Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking Teaching Talents and Making Them An Art!

Meet Carrie Crawford from Comfy Cradle...

I am a teacher, but am not currently teaching. I am now at home full time, keeping very busy with a 2 year old daughter and 1 year old son! Much of my time I am with my children doing outdoor activities together and arts and crafts with them. I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. I most enjoy spending time with my family and our dog Molly.

I feel that I have always been a creative person. Even as a little girl, I always enjoyed art class and creating and designing. I also have a lot of creativity in my family. My dad is very creative and talented with landscape design, and my mom has always had an eye for interior d├ęcor and design. Both of my brothers are also very artistic. I believe my family’s creative minds have influenced me and they have always promoted arts and crafting.

A large part of my method is the thought process. I do a lot of imagining before I start the actual project. Next, I put my ideas on paper. I am very much a visual learner and drawings are an important step in creating a product before the final step of making it.
I enjoy interior design and sewing projects such as making curtains, blankets, and pillows and reupholstering furniture. My inspiration for Comfy Cradle came from my children and out of a need.Being a mom, the inspiration for this product came solely out of a need. I was looking for a way to hold my baby where we would both be comfortable. I needed a way to lay them down without a blanket getting caught under them and waking them up. My creation the Comfy Cradle is a soft pillow that wraps around your arm in just the right spot, won’t fall off, and keeps baby comfy and mom comfy as well. 
After I made one of the Comfy Cradles and saw how it fulfilled a need I had, I thought I would make more and give them to friends with children to see what they thought, thinking they may have the same need of a comfortable way to hold their baby. This turned into selling them, and trying to reach a broader market.

Currently, I am selling the Comfy Cradles to friends and family wanting a shower gift or just to have for themselves. I also sell them on Etsy.com. The Avant-Garde is the first craft show I will be in and I am very much looking forward to spreading awareness of my craft. Ideally, I would love if my product could someday reach retail stores.

Meet Diane Marrapese...
As a graduate of Purdue University, I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design. Originally introduced to the medium of clay in 1993, I resumed working in pottery on a more serious level while studying at ArtsTown Studios from 1998-2000. I spent approximately 20-30 hours a week in the studio to improve my technique and explore new ways to illustrate creativity and emotion through clay.

In the summer of 2000, I began teaching pottery classes at ArtsTown Studios in Avon Lake. That fall, I also started teaching part time at Lorain County Community College. In the summer of 2004, I decided to open my own clay studio and art gallery where I taught clay and jewelry classes in addition to selling local artists’ work. Unfortunately, due to the economy, the studio closed in the fall of 2009.
I have been working in clay for 14 years. I believe clay to be one of the most wonderful forms of self-expression. It’s amazing that you can take the four elements of the world; Earth, Water, Air and Fire to produce functional, yet decorative, solid works of art. To use your own imagination and creativity gives such a sense of freedom. Though it is possible to dedicate several hours to one piece, it is well worth the effort. Accidents in clay can be positive and the experiments are justified, but the most important thing to remember is that it all helps to evolve not only as an artist, but also as a person. Chances must be taken and despite the long process from start to finish, it is rewarding to have a final product that others can enjoy. Although I may not love everything I make, I continue learning about clay and its characteristics. This helps enhance my concepts and also enables me to see that asymmetry is just as beautiful as symmetry and functional is just as beautiful as nonfunctional. I thrive on making one-of-a-kind pieces with carving or engraving designs in the clay to satisfy my imagination and spirit. Not only do I involve myself in detailed surface decoration for my own gratification, I take pleasure in fulfilling the occasional special requests from my admirers. 
Inspiration comes in many forms for me. A comment someone makes, another artist’s work, nature or even a simple color/shape combination. One moment in particular was in 1993 when I was a senior in high school, we had a general ‘Art 2’ class. One of the art forms we learned a little bit about was clay. I thank my art teacher Miss. Murphy for allowing me the extra time to play on the wheel and the space to experiment with the medium!
How I create.. If I have a specific idea of what I want to create, I just sit down and focus on the shape first. I think about the lines of the piece first and how the surface treatment will allow for movement and flow. Then I think about how the glazes will add to it. If I’m just sitting with a general concept, I let the clay help me decide which form it wants to take.

My use of clay is simply for self expression. It is a very soothing medium to work with once you have the experience and at times when I work on the wheel, it is very calming and relaxing for me. I have always been creative to simply satisfy my own being. So if someone takes anything away from my work – let it be that they should always follow what makes them happy.

Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 West Side Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 170 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the Cleveland Animal Protective League, for animal rescue.

2012 West Side Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 11:00am-6:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, Event Coordinator at info@avantgardeshows.com
Visit us on:





Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Color for the Home! Decor to Brighten Up your Living Space!

Meet Rachel Talty from Talty Made... 
I am 25 years old, from Euclid, Ohio. I graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2009 with a BFA. I love creating art, taking photographs, spending time with friends, family, and my boyfriend. I have a passion for nature, and spend most of my free time hiking or reading about animals and/or the environment. I hope to continue my education within the near future; I just have to decide exactly which degree to pursue.

I started seriously making art in junior high, so about 10 years ago. But, I have been making art since I could hold a pencil in my hand.

Full time I work as an Administrative Assistant for a local aerospace company. This is my first non-kitchen job in over 5 years. I love making food and working with other creative and talented Chefs, but the schedule is non-conducive to creating art.

Growing up I have always had a vivid imagination, and art has always been extremely important to me. I believe my curiosity and drive for knowledge fuels my creativity.

My creative process is diverse. Sometimes it is intuitive, automatic. Other times I set out with a specific goal and concept that I wish to convey. Lately, I have been more into the automatic, non-objective side of making art.
When it comes to favorite pieces, it is nearly impossible for me to say what my favorite piece is. But, I have to say that 2 of my collages I made in college are important to me because I rarely work large. Steamrolled and Beaten Path are both 3’ x 6’. I really enjoyed building them from an array of materials; it was a new experience, and one that I hope to delve into again soon. Luckily, I have just acquired a studio which makes this possible.

My biggest goal is to keep motivated. Creating art gives me a sense of wellness and self-actualization that nothing else can. I hope that I can continue to show my work and sell it, because it feels good knowing that other people enjoy what I create, and hopefully it inspires them to really see the world around them.
I think that selling art is just a result of making art. Most artists would like other people to see what they spend so much time creating, and hopefully sometimes those people will be inclined to buy what they see because it inspires them.

I sometimes create art with a specific ecological message, but most of the time I just wish to inspire people’s imagination and to enhance their perception of what is beautiful and wonderful in the world.

Please feel free to view my art on My Etsy and My Website.


Meet Michelle Cook from Peachtree Designs...
My friend Amy and I are behind the business and have been friends for about 15 years. We have each always enjoyed creating, and have recently begun to collaborate on projects. It has brought us even closer as friends. We have both been crafting for years. Amy specifically has been sewing since she was young, and I have always been pretty handy with a glue stick lol!


Amy and I draw inspiration from various objects around us. I draw inspiration from magazines and vintage images. Amy draws inspiration from different fabrics, patterns and colors, and we both draw inspiration from Pinterest!
For us, creating is a great outlet. In Cleveland, we all know the weather is not the greatest, especially in winter. We need something to keep us going and in good spirits. That is why we both love it.  

I got started in my craft when I saw these magnets and decided to take the project a step further and upcycle magazines. Once I started making them, I was hooked for good! 


We got into selling our work because we ran out of space to keep all our creations. Bottom line, if you simply create and create and create, eventually you have to do something with the surplus. So we wanted to offer our pieces to others so that we can keep creating other things.  Crafting is such a great outlet, and we need to keep doing it!

Amy has always had an amazing talent with a sewing machine (like her mom). She started creating pieces and hasn’t looked back! She is always generously sharing them with others, so selling in shows just made sense. 


My favorite part of the creative process is the very beginning. I sit down with a magazine and the possibilities are endless! I will spend a lot of time looking for the perfect pictures for my magnets. I try to think about what other people might like, love and how this piece will fit into their lives.

Our goal with our business is to share our pieces with others, and continue to come together on projects.The message behind our work is no matter what it is you are passionate about, find time for it and do it! You will be happier and healthier in the long run.

Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 West Side Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 170 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the Cleveland Animal Protective League, for animal rescue.

2012 West Side Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 11:00am-6:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, Event Coordinator at info@avantgardeshows.com
Visit us on:







Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's in their Genes.. Artists Inspired by their Parents...

Meet Denise Knecht from Indulgence Studio...
My family and I live in a Victorian home, circa 1879, in Ohio City. We enjoy the history of the very special neighborhood -- a neighborhood that has really come back to life and nurtures other artists. I am a fulltime employment litigation attorney  -- stressful work 50 - 60 hours a week. So, I really relish using the other side of my brain and the unstructured thought process of creating jewelry.

Because of my "day job" I usually design for the professional woman who want quality & classic looks with a bit of trendiness. Sometimes a unique looking gemstone comes along that triggers my wild side - like when I use slices of quarts or rough, untreated gemstones. Even then, I have a tendency to add balance and color combinations that give my bolder pieces a dressy/casual  style - that is most of my things can be worn casual or for dress-up.

I got started on my craft approximately three years ago. I was having too much fun & spending too much money on my art - I couldn't afford to keep everything in drawers!
I've always had a fashion bent - designing clothes as a seamstress put me through college. My aunt who sometimes stayed with us was a painter, and my Mom was a jewelry freak, so I inherited some of their genes, I think. I discovered I could buy stones from all over the world thanks to the internet and my imagination sent me into a new, artistic passion...
When it comes to my creative process, first and most importantly - I look for quality stones that are moderately priced - precious and semiprecious. Then I experiment with color and add metals to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
My goal is to make jewelry pieces that other women love & want to wear. I only make one-of-a-kind pieces, so I have no desire to market on a grand scale. I try to use only natural stones and avoid "manufactured" looks.
The women who wear my things have a sense of confidence and that is my message - don't be afraid to take care of yourself and look good.

Meet Jody Lanham from Designs by Jody..

I am working my 30th year for the State of Ohio, at Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center (OARDC), part of the College of Food, Agricultural and  Biological Sciences, in the IT Department. This is my last year and I will retire in 2013 so I can spend more time working on the things I love but do mostly in my spare time I make jewelry and other crafts - mostly painting gourds. I am the oldest of 3 and have 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren (could 3 be my lucky number?). I have lived in Wooster, OH most of my life but my retirement plans include a possible move out west. I think the artsy communities like Santa Fe and Durango might be a place I could settle and possibly open my own shop where I can work and sell my creations.

While I was growing up, my dad was a very detail-oriented wood-worker and he created some lovely furniture pieces, helped build the house I grew up in, and made lots of other neat useful things mostly out of old pieces of wood, such as birdhouses. I have always loved birdhouses and love creating and painting my own. I think that’s where I get my creativity!
I have always done crafty things, when I was a child I would hang out with my dad when he worked in his shop and he would give me scraps of wood to paint on... I would hang out with my mom while she sewed and she showed me how to use the sewing machine to make doll clothes. I took extra art classes in school when I could get away with it. But the actual jewelry creation and knowledge that this was something that would be important in my life began in the summer of 2006.
I first began making jewelry as a therapy activity while I was a resident in a treatment facility. I find that I really enjoyed working with the beads, combining colors and textures and making something that I could actually do something with. I began making more and more jewelry and giving it as gifts. I enjoyed coordinating my jewelry and my wardrobe to create a palette I could display for all to see.
My creative process.. I often see things in nature that suggest a pattern or flow of lines and textures and colors, or a piece of jewelry I can see basing my own design on, or a stone that I can see incorporated into a design. Typically, what really happens is I sit at my beading table where things are scattered all about and see beads and spacers and cording nestling up near each other suggesting a striking combination. My philosophy on being organized: if it is put away you don't see it and it can't therefore inspire you in the way it would if it were out in the open!
My current style has been hovering around Native-American-Southwest and I love copper, feathers, leather and lots of natural stone and cord. This style can swing between the completely casual and every-day and the very formal, dressy and special-occasion. I also love vintage-inspired pieces with lots of bronze and enamel, chains and crystals, that looks as if it had been handed down from my grandmother.
My favorite item is My Haven of the Sun & Moon Birdhouse - made of a locally grown Mexican Bottle gourd, custom-designed as a gift for a friend who fancies stars and moons. When creating it I felt the sun suggesting it had to have its place as well, expressing its warm happy thoughts. The moon beckons with a yawn that sleep for the birds is waiting inside this cozy haven. It is painted by hand with acrylics and glitter, finished with polyurethane spray and hung with jewelry wire. This gourd birdhouse was a last-minute entry into a Staff Arts & Crafts exhibit, which won the Committee's Choice Award.
My goal for my art is to create a niche for myself and have a clientele following, and eventually have my own shop in a well-traveled highly sought out area such as Santa Fe or Durango, where it is warm and dry most of the year. I want to have a name and a line that people recognize and pursue to some degree. I am not quite sure how that will pan out, but I am anxious to be in that place working on that goal!

For me the message behind my work is that I have this creative expression inside of me and I need to let it emerge in a way that is interpretable from the outside - so I create jewelry and decorative items that take a little piece of my heart and my soul that I can share with others.

Meet Caroline Greco from Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts...
My name is Caroline and I am a 24-year-old craft addict. I am engaged to a wonderful man named Ryan and we are currently planning our wedding for May 2013. I was born in Stamford, CT, however, when I was in the first grade my father got a job as an animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Orlando, FL and I spent the majority of my childhood living in Kissimmee, FL. When I was a junior in high school my family moved to the Cleveland area. I have always had a love for art and craft making because of my father, but in my junior and senior year at Westlake High School I became a lot more focused in my goal to make art a major part of my adult life. After a couple of years at Tri-C, where I spent much of my time doing Photography, I transferred to the University of South Florida where I studied art. Because I spent a lot my first years at Tri-C working on my general education requirements, I was able to fully immerse myself in art at USF and spend my entire day working on different mediums of art. I recently moved back to the Cleveland area and have made it a goal of mine to attempt to keep the same creative schedule I had at USF and continue making art every single day. I have been sewing since about age 10 and since I have moved back to Cleveland I have completely immersed myself in sewing and accessory making. I am happiest when I am working in my sewing room, with my dog and cats by my side, sewing for hours at a time. I started working under the name Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts in October 2011.

Apart from creating things, I work full time at The Harbor Court Assisted Living as the Community Relations Assistant. I absolutely adore my job and love getting to know the seniors that live there. I spend a great deal of time doing Graphic Design and Web Design work. Also, I have an English Pointer named Brody that I love to walk with in the Metro Parks! 
I have always felt strongly that a lot of my creativity is genetic and passed down from my father, who is an artist. I feel that he has taught me how much time you have to put into your work and creative process if you want to succeed. I try to be very aware of my surroundings and use things I see and hear as inspiration for projects. I also like to spend a lot of time researching sewing and accessories to help build a catalogue in my mind that I can pull creative ideas from.

I have always been making things and began sewing at the age of 10 when my Grandmother gave me my first sewing box. She taught me how to hand sew and I began cutting the legs off of my jeans to make denim purses (with the waist band being the strap). I have been sewing ever since. My mother is absolutely addicted to handbags and I think all of the years of hearing her describe what she liked or didn’t like about her purses helped focus me in the area of accessory and handbag making.
I began selling my bags to co-workers and after a lot of encouragement to start selling them online I started my Etsy shop. Since I began my “small business project”, Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts, I have had many custom orders from co-workers and friends as well as online sales. I originally wanted to sell my products mainly just to make enough money to buy more supplies and fabric. That is still the main goal for me. My top priority is my love for crafts, not financial gain. Almost every last penny I make goes immediately into more material and supplies to make more craft projects.

When it comes to my creative process, I am constantly looking at blogs, fashion websites, Pinterest, etc. to get inspiration for projects. When I first began (professionally) sewing I would read tutorial after tutorial after tutorial. I wanted to understand how bags were made so I could design my own patterns. Now I will browse the Internet or a local store to find a general idea I like and then will build off that. I like to sit for a while with just a notebook and think about what I would want in a bag (i.e. custom pockets for my phone and pens; an adjustable strap, etc.)
I think my favorite item I have every produced is this teal pleated clutch purse. I loved the fabric and the fabric button and the zipper and lining…I was just so happy with how everything turned out!

My goal with my talent is to make sewing and craft making a major part of my life and at some point, when I start to have children, be able to work from home making my bags. I would love to sew full time so that would be a wonderful goal if I could achieve that.
The main message behind my work is my belief that I think accessories, such as a purse or wallet, should be statement pieces to your wardrobe and not just a bland addition. I love vibrant color palettes and intricate patterns. I think bags should stand out and draw attention to you, rather than just be looked over or thought of as only a “thing to hold your stuff”. Accessories should be fun! The very definition of accessory is “Something nonessential but desirable that contributes to an effect or result”. If accessories weren’t meant to be fun additions to your wardrobe they would be called obligations instead. You don’t see signs that say “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Purse, No Service”; making your accessories be enjoyable vibrant additions is up to you!

If you're interested in checking out some of my work or placing an order visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/chwhcrafts and my blog www.coldhandswarmheartcrafts.com.


Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 West Side Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 170 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the Cleveland Animal Protective League, for animal rescue.


2012 West Side Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 11:00am-6:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd. 
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, Event Coordinator at info@avantgardeshows.com
Visit us on: