As the city’s neighborhood street fests wind down and the threat of colder air looms, Chicagoans can celebrate the last days of warm temperatures over Labor Day Weekend at the debut of the new Ravenswood Remix, where a slew of local artists’ work made from found, recycled and reclaimed materials will be displayed.
Organizers hope Ravenswood Remix, aka “Chicago’s Recycled Art Fair,” can showcase some of the city's best green art creations while educating attendees about how to reduce their carbon footprint. Aside from the art, visitors can participate in workshops on rope-making with plastic bags, organic composting and more.
“When putting together the festival, the driving mission really was to promote recycling efforts and understand how found objects can be transformed into something really cool," Jen Gordon, one of Ravenswood Remix's organizers said. "The workshops grew out of the education component to help people look at old or used objects in new ways."
In addition to the art displays and workshops, Remix will feature a lineup of indie bands including Brian Vander (The Verve Pipe) headlining on Saturday and Apteka and local psych-pop rockers Secret Colours on Sunday.
Ravenswood Remix will be held on Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4 at 4100 N. Ravenswood Ave., one block north of Irving Park. The event will be on the East side of Ravenswood Ave., from Belle Plaine to Berteau. The workshop area will be tented.
Check out some of the artists who will be featured at this weekend's festival here:
Artist John Davis says, "From as far back as I can remember, I have been finding ways to create art from discarded materials. As a child I would make my brother and I Halloween costumes from discarded boxes and found objects." Today, Davis creates wearable art from reclaimed leather such as belts, bags and clothing. He says that he incorporates "interesting items that he finds in his daily travels" into each one of his designs. All of his cuffs are made from 100 percent recycled leather from old belts, bags, briefcases and "anything else he can find" made from leather. His fisticuffs are all handmade one at a time and no two are exactly alike. Each one is unique based on the materials used in its construction. "I'm always looking for new materials and things to cut up and re-purpose into my cuffs," Davis said. "Once I find a nice bag or belt to use I carefully disassemble the various pieces and measure out what it is I want to build."
"I must have been born with a creative soul because as long as I can remember I have expressed myself through art," artist Gina Marie said. "I haven't found anything as fulfilling as bringing to life the ideas that are usually jumping around in my head. My work for the last five years revolves around taking something old, something that revisits the happiness of our youth, and turning it into something we can once again use."
Artist Denise Handwerker said she has been a "felt making maniac" for the last four years. She has been drawn to making things since she first learned to knit when she was 10 years old. Handwerker said that "upcycling" sweaters into felted objects satisfies her desire to help the planet and work with beautiful natural fiber. With an old washing machine, simple sewing machine and crochet hook, she creates a myriad of felted objects. Her most popular items include fingerless gloves, flower pins and kits, and bags and scarves.
"My creations were born out of an impulse collection of vintage jewelry," artist Sara Bradstreet said. She weaves old world glamour with folklore and whimsy to create one of a kind pieces, including reviving aged brooches. The pieces breathe new life into what was once considered "grandma's jewelry."
With a formal education in textile design, a career education in graphics and a lifetime of illustration, artist Margie Criner said that she "works from her heart." "My intention is to create functional art that has an emotional effect on the user through visual appeal, humor and social commentary," Criner said. "My work has a spirit of play. If there is an overall theme, it is about enjoying life, having strength of character and understanding that we are all connected."