Creator Spotlight

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Get ready to show us your creative side! Creator Spotlight features aspiring creators and the work they are making in the library’s Makerplace and in the Studio or with items from our Library of Things collection. Whether it's a piece of music, an Arduino-powered arcade cabinet, a photo of a painting you just completed or even a finished puzzle, we want to shine the spotlight on what you created and show others too - on our website and on the library’s social media channels! Do you want to be highlighted in our Creator Spotlight? Submit your work here or email editorial@ahml.info with the subject line “Creator Spotlight.” You can also take a look at our previous Creator Spotlight submissions below.
 

Arlington Heights artist captures award-winning images using the library's photography light box

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Look at the amazing detail in this gorgeous photograph of milkweed created by Arlington Heights visual artist Jeanne Garrett. Jeanne took this photograph, along with a series of other milkweed images, a few years ago, using the photography light box in the library's Studio. Stunning and timeless, the photographs capture in intricate detail the beauty of milkweed in its many stages and were featured in an exhibit this summer at the Tall Grass Arts Gallery in Park Forest where they received an Award of Excellence.

Congratulations, Jeanne! Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us! To view more of Jeanne's work, visit www.jeannegarrettphotography.com.

What special object or item would you like to photograph? Borrow a photography light box from our Library of Things collection

One class leads to gift-making odyssey

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“You made this?” These words are music to the ears of Erin Kaiser, a 29-year-old Arlington Heights resident who recently has been on a creative roll at the library’s Makerplace. Kaiser submitted some of her completed projects to our Creator Spotlight—each more fabulous than the next: personalized gift tags, an engraved cutting board, a beautiful slate charcuterie board and topping them all - 20 personalized ID badge lanyards Kaiser made for her colleagues at Riley Elementary School in District 21.

“I took one essentials class last fall, the intro to laser cutting,” said Kaiser. “I wanted to get my feet wet, and the class was really well done. We learned about Adobe Illustrator and how to download images and make them into cut-able files. At the end of the class, I left super excited.

‘Whoa, did you create that?’ Artist uses Makerplace equipment to take design work to a new level.

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At the library’s Makerplace, anything is possible. All you need is a bit of creativity, something web and graphic designer and Arlington Heights resident Zoe Feast has plenty of.

Feast often creates pattern design work as a hobby and has recently been using the Makerplace to show off her patterns in an entirely new way with art pieces made using recycled wood.

“I came to one of the [Makerplace tours] and I just jumped right in,” Feast said. She quickly began using the Makerplace’s Dremel LC40 laser cutter to etch her pattern designs into wood she collected from her volunteer work at Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve in Deer Park, a part of her life that has even inspired the patterns she creates. She works in habitat restoration to remove invasive and non-native species.

“The wood when

Local musicians create music in the Studio

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When you visit the library’s Studio you can get creative with video, music, graphic design and more – the possibilities are endless, and local musicians Charlie Crane and Julie Jurgens recently took advantage of the library’s equipment to create and produce a song cycle called Appointed Tasks.

Jurgens is a singer and songwriter who has been “making audiences across the Midwest weep into their beverages with her fearless songs and plaintive voice for over 20 years.” 

In early 2020, after her gig schedule was cleared by Illinois’ stay-at-home order, she began recording many of her previously unreleased compositions in her basement studio. The result was Appointed Tasks, an autobiographical song cycle that “approaches love, loss, trauma, neglect, abuse and perseverance with a profound

Took a class. Made some gifts.

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Everyone loves a personalized gift! That’s what Arlington Heights resident Elaine Schreck decided as she set out to handmake some gifts this past December, a tray for her brother and his fiancée with a customized vinyl design of their wedding date and buttons and magnets for family members featuring photos of her newborn, Eddie.

“All of these gifts were a big hit,” said Schreck. “To make the tray, I repurposed and stained a piece of wood and the handles were antiques from some old kitchen cabinets. The only cost was for the vinyl cutout - it cost me a dollar to make at the Makerplace!”

Schreck’s money-saving, gift-making adventure first began when she enrolled in a Makerplace Essentials Class: Vinyl Cutting.

“The class was really good to learn how to use the Cricut software and the

Dogs find new forever homes with help of library green screen

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The volunteers of local nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter The Buddy Foundation took advantage of the library’s collection after discovering the library has a collapsible green screen available for checkout, and used it to not only spread some holiday cheer, but helped several of their dogs get adopted into loving homes.

“We're always posting pictures of our dogs and our cats at the shelter on social media,” said volunteer Eriq Jaffe, who works with social media coordinator Stephanie Snow Familar and volunteer Nicole Pasterski. “The whole point of posting these [pictures] on social media is to get the animals noticed.”

“I thought it might be kind of fun to do something with the green screen where we can then take those pictures and put a dog in Santa's workshop or in front of a

  • Guidelines

    Creations can be made using the library’s Makerplace, The Studio or a Library of Things item. Submissions will be reviewed by staff. If you are picked as a Featured Creator, you will be contacted by library staff via email or phone for an interview and possible photo. 

    Multiple entries can be submitted. 

    Questions? Email editorial@ahml.info with the subject line, "Creator Spotlight.”