Engage with artists and art forms at Evanston Art Fest August 13-15

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Breathe in fresh art at the eighth annual three-day Evanston Art Festival, August 13-15 on Sherman Avenue and Church Street in downtown Evanston. This highly anticipated fine arts festival features over 130 unique artists, showcasing original works of art in a wide variety of mediums and price points.

Enjoy all that Evanston has to offer at its restaurants, shops and businesses, many of which will be open during the festival. Admission is free, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Treat yourself to a day of fine arts outdoors!

Among the world-renowned artists taking part in the Evanston Art Festival this weekend is Evanston-based Amanda Pohlman, founder of Monarca, a boutique specializing in ethically handcrafted butterfly wings and jewelry made from pressed flowers.

Monarca (butterfly in Spanish) is a family affair. Originally from Popayán, Colombia, Pohlman and his sister, Olga, worked for three years to find the best way to preserve the wings, flowers and feathers of butterflies.

Their mother, Aurora, is an expert in selecting, pressing and drying flowers. Many pieces of jewelry contain stones, pearls, and metals found only in the United States. The business recently expanded to five key team members, all of whom are women.

No butterflies or birds are harmed or taken from the wild to make jewelry available at Monarca, according to detailed information found on their website.

Most butterflies have a short lifespan. Some species live from two to 20 days; others may only live a day or two. Butterfly farming is an option for small family farms in rainforests around the world.

Monarca team members Olga, Aurora, Mary, Ximena, Amanda. (Photo provided)

Most butterfly farms have enclosures in which they raise the butterfly species native to their area. When the butterflies mature, farmers release a number of them into the wild to keep their populations healthy. The wings are collected after the butterflies expire naturally.

Monarca has partnerships with South American butterfly breeders, supporting legal insect traders in the United States who import butterfly species from around the world.

The companies are regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which ensures that the species used are neither protected nor endangered. Monarca also has a permit, issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, to work with butterflies.

Jewelry makers use a few species of flowers that are commonly found in gardens and nurseries. They process the flowers in their workshop from start to finish.

They have a small nursery where they mainly grow hydrangeas and elderflowers. Experience has taught them when to harvest the flowers so that they retain their colors.

The company’s feather product line is small compared to the flower and butterfly wing lines, allowing them to be selective about their sources.

Peacocks shed their feathers naturally after each breeding season, with each bird shedding about 160 feathers. The feathers are sourced from family farms in the United States who sell small amounts of feathers, collected from their own peacocks.

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