Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Importing Artists! Vendors Who Have Lived All Over, But All Have a Cleveland Connection!

Meet Lynn Thomas from Rin and Sammie...
I am a graphic designer and a jewelry designer working from my cozy
German Village home in Columbus, Ohio. I'm originally from Lakewood
Ohio, and I still have family in the Cleveland area.

My creativity is always there running in the background. It's a part
of who I am. The only time I really notice my creativity is when it's
not there.
I was a crafty kid. My parents would give me a new craft kit and say,
"Go!" I'd master the kit and jump off from there to create my own

I'm a beader and a jewelry maker from way back. So when I took a class
in fused glass several years ago, naturally I used the glass to create
I get my ideas from everywhere! I take a little from one place and put
it together with an idea from somewhere else, and wham, it's something

I love making jewelry and I love working with glass. In five years I
can see myself working in both mediums but in a new way that I can't
yet imagine.

I was making a lot of jewelry for myself and before I knew it I had
enough jewelry to begin to sell. I opened up an Etsy shop to begin
with and now I make enough to jewelry to exhibit in shows.

If I could have 3 wishes from a genie, they would be:
1. Space for a kiln in my home 
2. More time to work on my jewelry
3. A bright and sunny day for the Cleveland Avant-Garde show in January!

Meet Cathleen Mazur from MadaGlass Car Studio..
I was born and raised outside of Chicago but now I live here in Valley View with my husband, Mark, and my sons, Tony & Nick. Not to mention my 1 year old Basset Hound, who, for some strange reason, loves to eat glass.
I'm basically a self-taught artist.  At a young age, I was always interested in art.  Drawing, painting, jewelry, and recycled art were always a part of my life but art glass has been a fascination.  It started when I was a little girl in church, amazed at the beautiful stained glass windows with their rich color and design. 

After attending Ohio University and Cooper School of Art, majoring in Interior Design, I decided to take a night class at Cuyahoga Community College for leaded stained glass.  Then my love for glass took off.  Making leaded glass windows, wall panels and Tiffany style stained glass lamps for the past 30 years, I wanted to take glass a step farther...fused glass.  I bought a kiln, how-to books and some glass and started to experiment.  
I get inspired by nature and architecture. Once I get an idea, I think about it for days. I actually tweak it around in my head before I commit it to paper. Usually, the first sketch of the design becomes my actual pattern for cutting the glass..

My goal 5 years from now.. I'm hoping to buy a much bigger kiln and possibly take up glass blowing...

Meet Samantha Tailor from Snow….
My name is Samantha Tailor and I'm a recent addition to the wonderful city of Cleveland via the suburbs of New York City. I grew up in a very diverse place. Rich, Poor, Educated, Uneducated. My parents owned their own business and fought to make ends meet. This is where I was introduced to the life of a small business and the fight against corporations that stomped on the little guy. I saw how much hard work and dedication it took to get started, and how important it was to hit the ground running. 
These days I'm completely immersed in creating, thinking, and learning. I get my creativity from everyone around me. There is inspiration in us all. I started crocheting in college, and last year when my best friend and her husband announced they were expecting their first child, I found how much I loved amigurumi and made a set of animals for her baby shower. All the guests gushed over them, wondering where they could buy some, and so, my website was born. 
My creative process is simple. Hard work. I'm a perfectionist, so the process isn't always easy. Coffee helps. 

My favorite item(s) ever produced would have to be the party favors i made for my best friend's little girl who just had her first birthday! They went with a "little monsters" theme, and i whipped up 24 different little monsters. 
5 years from now, I'd like to be traveling around, bringing Snow. wherever I can, and introducing children to their imaginations. So much has been lost or put on the back burner in this hard, fast paced, technological world we live in. 

The only advice I could give to anyone looking to start a business is this: Never let your dream falter. Work your tail off. Make friends with coffee, because there're going to be a lot of late nights. If you love something, go for it. Doing something you love means you never have to work a day in your life. 

Check out these vendors this winter at the 2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 100 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Stewart's Caring Place, an organization that supports families touched by cancer.

2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Few of Our Repeat Avant-Garde Vendors- A Look at Some of our Veteran Vendors!

Meet Maureen Koopman from All Spelled Out...
I am an Interior Designer by education and sort of happened into the world of wall words, a little by accident. (A VERY happy accident though!) As a interior designer, there was a little bit of pressure to create a unique nursery for my son (mainly self-inflicted, mind you!) I came up with the idea for these letters when designing my son's nursery a couple years ago. I wasn't thrilled with the options for wall words out there and felt I needed to put my own stamp on his nursery anyway.

I created his letters and of course showed off the nursery whenever I could- Little did I know that would be the one that started it all...I made another set for a good friend's baby shower. I found people telling me over and over, "You really should sell those!" So after a lot of convincing- Here I am!! And the rest is history.

I work part time at an architecture firm but this is truly my passion. I love the opportunity to be a part of people's homes, lives and celebrations. The rest of my time is spent with my adorable son who is a source of joy every day!

My favorite creation to date is absolutely be the letters I made for my son, Robby. Little did I know that those letters would turn into! 

I got into my craft through A lot of "little birdies" in my life. My family and friends are my biggest cheerleaders and have encouraged me every step of the way. I cannot thank them enough, especially my husband, my Mom and my sister!
Meet Tanya Knapp from Snowflake Avenue Jewelry...
Snowflake Avenue Jewelry is a mother daughter collaboration, located in the beautiful High Sierras. Our jewelry is inspired by nature, making each design one-of-a-kind, just like a snowflake! Each of our pieces are unique and handmade with genuine gemstones, handcrafted beads, sterling silver and/or imagination.
How we got started... My mother has always been into making jewelry and I got employed at a jewelry shop. The combination of technique I learned from the jewelry shop and previous knowledge with the passion my mom had, was a perfect way to become involved in the jewelry making craft. My mom and I couldn't ignore the requests for our jewelry, so we decided to create a website. We also host parties, and have sold at other craft shows.
We are inspired by our surroundings. Looking outside and seeing all the color combinations helps create a colorful dramatic variety.  Nature is always changing and keeps our creative process fresh and exciting.
The message behind our work is to enjoy what you do and what you're creating and the outcome will always be successful.  Also that nature is a beautiful wonderful thing and inspiration can come from a wild and natural place.

Meet Shannon Dennis from The Nina Line...
I'm now a work at home mom after over 5 years of travelling for the sewing industry teaching sewing around the country. I've written and had published three books on sewing including Make It You: Sew Hip, Make It You: Your Space and The Basics and Beyond: Sewing Home Decor. I currently write regularly for some very fun sewing publications like Sew News, Creative Machine Embroidery and Sew It All. Since my son was born in 2010, I've had the amazing opportunity to stay home with him and continue my creative career with Nina, my own company. While I make things to sell I also enjoy sharing my passion for sewing by helping others learn "how-to" DIY!
I got my skills from my mom and I think my creativity too. She was always a pattern and directions sewer but when I started showing signs of cutting out my own designs and changing patterns around she always encouraged me, never made me feel bad if it didn't work out the way I thought it would. I think sometimes my creativity comes out of necessity too. I have to make a living at what I do now so sometimes you just have to buckle down (mostly during that wonderful two hour nap time!) and create!
My creativity comes from visual inspiration. This can come from anywhere. Then finding the fabrics to create and making it happen. Sometimes this takes trial and error but I also set up an inspiration board for bigger projects so they don't get too far away from my original intent and I can take out some of the possibilty of error.
Some exciting news, I'm about to launch a new website for my business and it includes a shop! I'm hoping this will be profitable and allow me to make more the how-to videos people have come to love. I hope that 5 years from now I can be teaching sewing again on a regular basis and creating more on-of-a-kind items that people will love!

Check out these vendors this winter at the 2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 100 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Stewart's Caring Place, an organization that supports families touched by cancer.

2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Art of Handmade Creativity!

Meet Shari Dippong from Mommy's Craft Box...
Creativity really runs in our family. I'm thankful for it. My grandpa was an inventor, everyone on my side of the family can draw, my dad was a carpenter... it's awesome. My creative process is random. very random. I think some of it comes from my inventor grandpa... seeing a need and filling it. Or looking at materials, and thinking.. what can i do with that? 

I got started in my craft by working at so many places for kids... I worked at summer camps, after school programs, and then preschool. I'm kind of an assignment driven person, and forget to craft just for me. I need people saying.. we need a drawing for this, or we need u to teach this craft this week. Etsy has really helped encourage me to continue crafting, keeping the shop filled and knowing that people are enjoying what I make has been a real boost.

When it comes to my work, I don't normally just make stuff for me. I hardly keep anything that I make, I either give it away, or sell it, so Etsy really has been the making of my little "career" as it is. it has given me an outlet, and contacts. it has given me a reason to craft.

Meet Sharon Lee from Hsin Land...
I lived in Taiwan for 18 years, and now live in Cleveland for the past  8 years. I’m a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, private art and Chinese teacher.

I started doodling and drawing when I was 2 years old, and started giving out my art works as gifts as a way of communication since I was 5 years old.
I loves the mixture of old fashion techniques and modern technology to create something that is intimate and  personal. I enjoy using color inks, salt, cheap blue pens, and coffee stains, which are my favorite ways of doodling and creating special texture effects.
I’d say I get my artsy gene from my dad who did not have a chance to major in the art field due to our family’s poor financial situation at that time. I definitely get my crafty side from my grandma, who is also the inspiration of my work (Hsin Land) for my Bachelor of Fine Arts show at the Cleveland Institute of Art. To see the whole collection of works from that show please go to  under a folder named Hsin land.
While studying at Cleveland Institute of Art, people started requesting to buy prints of my works and designs, that’s when I realized how happy it made me, not because of the money, but because of people really being touched by the works! 
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where my parents encouraged us to develop our talents. 

Both of my parents had many useful and artistic skills. I developed a love for needle crafts and crochet from my mother.  She was always making something beautiful for friends and family, giving lovely gifts for special occasions such as crocheted baby blankets, intricately knitted sweaters for birthdays, and delicately made tablecloths. Because of my mother I now enjoy knitting, sewing, crochet and embroidery.

Meet Natascha Maki from Light N' Lacy...
I have always used my spare time to make things. It is not unusual for me to be crocheting or knitting while watching a great classic film. My creative process is usually a result of a spark of an idea which is followed by a flurry of learning, research and experimenting until I have the result and item I had planned.   

 My favorite item is a knitted sweater I made using a design of my own.  I was pleased with the result.

My goal in five years, is to continue with craft shows and enjoying my hobbies. I would enjoy expanding some of my hobbies into a business.

Check out these vendors this winter at the 2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 100 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Stewart's Caring Place, an organization that supports families touched by cancer.

2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All That Glistens, a Jewelry Feature!

Meet Kat Glazewski from Kat Jewelry Design...
I am 24, an Art Student graduate with a fondness for the jewelry and culture of the vikings and Anglo-Saxons, and super-modern streamlined design. I have a myriad of hobbies and a very few close friends, and one cat who *obviously* rules the house. I'm still trying to find my permanent place in the world. Chicago is starting to look pretty good.

Growing up, I had several artistic role models. My Mom had art all over the house, and one of my Aunts liked to engage me in kid's crafts when I came to visit. I believe in the Output Requires Input Theory; I need creative input in the form of music, books, new sights and tastes, in order to stimulate creative output.

For my creative process, I'm a big fan of variation. I like to start out with a process, then change the color, or one material, or a part of the method. One reason Viking Wire Weave appeals to me so much is that there are so many different results you can achieve with one basic technique. In studio jewelry, I was very fond of the Lost-Wax casting process, and wax-molding, because the wax doesn't always mold right and the casting doesn't always flow right, and then you get these results that are half what you expected and half something totally new.

Meet Alyssa Yeager from Guidestone Jewelry...
I'm a musician with the band Telling Point (we play some locally, but mostly tour the festival circuit) and a certified music therapist. I practiced at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital for several years before deciding to pursue my art and music full time.

I love pursuing creative avenues from jewelry design to songwriting to abstract art. One of the nicest things about my business is that it allows me to combine working with stones to design jewelry, writing a story (description) about each piece, and finding ways to help people in difficult life situations. Being in any creative field also increases your time spent with other creative and thoughtful people, which is a great bonus!
I look at situations where people are struggling in their lives and design pieces to support them through their own process. For example, a good friend of mine was getting ready to leave her job and begin a new position that she was anxious about. I wanted to design a piece that would help her to remain calm and take things day by day, instead of allowing herself to feel overwhelmed by all the changes that were happening at once. I looked up a variety of stones that had calming properties and chose African Jade to create the piece "Flow". 
Meet Elizabeth Beeson from Quite Clever Jewelry...
I am a bench jeweler who works in sterling silver, brass and copper. I love what I do and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be creative in my everyday life. I started my business after losing an art teacher position due to budget cuts in my district. As art teaching jobs were being cut across the state, I decided to try my hand at making and selling my creations. I put together a studio and started creating metal jewelry, not knowing if I could actually make a living. I have learned so much since I started and, even though I have struggled at times, I am so proud that I am able to support myself with my business
I get my inspiration from everywhere, though lately I have been creating inspiration boards for different lines of jewelry. I usually post images, fabrics, textures or anything that may give me inspiration and direction for a certain line of jewelry pieces. My latest line is inspired by Art Deco patterns and the idea of multiplication and distortion. My inspiration changes from instance to instance. Sometimes I will even dream a design and then wake up and hurry to the studio to see if I can capture it. Other times I may stumble onto something successful through mishaps with other pieces. I always try to keep an open mind to the possibilities within each piece, and I'm always willing to change designs over time to make them more versatile or fitting with my aesthetic. Being a former art teacher helps as well, because I tend to constantly critique my work from the perspective of a teacher, focusing on art elements and principles.
I started my own business after I was laid-off from teaching. There were no art teacher openings in my area. I decided to take a leap of faith and try something I had always wanted to do, making a living with my art. I was lucky to book a huge show in my first year and my business took off from there. It has been a whirlwind of activity ever since, and I learn something new every day. I feel so lucky to be able to do something I love. Even though I don't make much money, I love creating and there is a certain pride in being totally self-sufficient.
Meet Kaley Kleinman from Odds and Ends...
Creating has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Nothing makes me happier than working with my hands to create a finished product that is completely unique. I like to try lots of different things, and so I named my jewelry business “Odds and Ends.” During high school, I took a woodworking class and a metals class, which were, by far, my favorite high school courses. What brought me back to jewelry (I messed around with it when I was much younger) was my fascination with sea glass. I have been collecting it my whole life in hopes of making a giant mosaic table one day. I’m not sure where I first saw sea glass jewelry, but I started to make wire wrapped pendants and earrings, and the rest of the jewelry I make began there. 
So far, my favorite item I have created is my Celtic Trinity Necklace.  I’ve always been really attracted to Celtic, and medieval styles.  Celtic knot work is absolutely beautiful, and looks awesome with my favorite gemstone, labradorite. 
The advice I have to others about starting a business is just to jump in and start doing it.  I’ve found that I learn the best through experience and, unfortunately, mistakes.  I learn tricks all the time that help me improve upon what I do.  

Check out these vendors this winter at the 2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 100 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Stewart's Caring Place, an organization that supports families touched by cancer.

2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at