Friday, March 21, 2014

It's Show Time! Final 2014 West Side Spring Blog Preview!

Meet Christa Withrow and Kim Schermesser of Unique Techniques...
We are two sisters from Akron, Ohio who have worked together for years. Christa Withrow graduated from Walsh University with a degree in language letters and linguistics with a focus on Spanish. Her sister, Kim Schermesser, received her Advertising degree from Kent State University. Both having experience in marketing and uncontrollable creativity, the sisters decided to take the entrepreneurial route and start their own craft business. 
Naturally, after 60-hour work weeks, we needed to find ways to decompress. Our favorite escape from our hectic lives is to get together for wine & whine night with the girls and craft the night away. After getting our wine glasses confused time after time, we were inspired to create our own personalized glasses using a different technique than a simple wine charm.

The idea to sandblast etch glass came to Kim after she remembered helping her dad as a child clean engine parts in the sandblast cabinet. For ten years now Kim has been customizing beer and wine glasses, mirrors and metals as gifts to friends and family. Christa joined in 2 years ago realizing that many people can benefit from this art and now we enjoy custom etching wedding party glasses, pet bowls, coasters and personal logos and designs on several unique mediums.     

Mainly we are motivated by our love to create, however the wine definitely helps! We love not being cooped up in an office and are inspired by our brainstorming sessions,  holidays, personal interests, traveling, weddings and other social gatherings, but mostly, our genuine randomness! 

This will be our first Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show and we couldn’t be more excited! Our long term goals are to make it to many more shows and one day perform our talent full time. We won't stop there though. We'd love to capture the attention from local breweries and wineries as well as get our online presence known. 

We create our work with a simple message: drink more wine. Just kidding. Be different than your friends. Be unique. Have fun and let loose.

Meet Helena Demacopoulos of Helena Marie Couture...
My name is Helena Demacopoulos and I’m originally from the Warren, Ohio area. I am 22 years old and a senior at The Ohio State University studying marketing and entrepreneurship. Helena Marie Couture is my first jewelry line and I am very excited to make my dream of starting a fashion business a reality!
        I was in middle school when I first became attracted to fashion. Growing up I attended private schools that required uniforms, so I learned how to make jewelry and accessories to set myself apart. I continued to pursue my hobby throughout high school, and when I got to college I joined a student organization that was known for putting on extravagant, professional runway shows to showcase student talent. I have designed collections for this show during all four of my years here at Ohio State, and it was this experience that made me realize I was interested in fashion as more than just a hobby.

    This is my second Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show and I am excited to be a part of this great organization! This past February I participated in the Columbus show, which was my first experience selling my jewelry in a physical location.
1  Sometimes an idea for a design just comes to me – others times I have to hunt for it. Runway trends, fashion magazines, nature, campus style, and others artists’ work are all sources where I find inspiration, and once I have an idea, I search from thousands of bead options until I find the perfect components for each piece of jewelry. Once I have samples made, I ask family, friends, and strangers at the mall for their opinions of the piece and recommendations to improve it. This feedback helps me tweak and improve my jewelry to create winning designs that are exactly what my stylish customers want. 
1    My favorite thing about fashion is its ability to inspire confidence in women, and I love the fact that jewelry has the ability to make women feel feminine, stylish, and powerful. My goal for Helena Marie Couture is to create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry for unique women with individual style that will set them apart from others and make them feel radiant and beautiful on the inside and the outside.

     Meet Katherine Phillips from Elder Forest Soaps...

Born and raised in Circleville Ohio on a small farm I grew up appreciating the earth and growing flowers, herbs and plants. At a young age I started having a lot of interest for all natural products and the benefits they provide.  Spending a lot of time with my grandma and mom I tried to take in and learn as much as I could from them. I started helping my mom create handmade soap and body care products and in 2001 Elder Forest Soap was created!

We strive to use the highest quality all natural ingredients in our products. Using the traditional cold process method, we rely on the natural process of saponification to make our soaps. We color our soaps with all natural ingredients such as ground herbs, powdered herbs, clays and natural oxides. The combination of coconut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil and vegetable shortening we use give our soaps a rich, creamy lather and leave your skin feeling wonderful! 
Each of our products is carefully handcrafted with the intent to nourish, regenerate and pamper your skin. We offer a wide range of products including: 28 Varieties of Soaps, 5 varieties of Herbal Salves, Pain Relieving Balm, Body Butter, Ageless Face & Body Cream.
Receiving feedback from our customers, friends and family about how our products help their skin and any ailments they may have is very inspiring and gives us the ambition to keep creating great products! I am also very inspired by my Mom with her wisdom and knowledge of plants and the benefits they provide. We are striving to get our products out to new customers and to grow our business in a positive direction.

Meet Kimberly Hibens- (Phend) of Kim's Kreations- 
I am relatively new to the craft-show world, although I am not new to crafting. I have been "artistic" my whole life, in fact, my mother used to sell for a direct sales company in the 70's called "Art-Craft" where she demonstrated and sold needlepoint, rug-hook, cross-stitch, bargello and other craft kits. I stopped for a while, but picked up crafting again while in college, where I began to cross stitch obsessively and taught myself to crochet. I began to make afghans for everyone in my family, and a few years ago decided to expand my repertoire by learning to knit with my daughter.

A few years ago, friends began to encourage me to sell my items, and I finally decided to try a show at my local Eagle's club where my husband and I are members. I did really well at Christmas of 2012, so decided to take it to the next level at holiday time 2013 by obtaining a Vendor's license and trying some "professional" shows.
Creating is relaxating for me. I always feel like I have to be doing something, even if I am home watching television with my husband, I am always making something. I have a very stressfull full-time job with crazy hours, and working on my crafts helps me unwind and forget about my "day job".
While I have always enjoyed arts and crafts, it was really the encouragement of friends and family who told me that I have an extreme talent for what I make, and really guided me into selling my items. My creative process thrives from the simple fact that  I love when people enjoy the items I make for them. I feel proud when I see friends wearing items I've made, and I try to make things people seem to want to wear or give as gifts. I especially enjoy when someone has given something I made as a gift, and they come back for more because the gift was so appreciated.

I would like to see my "business" expand in the next 5 years to the point where I do craft shows regularly, as well as open a web-site for online orders. I will retire from my "real job" in that time, and look forward to doing something I enjoy so much as well as earning money to keep me supplied enough to stay busy doing something I love so much.

2014 West Side Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show

Saturday & Sunday, March 22nd and 23rd, 2014, 10:00am-5:00pm

Rocky River Memorial Hall
21016 Hilliard Blvd.
Rocky River, OH 44116
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, Event Coordinator at