Friday, November 14, 2014

24 Hour Countdown till the Rocky River Fall Show!

Meet Beverley Burkhart from Boot Em Up Designs...
My name is Beverley Burkhart, born and raised in South Africa. I arrived in the USA at the age of 17 as a Rotary Exchange Student and met my prince charming Greg who pursued our relationship by going to South Africa to ask for my hand in marriage. That was 31 years ago. We have a wonderful son and daughter-in–law Jarrod and Kelsey. We moved to the country to live on 3 acres close to nature once Jarrod graduated from high school.  I work full time but my passion is the arts, which I do as much as my time permits.

I have made jewelry for personal use for many years but only started the boot jewelry line in October 2013. I have now participated in 2 Avant-Garde shows and I cannot be more excited and honored to be able to show what I do amongst such talented artists. I am signed up for 3 more this year. What an organized event!

I get an enormous amount of satisfaction when I finish a piece and I am happy with the end result. Knowing that my jewelry empowers women and children to feel good about themselves encourages me to always strive to get better with each piece I make. I know that at the end of each clasp there will be another person who will wear it proudly… I want women and girls to stand tall and enjoy wearing my product.

What got me into the craft hobby is my hubby Greg. I have an obsession with Boots and jewelry so Greg encouraged me to put the two together. At first I had a hard time putting my head around that idea and did not think that it would appeal to others.  It wasn’t until I made prototypes and found an enormous interest that I realized that he was 150% correct.
I come from an artistically talented family. My oldest sister Sheila, the most talented of us all, created the most beautiful ceramics and paintings. She encouraged us all to reach down deep and gave us the confidence to discovery our artistic abilities by encouraging us to always have an open mind and never allowed us to say “I cannot do that” until we tried. We lost Sheila to cancer several years ago. 
The same way that when you get up in the morning and select the clothes that you are going to wear that day is the same method I use when creating jewelry. I let the pieces speak to me. If animal pieces appeal to me at that moment then I will work with those at that time. As I come from Africa, I am immediately attracted to and inspired by mixing metals, woods, glass, natural suede’s, leathers, the result is rugged yet elegant. I like to think that there is a story behind my pieces. I want each piece to be as individual as the person who wears them. I am also obsessed with a well-made product.

I want my Boot Jewelry to be sold in stores nationally. I believe that I make a quality product due to the fact that each piece is hand selected, assembled, soldered by me to create something that is durable, versatile and individual and that it can complement all kinds of boots in the winter months but can equally make an attractive necklace by adding an extension for the summer months. I want to work with children to encourage them to find their individual creativity so that I can continue my sister’s legacy of helping others.

If you love wearing boots and jewelry as much as I do, then the only thing missing is wearing them together. A single pair of boots will morph into a creation when you add different pieces of my boot jewelry to them. When I first started making boot jewelry a client, now good friend said the most profound thing to me. She said, “When I add your boot jewelry to a pair of boots, it makes me feel some kinda way”..… I want people to feel some kinda way. I want what I produce to empower women and girls to feel good about themselves, stand tall and feel extra special. I spend a lot of time, hand selecting, creating, assembling and soldering each piece by hand so that these pieces can make someone smile and feel great – then I have accomplished something.

Meet Nancy Zunic from Blue Room Ink...
I love color! I love working with blending the right colors together to create sensational art. My name is Nancy Zunic and welcome to my world of art! My husband and I have four wonderful adult children. Two of our daughters live in the Cleveland area and one of our daughters just recently married and resides in Medina. Our son and daughter-in-law currently live in Boardman with our two grandchildren. We also have acquired four adorable cats (Jasper, Mooch, Millie and Lil’ Larry) that love to get into all of my stash in my crafting room!

Professionally, I have been a dental hygienist for the past 35 years. Besides crafting, I love to run, swim and bike. I just recently ran a half marathon with one of my daughters in Cleveland, Ohio. I have been working with my hands most of my life either through stitching cross-stitch, creating fleece hats and scarves, or knitting scarves and sweaters. Most recently, I have become an avid scrapbooker.   This lead to the creation of my blog in April 2010. ( 

Since then I have gone beyond just making scrapbooks. I enjoy creating art with different scrapbook/art methods that I have learned over the years. Through some gentle nudging by my daughters I have opened an Etsy shop. ( Recently my artwork was for sale in Gorant’s located in Canfield, Ohio.  I also participated in the 2012 Avant-Garde NEO art and craft show and the 2014 Fall Summit Show in Fairlawn, Ohio.  I am looking forward to the Rocky River show this Nov. 15th & 16th!

I express different thoughts and feeling within most of my work. I love color, texture and working with blending the right colors together to evoke an emotion or mood. Many times I start in one path but then a twist in my creativity occurs and I become pleasantly surprised at the outcome. There really is no concrete process to my creative madness. I go with my gut and my eye for the not so obvious. I feel that my pieces will speak to certain individuals. It is fun to find the person that is attracted to it. It's always just a matter of time.

That is why I like to create. To be able to evoke an emotion in someone else makes it all worth while. Then there are times that some of the art is just "fun" in someone’s eyes.  Now, who wouldn't want to sell some "fun!?" I know I sure do!

Some of my work is currently for sale in my Etsy shop
at  I would love for this to become my full time job!  With a lot of hard work and dedication hopefully in 5 years that dream will come true!  Come by and shop at any time as I will be adding new items frequently. Therefore, from within my BlueRoom I have created my dream, which is that you are “going to want a BlueRoomInk by Nance” hanging or sitting in your home or office soon! 

I create my paper and canvas arts in a vibrant turquoise room, therefore, "BlueRoomInk." was the inevitable name for my shop! I express myself through my handmade creations using various inks, paints, die cuts and embossing techniques. Designing original paper and canvas arts that can be used for home or office decor has become my passion. Choosing to buy my art to express your creativity in decorating your home or office is a privilege. Because you are unique and you don't want to buy what you can buy at any department or chain gift stores, you are my focus. You are important to me because you want what you want in your style, in your decor, in your personality. My art can speak to you and your self expression. Follow me on Instagram #blueroomink and on twitter @blueroomink.   I also do custom orders!  Let’s see what we can create together!

Meet Marilyn from eMuzings...
Astrologically speaking, I’m a Gemini.  True to my sign, I can never sit still.  A strong creative streak nags constantly to find expression.  I once owned a very cool little boutique where my creative side ran wild.  I loved it so much.  As with many of us, 911 had its way, and I became a casualty in a tough economic climate.  Thankfully, my creativite spark wasn’t extinguished.  I felt myself being nudged in a new, fantastic world or artistic expression.

I got a sewing machine that next Christmas, took a lesson, and let the needle do the talking!  Of course, there were duds, oh-so-close ones, ugly ones, scrap pile ones, but persevering came the ones, twos, threes where I would step back and look at my hands to make sure they belonged to me.  What came out of my machine and imagination was poetry to me.  Didn’t matter if the world didn’t value it.  This creative process was necessary for my healing and confirmation that I was creative and talented and had a place in the universe.  I feel blessed when this opinion is confirmed.

I have been doing this ever since my grandmother stuck a pair of knitting needles in my hand at her Pennsylvania farm and showed me how to knit one, purl two. However, this is my first Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show!

For me, inspiration comes from a need of self expression and control  in an ever-increasing out-of-control world.  I can’t control what comes over the airwaves or happens on the streets, but I can control my scissors, glue gun, needle and thread, etc.  Through these, I create and craft what comes out of my imagination.  I find peace and order there.  Things make sense because they are whimsical and come from a place of peace and love.

An uncontrollable desire for self-expression is what got me into the craft hobby. I discovered my talent through the internet because it is a great source of ideas.  I’d scroll through pins on Pinterest often and see things I knew I could make myself.  I wondered why I hadn’t tried to, then had that persistent nudging to jump the stick. I would describe my creative process as organized chaos. 
In five years, I see my business farther down the road with the development of my skills and talents; Making increasingly creative art pieces which sell for a profit so I can stay home all day or, better yet, have a wonderful studio on a quiet lake where I can create to my heart’s content; Surprised when I look at the clock, again, and find I’ve been at it over 8 hours or more.   I’m a big believer in manifesting.

The message behind my work is being different is cool.  No explanations. 

2014 Rocky River Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. Nov. 15 (10am-5pm) & Sun. Nov 16 (11am-5pm)
Rocky River Memorial Hall (Next to Rec)
21016 Hilliard Blvd.
Rocky River, OH 44116
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Find the perfect gift from these passionate crafters!

Meet Helena Demacopoulos from Addie's Pup-Cessories...
Hi! My name is Helena Demacopoulos and I’m the founder of Addie’s Pup-Cessories, a fun line of unique, hand-sewn pet accessories. I am 22 years old and a recent graduate of The Ohio State University, where I met my close friend and business partner, Li Cai. Also an animal lover, Li volunteered to assist me with sewing and has since become a core part of the business, specializing in production. Li has a rescue cat named Puddin whom he recently acquired, and I adopted my shih tzu, Addie, from the Franklin County Shelter during my junior year at Ohio State.
I have been sewing for several years, although I just recently began creating pet products and accessories. At Ohio State I was involved in a student fashion organization as a designer, and produced 4 collections for the club’s annual runway show during my time at the university. After becoming frustrated with the boring, over-priced collar selections at local pet stores, I used my sewing skills to begin creating my own collars and accessories for Addie. Inspired by what I was doing, Li offered to help and taught himself how to sew. Li has since become an expert sewer and now oversees all production for Addie’s Pup-Cessories.

We have participated in several Avant-Garde shows and love the organization! Initially I was participating in the shows as a handmade jewelry vendor, but after receiving a very positive response toward my pet accessories, I began to focus more on building a pet business and actually selling Addie’s Pup-Cessories. Our most recent event was the Columbus Avant-Garde show this past September, and you can catch us at both the Columbus and the Cleveland shows this coming holiday season.

Our furry friends are our inspiration! Both rescue pets Addie and Puddin’s stories have touched many hearts including our own. We advocate strongly for shelter adoption and are partnering with the Franklin County Animal Shelter so that we may continue giving back to our furry friends. Ten percent of all sales will be donated to the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Columbus and our collars are available for sale at the shelter gift store. We love meeting other passionate pet parents, so please feel free to stop by our table and share your pet’s story with us!
Li and I are both very artistic and love to create. I have been crafting since I was a child, having pursued numerous other hobbies in the past including painting, jewelry-making, cooking, origami, and more. Li has always been very talented with design and construction, and loves to build and repair things in his free time.

My love for fashion design is what encouraged me to learn how to sew initially. After being introduced to members of OSU’s Fashion Production Association, I began working with professors and students my freshman year so I could learn how to sew and participate. Li admits he probably would not have picked up sewing had it not been for the business, but he is very grateful that he has. Inspired by the collars I was creating for Addie, Li taught himself how to sew recently and has become extremely talented at the craft.

Although Li is specializing in sewing and production, our creative process requires joint effort and communication. I create most of the designs and procure patterns and raw materials, while Li actually produces and finishes all of our products. We discuss and agree on every design before it becomes available for sale and test out the designs on our own pets for durability and comfort.
We have big dreams for Addie’s Pup-Cessories and would love to see the business take off! Although we just recently launched we are hoping to participate in more local craft shows so that we can build our brand and expand in the Columbus area. We are currently selling on Etsy but also plan to open an eBay store and launch our own webstore in the upcoming months. We would also love to get our products on store shelves and expand our distribution channels in the near future. My ultimate goal for several years from now is focus on Addie’s Pup-Cessories full-time.

Addie’s Pup-Cessories strives to be not only the leading provider of handmade pet accessories but also a voice and an advocate in helping spread awareness of the importance of shelter adoption. We believe that our fur babies deserve the very best and every piece in our collection is designed with your pet’s interests in mind. From comfortable, durable materials to unique and exciting designs, Addie’s Pup-Cessories offers a truly one-of-a-kind value that you won’t be able to find in a typical pet store. We strive to give back to our furry friends as much as possible and encourage others to become involved with their local animal shelters as well. Always choose adoption!

Meet Ann Raffis from Garden Glass by Ann...
As a full time nurse practitioner, I needed a stress relieving outlet and found one in creating beauty with recycling vintage glass. 
My garden glass flowers, put together from previous led loved dishes, bowls and plates, are 'growing' on a copper or rebar stem and meant to bring joy to your garden all year round. Bird feeders made from metal molds or cut glass bowls some of which are painted with stained glass like colors.
This will be my second Avant-Garde show and I look forward to many more. The Facebook page Garden Glass by Ann shows all of my pieces as well as updates on shows I'll be participating in. I love seeing what combinations I can bring together as well as sharing them with others!

Meet Laura Ivec from Laura's Specialty Jams...
In a nutshell, I am a recent graduate of John Carroll University with a major in Sociology & Criminology. After a couple years of relentless job searching, this past august, I finally found a great opportunity as a Clerical Specialist working for the Department of Advancement Services at The Cleveland State University. I could not be more excited for the opportunity to work in the city that I love! As a student in sociology, I have always been interested in the inter-workings of society and have found in recent years the emergent growth of various farmers’ markets within the Greater Cleveland area. With a love for community, a sense of adventure and an entrepreneurial spirit, I have become increasingly involved over the last couple of years within the local farmer's market venues. I value the opportunity to become one with my community and hope that by becoming more readily involved I can make a difference in people’s lives.

I have been canning since I was a small child. As kids my dad would tend to our small backyard family tomato garden and at the end of summer my brother, sister and I were in charge of harvesting the goods. My mom would then have us help her chop the tomatoes and she in turn would begin to boil them down creating her version of tomato sauce, showing us the steps along the way. Mom’s spaghetti is and will always be the very best. Hands down, my mom is the person who inspired me to get into this craft. She is always so energetic in the kitchen and is always searching to try new flavors and test new ideas.
After making a couple batches of random jam/jelly one day on a whim, I decided to bring it to my local farmer’s market; everyone loved it, and I sold every jar that day. The next week, I decided to bring it back again and after hearing how delicious it was from the buyers of the previous week, Laura’s Homemade Specialty Jams & Jelly’s was created. Since the summer of 2011 at my local farmer’s market (The Gordon Square Farmer's Market on Cleveland's West Side) I have been producing jams and jellies utilizing the fresh fruits and vegetables found at the surrounding farmer’s markets. The concept I had from my “project” as I call it, is to promote a healthier lifestyle by encouraging individuals to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables as well as to promote the lost art of canning. 

In recent months I have become even more involved in local farmer's markets including the Cleveland Flea Market and Holiday Short and Sweet Shop at Art House. I love being a part of the Greater Cleveland community and want to continue to be involved in even more local farmers markets in the future. I hope to one day be able to teach those interested in learning the basics of canning so that they too can pass on the tradition for generations to come.
I never really realized canning as a talent; I always thought until recent years that most people knew how to can fruits and vegetables as I grew up doing this. Then as the market season went on, I had more and more people come up to me to tell me how wonderful it was to see a younger person revitalizing the lost art. I had one gentleman say how much he loved lemons, and how he remembered having lemon marmalade a long time ago and how he wished he could find that in the supermarket. So I decided to try and recreate that for him; he came back the next as was so excited to see that I had done that for him, he just loved it. I also spend hours going through cookbooks, getting ideas and trying to put a unique spin on them to make them my own. I have so many great ideas I can’t wait to pursue.
The inspiration I have to create comes from a want to supersede the mundane. In my creation of jams & jellies, I want people to branch out and try new flavors instead of just the standard grape or strawberry jelly we are all accustomed to. Try the carrot cake, the apple pie, the habanero apricot! Let your taste buds get excited!

In five years I hope to see myself even more readily involved in more farmers markets and I hope that one day in the near future I may have the ability to open my own local business. I message I hope my work sends is just have fun! Live a little, experiment with flavors and really just support the community in which you live.

2014 Rocky River Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. Nov. 15 (10am-5pm) & Sun. Nov 16 (11am-5pm)
Rocky River Memorial Hall (Next to Rec)
21016 Hilliard Blvd.
Rocky River, OH 44116
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Our Way to Rocky River! Vendor Preview!

Meet Brenda Witt from I Once Was...
I Once was……... a sweater.
Brenda Witt came by her talent for sewing and crafting as one of four sisters born to a mother who could fashion anything from fabric and a father who could turn any piece of wood into something useful and beautiful. As an adult she worked for Jo-Ann Fabrics where she honed her skills and fashion sense into many things including these functional, warm, funky, and fashion-forward mittens. 
Made from recycled wool sweaters and lined with the softest fleece, these mittens are cut from Brenda’s original pattern then carefully sewed together and are completely machine washable. No two pair are alike in color and pattern, the hardest part is deciding which pair or pairs to have! Her mittens have been sold in stores in the area including, The Mermaid’s Tale, Endless Summer, and Gabby Road Studio.
Brenda was inspired by her mother to make these warm and cozy mittens because her mother’s hands always seemed to be cold. She went to a second hand store and bought a wool sweater, washed it and felted it and started to experiment with a pattern. It “snowballed” from there into the successful business she has today.
I Once Was…..., her business name was inspired by her recycling sweaters and colorful buttons into these beautiful mittens. After spending 20 years in the educational field at Oakwood Elementary School in Elyria, Brenda is ready to retire and pursue her passion for creating beautiful items from fabrics and materials. Several folks have brought her sweaters or jackets of loved ones who have passed in order for her to create a one of a kind mementos from the garments to gift and cherish in memory.
This is her third year selling at Avant-Garde and the previous years at this show were very successful and at times a complete sell out. Brenda looks forward to having you visit her booth and browse the countless creations she has mastered.

Meet Shannon Goodyear from Lucy Bell's Treats...
My name is Shannon Sisley and I am the proud mother of a 7 year old daughter and an 11 month old Lhasa chon (puppy).  I am originally from Arizona, but moved to Ohio 13 years ago and must say I really do enjoy it (maybe a little less snow).

Lucy Bell’s Treats became official this year and I am so excited about it! I have been the owner of dogs for 20 years and know how much they are a part of the family.  I can honestly say, this is my passion and I am so glad to be able to share my treats with everyone.

This is my first Avant-Garde Show and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Lucy Bell's Treats are baked fresh, healthy and homemade dog treats. I started this business after getting a puppy of our own. I would go to the store to purchase healthy dog treats, but would be completely overwhelmed reading all the labels and not knowing what half the ingredients were. I didn't want preservatives, I didn't always know where they were made and wanted something nutritious. That is when I decided to make them myself, with lots of help from my wonderful loving daughter Katelyn.
Lucy Bell and my friends/family dogs are what have made it so easy for me to create the treats that I do. I know that they are healthy, fresh and what ingredients are in them.  My daughter, Lucy Bell and I have tried all the treats (did I just say my daughter and I tried them..HAHA), so we have confidence in saying they are safe, healthy and yummy too. That is why I am so excited to be able to share in this passion of mine with others who have fuzzy family members too.  
In 5 years I aspire to be a successful entrepreneur doing what I love (making Lucy Bell’s Treats)!   We currently have 5 different flavors of treats and I hope to keep building on that to have an even larger variety. I believe we have to take care of everyone in the family!!!

Lucy Bell's Treats are homemade and health dog treats that have been label approved from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. We put our love for pets into every treat we make!

Meet Monica Horner from Triple C Sweets...
Our names are Sandy and Monica. We are a Mother-Daughter duo with a love for sweets. Sandy is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6 who has been retired for 3 years. Monica is a mother of a 2 year old, as well as a Step-Mother to 9 & 8 year olds. She also has a full-time office job.
We both have been in the kitchen baking, cooking & creating goodies from love with our Mom’s and Aunt’s since we were young. This will be our 4th Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show.
Whether it is the design on a Bride’s dress, school colors for the Graduate going off to college or even an edible image of the Birthday person, we love to incorporate a special item for an event into our treats.
We have always loved to be in the kitchen creating sweet treats. In her 20’s, Sandy took a candy making class. Monica has also taken some cake decorating classes through the years. After our classes, we were hooked. We discovered our talent by feedback from friends & family.
We are creative by trying something new, i.e. a new recipe or design. We have tried many different ideas that sounded perfect in our head but did not quite workout how we expected in real life. Luckily, we have great taste testers around us.
In 5 years, we see ourselves doing this as a full-time business. Let us make something sweet for your next event or to satisfy your sweet tooth!
2014 Rocky River Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. Nov. 15 (10am-5pm) & Sun. Nov 16 (11am-5pm)
Rocky River Memorial Hall (Next to Rec)
21016 Hilliard Blvd.
Rocky River, OH 44116
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on: