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So Much to See! The 2016 Festival Visual Artists

I am so excited to talk about the visual artists for the 17th Annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival!  We have quite a wonderful array of mediums and talent and I am sure that everyone will have something to experience no matter what level of art appreciation or knowledge they have!  We have a few coming to us locally, some from Chicago, and one even crossing the Wisconsin boarder to share their gifts. Click HERE to download the official 2016 Schedule! 

Here’s an overview of who you’ll see on Sunday, April 10, 2016 from 11am – 6pm in the Arts Pavilion (KHS Cafeteria):

Gail Azinger, Ceramics

Gail AzingerGail Azinger has over 40 years experience in the ceramic arts and is a retired high school art teacher from School District U-46. She currently reaches adult ceramics classes and leads Raku workshops for the Centre in Elgin, Il. Gail has her Master’s Degree in Art Education from Northern Illinois University. In 2001 she exhibited a bowl in Koga, Japan and since 2007 she has sold her work out of her home at her yearly Holiday Open House and Art Sale with 5 other area artists. She has participated in Elgin’s Art and Soul on The Fox since 2009, was invited to exhibit her work at the Art On The Eighth Show in Elgin in 2011, has demonstrated wheel throwing and has sold work at the Elgin Green Expo from 2012-2014, has participated in the Spring Bloom Art Festival in Bloomington, Il. in 2014, and has judged the Up-State 8 High School Art Exhibit when it was hosted by District U-46 in 2015. She is a member of the Clay Worker’s Guild of Illinois and a former member of the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission. Gail works on the potter’s wheel and uses hand building techniques to create functional and sculptural works in stoneware clay. Sharing her pottery with others and teaching are rewarding ways for her to connect with people. The last 15 years have been spent working in clay to improve her technique and develop a personal style. Gail lives in Elgin with her husband

Paula Dammeyer, Jewelry

Paula DammeyerPaula Dammeyer is a self-taught metalsmith/jewelry artist who has been creating and selling her jewelry for more than nine years. She likes experimenting with new techniques and mediums, but her real love is working with metals. She uses copper, brass, sterling and nickel silver in her designs, along with gemstones, beads and other found objects. Some of the many techniques utilized in her work are fold forming, enameling, soldering, reticulating, riveting and etching. She also enjoys wire wrapping everything from cabochons to coins. Paula’s objective is to keep creating jewelry that is handmade and one of a kind, with a lot of love, patience and attention to detail.

Tina Fischer, Fused Glass

t fischer 2.jpgTina Fischer is a glass artist who started with stained glass and went to fused glass. She had a kiln from doing ceramics in her earlier years and it was only natural to start playing with glass. She is original from Georgia and now lives in Elgin, Illinois. She has worked with fused glass art for more than 12 years. Warm glass is art glass that is formed in a kiln. This process involves firing a mosaic of compatible glass in a kiln up to 1700 degrees until it fuses together. The alchemy of intense heat creates the illusion of fluidity in each unique piece. Because glass is a liquid even it its (seemingly) solid state, it has unusual versatility and shows magical qualiities as the colors change with the light. Light filtering through transparent or translucent glass plays with our perceptions and gives a sense of depth. Warm glass is an extraordinary medium for the artistic expression. She has found warm glass to be the perfect way to use her imagination and creativity as an outlet. To combine color and texture into distinctive fused glass art.

Pamela Hamilton, Pastels

Pamela HamiltonPamela Hamilton has been an artist for as long as she can remember. As a child, nearly any surface became a blank canvas, including the side of her father’s car, the walls of her childhood home and the inside covers of every encyclopedia her parents owned. But, it wasn’t until recently that Hamilton was able to fully immerse herself in her artistic pursuits. Time spent studying painting and drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago was cut short when she decided to start a family. It was only after she gave up her job as an art director at a national magazine that her schedule freed up, enabling her to concentrate on her favorite pastime–painting. Much of her work–from pet portraits to landscapes–is done using pastels. “I love the immediacy of this medium–the vibrancy, rich tone, texture, paint-like quality and portability. I draw inspiration from my love of color, form and light.” Since 2011, Hamilton has participated in more than 60 exhibits, including numerous juried fine art fairs and solo shows, and has earned four “Best in Show” titles and numerous awards in other categories. Hamilton is a member of the DuPage Art League, the Wayne Art League, the Geneva Art Guild, the Chicago Pastel Painters and the Pastel Society of America.

Amy Huisinga, AcrylicsAmy Huisinga

Amy Huisinga is a self-taught award-winning artist living in Chicago. She was raised in Monticello, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois, where she earned her bachelors degree in accounting. After spending five years as a CPA in the public accounting field, Amy moved to Chicago to pursue an art career. Amy enjoys working primarily in acrylic painting because of its flexibility and rich color range. Many of her acrylic paintings incorporate various painting surfaces, added textures and dimensions, and other mixed media techniques. Various acrylic mediums used include modeling paste, ceramic stucco, blended fibers, resin sands, and heavy acrylic medium to add an extra dimension and realness to the scene. This dimensionality gives the viewer the feeling that they could walk right into the scene. Viewers are often caught by surprise and enjoy becoming a part of the discovery process. Amy paints primarily outdoor scenes, reflecting the landscapes of the Midwest as well as urban street scenes and European settings.

Tom Liebing, Repurposed Tank Drums

Tank DrumsTom Liebing of Custom Tank Drum taught  high school Graphic Arts, after teaching for 33 years, retired. His son and partner, Eric, has a degree in music and is a professional percussionist. Between Eric’s knowledge music and Tom’s knowledge of materials, they are the perfect blend to make the perfect drum.  This is the start of their 8th year of drum making.  The drums are very popular at Art Show, Craft Show, Green Fairs, Music Shows and Special Needs Conferences. Custom Tank Drum has also presented at STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Fairs. Tom and Eric take great pride and satisfaction in taking propane tanks, no longer good for use, and cutting, grinding, welding, tuning and painting a recycled propane into an enjoyable instrument. Tom will be presenting two workshops during the Festival as well as displaying his work and answering questions in the Arts Pavilion.

Kari McDonald, Printmaking

Kari McDonaldKari McDonald graduated with a B.F.A. in Printmaking from Northern Illinois University in 2010 and has been a self-employed artist ever since. She has always found more creativity when working with what she has at hand – literally – she hand prints her woodblocks with a wooden spoon and Japanese leaf barengawa. Her studio is out at her in-laws’ farmstead in the Shirland, IL area in an old converted cow barn. Her family calls this building The Manger and it has an apartment with a garage. That garage is now her studio shared with her father-in-law and his printmaking/paper making/painting work. The farm is a peaceful place with lots of land, a fresh water spring with pond in the front yard, and a family garden where she grows her own salsa ingredients. The original owner of the farm from the early 1800s was one of the first settlers in the area and was a prominent figure in the local community. His name was Lemuel Fisk. Kari felt so connected with the land and nature (and disconnected from the digital technological world) when she is out at the farm that she wanted to relate my artwork to that sense of peacefulness. So Lemuette was established! When you hang her new prints on your wall, they will bring a little bit of that natural-space and peaceful feeling to your home.

Jill Miller, Fiber Artist

Hooey Batiks velvet pillow.jpgJill Miller learned how to batik in an art class at the University of Illinois in 1989 and was immediately addicted. Batik is a sloppy, waxy mess and it’s always a pleasant surprise to see the bright, colorful designs hiding under layers of wax. She loves playing with color combinations, coming up with silly new designs, and just having fun with it all. When she is not at art shows or working in her studio you can find her in her Urbana, Illinois home, gardening in the backyard with her chickens, or whipping up a tasty dish in the kitchen.

Lauri Novak, Photography

Lauri_Novak_rgw_web2We are pleased to have Lauri Novak, our Kaneland Alumni Spotlight, at the Festival this year!

Lauri has been taking photos ever since she received my first Kodak X-15 Instamatic Camera at the age of 10.    With camera in hand she was fortunate to have traveled around the US more than most at an early age. Traveling gave Lauri an appreciation for the world around me.  Lauri started seeing in a different way, different perspective and appreciating what she saw. As she got older Lauri had the opportunity to travel a little bit overseas, which opened up her eyes to other cultures and even more ways of seeing the world.  Capturing these views and perspectives and sharing them is her passion.  She sees the world in photographs and loves that her photography helps others to see the world around them in a new and different way.

Margie Olszewski, Digital Arts

Margie Olszewski Photo.jpgMargie Olszewski creates imaginative digital paintings with her computer. Her uplifting themes are expressed in brightly colored scenes, birds, pets, faces and abstracts. Margie has had a devotion to art, music and the humanities throughout her life. This appreciation began at an early age and as a continuation of a family tradition of creative expression and love of the arts. Margie studied art and piano throughout her school years. These studies continued at Mundelein College, Chicago, as a Humanities major. Best job ever ~ working several years for Newcomb-Macklin Company in Chicago, the oldest continuously run frame-making company in the United States that specialized in making frames for the American Impressionists around the turn of the century including Stanford White and arts and crafts designs. Margie enjoyed working in this creative environment and working on the presentation of many top artists for display at the Union League Club, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago. For several years Margie Olszewski became a public access television producer and while producing her own TV show, Animal Addicts, revisited the world of photography that she had briefly studied at Mundelein, but in the medium of video. This was a great opportunity to combine photography and music, while exploring the ways people and animal interact and the way animals impact the lives of those who love them.  Currently, Margie enjoys doing ‘paintings without paint’ on her laptop, painting with a computer stylus, and using various art computer programs. Enjoying the ever-changing adventures of exploring visual fine arts.

Michael Shiroda, Caricature

KCFAF2013-68For more than a decade, Michael Shiroda has been drawing caricatures of people at live events.  These sketches with an exaggerated likeness are unique to each person and are always a crowd-pleaser — they are as much fun for the subject as they are for onlookers!  In addition to this and commissioned paintings of homes, he also enjoys making comics, writing stories, painting, and making music, for which he has also produced a CD.  His focus lately has been with comic book illustration and will soon be published under the ‘Pulp Will Eat Itself’ title.  Annually, Michael provides Festival guests with unique, personalized caricature drawings.

Staci Sterenberg, Glass Mosaics

Staci SterenbergStaci Sterenberg is a Chicago based artist working in mixed media. Growing up in rural Michigan, her habits of collecting small trinkets and forgotten objects finally led her to mosaic making. Her methods stem from the desire to create art objects from the discarded remains of cast off materials. She is inspired most by color and pattern and injects her own brand of irreverent and sometimes subversive humor into her work. Staci has worked on private commissions, gallery exhibitions and art fairs, and her work can be found in hundreds of private collections around the world. Staci has also worked as an art teacher for sixteen years. Her work is informed and inspired by the people she interacts with as an instructor as much as from her own imagination.

Ranjan Roy, Henna Hand Tattoos

Henna pic with Stewart StudentsRanjan Roy has been doing Henna since past 10 years based in Schaumburg, IL. The art form of henna design has been practiced in Northern Africa, the Middle East, Southern Asia, and Europe and has been used by Hindus. Ranjan is very creative and does henna designing without any references. She creates designs with her imagination and on-demand. She does private events and many summer fest in Kane County area.  Ranjan will be giving guests henna hand tattoos during the Festival in the Arts Pavilion.

Rosalie Waranius Vass, Watercolor

Color Island W?C & Acrylic

Rosalie Waranius Vass grew up in the glacier area of Wisconsin. Her hometown was small and her roaming range quite large. She was fascinated by the changes in the sky and the colors of the seasons. She watched the cows and sheep graze in the pastures and all of life seemed amazingly slow and multi-colored. She was content to scan her environment to find the colors, textures, moods, and compositions that she would later paint.  Her paintings burst with the reflections and experiences of her childhood adventures and adult travel. The desert, the ocean, the mountains and the architecture of her world travel all find a place in her work; never as one scene from one location but a blenderful of images from many times and places. She has painted flocks of sheep, herds of cows, choirs of angels, and countless towns, cities, palaces, bridges, and cemeteries. Her paintings are like random pages out of the diary of her life; come experience the joy of her art.

Don Widmer, Paper Arts/Bookmaking widmer_plumpBluebird_600dpi.jpg

Don Widmer is a Chicago-based book and paper artist. His practice incorporates hand papermaking, letterpress printing, and traditional and experimental bookbinding.  His handmade paper artwork utilizes pulp painting, sometimes in combination with watermarks, to create imagery with cultural and mythological significance.  Widmer has exhibited throughout the Midwest, including Terrain Biennial (Columbia College Chicago), Arts on Elston, Side Street Studio Arts, Zenith Art Studio, Morpho Gallery, Framing Mode and Gallery, Werkspace Gallery, Art on Track, Built Festival, Hearts-A-Bluhm, and Illinois Wesleyan University. His recent awards include Outstanding Achievement in 2D Paper (Buffalo Grove Art Festival), and the Redhead Design Studio Honorary Award (East Lansing Art Festival).  Raised in Cleveland, Widmer received his MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago in May 2012.  Prior to his art career, he was Library Director at VanderCook College of Music from 1996-2009.

Kathleen Murphy Willer, Mixed Media

Kathleen Willer HeadshotKathleen Murphy Willer is an award-winning artist who has been painting professionally for 22 years. Her work has been shown in exhibitions and galleries across the United States and she has collectors on five continents. Over the years, Kathleen has managed two small art galleries in the Milwaukee area and has worked as an art consultant. She has a bachelor’s degree in art from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee. Home is Menomonee Falls, WI, just outside of Milwaukee, where she lives with her children. Her mixed media paintings feature bright colors and happily quirky themes.

Arts in Our Community –  The Fine Line Creative Arts Center

Each year, we try to bring a comunity art organization to the Festival to present their organization and promote their classes/events.  fineline_logo
The is one of only a few regional art
centers in this country. Internationally known artists teach a variety of workshops. The membership draws from the Chicago area and surrounding states. There are as many as 1,300 students a year, a teaching staff of 45-plus and well over 200 class offerings a year. So passionate are the members of the Fine Line Community that the center is run almost entirely by volunteers.The Fine Line Creative Arts Center is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. The Fine Line provides year-round classes in textiles, ceramics, metalsmithing, glassmaking, painting, papermaking and more.

I hope that you will get a chance to come to our Festival and meet these amazing artists.  Each have a unique gift to share and their work will not disappoint!  Be sure to check out the workshops that are offered throughout the day of the 17th Annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival!


See you on Sunday!

Partnering with YOU in the Arts,

Maria Y. Dripps-Paulson

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