Friday, May 12, 2017

It's Show Time!

Meet Debi Salzman from Debi's Doodles...
I am an elementary school teacher in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. I never excelled at art when I was a child. I really couldn't even draw a straight line!

I started doing glass fusion art almost 4 years ago. A friend of mine at a 65th birthday party at Spirit of Clay in Mayfield, Heights, Ohio. I hemmed and hawed, whined and complained that I wasn't creative and couldn't design the 6 inch square we were given to decorate. I made some sort of design, the whole time thinking that I would never be back. About 2 days later, I did return and have been glass fusing ever since!
I LOVE color! On one website for glass fusing on Facebook, I am called the color lady. I love bright colors. Color brings a smile to faces. I have an Early Childhood background, so many of my glass pieces are whimsical and fun.
I begin pieces by deciding what colors I might want to use. I then cut various shapes with no design in mind. I then design and redesign. I move pieces, add new colors and take away colors. A design appears! I begin gluing and sometimes the design changes for the better.
I have made platters to match dishes, bowls, plates, business card holders, spoon rests, menorahs, soap dishes, plaques, candy dishes/vases and mezuzahs. I can make special orders to match kitchens, bathrooms etc.
Glass fusion and Spirit of Clay is my happy place. It is really my cheap therapy!

If you haven't tried glass fusion, Try it, you will like it!

Meet Sophie Knee from SOAP CUBED...
I am Sophie Knee, from SOAP CUBED.  I was born in the United Kingdom, and arrived in Ohio in 1988, as a young adult.  I have a Fine Arts background and day job, but have been making things all my life.  Making stuff was “normal” on both sides of our family; people sewed, knitted, crocheted, built furniture, baked bread, and did home canning.  One of my grandfathers (a high school teacher during the day) had a hidden talent for cake decorating.  Sometimes people make fun of me for doing myself, instead of paying other people to do, but the truth is, when I create, I feel connected to the people who first taught me how.
I started making soap in 2016.  I have lived with skin allergies all my life, and had read that natural soaps are gentler on the skin than most of what's commercially available. When I made my first batch (It was “Lavender Brown”), I tested it first by washing my hands for a week, then taking it into the shower, then finally used it on my face.  When that was OK, I asked some family members to be my testers.  My family: 6 adults, 3 teenagers, 4 PhDs, about 8 other academic degrees (various), 6 people (plus self) have skin allergies (various).  They are the “nerds with skin allergies”.  They're opinionated people, and pretty soon they all started asking me for particular kinds of soap, and telling me what they thought of what I already made.  In rather a short time, I had made more soap than I knew what to do with, and still wanted to make more.
Also, I found that I really love making soap.  The basic ingredients are very simple, and nothing special.  I find most base oils kind of gross, Lye is (honestly) quite scary.  When you combine these ingredients correctly, you get a magical (OK, it's really chemical) reaction, and then you have soap.  Yes,  botanicals and essential oils are beautiful, and also seem like magic to me, but they represent only a tiny part of the soap.  Soap smells great, and it cleans everything. (Did I mention I'm a nerd?  This is the Miracle of Saponification”.)
I came up with a packaging system, and a logo.  This was fun, too; I got help from my sister (PhD in Biology), and designed the SOAP CUBED logo.  Then I set up an Etsy shop, all the time listening to a little voice in the back of my head, telling me that people needed to see (and smell) this stuff in person.  That led to my very first ever Avant Garde Craft Show!  I believe that SOAP CUBED is still in the “proof of concept” phase,  and I don't think I can see what will happen 5 years from now.  I do know that I want to create something beautiful and good (The Eternal Search for Truth and Beauty?).  SOAP CUBED is about finding a safer, more natural option for skin care, that can still smell great, and look beautiful..  

Meet Jeannie Carder-Shimek from Artifacts Gift Studio...
The evolution of Artifacts Gift Studio started years ago. As an art major in college, I would spend hours drawing. I began to hand-paint gift items for family and friends. I would experiment with different types of paints and painted on everything from glass to glazed ceramics to fabrics. The idea was the gift was useful, so I painted a lot of mugs, glasses, platters, etc.

After spending most of my career in sales and marketing, three years ago I decided to make a change. I had the opportunity to start my own business. I opened a gift shop and studio in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. I would hold classes and parties in the studio, showing people how to create their own hand-painted gifts. In the gift shop, I sold hand-painted gift items and would create custom gifts for special occasions.
I created the Seasons Tree Glasses for the shop as a wedding gift idea. The hour drive to Chagrin Falls everyday allowed me time to appreciate the beautiful trees along the way. Through the seasons I was inspired to capture all the colors. The wine glass seemed the obvious choice because of the shape, so I began creating.

The Seasons wine glasses became so popular in the shop I was often out-of-stock. Over the years, I have expanded the choices of trees and colors and have ideas for more.  Last year I decide to open a shop on Etsy.
When it came time to renew the lease, I thought about another change. Although I loved seeing the customers that would come into the shop, it left me little time to create. I decided take the shop and studio mobile. Now, I still do classes and events, both public and private to show people how to paint gift items, but I also have time to paint in the studio. I create my gift items for my Etsy shop and have just started to participate in art show around the area. This will be my first Avant Garde Show and I am excited to be a part of it!

In 5-years I hope to have created a following for my glasses and gifts at both the art shows and on-line.  I want people to enjoy giving gifts that are not only useful, but are artful, fun to use and will always remind the recipient of the special occasion. The definition of an “artifact” is: a useful tool, usually made by hand that serves a purpose and is from a particular time in history. 

Meet Hayleigh Robertson from Adele Rose LLC...
I'm a 25 year old woman with a thirst for knowledge, uninhibited wanderlust, and a strong sense of loyalty to the earth. I've never really enjoyed working for "the man"... I'm a dreamer, but my head's not stuck in the sky. I turn my dreams into reality! Right now I make all natural bath and body products; balms, scrubs, bath soaks, salves, lotions, oil blends, and sprays. I'm excited to keep adding more goodies to the list as my skills progress!

I made my first sugar scrubs and bath salts in 2014 as Christmas gifts to friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making the items, and was even more enthralled by my friends/family's reactions to what I made them. I found myself going from one job to the next, not finding the "right fit" and realized I'd much prefer doing this as a living. Unfortunately I couldn't just quit my jobs (I had three part time jobs at the time!) to focus on my craft at that time of my life. So even though it took a couple years to fully blossom, Adele Rose has been on my mind for quite some time!
This is my very first Avant-Garde show, and my fourth craft show in general! I'm so excited to be here. You're catching me at an early stage of my "career" :)

What inspires me to create.. I think I've always been like this! I was the little girl asking why I had to color inside the lines and not being satisfied with the answer. I grew up but I'm still asking that question, and still not satisfied. Coloring inside the lines isn't creative! It's important to be a visionary, to express yourself through your art. There's just something about using your own two hands to make your own creation, you can't find that kind of joy in simply buying something. It's satisfying, knowing that you made something and there's only one of it. Then there's a beautiful challenge in making it again and again, improving each time, perfecting your craft. I take pride in being unique and am attracted to and inspired by other unique people.
How I got into my craft.. There are two things I've always felt passionate about: hand made gifts, and all natural products. I think making someone something with your own two hands speaks volumes. It shows that you truly care. As for the importance of ingredients, I have my own sensitive skin issues when it comes to synthetic materials, and I'm pretty sure I don't know a single human being who doesn't have some sort of reaction. Our epidermis is our largest organ, and it needs to be taken care of!

How I discovered my talent.. Oh, I'm still discovering my talent! I believe my passionate dedication and constant curiosity are my true talents. I'm still figuring out exactly what I want my Adele Rose brand to become. I'm still so young, with a full life ahead of me, I can honestly turn it into anything I want!

My creative process... I love to read due to my love of learning. I'll get inspired by something I'll learn in a book; herbalism, aromatherapy, chakras, etc. I'm a kinesthetic learner, so simply reading about a subject won't cut it for me. I need to fully immerse myself in what I want to learn. It's all trial and error, working out the kinks, trying not to get too down on myself when I'm not satisfied with what I made. I'm currently in a small apartment that I've definitely outgrown, so right now I'm dreaming of the perfect work space, i.e. a work space in general and not my kitchen table! Some day soon, my dreams will come true :) 
Where I see myself in 5 years.. I see myself owning my own shop. Okay, so it's a very ambitious dream, but stay with me here. I have current skills that I will develop and encapsulate into one giant career; not only do I make these products, I've also been a professional cook, florist, yoga teacher, and am a massage therapist in the making. So the end goal is to do all of that under one roof, producing as many of my own ingredients as I can. Behind the shop will be a garden where I grow my own herbs/flowers/veggies/fruits. Alongside the store stocked with my products, I will have one room for yoga, one room for massages, and the tiniest cafe area where I make tea/fresh pressed juice. I imagine I'll have some brilliant, wonderful people working for me. Granted, this is my end goal-- might not be accomplished in exactly five years-- but I will be on my way!

The message behind my work is community over competition. I want everyone to reach their dreams. I'd rather find a way to work WITH you, than compete aggressively with you. Perhaps this is the type of shopper I am, but I shy away from stores with any negativity. 

2017 Fairlawn Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday, May 13, 2017
St. George's Fellowship Centre
3204 Ridgewood Rd.
Fairlawn, OH 44333
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Glimpse Into Fairlawn's Artistic Talent!

Meet Jean Giles from Perfect Peace Pillows..
My husband and I work together on Perfect Peace Pillows.  He is a retired Engineer and I am a semi-retired licensed social worker.  
I have worked on crafts for years as a hobby, but this Avant-Garde Art and Craft Show will be our first time working together.  Our Perfect Peace Pillows are designed to inspire and bring a smile to all who see them.  

We want to be a blessing to others. 

Meet Kelsey Snyder from The Small Village... 
I was born and raised in Ohio. When I got married, my husband (Chris) and I travelled a lot for his career. We started our married life living on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for three years and then moved to Iowa for two years. After being away from home for five years, and having two children, we decided to move back to our home state of Ohio. I am now the mother of three children, who are my greatest blessings.

My business, The Small Village is fairly new. I have always loved crafting and decorating, but not until recently did I decide to take the plunge and turn my hobby into a business. I started selling my items in December of 2016. 
This will be my first Avant-Garde craft show. This is actually my very first craft show that I will be attending as a vendor!

Being a mother inspires me to create. I love the "sisterhood" of motherhood, and that kind of community is what inspires me to make the signs and tees that I do. 
I fell in love with crafting when I fell in love with decorating my home. We couldn't always afford home decor at the stores, so I always made my own. I love restoring an old piece of furniture or hanging a freshly painted sign above my sink. It honestly brings me so much joy to see my house turn into a home, because of my own two hands.

I discovered my talent after a lot of trial and error. I worked hard to find out what works and what doesn't. Many times, that meant learning from my mistakes. It wasn't something that came natural, but something that I worked for.

My creative process is a learning experience. I'm always finding new things to try and new materials to use. Having products that have the very best quality is very important to me. I put a lot of time and effort perfecting my skill. 
In five years, I would love to have my own storefront! I'd love to have my own store that focused on home decor and clothing, with my main audience being women and mothers. I want to create a special place where women can come together and fellowship over a cup of coffee. 

The message behind The Small Village is that everyone needs a village. It takes a village to raise a child right? Whether it be scripture on a sign, a funny graphic on a tee, or a relationship built with my customers...something small can be an encouragement to fellow women and mothers. 

Meet Linda Carpenter from Tole Antiques...
Hi! I'm Linda Carpenter. This is my first avant-garde show. I am a decorative painter. I paint on wood, metal, glass, etc. I started taking painting classes when my children were toddlers and have been painting ever since. My daughter just turned 40 last December, so that gives you an idea how long it has been! My first career was as a registered nurse working in Cardiac Intensive Care. I stopped working as a nurse when my children were born and looked for something less stressful to do!

I also taught decorative painting for about 15 years and began doing shows. You can only have so many painted things at home! About 7 years ago a friend talked me into making a beaded bracelet and I loved that too! I didn't want to give up either one.--So I began selling both.
I decided last year that maybe it was time for me to stop all my art work and do other things. That lasted one year and I really missed it. I was talking to a friend of mine who said to me "If God gave you a gift, then you should never give it up unless you have to."

So here I am, back painting and making jewelry. I love making people happy when they find something of mine that they love, and it is also therapy for me. It is easy to get lost in your art work and leave any other problems behind for a little while!

I am very much looking forward to May 13th in Fairlawn!

Meet Christine Hespen from The Chris Co... 
I'm 34 years old, born and raised in CLE on the eastside.  I obtained a Fine Arts degree from BGSU in 2004, with a focus in photography.  Since college I've been working in Corporate America and working in the arts as a hobby. I've been creating jewelry for about 10+ or so years now.

This will be my third Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show! 

What inspires me to create.. color! Bright, vivid color that surrounds us in this world truly is what inspires me. 
How I got into my craft.. My very first job was at a bead store in Beachwood Place back when I was 14 years old.  My love for jewelry kicked off from that job. I found out I had talent when it came to making jewelry when I watched what others created and tried to copy their pieces.  Once I started making variations of what I saw others doing, I realized it came easy to me.

My creative process.. I try not to over think a piece....when that happens I get restless and end up overthinking it to death.  I just start working on a piece, and let it flow.
Where I see myself in 5 years.. I really enjoy selling at the spring and fall craft shows in Cleveland, someday I would like to sell in local boutiques. 

The message behind my work.. Sometimes simplicity is best.  Sometimes there simply isn't a message, and that's okay!

Meet Marti McHugh-Curtis from ArtyMarti Designs...
Hello all!  I am Marti of ArtyMarti Designs.  I live in Chagrin Falls, OH with my husband, Keith, who is endlessly patient with all the clutter than goes hand in hand with creativity!  I have been greatly interested in art, photography, lettering, writing, and just about any other creative field, since I was a very young child.  I remember the frustration at age 9, of lying in the grass, trying to focus close-up on a flower, with an Instamatic Kodak that took flash cubes…anyone remember those??  Anyway, as the years passed, I spent time studying at both Miami University and Kent State University in the art departments.  My studies ranged from wallpaper and fabric design, to calligraphy, jewelry & metals, & photography.  However, once I was married and had the first two of my four children, photography seemed the best fit, both as a creative outlet, and also a way that I could work part time.  I began entering contests, became an active member of the Chagrin Valley Camera Club, and was eventually recruited as a free-lance photographer for the Chagrin Valley Times.  This worked perfectly with the demands of an active family; as by then I had one daughter and three sons.  I continued this work for about nine years, and felt the urge to try something different at that point.  As I had already been making many of my own greeting cards for years, by applying photos I had taken to card stock, it seemed like a perfectly natural transition for me to attempt to make this endeavor into a small business, and find a way to “update” the card style. 
I registered the name ArtyMarti Designs in August of 2015, and have been busy building the business and learning the ups and downs of marketing one’s own product.  I have had Open Houses, have some cards in local shops, as well as in a store in the Chautauqua Institution in New York state.  I participated in my first “tent event” at the end of last summer, and just recently discovered the Avant-Garde Craft Shows.  The Fairlawn show will be my second Avant-Garde Show, and I have been busy planning the best ways to display my product.  Being the day before Mother’s Day, I will have some great gift baskets made up, and I hope you will check them out!
Many things have inspired me to create.  I have always been drawn to beautiful details of things that I see.  I love traveling, and have amassed a huge collection of photos from those travels, that I now find to be a virtual catalog for me to draw from for my card designs.  I sometimes use “straight” photography, and at other times implement “effects” on my photographs to change their appearance to a more graphic or painterly style.  I have approximately 175 different card designs currently, ranging from old cars and trucks, animals, botanicals, barns, antiques & architecture, to anything interesting that catches my eye!  At first I made all of my cards blank inside, and found that many people were requesting cards with verses.  As I enjoy writing as well, I embraced the challenge of creating verses that connected well with the photos on the cards. I now offer many cards with verses for varied occasions, as well as a large stock of blank cards for the customers that enjoy writing their own.
At the Fairlawn show, I will have some interesting gift “baskets” made up of assortments of custom greeting cards, pens, and postage stamps in pretty containers of some kind, perfect for a Mother’s Day gift or birthday gift.  This may be an especially nice present for an older mom, aunt or grandma, who can’t easily get out the way they used to, but still enjoys writing notes and cards to people they know & love.  I hope you’ll check them out!  I will also have some enlargements, framed or matted, of several of the photos featured on my cards.
I do want to let people know that at this time I am only able to accept checks and cash.  Haven’t made the big move to accepting credit cards yet, but probably will need to check that option out soon!

I am in a constant state of learning, as I go through this process of creating and selling my art.  I am always open to hearing suggestions of what particular items people would like to see on a card, that I have not yet made.  My greatest satisfaction comes when a customer truly connects with a particular photo, and tells me the memories it brings to them, or when they tell me the verse I wrote perfectly conveys what they would like to say to someone.  I am very much looking forward to this new adventure, and hope that I will meet many of you soon!

Meet Bethany Wilson from Family 365...
Bethany, owner of Family 365. Family 365 is a small business dedicated to the importance of family time through creative outlets. We utilize multimedia art, photography, and books to inspire artistic time spent with family. 

I've written, drawn pictures, and taken photo's since I was a child but never did anything with it until the last few years. This will be my first show with Avant-Garde.

What inspires me to create is almost everything in nature, family, friends...
How I discovered my talent.. I feel like I was always creative but never fully used it until the last few years. Painting has become a favorite hobby.

My creative process... I kind of just look at different material and can creatively see how they piece together to form something awesome. I like to mix as much media as I can.

My five year plan.. This will probably always be a small side business. I enjoy making personalized pieces for families. 
The message behind my work is that I want people to enjoy the beauty of the world and see how they can interpret it into their own families. 

For more info on me and my work visit my website (which is still in the beginning stages) is familyfaithart.comMy books (which I illustrate with my photography and paintings are)

My spring and summer shows will include: Photography, greeting cards, my books, birdhouses, flower pots, button art and some paintings.My fall and winter shows will include: photography, greeting cards, my books, wine glasses, ornaments, fall and winter personalized paintings (with family names).

2017 Fairlawn Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday, May 13, 2017
St. George's Fellowship Centre
3204 Ridgewood Rd.
Fairlawn, OH 44333
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on: