Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Has Sprung and So Have These Artists!

Meet Liz Sabo...
I grew up in Lakewood, Ohio. I attended college in Rochester, NY at the Rochester Institute of Technology.There I studied photography, which I still love and which has made at least one part of selling handcrafted items easier: I don’t have to hire a photographer. While at school I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and during the three months abroad, I was constantly coming across shops which sold handmade, one of a kind clothing and accessories. The idea that stores like this existed, and so prevalent, made an immense impression on me. These small boutiques and shops, that seem to be sprouting up rapidly in Cleveland, are a constant inspiration for me.
Beginning in my 20s, I started sewing more, making myself a dress or two a year. At first, I had a fair amount of help from my mom, who has been sewing her whole life. It was not until about two years ago that I started sewing with any consistency. At this point, after having made myself a purse, I received requests from family and friends for bags of their own. I’ve been spending most of my time sewing ever since.

One of my favorite parts of sewing is the design stage. Finding inspiration and working my aesthetic and my ideas of what is most desirable into a completed design is challenging. But in the end it is fun, and quite satisfying. My design process usually starts with an element or feature. I may want to work with pleats, or to create outside pockets. I usually will start with a general sketch or sketches. As I start sewing and getting to the inner structure, I will sketch pieces and parts of the construction, altering the design as I go. The final step is to create a set of finished pattern pieces, to be used when I make batches of the design.
The hardest design to make, but ultimately my favorite, was the curved messenger bag. Many mockups of the bag were made before I was able to get the curves to consistently be flat and even. I would alter pattern pieces over and over again, thinking I had fixed the problem, only to have it crop back up. In the end, I found the solution, and ended up with a design with beautiful and distinctive curves.

I love to challenge myself to with new techniques. I still make many clothing items for myself. With each of these projects, I try to do something a bit different and learn something new. In this way I am building my inventory of skills, elements which I can then apply to new bag designs.

Meet Jordan White from White Cross Designs...
My spouse would probably describe me as a textile artist with the soul of an engineer. I love to create with my sewing machine, but insist on precision in the results. Since before the age of 9, I've always been working with textiles; my grandmother taught me to embroider, my aunt taught me to knit, etc. Frequently, the patterns didn't provide what I wanted, or agree with my concept of something, so I'd just design my own. I remember the first coat I made... a friend complimented me on it, and wanted to know where I bought it. When I told her that I made it myself, she said something like, "Oh, you CAN'T do that; coats are really hard to make!!" My response was, "thank goodness I didn't know that before I did it!"

I've been selling my handsewn items regularly since early 2009, but I've been creating things for family and friends and as one-of-a-kind custom work since I was a pre-teen.
Sewing is peaceful and calming, exciting and frustrating. I love it when things turn out as I intended, but it often takes 3, 4 or more prototypes to get there. I used to worry about it, but I've finally gotten to the point where I give myself permission to rip it up, throw it in the trash, and move on!! 

I get up at about 3:30 A.M. each day, so that I can have sewing time before anyone else is up. A degreed accountant, I am grateful to now spend my days homeschooling our 8 year old, then running up to my third floor 2-room studio as soon as school is done. If not for my husband and daughter, I'd probably never leave the 3rd floor!
My creativity must come from God, as I don't see myself as an imaginative person. Usually I start with trying to fill a need, say, make a better computer laptop bag, then go from there. I love challenges, so once I master a basic anything, I'm always looking for ways to improve on it; for both more usefulness and more beauty.
I'm not sure if you would say I'm in a craft hobby. It's probably more of a pioneer-type lifestyle. Instead of going out and purchasing something, I usually try to see if I can do it myself, which has led to all sorts of interesting creations.
Creative process: Visualize the desired product, create a protoype, evaluate for errors and needed improvement, create 2nd prototype, evaluate for erros and needed improvement, creat 3rd prototype,...lather, rinse, repeat!
Most favorite creation is a tough one. I like doing so many things  ---  I love making unique men's neckties (most of their things are soooooo boring), one-of-a-kind outfits and dresses for our daughter, rag quilts/throws, and lately, tote/market bags, using extra heavy-weight canvas (14.75 oz). I have to say that my emphasis though, always seems to be on natural materials (cotton, silk, canvas) and precision beauty combined with durability and usefulness.
Using the skills God has given me, I'd like to become successful enough with sales of my handsewn products to replace the accounting salary that I left behind when I decided to stay home full time. With that amount of sales, I would know that I was being recognized for producing a quality product and providing satisfaction/pleasure to a good number of people, which would give me great joy.

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. 
When I was little, my mom and I did a lot of crafting together, but what stands out for me are the beaded wire Christmas ornaments she taught me to make.  I think that’s what taught me basic wire and beading techniques that I use in my work today. 

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. 

In 5 years, I’d love to be doing even more with soldering and metal work. I also love woodworking, so who knows. Maybe I’ll be doing more of that!

The only advice I have 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.

Meet Jackie Hixon from Jackie Hixon Art...
I'm an an eccentric, lifelong Clevelander who is passionate about the environment and finds inspiration in the 4 distinct seasons. I play chess avidly, but badly and Scrabble a little better. I've been doing this ever since I can remember. It began with Crayola crayons & just evolved into other mediums.

I'm an voracious reader, reading nearly 200 books a year, especially history & art books (anything but scary or violent stuff). I also spend a lot of time with my freshwater aquariums and silly guinea pig, Dora. 

A lot of my subjects are sketched from life at nature centers, reptile shows, the zoo or county fair. I get my inspiration from the beauty and wonder of nature. A childhood spent watching Jacques Cousteau and Wild Kingdom left me with the ability to imagine most any animal in natural situations, so I just pull the idea out of my head & try to get it down on paper.

From there I then make preliminary sketches till I get proportions right & transfer it to the final paper or canvas. Being a slow worker, it then takes awhile to get the whole picture completed, but it also depends on the medium I'm using too. 

My first sale was when I was in middle school & the lady next door bought me a set of Conte pastel pencils to draw her a set of pictures for her home. She was a French teacher, so the French pencils were appropriately exotic and of course, one of the drawings was of her yellow tabby cat, Pierre. 
Since then, my illustrations have appeared in various national magazines & newsletters. Designed rubber stamps and a logo for The Squirrel Store website. Was interviewed for "Animal Fair" magazine Fall 2004 issue.

One of my recent favorite pieces was a pen & ink on calligraphy paper of an American goldfinch on a dead sunflower called "Summer's End". It was a bit more stylistic than my usual work and was beautifully framed by Nancy at Off The Wall Gallery.The drawing won an Honorable Mention Ribbon last summer at the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council Juried Show.

Since I concentrate on endangered species, I see my work as an educational tool. How can people be concerned that an animal is disappearing, when they don't even know what it looks like? Even common animals such as songbirds have been drastically affected by habitat destruction, so I try to show what we are losing. 

Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 135 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Project Night Night, an organization that provide care packages and support for children during times of home displacement.

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Art & Craft of Personal Expression

Meet April Bleakney from APEMADE…
I am a 26 year old female, Kentite, screen printer, artist, history nerd, dog lover...
In my free time I take care of my 2 beagles, volunteer at Zygote, volunteer with youth programs, (work a part time job) love to eat/cook, travel, music, family. But most of my time is spent creating things.
I've been making things since I can remember. I've really been creating art since I was a kid. I received a lot of encouragement from my family and friends. I graduated from Kent with a BFA in Fine Arts (Printmaking as my concentration). The decision to turn it into a career developed very organically. I started printing tees for fun, put some pictures on Facebook, and the rest is history. My business was officially registered in June of 2011.
My creative process can vary greatly depending on what medium I am working in. For screen designs, I usually start by drawing my design on paper first, then scan it into digital format and alter digitally if necessary.
What is your most favorite item that you have ever produced? Oh, no way I could pick ONE favorite item.

My goal is to socially promote local pride and consciousness and create compelling visual art.  Personally, my goals are to continue to develop work that makes a statement about American and world issues (and hopefully be able to financially support myself in the process!).
The message behind my work is honest depictions of local daily life, with compelling visuals.  Humor and sarcasm welcome.  
For more of my work visit my etsy shop at: APEMADE or email me at:

Meet Christine Taylor and Mary Taylor from CMandMJewelry…

CMandMJewelry is made of 2 sisters who love jewelry. Christine 37, and Mary 25, have been making and selling jewelry for over 5 years now. We were both born and raised in Maryland, not far from Washington DC. We moved to Ohio with our parents when they retired a few years ago.

Our creativity runs in the family. Our mother has always been into crafting. I (Christine) learned to crochet at an early age. We always had crafts to do. A lot of our Christmas decorations in the past have been handmade. Mary and I have worked in craft stores in the past, and that lets you try out and see all the different craft and hobbies out there.

We actually got into crafting when we found a great bead shop in Virginia. We started as collectors at first. Soon after, we found a couple good beading books and began learning new techniques. We were hooked! We have been selling since about 2005, and our goal as a company is to not have to work for someone other than ourselves!
Our creative process is as follows: Mary has all her beads organized in boxes. She sits on the floor with the boxes around her in a semi-circle. She pokes around and arranges them on a bead board. I (Christine) usually start with a color, or a certain pendant, and go from there. I also use a bead board to plan out my designs.
After we had been crafting for a while we got started selling our craft. We heard about Etsy through our older sister who made and sold soaps on the site. We looked into it and set up shop.

The message behind our work is the belief that when you wear a piece of jewelry, you are showing the world a piece of your heart. Jewelry is something personal and unique to each individual.

Meet Annie Clouse from The Playful Peacock...
Hello, my name is Annie Clouse and I am a middle school art teacher in the Cleveland area. I adore teaching art, especially to middle school students (they are so much fun)! I also love my wonderful husband of two years and our lazy pups, Winston and Willow. We are constantly trying to save our pennies to travel and see more of this world, but our daily life consists of talking, eating, and laughing together. 
I have loved working creatively with my hands, regardless of the task, for as long as I can remember. I have drawn all of my life, but I have tried many other art forms as well, including metal sculpture and glass-blowing. I have a deep respect for good design, and I am always attracted to vibrant color. I graduated from Kent State University with a Fine Art degree in Art Education and while I love the field, the school setting can be limiting for personal art expression. 

How I got Started- A coworker and good friend asked if I would help out at our school district’s after-prom and give the kids henna tattoos. I agreed and found that the more I practiced the pretty little designs, the more I fell in love with the art form. I had so much fun giving tattoos the night of prom, that I wanted it to be more than just a one-time event. I practiced more henna and looked into starting a small business to do more events. I am thankful to have met a lot of interesting people and have gotten to share the beautiful art of mehndi with them. I love that this art is interactive. It may come from my mind, but once it’s on your hand it becomes part of you, and I love being able to give that gift.

Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 135 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Project Night Night, an organization that provide care packages and support for children during times of home displacement.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Little Creative Inspiration Goes a Long Way...

Meet Beverly Vinch and Laurie Vinch from Washed Ashore Jewelry...
The duo are a sister and sister-in-law both living in Avon Lake, Ohio. Beverly has been creating jewelry pieces for years and her sister-in-law, Laurie, has been collecting beach glass for years. Their family went on vacation one year to Emerald Island, and of course Laurie brought several boxes of beach glass and that's when it hit both of them. How beautiful would it be to incorporate Laurie's beach glass into Beverly's designs? That's when Washed Ashore was born. Laurie learned to drill the glass, and Beverly taught her how to create jewelry and the rest is history. The company has officially been in business since September 2010.

Beverly got into selling our art/craft when she wore one of the pieces that the ladies created. Immediately there was a response and they had an order to produce bracelets for an entire wedding party and also design the bride's jewelry. 

Beverly and Laurie generally both like to get together and design (usually on a Sunday afternoon). Beverly tends to design pieces that are a bit more elegant and mainstream, where Laurie tends to design the pieces that are more eclectic and outside of the box (that's the artist in her).

Their creative process is a long process that starts with combing the shoreline for beach glass, whether it's in the beautiful summertime or with the cold biting wind coming off of Lake Erie in the winter. Every piece of beach glass that they use in their designs has been personally picked from the shores of Lake Erie. Once the glass is collected, it's cleaned, dried, separated and then Laurie gets to work drilling. They usually get together on Sundays to look at the pieces and start their design process, which may or may not involve a cocktail from time-to-time! :)

The ladies favorite pieces are their Beach Glass Blossoms, which they both love. They also are fond of their Beach Glass Lanterns, which are spectacular when lit at night.
Beverly and Laurie have really enjoyed all of the art and craft shows they have done and the chance to meet other people who love collecting beach glass. They have set up their website to allow them to continually show their pieces at all times throughout the year and stay in front of their clients that are repeat customers. Their goal is to be able to continue this business well into retirement when they can comb beaches all over the world, in particular England and Bermuda.

The message behind their work is that their pieces are the ultimate recycling. Not only are they cleaning up the beaches, they are creating something that is beautiful, sustainable, and can be passed down through generations as heirloom pieces.

Meet Carey Starkey from Designs By Carey...
I am a 27 year old student studying to be a history teacher. I also work at a local grocery chain store. I also teach 5th and 6th grade Sunday school at my Church.

My mom always liked to do crafts like making Christmas ornaments and my grandmother could crochet beautiful blankets. This is my outlet. When I come home from a long day at work, I sit down with my bead supplies or a scarf I'm working on, and I can relax.

How I got started- I've been beading since I was about 10. I began selling my items in July 2011 on Etsy. A friend of mine began making items to sell at a convention and got me thinking about doing the same. She showed me some new techniques and someone at work told me about Etsy. I also have a few friends who do craft shows and they gave me some advice.

I've enjoyed beading since I was a kid. It began as making little friendship bracelets for my friends and progressed into what I do today. I started crocheting just after high school. That's when the ponchos started coming into style. My mom showed me how to crochet and I've been doing mostly scarves and shawls ever since, with the occasional poncho in between. Depending on how ambitious I am.

I don't know really how to describe my creative process. I'll usually have a basic idea for a design, either from something I saw on TV or online in a store. Then I start to play around with my supplies to combine colors and see what works best. I usually ask my sister for an opinion on whether something is too gaudy. We're very close so I know I can trust her opinion.

One of my favorite things I've ever made was a 12 ft long black and white scarf. It was a recent Christmas gift for my sister. It almost had this really cool zebra print effect on it. I had to take it to work with me or work on it on the weekends while she was not home so she would not see it.
When it comes to goals, I just enjoy being creative and sharing what I create with people. Sometimes my parents and I talk about opening a coffee shop/boutique some day.

Meet Jen Buchana from Jenbuza Bags...
I am married (11 yrs.) and a dog mom of 2, living in Bay Village. I have a design background and work in a tile showroom. I have been creating purses/bags for almost 2 years. I love to work in my garden, hang out with my dogs and hubby, do yoga, work on my house and read on my Nook.
I come from a very creative family. I got started in my craft when I became unemployed and needed something to do while job hunting, so I sewed a purse as a gift! I also took a few items to Bayarts in Bay Village to see how they would sell. They did well, so I started going to shows, etc.
I am constantly thinking about new things and always looking at things to inspire me. I write ideas down.

My favorite item- I created a purse for a little girl that was very pink, sweet and girly. That has been my favorite so far.

My goal and hope is to eventually have my own consignment/gift shop with some friends. 

Meet Christy Ziemianski from Tummy Totes...
My name is Christy Ziemianski. I am a proud mother of two, and I have taught high school for the last 13 years. I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University’s Scripps School, and I hold a master’s degree in Spanish from Kent State University. I am a native of Cleveland’s west side, and I currently reside in North Royalton.
I have been creative for as long as I can remember. I am the daughter of two gifted writers, and my parents fostered my love of artistic expression from a very early age. My mom gave me a sewing machine after college, and I’ve put it to good use in recent years.
Most recently, I was inspired to create Tummy Totes for my children. I was looking for a child-sized tote where my kids could easily access all their “little treasures” from the front, and when I couldn’t find one, I knew I could make one. The outcome far exceeded my expectations, but most importantly, they were a big hit with my kids! The Tummy Tote venture began in the summer of 2011, so it has only just begun!
After I saw how successful the Tummy Totes were for my kids, I began making them for friends and family. I received a great deal of positive feedback and thought other kids might like them, too.
My ideas come to me quickly, and the process unfolds easily. Once I get creating, though, I spend a great deal of time working out the details and making revisions, as I am a bit of a perfectionist.
My favorite item is my flower headband. Although the Tummy Totes are my proudest achievement, the headbands came to me by surprise. I was looking for a way to use fabric remnants, and a new creation was born.
My goal? I hope that other children will benefit from and enjoy wearing my creations, while looking bright and adorable at the same time! I also hope this is the beginning of a successful business venture. You can view tummy totes at
Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 135 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Project Night Night, an organization that provide care packages and support for children during times of home displacement.

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

Friday, March 2, 2012

Inspiring Women with Inspiring Goals..

Meet Laura Tomanek from Satisfying Sweets LLC...
I am 33 years old and have lived in Lorain County my entire life. I am married to my high school sweetheart and he is my biggest supporter. I work full time and create Satisfying Sweets in my free time. Satisfying Sweets was 'born' on March 1, 2011. It became an LLC in November of last year.

Satisfying Sweets provides custom sweets and greeting cards. I specialize in custom orders and can work with you on coordinating colors, themes, flavors etc... The most popular occasions that I have created sweets for are birthdays, holiday gifts, corporate gifts and parties. I also customize sweets for weddings and showers. I make cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes, cake pops, cupcake bite (cake ball), brownies, decorated cutout sugar cookies, drop cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle etc...), chocolate covered pretzels, cookies and strawberries as well as greeting cards for all occasions, invitations and scrapbooks.
I get my creativity from my grandma and a few of my aunts and cousins are super creative and talented, so I like to think that I get my creativity from them, that it's in my genes. :)

I make handmade cards, invitations, and scrapbooks currently, but I started making greeting cards probably 10 years ago or so. I've always been a big fan of sending cards to loved ones for special occasions and holidays, so I thought it would be fun to create my own and make them more personalized. To that end, I also love to receive cards. I have always enjoyed baking and decorating desserts and sweets for get togethers and holidays.

I really got involved in my craft last spring, that’s when it started to take off. At that time, I was actually trying out different things for a bake off contest, so I was bringing in a lot of sweets to work so that I could get some honest feedback. It was then that I had numerous people express to me that I was really good at this and should consider "doing this" and selling my baked goods. At first I just blew it off because I'd heard that before on occasion, but then I got to thinking, "Why Not?" So, I decided that I would try it. Well, once I decide that I'm going to do something I give it 110%. 

At first, it was family, friends and co-workers ordering sweets but then the word of mouth started traveling and I started doing a farmers market and craft shows and I stay very busy. It's so much fun that it doesn't really seem like 'work'. I really believe that this is what I was meant to do. It's been almost a year since I started on this venture and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow.
When I go into a paper store or a craft store and see new paper designs or color schemes, my mind starts racing with all of the different themes and styles that I could create. Also, when I receive cards or see other artist's talented work, it inspires me to create my own version of an idea. As far as thinking of ideas for the sweets... It's not difficult to think of new flavor combinations because I LOVE sweets. I really think I could live off of just desserts if I had to! My list of ideas to try grows each day. If I see something in a shop, online or at a party I can't wait to have the opportunity to experiment with different flavors and different decorating techniques.

Also, my family and friends are always excited to give me ideas based on something cool that they saw or tasty that they ate somewhere else. I love to watch tutorials on different decorating and baking techniques. There are really so many talented and amazing artists out there. I hope that my list of ideas continues to grow and I never want to stop trying new things. My co-workers, family and friends are usually the taste testers and beneficiaries of all of the new creations. My husband and I try one item and then we have to get the rest out of the house. We both enjoy sweets, so it's very difficult to have a full kitchen of them.
I have many favorites, but I think the items that top my list are my 'sparkly' snowflake cookies, that I made for Christmas. I think they are so elegant and classy using a simple design.

My ultimate goal is to have a storefront, selling my sweets and paper goods. I think that would be the best job ever. I have friends and family that also enjoy and are talented in creating art and I think to be able to surround yourself with people you love, while doing something you love... well, there would be nothing better. I would love to provide sweets for weddings, corporate events, showers, parties, school events etc... It's such a compliment to me when a 'stranger' comes to a show just to see me, taste or order something that I've made that they've heard about or seen pictures of. It's a great feeling.

When I make a card, a cookie, a cupcake, or anything else, I really just want the recipient to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it. It makes me so happy to make someone smile or make someone's day brighter. And if I can do that by doing something that I love, then I feel like I am pretty lucky.

Meet Allie Jackson from Allie M Designs...
I have been doing jewelry for about 5 years. I love vintage style. I started in Los Angeles with a Pet Accessory Company.  I went to Fashion school before I started working with metals.  I have two furry children – Chance & Luna.  I have been married for 1.5 years. 
Apart from creating, I like to hike, travel, research, learn, teach, cook and multitask. I get my creativity from vintage style, organic pieces, tiny items and resin.

I have always loved jewelry but it wasn’t until Fashion school when I took an accessories class that I knew that this is what I loved creating.  I am passionate about what I do. 
I often see things in my mind, assemble them, if they don’t work out, then I put it on a SALE rack. Or I come back to it later, change it and then it becomes a piece that I love and hate to sell. 

Currently, my favorite piece is my basil and mustard seed necklace from the Symbolic Herb Collection.
My current goal is to expand the Symbolic Herb Collection. I feel very passionate about this line. I love that the organic herbs represent something special. I love putting metal, resin and herbs together. I love seeing the Colores pieces with clear resin, colored resin, and herbs.  

How I got started...When I had the pet accessory company I started selling out in L.A. to get exposure.

The message behind my work is that I hope that my customer feels the inspiration and symbolism behind the pieces. I want my customer to love the piece that they purchase and feel a connection to it.  

Meet Angela Gschwind from Random Loops...
A bit about myself..
I am...
a mother,
a daughter,
a sister,
whole food eater,
a compulsive crocheter,
addicted to the creative process,
finally making my art and ideas tangible.
Apart from creating things, I work full-time, spend time with my daughter, enjoy the simplicity of many things, love to learn and create new things. 

Where I get my creativity from.. My mother has always been a very creative force in my life. I remember being little and doing all sorts of craft projects. She still has a little bottle of orange yarn I gave her for her birthday.  We always had lots of decor magazines to look at as well. 
My creative process.. Necessity really is the mother of all invention, in my life anyway. If I am trying to figure out how something will come together it is almost like my brain is a computer and it goes through and finds possibilities, usually when I am driving in the shower or relaxed, then it all clicks! Pretty much, ask and you shall receive. I treat it like a game now, it is very fun!! My mom and I are constantly calling each other with ideas for ourselves or the other.

I got into my craft through a hat!  My mother actually made the hat for my daughter but was too big so I started wearing it and got such a positive reaction from friends and strangers everywhere I went that I told my mom she should make them to sell. She told me that I should make them! I learned how to do a single crochet chain when I was very young, as did many people, so she just taught me more stitches and it took off from there.  A day does not feel right unless I have crocheted something. I have always loved raw materials; fabric, yarn, found objects, putting colors together, etc...

Very often, I pose a question, vision, or something I want to explain or express and see where that leads me. My minds eye works very hard when I am downloading ideas, I can see how I can make something work very often while driving or showering. The result that I jot down is sometimes just the beginning. Oftentimes, the end result is something totally different.
What is your most favorite item that you have ever produced?
My daughter, Savannah :)

Oh, you mean my art work! ;) This is a great question, I keep coming back to; whatever I am working on at the time. I am really in the moment when I am creating so it is always so fresh. Your creations evolve so much over time if you let them and give the energy and love. So, usually I am very excited about what I am producing at any given moment. I am always reminded of one of my favorite artists, Susan Seddon Boulet. If you compare her earlier work with her later work, you see such an evolution, her confidence really shows.     
My goals? I would like to be like one of those designers featured in Elle Decor or House Beautiful, or even a wonderful blog nowadays (but there is just something about magazines that I will always love), with a studio in home, family naturally playing in the living room, have beautiful produce laid about in the kitchen, my enchanting husband about to cook something wonderful for the magazine crew to thank them for coming to our home.

I'd also love to share my AHA! moments translated into art.

I want to continually learn new ways to create, especially with knitting, weaving, and sculpting, producing something beautiful people will cherish.

Also to have my own;
- Children's crochet/knit clothing line 
- Home decor line
- Bed and breakfast with alpacas
- Freedom and means to travel and enjoy all this life has to offer!! 
Designing just feels so natural, my goal is to have it be all encompassing. I love variety and having new ideas, I feel so vibrant when I am in that flow, so this is something that can be a lifetime pursuit well spent. Also, there are so many different skills and crafts to learn, melding them together is just so darn fun!
Crocheting is so meditative, I would love for others to experience that if they have not. I also would love to create something for them personally, or for there home to make them feel beautiful.

I love seeing something I would never have thought to put together, I strive for that frequently. The possibilities really truly are endless.

Meet Aimee Bachna... 
I am a mother and artist living in Westlake, Ohio. I create mostly acrylic paintings; however I have watercolors, porcelain painting and sketches in my portfolio. Bright colors and abstract are my favorites along with creating still life compositions. I have also been featured as an artist on HGTV; Home and Garden Television.

I work full-time at an insurance office in Lakewood, but I am also starting a new venture teaching painting classes at local establishments such as coffee shops and wine bars.  

I get my creativity from all around me. My mind is always buzzing with ideas. I also love to look at magazines for color ideas and I ask people what they look for in art.
I always drew since I was a kid, but I did not learn how to paint until college. The nuns taught me at Ursuline College – I started at the age of 24. Also, I would pick up a class here and there at Westlake Recreation and the Beck Center. No matter how well you paint, you can always learn a new technique. 

I got started doing this as a business when people started asking me to make them things. Then I got into art festivals and ecommerce. Now some of my work is at area restaurants, art galleries and online. I started officially selling in 2002.

My ideas come first, then I look for reference in a magazine or computer image website. In order for me to sit down (or stand) and paint, I need to be totally organized. Brushes, canvas, fresh water, my art reference and my paint palette ready. I have a wide variety of canvas sizes, so I usually grab one, do a quick charcoal sketch directly on the canvas, then I start painting. Most of the time I mix my colors directly on the canvas. You get really cool colors and blends that way.

A lot of times when I paint, I zone off and that is when I get really creative. One time I was painting a big block of cheese on a plate. I was really into painting the plate while listening to some music. Then I stepped away and without planning it, I had painted a cheese board instead of a plate. That was so cool.
My favorite works.. I love my fish and willows painting the best. I did it with little reference (just the fish and the pewter vase) and I painted while I helped my daughter with her homework. So I was distracted. If you look close, you can see a head floating in the wine bottle. It was totally unplanned. That painting sold quickly. 

Also, my basketball painting.  It looks so worn. 

My goal is to make art, sell art and teach art full-time. I hope to achieve that within the year if things go well.

The message behind my work is to make people smile and love what they see.  One of my customers loved a painting so much she said it just makes her so happy, so she looks at it all day.

I just want to tell all my fellow artists that has opened many doors for me. It is free online portfolio service for any artist of any medium. It is a great way to quickly show someone your talent by just offering a quick link – mine is

Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 135 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Project Night Night, an organization that provide care packages and support for children during times of home displacement.

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