Friday, October 28, 2011

Sneak Peak at Some of Our 2012 Winter Vendors!


Meet Anne Barach from Empty Knits..
I'm 24 years old and grew up in East Tennessee. In 2009 I graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, with a bachelor's degree in religion and one in French and Francophone Studies. I'm married to a wonderful guy, a native Clevelander who's currently in grad school at Case. We live in Little Italy and hope to make our life in the neighborhood.

I think much of my creative drive is inherited; I come from a family full of artists, musicians and other creative types. I grew up with English-professor parents, and art was just a part of everyday life in our family. I couldn't imagine living without it.

Sewing, needlepoint, and cross-stitch especially run in my mother's family. My grandmother was constantly working on beautiful counted cross-stitch pieces. Mom taught me to sew when I was little, which might be why I've always gravitated towards textile arts. In college I took three semesters of weaving, and from there I taught myself to crochet and then to knit. Knitting especially stuck with me! I've just recently taken up spinning my own yarns; it's definitely my new love.


Meet Ari Mason from Tiny Sheep..
I started on Etsy this past spring. I've had an unknown chronic illness since May 2010, and I've mostly been resting and seeing doctors over the past eight months. I had been sitting in bed making random hats for a couple of weeks straight when I realized that I could be doing more. My fiancĂ© Brenton and I agreed that an online store would be a great project for me, so I got to work.  It's so much more than a project now!
I took up crocheting in December of 2009.  I taught myself out of a book, and it was extremely tedious. I think most people would have given up after the first hour or so, but I'm a conservatory musician - we're used to practicing for hours a day until we get it just right.  Once you're proficient at something, learning a new step comes much more easily.  I ended up putting my crochet hobby away for a while, but I started working at it again to make some blankets. I had some huge revelations while making a doily from a faulty pattern last winter.  That doily indirectly brought me to where I am today.  Before I knew it, I was making some really attractive pieces.
I try not to look at what's "trendy" too often, because it can really dampen my ideas, or even stop my creative process in its tracks.  I'm not looking to have items that everyone else makes.  If I am looking at the products of another designer, I am looking for inspiration.  I do a lot of sketching, because figuring out the construction of a crocheted item should be well thought-out.  The sketches can only help so much, though - sometimes I'll estimate how the item will work up, but I end up doing things totally differently while I'm working on it.  Once I have a successful end result, I store everything in my head, or sometimes write it out.


Meet Davy Rigsby from The Davy Boat..
My name is Davy Rigsby, I'm 24 years old and I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2009 with a major in Film Studies. I enjoy films, books, fashion, art, and of course, crafts.
My favorite thing I've done is a duct tape chair that sits in my own living room. I got the chair used and just covered it in strips of duct tape. It took about 5 hours to finish (the back still isn't even done!), but it's fun and it's actually comfy and everyone always asks about it when they come over so it's a great conversation piece.
My advice to others..Just do what you love. I have yet to focus on producing a single product, I just make things that I would like to have and hope that others will feel the same way. And if not, you get to keep your awesome creations!

Meet Daniela Fodor from Cecille Creations..
My name is Daniela Fodor. I was born in Romania and I lived there 40 years. I moved in Ohio five years ago with my husband and our daughter aged three and a half years. I am the mother of two boys and a girl and they mean a lot to me.

I finished High School in Romania and there I studied psychology for two years. Psychology is and will be one of the great passions of my life, along with fiber art. I love country life but now I live in Parma Heights in an apartment and I would like to live in a big house in which I can fit my studio.

When I came in United States I met a new world that I knew almost nothing about and had to begin the process of accommodation :) To facilitate this process and try to cope with stress imposed by the change, I learned to make quilts. What I mean is, 5 years ago I did not even know how to use the sewing machine. I started the ABC's of the sewing machine and the quilt, brand new areas for me. In the meantime, I learned many techniques and styles; I started with traditional quilt and today I am envolved with abstract fiber art ,the style that is stimulating me the most. . I had a lot of help from art books and the patience and support from my husband, for which I thank.
When it comes to a favorite piece, it's hard to choose because I have few works that I loved but one of them is my favorite due to applied technique and the outcome. It is a Byzantine religious icon created in mosaic technique, composed of small pieces of 1 / 2 inches of satin assembled with tweezers because it is a slippery fabric, It took me three months to build it but I am happy with the result.
Two years ago I began to dye fabrics, a piece of dyed fabric can send me many messages and depending on my mood, I begin to lay the foundations of a new piece. I do not plan what steps need to be followed but let it flow by itself or spontaneous, always I rely on my intuition. Most of the time I ask myself"what if ...?" the creative process actually begins with this. Apart from the creating process of an art quilt I have an hour each day drawing that is dedicated to draw and to exercise my creativity. In terms of learning process I impose myself discipline because I have to learn fast and I need to accumulate a lot of information that I need  in my creative process.

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 support 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 info@avantgardeshows.com.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Face Behind the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows

Tell us a bit about yourself..
My name is Becki Cooper, I'm the founder of the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows. I’m a multi-tasker with a passion for anything vintage and different. I live in University Heights with my wonderful and supportive (especially during show seasons) boyfriend Michael, with our dog Google and 2 cats Ollie and Jack.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I work full time at an advertising agency in Lakewood, Ohio in an awesome century renovated house. In my day-to-day job (which I LOVE), I handle client accounts, public relations and social media for the agency.

On the side, I also have my own baking business that I do for fun called Becki’s Sweet Boutique (www.bsweetb.com).
Where do you get your creativity from?
I feel like I’ve always been drawn to creative things ever since I was young. My mother is probably responsible for that, since she is the one who enrolled me in a plethora of inspirational activities when I was a kid. I’m serious TONS: piano, ballet, tap, jazz, other musical instruments, singing groups, various art classes and acting troupes, she was/is my biggest fan! I was always brainstorming and creating goofy inventions growing up, and drawn to arts and crafts. It was unavoidable. Not to mention, working at an advertising agency, creative people surround you all day!
What got you into the craft hobby?
It’s actually a funny story. It started by taking cake decorating classes at Jo-Ann Fabrics with my best friend Renee. We did it just as something fun to do in our free time. After several months, people started noticing my cupcakes and cakes and I began a little side venture business for myself called Becki's Sweet Boutique. She also started her own side business that turned into a full time business called  Bee's Knees Creative (check it out!). To sell my work and promote it, I hit the craft show circuit. After doing several shows, I was able to get a hold on what works and what doesn’t, what I liked and what I would have liked to seen. Then I hit a roadblock.. the boy and girl scouts..

Let me explain…

At the shows, my cupcakes would sell for $2.00/piece because I would make them in unconventional shapes and designs. But I just couldn’t compete with those adorable boy and girl scouts. Not to mention, they were also selling their cupcakes for only $.25/piece, unbeatable! What was I suppose to do? That’s when it hit me.. and I know this sounds bad... but I had to eliminate the competition. And what better way then to take over the show!? Funny as it sounds, that’s how I started the shows. 

In addition to my own shameless self promotion, I also wanted to take local art shows to the next level. The plan was to focus on all the talent in the area and get it into once place. I'm not talking stereotypical art shows, but gorgeous and unique work. I also knew I wanted to tie in charity since it’s a big part of what I support and like to do in my free time. Thus, the combo of these elements gave birth to the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows.

The funniest part about all of this?.. I’m so busy with the planning and execution of the shows, I don’t even have time to bake for them. So what was once a hostile takeover, has now just morphed into the love of the arts and supporting local charities!
How would you describe your creative process?
When it comes to the baking side of the business, I really go off any type of inspiration and I peruse Internet blogs for ideas and inspiration. I also like to work with my clients who are looking for a specific type of theme for their event and create a great edible piece.

As for the art shows, the creative process is really exciting. I literally comb through vendors through etsy that are local, and physically go to several art shows to seek out vendors. I look for vendors who are the best at what they do. It’s really exciting, I compare it to one of my favorite things: finding a killer deal at a store, or that treasure you find at a vintage shop that is one-of-a-kind. I really am attached to all the vendor's talent that I recruit for each show.
What is your most favorite item that you have ever produced?
When it comes to baking, I love making cupcake bouquets. They look like potted flowers, but are actually cupcakes. I also made these cute cupcakes for mother’s day one year that I’m really proud of that feature fondant toppers. 
In regards to the craft shows, I'm actually really proud of the brand as a whole. It’s an ongoing project that keeps growing with each show, but has a strong presence through different mediums. I work with traditional advertising, branding, social media and many others. Another great thing is the network that has been created from it. It's great for all the vendors to meet one another and socialize together. I think of it as a book club for Northeast Ohio artists and crafters. Except instead of books, we all share the common bond of the show experience.
How did you get your business off the ground?
The Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows started in June of 2011 with 45 vendors and has taken off since then. It’s literally been physically contacting and recruiting vendors, venue visits, printing collateral, placing advertising, creating a PR presence, and getting the word out. Through those efforts as well as the enthusiasm from the vendors, the show has taken off. People have started to recognize the show by name and I receive emails daily of people inquiring how they can get involved, it’s a great thing! This show will be featuring 65 vendors and the next is already being prepared for 100 vendors!
What are your goals with your business?
I have a few goals:
1. Continue to grow the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows as a brand till it’s known throughout the Northeast Ohio art and craft circuit as one of the best shows in the area.
2. Seek out, find and continue to promote some of the areas most talented artists and crafters. Continued growth with each show. 
3. Continue to work with charities and bring recognition to their cause.

What do you do in your free time?
I always make time for free time, it’s important! In order to love what you do, you have to find time to decompress and enjoy yourself in other aspects of your life.

I love to spend time with friends and family, go out to dinners, work out, shop for vintage and thrift items and just relax and lounge at home. Oh, and NAP!

I also am involved in some other extra curriculars that I love.. I’m currently enrolled in an adult hip-hop dance class that I go to every week and I also volunteer as a Wish Coordinator for the Make-a-Wish Foundation to help grant wishes for sick children. I recommend everyone sign up for this charity, it's an awesome experience!

What's the message behind your work?
I always tell people I like to do a million different things at once, some people call it ADHD, I call it multi-talented! :) I feel like there is so much I want to do and accomplish and there's no stopping me, I WILL do it! When I set my mind to something it's going to happen. I really think that my message to others would be: think it out a little, but trust in yourself if you have motivation and determination to just go for it. Afterwards, reflect on the journey, you’ll be surprised at what you are capable of! 

Check out Becki Cooper this fall at the Avant-Garde Fall Art & Craft Show. 
This eclectic show will feature 67 of the areas most talented artis
ans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the North East Ohio Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Avant-Garde Fall Art & Craft Show
Sunday, October 23, 2011, 10:00am-5:00pm
Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Church 
5500 West 54th St. 
Parma, OH 44129. 
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at info@avantgardeshows.com.

Claudia Marie- Whimsical Paintings to Bring Joy


Tell us a bit about yourself..
My name is Claudia Schieve. I'm a student at Cleveland State University, majoring in Public Relations and Advertising. (I'm graduating this December! Woohoo!) I'm also an intern in the Events department at BrandMuscle, Inc., a church singer on the weekends, and an artist and musician the rest of the time!
 
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
When I'm not painting, I'm usually either working, going to school or making music. I sing and play guitar and ukulele at various venues around Northeast Ohio.  You can check out my website for some music, videos, show schedule, etc.: http://www.claudiasings.com.
 
Where do you get your creativity from?
I'm going to have to go with both my family and just life in general.  My parents are both pretty creative people both musically and artistically and my grandmother used to paint a lot so I think I may have inherited some of my artsy-ness.  I'm constantly getting inspired by nature and the world around me as well as other artists I come across.
 
What got you into the craft hobby?
I used to draw ALL the time when I was a kid. Like, constantly. I think I did that more than anything else. I guess it was a good way to keep busy since I'm an only child and had to entertain myself without brothers or sisters to play with all the time. A few years ago I decided to give painting a try and fell in love with it.
 
How would you describe your creative process?
Sometimes I just randomly get an idea of something I want to paint and go for it. I also look for inspiration online on art blogs and Etsy.  Other times, I start painting a background and I don't even know what it's going to end up being yet. I usually paint while listening to music or watching movies.
What is your most favorite item that you have ever produced?
It's hard to pick one, but I'll narrow it down to my owl paintings!  I'm definitely obsessed with owls and they're my favorite thing to paint! 
 
How did you get your business off the ground?
I'm not sure it's really "off the ground" yet to be honest!  haha.  But I think I'm on my way!  When I started painting, I never really thought about selling them until some of my friends told me I should try it.  So I opened an Etsy shop and the rest is history!  It's a lot of fun and each sale is a major thrill.  It makes me so happy when people like my paintings and want to hang them in their home or give them as gifts. 
 
What are your goals with your business?
My main goal is to keep on creating and having fun!  I'd also like to promote my work more so that more people will see and hopefully enjoy it! :)

What do you do in your free time?
With all the things I talked about in #1 & #2, free time can be pretty rare!  But when I do have free time, I like hanging out with my friends and family, and my cat - Mario, going to see live music, movies, reading, taking pictures, writing music and eating good food!  I also really like acting in plays and musicals but I haven't had much time to do that lately because I haven't had time for rehearsals.
 
What's the message behind your work?
Hmm. Good question! I don't know really. I seem to gravitate towards using bright colors and whimsical images, so I guess I just aim to brighten up someone's day :)

Check out Claudia Marie this fall at the Avant-Garde Fall Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 67 of the areas most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the North East Ohio Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Avant-Garde Fall Art & Craft Show
Sunday, October 23, 2011, 10:00am-5:00pm
Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Church 
5500 West 54th St. 
Parma, OH 44129. 
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at info@avantgardeshows.com.

Peepal Tree- 100% Natural Materials, When Architecture Meets India


Tell us a bit about yourself..
I am a part time designer and a full time mom! I love designing, creating and spending time with my 2 little boys. I am also an 'ex'-architect by profession and training. I say that because I have a bachelors in architecture from India and a masters from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have also worked 8 years in various cities like New Delhi, Ann Arbor, Chicago and Cleveland. I decided to be a stay at home mom when I had my older son 4 yrs ago and then my younger son 2 years later. Recently i decided to start work again and felt architecture was not exciting for me anymore, so I've decided to do something smaller scale. Also, born and brought up in India but living now in USA, I like to bring something unique from India and make it work with contemporary styles, hence block printing which is a traditional art form of India, very popular even today.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
 
I look after my 2 little boys, we spend a lot of time on playgrounds, reading books and playdates.

Where do you get your creativity from?
 
I'm not sure if I was born with it as neither of my parents are in the creative field! But since I can remember, I have always loved to draw, paint and create with my hands. Some of my favorite classes in school were art and crafts, I remember 8th grade we learned how to paint on fabric and do tie dye. I thought that was the most fascinating way to add color and design to a cloth. I remember making tons of handkerchiefs for anybody who was polite enough to take my 'creations'

What got you into the craft hobby?
 
I have to credit my arts and crafts teacher in school in New Delhi, India and then architecture school further created the desire in me to create, irrespective of the medium. Buildings or Scarves, it's all design.

How would you describe your creative process?
I do block printing on various products like tshirts, tank tops, scarves baby clothes, cards. I love color and clothes myself. I take inspiration from nature, anything I see or get an idea, I love to come back home and test it out. I also use principles of architecture in creating my various products. It could be the color of leaves in a tree. For instance, I made a top with various colors of the leaves I had seen literally on a tree!

What is your most favorite item that you have ever produced?
I recently made a full sleeved cotton tshirt inspired by the cape cod style of architecture, I picked the blues of water and the crisp white of sands. I loved how it came together. I also really love one of my wood blocks which is of an elephant and you will see a lot of products with that design. It's clearly my favorite block and now I have at least 30 in my collection of hand made blocks from India.


How did you get your business off the ground?
 
I was in India early this year, picked up some wood blocks from an artist who carves them out by hand. I also picked up some beautiful cotton material for scarves.I came back to US and started making some designs. First, I showed a small sample of my designs to some friends and a very special neighbor Judy, who has excellent taste in everything especially clothes. She loved it and ordered many scarves with matching tank tops for herself, her daughters and some friends of hers, thats when I knew I had something good.I took part in a show in June and my work was well received. Since then, I have taken part in some more shows and now a lot of my business is through word of mouth.

What are your goals with your business?
 
I hope to be able to support my family with my business in the next few years (not that I need to) but it's important to me to know that I can. I have always been self reliant and financially independent. Also, to have my own line out in some stores and have my work referred to as, " Is that a Peepal Tree scarf you are wearing ?"

What do you do in your free time?
 
Free time? Whats that?? I feel I knew what it was at some point in my life a long, long time ago in a land far far away... :-)

Seriously, I do make time to dabble in my other passion besides design which is cooking. I love to cook all sorts of cuisines: Indian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican and have just started dabbling in vegan baking. I also love to read fiction and listen to Hindi music in the car.

What's the message behind your work?
From and Inspired by nature. I always use 100% natural materials like cotton, recyclable paper for my creations. The wood blocks are made by an artist for me in India. And the paper comes straight from a factory in India where the work force is mostly comprised of women. I feel in my own small way I am helping these old crafts stay alive where machines and factories cannot replace handmade, one-of-a-kind designs. Also, it supports the women and artists from whom I buy from in India.


Check out Peepal Tree this fall at the Avant-Garde Fall Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 67 of the areas most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the North East Ohio Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Avant-Garde Fall Art & Craft Show
Sunday, October 23, 2011, 10:00am-5:00pm
Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Church 
5500 West 54th St. 
Parma, OH 44129. 
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at info@avantgardeshows.com.