Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's Show Time! One More Preview Before Sunday!

Meet Laura Smith from Ruby Red Handmade...

My name is Laura and I spend most of my time at my "real" job as a high school librarian. I enjoy all sorts of craft projects and always have many things in the works!  

A couple of years ago I began playing around with my mom's old sewing machine and created a appliqued onesie for a friend's new baby. I have continued to sew and create children's items ever since. During the summer, I have a lot more time to create and try new things that I've been planning.  

One of my favorite onesies is a design I created with three fabric flowers sewn in a line across the front with two small leaves on either side.  I use three different pink fabrics that coordinate well together. I love how this onesie turns out every time I finish one!  I began selling my items at about one year ago.  
My craft and selling online is a fun way for me to show my work to a large audience, get feedback, and get new ideas. I love when my customers are so pleased with their purchases that they share photos with me or ask for custom items!

Meet Jen Buchanan from Jenbuza Bags...
I am an Interior Designer who has always loved fashion, especially purses.  I was a banker for many years and put myself through school and got my design degree at 32. My husband and I and our two dogs live in Bay Village.

Interior Design is what I do for a living. My husband and I are "Do-it-Yourselfers" so we are constantly changing things around the house. I am an avid gardener and love spending hours in my yard. I love keeping active and doing Yoga to help me chill out. I also love spending my free time with my two rescue dogs, Willy and Sophie. 

I have a pretty creative, crafty family. My Grandmother, my mom and my Aunt are all crafty. They can sew, knit, crochet, you name it. I grew up watching my mom tackle any sort of craft project.
How I got started.. I was unemployed and was looking for an outlet during my job hunt. It had been years since I had sewn. I sewed a purse for my mom for mother's day, got lots of compliments and started making gifts. It just took off from there.

How I got started selling... When I was making gifts for everyone, my Aunt told me about Etsy. I set up a shop and sold a few items. Then I took some bags to Bayarts in Bay Village for the Christmas season and they did well. So I starting doing shows.
My creative process... My mind is always thinking of ideas. Being in the design field helps too, since you see it everyday. I will see one object, maybe something for a handle, then it builds from there. I will jot things down and add to it, even as I am putting a bag together I will usually change it up.

Recently, I just came out with a summer bag line made from bamboo place mats. Those are definitely my favorite right now. They are so me, I love anything that reminds me of summer, the tropics and the beach.
My ultimate goal is that I would love to have a Jenbuza Bag Boutique. I have all my ideas of how the shop would look. A place in Aruba would be nice :) ......

Overall, the message behind my work is "Fun, Funky and Fabulous." I love making bags that have one very unusual piece on them: chopstick handles, bangles, neckties, place mats. I want my bags to be fun to wear, conversation pieces, totally offbeat and fabulous!

I have been doing this for about 3 years now. I love it so much. I plan on doing this for the rest of my life. Until I retire to Aruba of course. :)  

Meet Rachel Piskos from Razzle-Dazzled Rocks...
I am a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University where I am a Psychology and Economics-Management double major. I am also the Vice President of Public Relations for Delta Delta Delta sorority as well the Vice President of Public Relations for our Spirit & Homecoming Organization. After graduation I hope to attend graduate school and receive my PhD in Psychology so that I can become a family therapist. In my spare time, I love using the artistic talents learned in my art classes to express myself. Specifically, I enjoy making decorative stemware, votives, and serving utensils, as well as jewelry.

I am very busy this summer. When I am not being creative I am usually working at one of my two jobs. I have an internship this summer at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals doing Psychology research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also work as a secretary in my Church office. This summer I have been focusing specifically on preparing for my GRE exam in preparation for graduate school with a major in Counseling Psychology.

My creativity definitely comes from my mother who specializes in interior design. Our home always looks spotless and beautifully decorated. She enjoys sewing, upholstering, and knitting beautiful creations to add glamour to our home.
I first started crafting and beading my senior year in high school when I took my first jewelry making class. I loved it so much that I began expanding my knowledge and creating pieces at home. My entire family received jewelry or other beaded creations for Christmas gifts that year. After seeing that they were much appreciated, I decided to continue expanding the intricacies of the pieces and moving into areas such as decorative stemware, etc.

My grandmother first thought of the idea of selling my art when she showed some pieces to her friends. They immediately bought the pieces I had made, and then placed orders for the colors and design they would like customized. I enjoyed making these pieces for others and when they were happy to buy my creations, I decided not to stop there. That is why I have now moved on to craft shows and will hopefully expose my art to a wide variety of people.

I have been creating for about four years now and it has been exciting to see my pieces grow and improve throughout the years as I have expanded and learned new techniques.

My creative process is definitely not forced. When I am in the mood to be creative, that is when I design some of my most favorite pieces. If I push myself to create when i am not in the artistic mood, my pieces will not be quite as unique. I usually choose a color and look at the piece I will be working on to assess its proportions. From there, I usually let the piece evolve as it wants to, and as each piece is a child of mine, they each have their own personality.
My favorite item that I have ever produced is a set of wine and champagne glasses. I feel that their simplicity adds to the beauty of the glass and I think that they would attract a wide range of attention from people of varying preferences. I especially enjoy pieces that coordinate such as a decorative, beaded cheese board, vase, beaded tongs, spreaders, tea spoons, and stemware, all using the same color palate and coordinating, but each individual in its own way.

My goal with my craft is that I am hope to share my talent with others in order to simply spread beauty throughout peoples homes for their use in entertaining. I hope to make people excited to share with others my creations and appreciate the details that I have put into each individual piece.

The message behind my work is to appreciate the small things and the minor details that are present in every form of art. These minor details are what makes art unique and beautiful.

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
Visit us on:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Artists from Every Genre!

Meet Rick McDaniel...
I retired after a 25-year career in police and public safety, serving the last fifteen years as chief. Following that I taught high school for several years and coached the school’s Academic Challenge team. I’ve retired from the high school but I still stay actively involved with the academic competition team.

I’m actively involved with the high school Academic Challenge team and I love being around the kids and such bright young minds. A good portion of my time is also given to participation in civic clubs, a sportsmen’s club, and activities related to the woodturners’ club which I belong to. I also carve out time each day for a good walk with our dogs, Misty (an Alaskan Malamute) and Peanut (a Pomeranian).

I don’t exactly know where my creativity comes from, to be honest. I can’t draw very well (stick figures are my limit) and my color selections are lacking (see my mismatched shirts and ties for reference) but I’ve always done well with wood. In my woodturning its the wood itself which provides a lot of the creative force---the grain, the textures, the varied colors inside and out.

I’ve been turning for almost ten years now and I’m still learning. Some knowledge is self-taught, some is gleaned from other woodturners with more experience and different techniques. There’s always new things to learn and try!
How I got into my hobby... Credit (or blame) Norm Abrams, television’s New Yankee Workshop and This Old House master carpenter. A number of years ago he did a show on which he laminated different woods into blocks and turned them on a lathe into lamps. I thought it was pretty cool and bought a lathe. Everyone in the family got a lamp for Christmas that year! I’ve been turning ever since.

I use only salvaged, storm-damaged, or recycled wood. I don’t buy wood because there’s always some to be had somewhere and a lot of it has real character. I think that’s where my creative process starts---where the wood came from, what it looks like, its condition, and what I can envision it becoming. Once I see a piece of wood as a lamp, a vase, a candle holder, etc., I put it on the lathe and start turning. The grain, texture, colors that are exposed as I turn are what determine the final shape and presentation. My selection of a finish (varnish, various oils) is made to highlight the final appearance.

Out of all the items I’ve made over the years, definitely my favorite is a small 6-inch flower pot I turned from a piece of storm-damaged Crabapple. (Photo #2-Crabapple Flower Pot) The wood had a degree of “spalting” (abnormal wood coloration caused by fungi) and the colors and patterns exposed during the turning made it my favorite. My daughter-in-law has it in her home in Tennessee.
My family and friends nudged me into selling my woodturnings. I was happy just giving the stuff away but they suggested I start selling so I have for about five years now, on a periodic basis. I have some items on sale at a local art gallery and I do 3-4 art and craft shows a year. My main aim is not to make a living but to share my items AND support buying more tools. (A guy can never have enough tools!) 

My primary goal is to keep busy doing something that I like and something that I enjoy doing. Sharing the things I make with other folks is also a way to promote some awareness of the beauty that can be found in cast-off, written-off, trashed pieces of wood that can be found everywhere.

The message behind my work is enjoy the beauty and utility of “used” resources---salvaged, storm-damaged, and recycled woods can be every bit as wonderful as a choice hardwood board plucked from the shelves of a dealer.

Meet Katie Krafcik from A Classic Kate Design...

I am a formally trained interior designer based just outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  I have a Bachelors Degree from the University of New Haven (Connecticut) in Interior Design with a fine art background.  I focused my studies on universal design and color psychology, winning numerous awards for both my design work and art pieces.

While my design work allows me to express my professional creativity, I also enjoy more whimsical projects.  I create a variety of custom pieces, from dolls to accessories.  As with my professional work, each piece is uniquely designed to meet each client’s particular needs and taste.
I grew up in a very creative family. My Grandma Gorris was the inspiration for my love of sewing. I love looking at old photos of my parents wedding and seeing the dress that she wore. She made for herself, a beautiful blue chiffon dress with a matching chiffon scarf that was embellished with pale blue marabou fringe. My Grandma Arndt was the person that influenced me to be an Interior Designer. Her home always looked like it was a beautiful Showroom. She knew how to put patterns together and change things around to add visual interest in a room. And of course my Mother, she is the reason I love to create. She has always supported my creative mind and helped me to grow as an artist. She taught me how to sew, embroider, and to color inside and outside of the lines!
I enjoy finding inspiration in everyday things: A great song on the radio, the way sun shines through tall pine trees, a great fabric print. I love working with my customers to achieve the perfect custom gift for that special occasion or a little something special for them!
My favorite items that I make are my custom one of a kind quilts. They are such wonderful gifts to celebrate many different occasions, such as, new babies, birthdays, graduation and weddings! I made a memory quilt for my Brother and Sister-in-law for their wedding gift. Being Irish, I wanted to use the meaning of the Claddagh for their wedding quilt: Love, Loyalty, and Friendship. I have custom quilts being loved all over the world from here locally in Cleveland all the way to the United Arab Emirates.

The message behind my work is custom accessories for home and life. I want my items to be used and loved everyday. I hope that they are not only an expression of me and my work, but also an expression of the customer. 

Meet Cristie Adams from Plant Potters...
I'm 42 years old originally from Jefferson Ohio (where my parents still live). I attended college for 1 year then joined the Air Force and stayed in for 6 years where I was a aircraft machinist and welder.  I met my husband while in the service.  We both got out of the military in 1995. 

I started working for my dad's plumbing company as a Secretary and accounts manager.  I still work with him and partly own the company. I've been married for 19 years and have 2 children-16 and 13 and have lived in Thompson Ohio for 12 years.
I'm not sure if I would call myself crafty but I love to solve problems and design things.  My mom taught me to sew when I was younger and forced me to take home economics instead of "Shop".  For that I am grateful.  

Growing up, I was a Girl Scout Leader for 11 years and learned how to make crafts and gifts out of just about anything. I love flowers.  I am a member of the Thompson garden club and have spent as much time as possible with my flower beds.

How I came up with my idea… This winter I wanted to put my Poinsettia on the table but didn't because I hate having open dirt on the table where people sit and eat. So I started thinking of why doesn't someone make something to cover the dirt but still make the pot and plant look nice and stylish? So that was all it took so I started making sketches of the design I wanted!  Making the final product took a lot of time and patience.
After many hours of sewing and designing I finally made what is now the final design of the Plant Pattern Covers. I started giving the covers out to my friends and family and received good reviews so I decided to start selling my Plant Pattern Covers at craft shows. My overall goal is that I hope to one day have them for sale at Garden Centers all over the States.

I am still working on designs for Square Pots and hope to have those available very soon. Making Plant Pattern Covers has been a great Adventure so far and I am looking forward to seeing where it takes me. 

Meet Maureen Farley from Art By Maureen...
Two of the defining elements of my life are a love of animals and a continuing commitment to produce visual art. I remember frequently entertaining myself for hours drawing wild horses and deer in a series of “visual stories” about their encounters with each other and mankind. In school I was frequently reminded to stop “doodling”, or talking, and pay attention to my teachers. Nonetheless, I went on to graduate from the University of Nevada with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in psychology with a minor in fine art. I have been employed in various positions over the years including casino dealer and table games supervisor (pit boss), life enrichment coordinator (in an assisted living facility) and was most recently a Realtor in my home state of Nevada. My favorite professional occupation was life enrichment coordinator because it afforded me the opportunity to teach art classes. I am a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America as well as the Nevada Art Association and the Carson Valley Artists Association.
Artistically I have been primarily focusing on photography as well as painting birds and animals with acrylics and archival quality colored pencils. I have won numerous awards in art shows and am fortunate enough to have the encouragement of my family and friends in my creative endeavors. The artist whose work I admire the most was Franz Marc. I am also intrigued by the landscape collage conceptualizations being produced by Micah Mullen of North Carolina.

Currently I am beginning to explore mixed media and collage to produce free flowing abstract assemblages. The assemblages appear to have a fluid quality as they represent the interaction between mankind and our natural environment. I arrange interesting found objects such as colorful rocks or leaves with man made materials including transparent glass and beads. The creations are designed to be felt as well as seen due to the depth of the textural qualities. After I fuse the elements aesthetically they are permanently sealed with a non yellowing transparent acrylic glaze.
At this time I am excited to have been selected to join the Avant-Garde Art and Craft Shows organization in my new home of Northeastern Ohio. To view some of my work visit or or I can also be contacted by email at

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
Visit us on:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Beauty of Versatile Art!

Meet Mary Learman from Clay Creations...
I am a Boardman, OH resident, Harborcreek, PA native, who enjoys all things creative. As I get further into the artistic world, I find it fascinating to see how each individual expresses him/herself creatively. The local artistic community has been so amazing and supportive. I finally feel like I found home.

I am happily married and and have two amazing sons.  I enjoy spending time with my family outdoors. We love to hike, camp and go kayaking. Our favorite vacations involve all three. We have two Border Collies, one of whom is my faithful studio dog.

Growing up, my father was an artistic person and always encouraged me to explore my potential. I am so excited to see that my love of art has been passed along to my two sons. My oldest son, Stephen, often joins me at art shows, selling his beautiful abstract paintings, and my youngest son, Shane, loves to create clay sculptures that I sell alongside my own works.

How I got into my craft.. I've bounced around from art to art, knitting, tatting, drawing, never really finding anything that 'stuck' until I found pottery last year. I've been hooked ever since. I enjoy making functional pottery pieces that have an added sculptural attachment for interest and fun. Generally I throw a simple form that I can decorate or embellish. I usually don't have a plan or idea in mind, until I start playing around with the clay and something emerges.

My first class was last January at the local YMCA. I successfully started throwing pieces about a year ago. I started selling in local art shows this past December.
I got into selling my work through my son. One morning he was putting dishes away and couldn't find space to put a coffee mug. He turned to me and said, "That's it!!!  No more coffee mugs until you start selling them. There's no more room!" I started looking into a place to sell them the next day. 

I can't really say that I have one special favorite piece. Every piece feels like my of my children, so to speak. You can often see the mood I was in when I made the piece...some are happy, some appear cynical and some even appear a bit moody! 

My goal is to make someone smile when they see my pieces. My favorite comment at an art show was: "I'm going to drink coffee out of this mug every morning for the rest of my life!" That made me feel so incredibly blessed to make someone that happy. The message behind my work is enjoy life in simple things.

Meet April Bleakney from APEMade...

I am a 26 year old female, Kentite, screen printer, artist, history nerd, dog lover...

In my spare 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 get my creativity from around me. I've been making things since I can remember. Making 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. I've been a registered business since 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.
The goal with my business is socially, to promote local pride and consciousness and create compelling visual art.  Personally, 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.  

You can view some of my work at APEMade and contact me via email at

Meet Nancy Abrahamson from Jazzy Jewelry...
When I was growing up, I was never very artistic. I still draw only stick figures and elephants. So when I discovered that I had talent making jewelry, I was so excited! I enjoy sharing this experience with others by having them over to my home for what I term "Snack & Playtime." I provide a home-cooked treat and guide women through making earrings, bracelets or necklaces. I especially love when someone comes to my home saying, "I can't do this.  I'm not talented." They go home wearing something they made and we both feel good about it.

I believe I get my creativity from God. He hard-wired me.

How I got started... I went to a craft show and bought some jewelry. After examining it, I wondered if I could do something similar. So I experimented a bit. I've never taken a class; I'm a self-taught artist. I'd like to take classes sometime to learn more intricate techniques. 
I've been making and selling jewelry for about 4 years.

I got into selling my craft when my daughter was a junior in high school. She went to Costa Rica with AFS as a foreign exchange student. I began selling jewelry as a way to help pay for her year abroad.

My creative process... I see certain beads and think, "I wonder how this would look if I mixed it with..."
My passion is to share some beauty with others and share the joy of creating. I get excited when I see others enjoy the creative process, and I learn from them as well. I think I get as much from sharing as I give. I've gotten some good ideas for design from women that I've had over to my home.
My message is that beauty is readily available. I try to keep my prices reasonable so that more people can own something I've created. I'm also into guiding women through the process of making their own jewelry.

How did my business get the name Jazzy Jewelery?  I've run a jewelry-making craft time for my church ladies' retreat for the past two years. They dubbed my craft session "Jazzy Jewelry" and the name has just stuck.

Meet Missy Ciavarelli from Tempting Sweets... 
By day, I’m a mild mannered legal assistant but I love letting my creativity shine through in my chocolate creations. 

I love hanging out with friends and sharing good food or a good movie.  I enjoy reading and watching movies as well.  I love the old movies on TCM – I think I may be addicted to Robert Osborne’s voice!
I’m really not sure where I get my creativity from – most of the designs and molds tend to dictate a certain color scheme, especially where a specific character is concerned, but mostly I just play around until I find the right colors and combinations that seem to work the best or fit the occasion. I have plenty of molds that can be customized to a customer’s favorite color, wedding scheme, etc.  

Several years ago, I helped a friend make chocolate that she gave away as Christmas presents.  I loved the process but didn’t get back into it until a couple of years ago when I started up again on a whim.

When I started this hobby, I had so many friends and family complimenting my work and saying I should try selling it – so I did! I’m really happy that I’ve been as successful as I have. This will be my second full year of creating chocolate – it’s still a hobby but I would love to grow this business and see how far I can go with it.
The carousel is my favorite item to create. It’s a long process and very difficult to transport but I feel so accomplished when one is done. I feel like it’s a real accomplishment to construct chocolate into 3-D objects.  he candy dish is a favorite as well for the same reason – it’s functional *and* edible!

My ultimate goal is that I would love to have a sustainable business and do this full time. The message behind my work is that everything is better with a little chocolate.

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
Visit us on: