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.