The La Grange Craft Show turns 40 this year with one of its largest assortments of exhibitors and an emphasis on handcrafted wares.
Nearly 200 local and regional artisans setting up shop July 12 and 13 are expected to attract 6,000 to 8,000 shoppers to the village’s central business district.
“The fair draws people from throughout the region to our shops and restaurants,” said Nancy Cummings, executive director of the La Grange Business Association. “A lot of them come back every year because the crafts on display are so diverse. We make an effort to find more unique items such as handcrafted jewelry and stained-glass, garden decorations, skincare products, furniture, clothing, fishing lures — all sorts of good things.”
In addition all those shopping opportunities, visitors can also enjoy a an outdoor art exhibit of 50 garden benches, each designed and painted by an artist supported by a local business, and participate in a scavenger hunt built into the exhibit, seeking 10 items hidden in the design of the benches. Anyone who locates all 10 items on the list can submit their entry and compete for a $100 gift certificate at the end of the summer.
Among the many unusual items on display at the fair are the stained-glass tabletop fountains made by La Grange artisan Ruth Kopala, whose work is online at derglaswerks.com.
“I wanted to do something different,” said Kopala, who had been designing stained-glass windows for years when she decided to switch to decorative art. “At the time, stained-glass sun catchers and window hangings were popular, but I was looking for something new. Then, one day, I turned over a stained-glass lampshade I had made and filled it with water and saw the possibilities.”
A wide range of Kopala’s illuminated glass fountains with designs featuring flowers, birds, whales and dolphins will be on display at the fair.
La Grange jewelry designer Patricia Hachenberg will bring a selection of one-of-a-kind items to this year’s fair — her fifth. She specializes in repurposed pieces, necklaces, bracelets and earrings she has creatively recycled from broken or discarded jewelry.
“I transform them,” Hachenberg explained. “I take existing pieces and use my own personal stash of materials to give them a completely different look.”
Hachenberg is also a vocal fan of the fair itself as both an artisan and a resident.
“I’ve always loved attending and now I really love being part of it,” she said. “It’s my favorite show of the year. It’s has such a festive vibe and it’s so well organized. Everything just flows so effortlessly. This is one fair that everyone, absolutely, should check out.”