If you have ever walked through Riverside and have seen funky and colorful lawn decorations, there is a good chance they were designed and sold by Riverside residents and artists Dawn Sundstrom and Heather Hug.
During the weekend of June 27 and 28, Sundstrom and Hug held their 10th annual “Yard Full of Art” sale at Sundstrom’s home on Uvedale Road. While YFOA originally began as a sale for lawn art, the event has now turned into a display and sale of art pieces ranging from ceramic sculptures to recycled garden tools and even handmade clothing.
YFOA was created in 2004 after Sundstrom and Hug held a typical garage sale and threw in a few of their artistic creations just for fun. While Sundstrom sold pieces of handmade jewelry and Hug sold odds and ends from various ceramic sculptures she created. While the two women heard praises about their artwork, they never expected for their miscellaneous treasures to gain a strong audience within the community.
“People came back to our garage sale the next year looking for all of the sculpture, the jewelry and the art,” Hug said. “So, we ended up putting more of that in subsequent year after year.”
Over time, the event turned into its own unique sale and has grown to feature artists other than Hug and Sundstrom. This year, YFOA featured six additional artists from across the suburbs, including Michele Mata from Schaumburg. This year marked Mata’s third summer selling her hand-dyed silk scarves.
“My favorite part is seeing the people enjoy it and setting my art up to be seen and enjoyed by other people,” Mata said.
Aside from the annual summer sale, Sundstrom and Hug also host a special winter art sale around the holiday season. However, the winter sale is held indoors and is an invitation-only event.
Hug says YFOA only does one public summer sale and one private winter sale, because of all the work that goes into the effort over the course of a year as well as their busy schedules.
“I don’t think people understand how much work goes into a $40 garden gnome or $35 ring or bracelet,” she said. “It takes weeks to months to make the art. We both have jobs and other obligations, so basically two sales are all we can pull off.”
Overall, Hug enjoys how the event brings together neighbors who enjoy unique art.
“My favorite part is really seeing all of the art in the yard together,” she said. “It’s fun to arrange everything and see it all out. It’s a great opportunity to talk to people in the community and network with people.”