The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 14, 2012

Local artists offer work for holidays

DANVILLE — For those who like to buy only American-made products, consider the Danville Art League’s Christmas Shoppe.

“You’re getting a quality product made locally — better than what you find in the store and at a better price,” said Robi Rew, a member of the Art League and its special events chairman.

For the second year, 12 artists are displaying their handicrafts at Towne Centre. This year, the store is in a new location — in a space between County Market and the Great Wall.

The Christmas Shoppe is a fundraiser for the Art League, with the artists paying a fee to display their goods, and some of the artists donating their proceeds from sales. The artists selling items also are required to volunteer one day a week at the store.

The fundraiser helps support activities such as summer camp for children and workshops, and also buys supplies for classes, member Bonnie Bodensteiner said.

Member Sandy Martin noted that the league can always use donations of money, time and supplies.

A variety of hand-made goods is spread across the spacious room being used for the Christmas Shoppe. Among the products are scarves of all styles and materials, bird houses, jewelry, crocheted items, paper crafts, painted glassware and gourds, pottery, ornaments, paintings, greeting cards and more. Prices are affordable, starting at $1.

A unique item, made by Rew, is a decorated ceramic pot with a lid that’s used for leftovers; the pot goes from the refrigerator to the stove — unlike a plastic container.

Also unique are the paper gift boxes made by Bodensteiner. “They’re absolutely stunning and they’re flying out the door,” Rew said.

People may order a special item or get something custom-made. Also, customers who buy an item get to choose a free Christmas ornament.

The store was successful last year, Rew said, and business has been picking up this month.

She and others also complimented the young people with Peer Court, who made the paper snowflakes decorating the walls and who helped set up the store. The Peer Court students are involved in Art League activities, as well.

Variety of programs

In addition to the seasonal store, the Art League offers a variety of programs and its meeting rooms are open to the public for a nominal fee. The organization is located at Franklin and Seminary streets, in the former Red Cross building.

“People think it’s a fine arts club,” Rew said of the league, “but it’s not. It’s down to earth.”

The members are always looking for new projects to do with the community and new ideas for classes. For example, a class on making bisque Christmas trees will be offered in January or February, and Rew hopes to offer a garden-art class someday.

“We want to know what the people want,” she said.

Rew is interested in keeping some of the old-time crafts alive, and is looking for people who might be able to teach classes in subjects such as wheat weaving, jewelry making, basketry, decoupage, making cornhusk dolls and others. People with those skills are asked to call the league.

She also encouraged people to take classes, saying, “Everybody has talent. You have to find what it is. It doesn’t have to be a fine art; it can be a craft.”

The league has a nice pottery studio, too, said Rew, who is studio director.

People are welcomed to stop by and see what the league has to offer. In addition, there are different art exhibits on display.

The artists

Those displaying their handiwork at the store are Joyce Rowley, Heather Brett, Bonnie Bodensteiner, Carole Reitz, Julie Colby, Robi Rew, Claudia Dewitt, Linda Shumaker, Jacqueline Sisson, Karena Wiggins, Kem Wiggins and Sandy Martin.

FYI

The Danville Art League’s Christmas Shoppe at Towne Centre is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 24. The store also will be open a couple of days after Christmas.

For more information about taking classes or becoming a member, call the Art League at 442-9264 or e-mail thedanvilleartleague@gmail.com.

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