Saturday, November 15, 2014

For 7 Years, 40 Artists Have Gathered in This Small Town to Celebrate....

This Sunday will be the only time in 2014 this amazing phenomenon will occur! Don't miss this chance to interact with creatives in their natural habitat...

Sunday, November 16:  40 artists will fill The Shores of Turtle Creek’s spacious lodge with 10,000 sq. ft of original artwork and artisan crafts. The Shores of Turtle Creek is a picturesque venue located in Spring Grove, IL, NW of Chicago. This one day show will take place just in time for a day of festive holiday shopping, food and artist demonstrations.  This is the 7th year Affair of the Arts will showcase artists in this indoor fine art fair.

As you mingle with the artists, you will be able to purchase beverages and enjoy complimentary snacks during the Affair of the Arts event.  Wine, mixed drinks and other beverages can be purchased on the first floor, past the central fireplace.  Treats & snacks will be available on both floors of the venue. Admission to the show is free.
Artwork includes from handmade guitars, artisan fashion, jewelry, paintings & much, much more. There are  exceptional handcrafted items for every budget. 

**Although there are 2 full floors of fine art shopping, both levels are handicapped-accessible. There is a ramp to the upper level along the west side of the building, and also a ramp sloping down to the lower level entrance. The staircase to the lower level is located immediately to the right after you enter the main entrance doorway.

The Shores of Turtle Creek lodge is situated on 32 scenic acres. Inside, there is seating along the large windows overlooking beautifully landscaped grounds. Inside the lodge, you will find 40 artists…some of them familiar faces and some new. We hope you can join us!

The Gift Show will be held at The Shores of Turtle Creek, 7908 Winn Road, Spring Grove, Illinois 60081

Go to http://AffairOfTheArts.ORG for more information and artist samples for this year’s show.

Sunday, November 16, 10 – 5 pm

The Shores of Turtle Creek
7908 Winn Road, Spring Grove, Illinois 60081

Saturday, April 26, 2014

No Religious Prerequisites Necessary...

 As an artist, I feel lucky in many ways...but especially so when I think of the church I attend. Willow Crystal Lake makes space for visual artists in a way that's just not, well....normal.

What I mean is: we have a visual arts team, we have a gallery space & we are supported in our individual callings as artists to create art that expresses our Christian faith. (Even better, art is seen as a valid way to express one's faith.)  

As an artist who frequently talks to other artists, I'm all too aware that this isn't everyone's spiritual story. I even know a painter of religious work who was told by her church leader NOT to create artwork at all. (Her work is amazing and I'm personally glad she didn't listen to that particular piece of advice.)

2012 Creek Gallery opening night...
 So, when the chance arose to organize a large art show in our church atrium, we thought: Why keep this to ourselves? 

We thought: Let's invite artists from the community to show their work in our space.  Let's do it with no strings attached and celebrate them. And thus, Creek Gallery was born.

What does this mean, exactly? This means that we will be turning our large atrium into a large fine art gallery. This means no submission fees and no commission taken from work sold. This means that whether you are Christian or not, if you're an artist, we want you to come and be accepted as you are, welcomed and generally 'at home'.

Submissions are open now through June 22.

Hope you'll consider submitting and/or attending the show to support our area artists! 
Whether you "bring God" with you or not, we'll be glad you came. (No religious prerequisites necessary.)

More info at:

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hoping for fame & fortune in NYC....and helping out close to home.

Our house is covered in bubble wrap. And, no, it's not an extreme weatherproofing technique we're trying out...Joe's been busy wrapping up his pieces this weekend to send them to New York. He was invited to have a selection of his pieces shown in conjunction with a symposium this month where local museum curators will get a chance to view the work.

The Light is Right by Joe Isacson

We're thankful for this exposure, since it means that he'll be considered to commission a large-scale sculpture in a NYC museum! We've got our fingers, paintbrushes (& everything else) crossed this month!

If you're looking to see some of our artwork closer to home, remember that many of our collaborative artboxes are still at Cook Street Coffee in downtown Barrington, but they'll be down soon, so don't delay.   ;)

20% of any sales of pieces that are at Cook Street Coffee as a result of this show while they're up will help benefit local pregnancy centers through TLC Pregnancy Services, which offers free medical, practical & emotional support for women in need.

See more of our work at xculturearts.com

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Reading Pictures: The story behind the Nkisi & the promises we keep...

 In the rich tradition of art through the ages, our pieces have a language of symbolism. Like say, Medieval paintings or tapestries, our work often has representational or allegorical meaning if you know how to 'read' the storybook 'language of art.'   Here is an example:


When Joe gave me a piece of tenderly burned, oxidized wood with careful rows of nails, it reminded me very much of a tradition in central Africa, the nkisi. Historically,  nkisi is a statue, or 'power figure' with great spiritual significance in the cultures there.

A ritualistic function of the nkisi nkondi is that a nail is driven into it when an agreement, or oath has been made.

I was inspired to add a lion, which is representative of Africa and is commonly symbolic of courage. For me, the combination of these two represents discipline, because discipline is the courageous act of keeping promises to yourself over and over again.

Interested in owning Nkisi or another piece?
Then, happily for you, our annual holiday sale ends today.
Click here to save 35% on your artbox purchase today only.

Nkisi - Congo - Art Institute of Chicago

More info at:

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

So Many Shows...So Little Time!

 Getting ready for Art in the Barn, the Courthouse Art Center's Fly show & the NAMI show at the a result our home is a visual explosion of sorts. I'm not exaggerating; virtually every surface is filled with paint, wood, test tubes, skulls and washers...Here's a sneak peek:

 I started a series of small 'studies' for Art in the Barn, which is a benefit/mega-art show Sept. 28 & 29. We'll be there with about 180 other artists, music & food. The event is held in a series of antique barn buildings - be sure to look for us in the "Machine Shed", which is right near the entrance.  

These are 'before' & 'after' shots of  one of the studies of a Weaverbird.

I actually hesitated to add color - I liked the simplicity of the black on wood, but now that I've gone ahead and fleshed (feathered?) it out, I'm glad I gave this little guy his full plumage.


 Also be sure to look for us in October's Fly show at The Old Courthouse Arts Center in Woodstock!  Opening Reception is Saturday, Oct 12 6-9. Come and see a wide range of media and artists expressing the shows theme of flight.

  Joe has a fascination with 
washers and  always has an eye out for them all over Chicago. He enjoys finding them so much that when I ask him how is day went, if it went well he'll say "it's a 3 washer day!"

This is what happens to them..! Joe's piece "Pull Toy #4" will be in a group show at the Dole Mansion in November.  

Go to to see our artwork and find out about upcoming events ...


Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Fine Art Jenga Marathon...

The Swing, completed
Many people who have seen our show at the Dole mansion were shocked to discover how Joe makes some of his solo pieces; it's a process that takes a lot of balance, time & patience.

For example, The Swing (shown here, both in progress & completed) was created out of one flat 8' piece of Hickory.

What I find particularly interesting about this, is that he cut the wood at no more than a 10 degree angles to create this wavy effect; to me, this shows how just being a little off course can lead you in a completely different direction.

Now, in general, I think that the artistic process any artist chooses is a reflection of his/her character. This is no exception. For each piece to be assembled into the whole, it is necessary for Joe to hold the wood together while it dries.
Hickory pieces ready for assembly
Me, I'm way too impatient for that. As he made this piece, I found myself counting the 40+ wood pieces that he planned to hold together and multiplying that by the time it took for each connection to dry. The answer? Way Too Long. For me, that is.

Joe revels in repetition and the art of carefully engineered attachments. What drives me crazy as I see him watching each piece dry in a pose that looks like freeze-frame jenga, seems to be meditative to him.

Joe, in 'action'

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Second Chances Only Come Around Once...

Thanks to everyone who came out for 1st Friday! We know that Friday nights can be difficult to make for working folks & so, we present to you: 2nd Chance Saturday.

Missed out on 1st Friday last night? Good news, you'll have a second chance to see the Inside the Box show in the Dole Gallery: Join us for a relaxed, more private gathering this Saturday, April 13, 5-8 pm.

We have 57 new pieces of work on display - hope you can come check it out!
As we hung the show, I couldn't help but be awed by the added attraction of the historic architecture that surrounds us in this space...the floor alone is amazing.

Joe, right, explains some of the work...
If you haven't heard yet, here's the scoop on our current art exhibition:

Inside the Box - featuring our new shadowbox series & more!

Joe + kathleen isacson's collaborative 'solo' show
Join us for2nd Saturday 'opening night' on Saturday, April 13, 5-8 pm!

Where is the Dole mansion? 
 It's a historic 100+ yr old building by Crystal Lake's waterfront...
Dole Mansion/Lakeside Legacy Found.
401 Country Club Rd, Crystal Lake, IL 

A sneak peek at the first room of the show before opening.
Opening night 'soundtrack' below...

 Need more info?
Gallery site:

Artists' site:

The show is also open for viewing m-f 9-5 until April 26, but we hope you can make it this Saturday when we're there to visit with you! 

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