One Is the Loveliest Number

When it comes to furniture, no? There’s something soul-nurturing about using and displaying handmade pieces—objects that have stories to tell—whether commissioned or just love-at-first-sighted. Chicago sculptor and furniture maker Evan Lewis and his wife Sandra are opening their 1,400-square-foot Elston Avenue showroom and studio tomorrow, June 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. for a special showing of new tables, lighting, chairs, artwork, and accessories. RSVP to 773-539-0402. Holly Hunt used to rep Lewis before he hung up his own shingle in 2005, and the immaculately crafted metalwork developed quite a designer following (as Holly’s protégés have been known to do). He also works in exotic woods, and if you haven’t seen the space yet, it’s pretty swell, well worth checking out.

Tweet Appeal

Get your fine-feathered selves over to artist Wesley Kimler’s studio this Saturday for a birdhouse auction to benefit the Pritzker School’s Playground Project, with proceeds going to help the Wicker Park fine and performing arts institution build a playlot for their own little chickies. More than 60 local artists and architects (that’s Kuklinski + Rappe Architects’ Lego homage to St. Boniface Church, shown here), as well as Pritzker students, have designed birdhouses (see more here) that will go to the highest bidder. The feeding frenzy takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., and your $25 ticket includes drinks and appetizers.

Tome Time

The Little City Used Book Sale kicks off Friday June 5 at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, and lit-loving locals mark this one on their calendars for sure. This year is the 51st renewal of the sprawling sale and they’re promising over 200,000 volumes, including a large selection osf art and photography books for under $10, a healthy crop of gardening books, and a special antiquarian section of first and limited editions. I remember scoring big-time, and darn near throwing my back out trying to carry 200 lbs. of must-have shelf fillers to the car, back when this used to be called the Brandeis Book Sale. (Do yourself a fave and bring a few tote bags, maybe a yoke.) I’m thinking about books used as design elements a lot these days—Florense, the importer of modern Brazilian furniture in River North, had dozens of folded book sculptures all over the showroom recently, and loopy room dividers crafted from paper chains made from cut-up pages; Packer Schopf Gallery has a fascinating show going until July 2 of Brian Dettmer’s intricately carved-up book “autopsies;” Haystack Vintage has its windows full of folios, and, as Gina’s coffee-table-topping story clearly illustrated, a Kindle ain’t going to cut it when it comes to styling your living room. This weekend also brings the Printer’s Row Book Fair. You could even, ahem, read them.

I Object!

If you weren’t able to snag a seat at the sold-out screening of Gary Hustwit’s Objectified doc, (hate to say I told you so . . . ) it’s back in town for a week’s run at the Gene Siskel Film Center, June 5-12. This is an entertaining, smart film about the process of consumer design, featuring Karim Rashid pushing cardboard phones, an inside look into Apple’s design labs, and interviews with influential critics like Rob Walker of the New York Times magazine. This is the Harry Potter of design films—it’s playing 3-5 times each day—so there’s no excuse to miss it. These metallic posters sold out when I saw the Chicago premiere, but they’re now available online for $20.

Hosta Takeover

This Saturday Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery in Woodstock is hauling out hundreds of hostas (350+ varieties . . . who knew?) for a sale to benefit the owners’ pet charity, Heifer Project International. HPI raises funds to provide farm animals for impoverished families, who then pay it forward by giving the firstborn female to another struggling farmer. Makes sense to me. Rich Eyre specializes in conifers, and started the nursery with his wife and mom about 20 years ago. Their family trees are grown grande, for collectors, contractors, architects, and us amateur arborists too, on six acres of rolling, landscaped terrain with a waterfall, ponds, a boulder bridge, Asian rock garden, and ten beds of grafted, freeform trees (another of the nursery’s specialties). The sale is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it’s cash or check only.