XChair from JG Custom Design company
Born in the USA

Thousands of artists apply to get into the American Craft Exposition, held annually for 26 years now on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University, but only about 150 are invited to participate in the show. Check out this year’s crème de la craft at the benefit preview party tomorrow night, August 26 (tickets are $100 and include return admittance), or during regular show hours on Friday through Sunday ($15 will getcha plenty). The heady vetters who organize this show weed out street-fair-level work to concentrate on established ceramic, wood, textile, glass, and jewelry artisans, and it’s usually quite an impressive showing. This year Jordan Goodman and his JG Custom Design company will be showing impeccably designed (he trained as an architect) wood and metal furniture, such as this angular ash XChair with a hand-tanned leather seat. Proceeds from ACE support breast and ovarian cancer research.

Various brightly-colored fabrics at Supreme Novelty Fabrics

Deeply Discounted Drapes

Bolt over to Supreme Novelty Fabrics’ showroom at 2156 West Fulton Market on Monday, August 30, to get the first shot at designer silks, satins, laces, velvets–you name it, really, this place has it all, including upholstery and bridal materials, rhinestones, and glitzy party fripperies (SNF deals with a lot of event planners). The third-generation, family-run biz is clearing out previous seasons’ designs to make room for 2011 merch, and marking down everything from mohair (what normally set you back $95+ per yard is going to now be starting at $38) to double-wide sheers (once at least $20, now from $4.95). Bargains will be blowing in the wind until Saturday, September 11.

Mica lamps

Fair Play

River Forest’s Fair Oak Workshop, arbiter of all things Arts & Crafts, is winding down its annual Mica Lamp sale, so you only have until Tuesday midnight to take advantage of the free shipping and additional 20-percent price reductions that the online retailer is offering on the entire line, including these twee ceiling pendants from the Elf series of Storybook lighting. The Storybook style was invented in 1920s Hollywood, and is characterized by curvy roofs, thatched timbering, and inlaid stone masonry—it’s a look that would get Hansel and Gretel huffing and puffing instantly. The California manufacturer of Mica lamps rarely discounts, so these are exceptional deals. The wee-est of this trio, for example, is now $237.60, down from $330.

A Buck Rogers kite design

Trending the Buck

Comic-book enthusiasts are some of the most passionate, fanatically gung-ho collectors ever, on par perhaps only with science-fiction geeks. Susanin’s auction house has combined both worlds this week in a sale of rare Buck Rogers memorabilia and artwork, and is hoping for an explosion in the form of a bidding frenzy, launching selling prices into outer space (they expect to fetch more than half a million bucks). The collection that is going on the block consists of more than 400 pieces, circa 1930s/1940s, owned by the granddaughter of John F. Dille, a Chicago-based newspaper syndicate owner and one of Rogers’s creators. There are dozens of original black-and-white drawings, hand-colored strips from Sunday’s funny pages, and gads of rare promotional items like masks, ray guns, puzzles, cereal boxes, and books, all featuring Buck, sometimes accompanied by his sexy space-age sidekick Wilma. I am over the moon for several prototype concept drawings for toys such as this Buck Rogers kite, expected to sell for between $1,000 and $1,500 (could be more, could be less—no one can see the future, right?). The items are available for viewing now through Friday, with extended hours on Thursday, and the sure to be animated auction begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Moroccan urns

Maroc on a Roll

Moroccan functional-art dealer Galerie du Maroc has moved from its lofty (yet not so easy to find) Ogden Avenue second floor space to the heart of Bucktown, occupying the former storefront space of the Grace shoe boutique at 1917 North Damen Avenue. Owner Jim Engleman was looking to have his biz become more of a retail operation with regular hours, not appointment-only, and to celebrate the move he’s discounting everything in inventory during the Bucktown sidewalk sale this weekend, Saturday 11–6, Sunday 12–5. Stop by for some Champagne, Moroccan mint tea, and bargains—and you’ve gotta see the enormous chandeliers they just hung, fresh off the boat!

Colorful print and pattern fabrics from Maharam Fabrics

Bespoke Baggo

You can’t walk anywhere in Wrigleyville without spotting a few of those ubiquitous lawn games known as Baggo (some call it Cornhole, but I can barely even type that word with a straight face), perhaps even getting wonked in the head with an errant beanbag. The wooden bases are usually painted in bright primary colors, often a patriotic, Cubs-loving red, white, ‘n’ blue, but Design Within Reach has boosted the style quotient by using iconic Maharam fabrics, some shown here, in different patterns to cover the targets and case the bags. They’ll be hosting a tournament at the Tree Studios location (Ohio and State Streets) on Monday from 5:30–8, and giving away the game set as a prize. If you’d like to compete, show up before six, and RSVP to tree@dwr.com. Refreshments will be served (as with bowling, my Baggo game’s always better after tipping back a few, so that’s a good thing). When DWR brought on a new CEO and COO at the start of this year, industry eyes were watching to see what sort of new directions they would be taking the company. I’ve been noticing the company’s efforts to reach new customers and demographics with quirky events like this, as well as concerts, parties, and art happenings, so I’d say the new brass is right on track.

Painted antique vase

Out of the ORDinary

After a trial separation from O’Hare last year, the Chicago O’Hare Summer Antiques Show is returning to the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, its home for the past 30-some years. Out-of-town dealers contributed to the making of this decision, as well as added incentives made by the center (free parking for visitors, mostly). The show runs this Friday and Saturday from noon–7 and Sunday from noon–5, and admission is a very reasonable $10, with in-and-out privileges for all three days. Expect a lot of jewelry, china, silver, and small furniture items from more than 60 international dealers, priced from $10 to more than $100,000.