I have a degree in Materials Engineering and had a successful career in product development and project management. In my 30’s, my husband and I relocated from the East Coast to rural central Illinois. Needless to say, job prospects in my field were minimal, especially at the level my career had reached. During that next phase of my life, my husband and I bought a major fixer upper and did the work ourselves.
When we were upgrading the electric system that was originally from the time of Illinois’s “Rural Electrification Act” (circa 19305 - 1945) I found myself surrounded by so much copper wire. It was breathtaking! I absentmindedly created a bracelet and a ring with some of the wire that was sitting on the floor. That was the moment I discovered my new calling.

My foray into metalsmithing was a continued series of happy accidents that lead me to where I am now. I began making items for friends and family, who spread the word to others. Soon I was having strangers commission my to make special items from scraps of wire from their homes to keep or give as mementos. With all of this success I decided to venture out into a bigger audience and eventually entered a contest. that I won, with Uncommon Goods focused on making items with recycled or reclaimed materials. That win lead to a contract with the catalog and it kept growing from there as I moved into wholesale.

It all happened so fast and was very exciting at first. Orders came in, bulk product went out. Then I realized that I was missing out on doing what I loved, making one of a kind items that were as special and unique as the person who will wear it. So once again, at the height of my second career, I found myself pivoting direction and returning to the roots of my passion. Taking materials that are unique with a history all their own, and transforming them into one of a kind heirlooms to be treasured for generations to come, just like that old house my husband and I renovated.

Now I am happily in this next phase of life where I am motivated by my own internal passions and choose uniqueness and quality over quantity. I enjoy meeting the person who chooses one of my items and hearing what moves them about a piece. I love connecting on social media with them and seeing how that piece brings them joy after it leaves my hands. People don’t need jewelry in their life, but it sure brings them happiness. I am proud and honored to be someone who added a piece of happiness of so many peoples lives.

Chris Beaty (b. 1976 in Macomb, Illinois) is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, he returned to school as a nontraditional student after a career as a firefighter. Beaty primarily works as an oil painter, but experiments in a variety of media ranging from monotypes, lithography, drawing and collage. His work can best be described as semi-abstracted figurative representation, with subjects that seem recognizable, yet obscured, and lend to the notion of mystery, androgyny, and sometimes seem a bit unsettling.

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I retired in May of 2015 after 30 years of teaching high school Spanish in Illinois and Michigan and 8 years of advising undergraduates in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Illinois. While teaching, I enjoyed introducing students to noted Hispanic artists and showing how their lives impacted their artistic expression. I have taken classes in drawing and painting and studied art informally by visiting many of the world’s premier art museums and noteworthy galleries in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, and Canada. Since retiring, I devote more time to creating artworks and attending workshops. In December of 2015, I fulfilled my lifetime dream of opening my own studio, currently located in the historic Lincoln Building in downtown Champaign.

The inspiration for my drawings and paintings comes from a variety of sources and emotions. I have yet to settle on a singular style, medium, or subject matter and continue to enjoy painting in my studio and in plein air. My goal is to stay true to following my passion to paint whatever evokes in me a desire to create.

Cards and prints are available. View work on Instagram “Beth Chasco”

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Born and raised on a farm near White Heath, IL, I was blessed with lots of creativity, but not lots of money. I spent many days out in the country with my Grandma, where I learned crafting, gardening, basic homemaking skills, and how to make something out of nothing. Those skills and memories are some of my most valued to this day.
I've always been able to draw and paint and was often the kid in class that got called out to do great things in art. At first, it made me happy, but then soon realized the kids that didn't get picked were good at art too, they just did it different than everyone else. I think that it's this time on my life that I started to value the differences in us, as a way of learning and growing.
After Graduating from the University of Illinois with a BFA in Graphic Design, I set out for the big city of Chicago to start my adult life. I have been a graphic designer, window display artist, retail manager, floral shop owner and winery tour and experience manager in Texas.
I recently moved back to Urbana (with my husband, 2 dogs and cat) to be near my family and am happy to be working full-time at Japan House at the University of Illinois as well as part time at Prairie Fruits Farm.
I hope to continue to explore making things...I don't invent things...I imvent them!

Former archaeologist Sarah Wisseman took ceramics classes in college to learn how ancient pottery was formed and fired. When she realized she needed new skills to decorate the ceramic surfaces, painting took over. Sarah has studied ceramics, drawing, painting, collage, paper marbling, printing, and encaustic in numerous classes at Harvard University, the Champaign Park District, the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. Her paintings have shown at galleries and other venues in Champaign-Urbana and in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where her daughter lives.

Now that she is retired from her University of Illinois job as director of the Program on Ancient Technologies and Archaeological Materials, Sarah splits her time between painting and writing archaeological mysteries.

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Invention my dear friends is: 93% Perspiration 6% Electricity 4% Evaporation 2% Butterscotch Ripple.

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams, wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by desolate streams;-On whom the pale moon gleams; yet we are the movers and shakers of the World forever, it seems." Willy Wonka

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I am self-representing Illinois painter, living in the Champaign-Urbana area. I sell original art online and ship it directly from my studio to your home or office. I also sell prints and cards via Fine Art America online. My current focus is on both one-of-a-kind, poured acrylic paintings and commissioned, large custom-colored abstract paintings.

Some exciting experimental pouring techniques have been developing in my studio this past year:

My recent poured agate painting series was featured in my artist interview for the July/September 2014 print issue of Rocks&Minerals Magazine. These paintings are made by pouring, tilting, and manipulating the surface of the painting as the liquid, acrylic paint moves across the surface. These paintings change as they dry, the edges expanding, the colors clarifying:  revealing translucent layers of embedded, often intricately-marbled patterns.

I also am making a related, very eco-friendly series of collage-based paintings made from the dried pieces of paint that dripped off of these poured paintings. The dried paint pieces get cut and collaged to form whole new compositions. I use the randomness of the dripped paint as a surrealist-inspired chance device for removing some control from the beginning of the process.


In a similar vein, I plan to make a new series of audience-influenced "pour creature" paintings where audience members online suggest what animals these paint drippings look like. Then, their words have an influence on the direction I take with each new piece.

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I'm a self taught painter beginning in earnest when I was in my 30's, doing watercolor portraits first, not knowing they were the hardest to paint! I did it because it was paintings of my family/family pets and deeply meaningful to me. ... tried anything and everything else in watercolors, then went on to learn how to paint with oils.

... 25 years later I'm loving botanicals and awesome skies in oils! Who knows what's next!


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