include Hilary Clinton and Mrs. Michael Jordan.
In keeping with the theme of the Botanic Garden fest, the artist will be featuring “a lot of flower designs: a whole range of them, poppies, roses, daffodils ... ”
She will also be exhibiting examples of her new (and very labor-intensive) “organic printing” technique, which begins with a silk screen, progresses to hand painting and ends with “a printing technique that creates a 3-D effect.”
“This is a unique technique,” said Alot-Ciecholewski, noting that the School of the Art Institute has ordered a thousand pieces based on a few designs, for sale in its catalogue and boutique. “Some people look at them and think I’ve just sent them off to China to be printed, but this is something different. Sometimes I wish it was that easy.”
For more on Joanna Alot-Ciecholewski, visit her website at www.joannalot.com.
Lynn Floriano has been working in jewelry design since learning about it in college 20 years ago. She makes a specialty of enameling, set off by silver, gold and semi-precious stones, incorporating the techniques of limoge, cloisonné and griaille for varied effect. Her pins, pendants, necklaces and earrings are often inspired by the elegant forms of nature.
“The thing I love about enameling is that you can learn it very quickly, but it takes a lifetime to master,” said Floriano, who will be featuring an organic series depicting fruits and flowers on vines at the Botanic fest. “Even now, when I start to work, I lose track of time. You can’t ask for much more than that, can you?”
For more on Lynn Floriano, visit her website at lynnfloriano.com.