This is the second article in a series of visits to artisan centers that I encounter while jetting about in my sprinter van. I visited the Southern Illinois Art & Artisan Center in Whittington, Illinois at the end of the summer. When I visited they were preparing for the jury session for selecting artists to represent this fall. Unfortunately the deadline for the season has passed, but there is now time for our Illinois friends to prepare for the next call-for-artists in the spring.
This shop which very much resembles a converted highway rest area (very nicely done, however) is packed full of every conceivable craft with one notable exception. There was only one handmade sketchbook. Well represented are yarn and fiber, carved stone, tapestries, repurposed farm and industrial tools, hummingbird feeders, drawings, prints, wooden toys, jewelry, metal arts, and one sketchbook.
I learned from the visit that there are three other shops that are part of the Illinois Artisans Program. Chicago has the other artisan center, and there are museum stores in Springfield and Lewiston. I told the people there what I was doing, and they were very encouraging and interested in seeing more books. Anyone interested should visit the website where there is more detailed information and application forms. If someone isn't from Illinois, this is still a nice shop to visit. It is just off of I-57 at exit 77 for Rend Lake recreation area. Rend Lake and the Artisans Center are well marked on the highway.
Read the first article in this series about the Kentucky Artisan Center.
submitted by eb, matchboxbook