American Crafts Expo at NU Thru Sun., Aug. 30

When you hear the word "crafts" you may be tempted to think of balsa-wood Santas painted in tempera, or maybe that potholder you made on a square steel loom in 2d grade. If so, you are way out of the loop on what the art genre so referred to has become, and you owe it to yourself to head over to the lovely Northwestern campus this weekend for the 25th Annual American Crafts Exposition being held in the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion.

The third-largest show of its type in the entire country, the expo features a couple hundred of the finest artists currently working in glass, ceramics, wood, metals, textiles, and mixed media, among others.

Above: Woodworking by Peter Petrochko. The pictures above and below, showing just a few of the exhibitors, don't begin to do justice to the richness, texture, and just plain beauty of the works shown, almost all of which are available for purchase (warning: the quality and time invested in the artists' efforts are reflected in the pricetags).

I've written elsewhere about the importance of the arts to the economy. They are also important to the human psyche. If you are feeling at all depressed about our fiscal woes, health care, Afghanistan, or the future of our society, you may be renewed and invigorated by the creativity and spirit that these craftspeople have poured into the offerings, most of which employ renewable materials, and/or are made in the midwest. We can take comfort and solace in some of the amazing energy and emotion embedded in artists' expressions.

Admission, only $15, is good for the entire weekend. The pavilion is a pleasant stroll from the Foster stop of the Purple Line, or drive up Sheridan Road and enter the campus from Lincoln Avenue.
Above: Glasswork by Charles Savoia.