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| saturday september 19 | sunday september 20 2015

the north shore weekend

LIFESTYLE & ARTS

exposition will highlight handcrafted work 11, when she received a book from her mother. It was a thin book, Simply Beads. It made her profoundly happy. She also tackled craft kits, gifts from her mother. “I loved sitting in my room and making stuff when I was young,” Hector says. “I remember making beaded flowers, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that looks great.’ My mom saved a lot of my stuff. Today, when I look at it, I’m horrified. It doesn’t look so great anymore. It looks … tacky.” She has evolved into a quite an artist since then, crafting unique, jury-approved jewelry year after year. Call her driven. She plans to show four cases (28-30 pieces of jewelry per case) at this year’s ACE. Some of her pieces are valued between $100-$150, others between $3,000-$5,000. “I love making necklaces now,” Hector says. “Making one gives me the opportunity to make a significant statement.”

BY BILL MCLEAN

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Valerie Hector. Photography by robin subar

baskets, ceramics, fiber decorative, fiber wearable, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper and wood. “It’s a radical move,” Hector says. “Everybody is excited. Everybody is a little nervous. We’ll be fine; it’s in good hands. The ones running it [ACE co-chairs Liz Dauten and Debbie Kerr] are

organized and making good decisions. What’s also exciting is Chicago Botanic Garden’s willingness to promote it, to reach out to its members. “The ACE is one of the top four [expositions] in the country,” she adds. “You’ll see some of the most innovative work there, created by dedicated artists.”

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ewelry designer Valerie Hector owned a 1972 Ford in 1992. She got in it to drive to her first American Craft Exposition (ACE) in Evanston. The car’s driver-side floor mat doubled as a makeshift toupee for part of the floorboard. “The bottom of my car had a hole in it,” Hector, a native of Wilmette and a business owner in Evanston, recalls. “Without a mat, I would have been able to look down and see the road while driving.” After showing her pieces of jewelry at ACE, a juried show, in ’92, Hector was able to afford a down payment for a new car. She dubs the down payment “a lifechanging moment.” She displayed her wares at ACE shows for the next nine years and every year from 2003-2014 at Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on Northwestern University’s campus. Her creative ornaments — necklaces, mostly — and a slew of craftwork from established and emerging artisans will catch the eyes of attendees at this year’s ACE, presented by The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem Sept. 25-27. Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, undergoing renovations, won’t host the event this fall. ACE organizers selected Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe to showcase handcrafted work in 12 categories:

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The 31st Annual American Craft Exposition (ACE) is also a major fundraiser for breast and ovarian Hector runs her business the customers,” Hector says. cancer research and care at North(Valerie Hector Designs, Ltd.), “What I’ve found is, when I’m Shore University HealthSystem. The established in 1988, from her ready to move on [to create differ- exposition at Chicago Botanic home in Evanston. She works ent products], the customers are Garden starts Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. It seven days per week. Her volumet- usually ready to move on, too. It’s concludes with a session (11 a.m.-5 ric pieces of jewelry for the 2015 a way of life, designing and making p.m.) on Sept. 27. The event’s Benefit ACE are airier and lighter in jewelry. It’s a lifestyle, not a job. I Preview is scheduled for Sept. 24, structure than her previous lines tried to be an academic, but that 5:30-9 p.m. For more information made me profoundly unhappy.” and ticket information, visit www. of necklaces. “I hope they go over well with Hector was 10 years old, maybe chicagobotanic.org/craft.

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The North Shore Weekend East, Issue 154  

The North Shore Weekend East Zone is published weekly and features the news and personalities of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfield,...

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