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The most profound influences on my art are the rescue dogs I’ve worked with and shared my life with over many years. In the spirit of these animals, I find my subjects. My intent is to portray them as dignified in their survival—I admire their ability to remain open to joy.

An artist and sculptural jeweler, Crystal Hartman creates abstract botanical art rooted in storytelling and process. Growing up behind the jeweler’s bench at Durango Silver Company, she developed a conversation with line, design and space from an early age. Hartman received her BFA for Printmaking from the University of Colorado at Boulder; while there she received a UROP Grant and studied Femininity in Argentina and began working in video and installation. Upon graduation, she filmed for Null Skateboards in Spain, during this time her artwork was featured in the exhibition United BAC! at the CCCB, Center for Contemporary Culture Barcelona and exhibited at locations such as the National Palace of Culture, Sophia Bulgaria and the Florean Museum, Baia Mare, Romania and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder Colorado . Hartman studied contemporary craft and color in Chiang Mai Thailand before returning to the United States and reflecting on the adventures through watercolors that received the Merwin Altfeld Memorial Award for Storytelling in the Arts and membership as a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society. She founded and directed Durango Open Studio, an event celebrating and sharing lifestyles and process in the arts and began curating exhibitions aimed at fostering conversations between various generations of artists. Finding her way back to the jewelers bench through a love of wax and sculpture, her jewelry has been featured in Art Jewelry Magazine and included in exhibitions such as TOP Jewels: International Jewelry Exhibition at the Durango Arts Center and Earthly Delights: Metalsmiths Inspired by Nature at the Lillstreet Gallery, Chicago, IL. Hartman enjoys creating Visual Reviews of Poetry for CutBank Literary Journal and working with writers to develop imagery to hold their stories. Hartman maintains a painting and jewelry studio creating sculptural adornment in the lost wax process and is currently studying light and sound in Champaign Illinois.

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”

Contact me at BethChascoStudio@gmail.com

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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