Sunday, November 15, 2015

Final Day to Shop Our Fall Rocky River Vendors!

Meet Megan Lunt from Megan's Creations...
Hello! :) My name is Megan and I have been involved with craft shows with my mom for over ten years. When I was younger, I used to help her at craft shows—selling everything from delicious cookies and chocolate goodies to personalized children’s books. This will be my very first craft show selling my own products and I am very excited for the experience. Even as a child, I loved to create and design items to give as gifts to others. I find inspiration through everyday experiences and through my mom who motivates and encourages me to pursue my passions.

I love to recycle and repurpose old items—wine crate coffee tables, shipping pallet bed frames, paint/make lights out of old bottles, jars, etc.—so a lot of my craft is focused on returning beauty into an otherwise unusable item. I also picked up the hobby of knitting when I was in dental hygiene school (to help practice hand dexterity and precision of meticulous and small details) and fell in love! I also enjoy painting/drawing and have been involved in this field of art for many years. I love for my paintings to evoke moods/emotions through the colors I use and I gravitate towards painting forest and night time scenery. The ultimate message I hope to convey with my work is to find the unconventional beauty in people or objects you come into contact with across your daily routine. I also love the holidays and hope my work will give others some warm and cozy holiday spirit as well!
I am in the process of establishing an Etsy page and hope to have a successful side business selling my artwork in the next five years. (Otherwise, my family will be looking forward to having a lot of homemade gifts! :)

20% of the proceeds go to two different organizations that are very important to me—10% to the American Cancer Society and 10% to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). So with the purchase of an item, you will be contributing to two great causes as well! Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me and my craft.

Meet Jen McCall from The Random Studio...
Ohio is home base. I was born and raised in Northern Ohio, but an incurable case of wanderlust mixed with being a risk taker has given me multiple addresses in 6 states. So home to me is about the people in my life over buildings and things. 

I do not work in one material or category; hence the name Random Studio. I merge and couple elements to create three-dimensional assemblage artwork. Releasing things from their original function and meaning, I transform them into a new context—one of artistic expression. 

I started dabbling in my craft about six years ago after my career crashed with the economy. I needed to exercise my creative muscle so I played with jewelry, then small paper collage pieces. In the last two years I have narrowed my focus and expanded my vision and confidence. 

I have no idea what sparks my need to be creativity. I suppose it’s just a part of my DNA. There is something deep within that pushes me to make art in one form or another. On a less philosophical level, I am inspires mainly by objects. An item catches my eye, almost calling me to it. At times I will know instantly what will grow from this piece of inspiration, while other times it will sit on a shelf nagging and taunting me to figure how to transform into more then it’s simple self.  

I’ve always been drawn to visual art. Photography in high school and college, followed by my career in graphic design and advertising, and now my own artwork. But how did I discover my talent...I don’t think it was ever a conscience realization. I just allowed myself to embrace being creative. I think there is creativity and talent in everyone, it’s a matter of letting go, taking a chance, and doing it for yourself without concern of what others think. 

How I describe my creative process, random! Random and chaotic. I start with a element or two that call to me. From there it is a stream of undefinable creativity...digging through my inventory of things searching for companion items. This exploration typically leads to the start of another project...or two...or three. I can easily have 4 or more pieces in progress that were conceived from seeing an item in a new light or adjacent to another object. My work space almost always looks ransacked and in a state of chaotic confusion (which drives my husband insane) but allows my mind to open up to the call of the materials around me.       

My five year goal, my vision is to be a full-time artist with a studio that doesn’t double as a guest bedroom. Within a couple years I would like to have my art regularly shown available in a gallery or even in my own store. A big goal is to be a featured artist at an opening.  
The elements I use vary from handmade to manufactured with the majority coming from free piles, resale shops, the garbage, garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, or hand-me-downs from friends and family. Items that have lived their first life for many, many years and others a very short time; but the components used in my artwork had a previous life. I rescue all types of items to be used in my art.

The macro message behind my art is that things can be saved, reused, and repurposed to become a thought-provoking piece of art. 

On the micro level each piece comes from a personal expression of some aspect of life—relationships, family, work, society, or just mundane everyday life. The majority of my pieces do have a story or meaning behind them—that I’m happy to share if you ask. However, there are a few pieces that “just are” because the elements within demanded to be together and I thought they made something that looked cool or interesting.

Meet Shawn Sweeney...
Tell us a bit about yourself.. I have been knitting for about 15 years, though it has only been in the last five or so that I have discovered my passion for it.  I started designing my own items about two years ago. I love to play with color and texture, and have fun testing patterns for other designers.  Sometimes I follow a pattern, and other times I let the yarn guide me in what it wants to become.  I love to work on custom orders to help find the right yarn, and the right project to make someone happy.  One of my favorite projects I made was for a friend who told me she can't wear scarves or cowls because she feels like her head is too small.  I made her a cowl in a color that looks great on her and scaled it down to work with her petite frame and smaller head - her look of surprise and pleasure was all the thanks I needed.
What inspires me to create... Color, texture, and a desire to continue to learn new things.  I love to play with color - I love loud, crazy colorful yarns, but I can also appreciate the beauty of a neutral.  Knitting is basically made up of knit and purl stitches, and texture is created by the way you manipulate and put the stitches together - the possibilities are almost limitless.  One small change can fundamentally change the way the fabric looks, and that is pretty exciting to me.  

I got into my craft through my Mom - she has been knitting for many years and finally convinced me to give it a try about 15 years ago.  She has been a huge source of support and encouragement.

How I discovered my talent.. I think my passion for knitting came before I discovered I had a talent.  I loved and and decided to learn as much as I could about it.  I decided to do some test knitting for other designers and discovered I really loved to knit and to learn new techniques and to experiment with color and different yarns.
My creative process... Sometimes my creativity comes out of necessity - like the time I wanted to knit a pair of fingerless mitts to go with a cowl I had previously made for someone.  I couldn't find a pattern I liked, so I created one of my own to speak to the cowl, but not match it 100%.  Other times I see something in my head and just start knitting until I create something to match my vision.  

The Message behind my work... Knitting is something I love to do, and I really enjoy sharing that passion with others.
2014 Rocky River Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. Nov. 14 (10am-5pm) & Sun. Nov 15 (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 11, 2015

Meet the Sweet and Colorful Vendors of Rocky River!

Meet Sandy and Monica 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 4 years. Monica is a mother of a 3 year old, as well as a Step-Mother to 10 & 9 year olds. Who 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 6th Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show! 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 cake decorating classes through the years. After our classes, we were hooked. 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 heads. But, did not quite workout how we expected in real life. Luckily, we have great taste testers around us.
What inspires us.. 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.

Our goal.. In 5 years, we see ourselves doing this as a full-time business. The message behind our work is: Let us make something sweet for your next event or to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Meet Joanne Right from Jewelry Bird...
Hi, I am Joanne Righi, owner of The Jewelry Bird. I am pleased to be a first time seller at the Avant-Garde Arts & Crafts show.

I started making jewelry in 2009. Some co-workers had participated in a jewelry-making team-building exercise, and I was impressed with their results; I knew I could do that too! I started making small-scale monochromatic and neutral necklaces to wear at my corporate job. I soon realized those pieces were nice but didn't represent me; they just fit in to the corporate culture. I started creating designs that were bold in both size and color—and I havent looked back. I hope my designs inspire women to proudly wear bold and colorful accessories.

For me, the creative process often starts when I least expect it—when Im birdwatching or digging around in my flower garden. Inspired by the bold colors in nature, I often start my jewelry with a single colorful bead. From there, I let the beads—and my initial inspiration—guide me. For example, on a Saturday morning birdwatching trip, the colors of an Easter Bluebird lingered in my mind; the males are a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast.I made a beaded necklace with these very colors. It was special, then, that this piece was one my first sales.

I often know with the addition of the last bead whether I got the piece just right; other times, I may let it percolate for a few days, sometimes making small tweaks, and others, starting from scratch. One thing is certain: each completed design brings me joy.

I have great memories of my mother teaching my four sisters and me to sew, crochet, needlepoint, embroider, and knit. These crafts I learned as a child were are all done from patterns, I never tried to design, I was just following directions. When I started making jewelry, selecting beads unlocked my creativity, I suddenly felt freed to make my own designs, limited only by my imagination. Now, I choose beads not based on the directions Im reading but on color, shape, finish, texture, and sometimes just a gut feeling that they are what a particular piece demands.

I live in Strongsville with my husband Jack and our two cats. I retired early from a 35-year career in accounting and have been pursuing new passions ever since.
My husband and I currently volunteer with a local organization that provides food, clothing, and housing to those in need; and we go birdwatching when we can.
Some of my work is currently for sale in my Etsy shop at I hope in a few years to be able to support my passion by selling at a few hand-picked craft shows each year, such as the Avant-Garde shows.

The Jewelry Bird enables me to spread my message that women should wear colorful and bold jewelry that fits their personalities; we need to be confident and wear what makes us happy.

Meet Ginger Bohlar...
I am looking forward to participating in my first Avant-Garde show.
I have always had an interest in art and in high school I was in a advanced Commercial Art class with the intent of going on to pursue that avenue. I did work in the field for a short time until I got married. I have raised two children and have been married for 37 years. I thought since art has always been an interest of mine I might return to it someday, but God had other plans. I have a wonderful son who has both a learning disorder and severe seizures so returning to work was not an option. I go to college with him so he will be able to get his degree.
Over the years I dabbled in different mediums. I spent some time creating jewelry for a while before painting. Since I am always looking for new things to try and explore I thought I would try my hand at Alcohol painting. I found it to be very relaxing and creative at the same time. You can either let the ink flow at its own pace, or manipulate it to do somewhat of what you would like it to do. However, the best feeling is that of being able to goof up and start all over without feeling so guilty. Its awesome!
2014 Rocky River Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. Nov. 14 (10am-5pm) & Sun. Nov 15 (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:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Rocky River Fall Show Update!

Cyndi Brunnet from Crafting Memories...
I am a divorced mother of two who always loved to fiddle with crafts ever since childhood. I used to enter my crafts (mostly cross stitch and paper twist back then) in the county fair and have won numerous ribbons. Back in 2008 a friend and I decided to take a jewelry making class and we had so much fun, we decided to try and do a craft show with our new-found talent. I haven't looked back since!
I have been doing craft shows since 2008 and in 2014 started promoting my Etsy shop to broaden my reach. I also love Pinterest!  I get so many ideas from there. I also get inspiration from my children-it is amazing how a simple conversation can all of a sudden get your creative juices flowing. I love seeing the look on someone's face when they "zoom" in on one of my items, knowing that I put a smile on someone's face-that is inspiration in itself.
I originally started out making jewelry, but there were so many jewelers, I decided to broaden my horizons and started making French Memory Boards. I have added to my line with other craft items such as key fob/zipper pulls, cupcake onsies, diaper babies, pinback buttons, some upcycled crafts but still stay true to my memory boards. I always loved to tinker with crafts ever since I was a I always knew I had it in me, I just had to find what I liked to do best.

My creative process... I look to see what is trending, then I see how I can incorporate that into my crafts. For instance, gray is supposed to be popular this fall, so I am looking for fabric with grays to make memory boards.  Owls and nautical are still very popular, so I search for themed fabrics/ribbon for the boards and key fobs.  My pinback buttons are a variety of sayings-something catching my eyes, and next thing you know, it is a button. As for my upcycled crafts, I look at ways an item can be used again.
My goal in five years.. I am trying to build up my Etsy following and hope the shop takes off to where I have a steady income stream. I love doing shows, but want to cut back to only doing the ones I truly love to do and not be forced to try and fill up my calendar with a show every week-end.

The message behind my work.. Memories, the majority of my items relate to memories. You purchase the item because it triggers a memory, whether it is a favorite pattern, character, being purchased as a gift or being used to display memories (photos).

Meet Richard Gullet from Dark Designs...
I am a retired teacher, I taught Anthropology, Ancient History and World History as well as being a life long doodler - I call my drawings "Doodles on Steroids". I have been doodling since my days in the lecture halls of the university - when the lectures got boring, my pen started moving - creating unique little drawings in the margins of my notes - then as a teacher, I continued to produce interesting little designs in the margins of my staff agendas. Eventually I began to actually attempt to draw my designs in and of themselves and not as a response to a boring situation. 
As the years progressed, so did my drawings, becoming larger and more intricate. None the less, I drew these designs for my own personal entertainment keeping them tucked away in my note books till friends and family urged me to finally display them in 2012 

I am inspired by the mythologies of native and ancient peoples and I am fascinated by the artistic styles of M.C. Escher and the Native American artists of the North West Coast Native American Indians.
How I got started.. A good friend of mine - Charlie Hall - was the woodshop teacher at the school where I taught and I would help him prepare for his shows and sometimes go to the shows and help out. So when it was suggested that I too get involved I had a bit of experience and encouragement which helped.
I discovered my talent by accident - to me I was just "filling space and time" with my silly little designs till I was pushed into the art fair scene and found that other people than relatives and friends liked my work.

I base my work on the mythologies of Greeks - Romans - Egyptians - Celts and Native Americans. I then base my drawings on a creature from their mythology and then hide numerous other animals within the body of the image - I call the hidden designs my Dark Designs - designs hidden in the dark - most don't see them at first glance.

My five year plan... I have no grand plans - I enjoy going to the fairs and talking to people - however, one project I am considering is the production of a book - one that would include my most popular drawings and their corresponding myth. It is basically written/drawn - I just need to get the cash together to have it published - don't know if there would be any demand but I would be fun to try.

I am not sure there is a deep message to my work however, I would hope it would encourage people to take the time to appreciate the artistic styles and mythologies of other cultures - to ovoid the superficial glance and to look deeper into the drawings to gain a greater understanding as well as to have fun.

Meet Kari Gall from Sugar Bear Gourmet Popcorn.. 
My husband and I are the owners of Sugar Bear Gourmet Popcorn LLC, a home based business located in North Olmsted, Ohio. We have two children. We have been serving up gourmet popcorn for almost two years now.
We find inspiration in flavors and spices to create new products to delight the palate. We got into the business when my husband was a cook. Around that time we decided we wanted to create fun and unique snacks for people to enjoy! We did this by experimenting  with spices, flavors, and colors. We have always loved popcorn and it was the perfect medium to showcase it on!

Flavor ideas come to us through experiences with food and events that happen through our day to day routine or a customer will request a flavor for us to develop for them for a special person or event they are having. We make gourmet popcorn in custom flavors and colors. We can create over 200 flavors!
Our goal in five years... We want to focus on custom orders, events (baby/wedding showers and parties), and fundraising for schools and organizations.

The message behind our work is to allow people to experience something new and fun in popcorn. The sky is the limit with flavors and colors with Sugar Bear Gourmet Popcorn LLC. Sweet, savory, cheesy, salty, or spicy…we can make it happen.

2014 Rocky River Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. Nov. 14 (10am-5pm) & Sun. Nov 15 (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:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Creating with Color!

Meet Amy Pierce from Birds on a Wire Faux Floral Designs...
Hello my name is Amy Pierce Birds On A Wire Faux Floral Designs. I am a native Clevelander...I have been a floral designer for 35 years. I have raised two children as a single mother and love and enjoy my three grandchildren! 

How I got started in my craft.. When I was a child, I would help my mother plant flowers in our yard. I think that started the whole love for creating and designing. My mother was a huge inspiration to me in many ways! I still love to design gardens and have lots of color around me. Plus, I can cut from my gardens and enjoy some fresh flowers in my house as well! My two dogs love to follow me around when I work in my yard!
All these years I have been creating and designing for all kinds of venues, weddings, parties, all holidays, special events, etc...I have even had the opportunity to design arrangements for: Joan Collins, Tom Hanks, Phil Collins, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue...which I was able to attend that event as well. I had many good years and great experiences in this field of work! 

I have a job now that gives me more time to be creative on my's been a long winter and that outlet has been very helpful! So much color around me to design with, when it was so cold and grey out! I came across sola flowers, which are hand made flowers...they are made from a soft wood- Sola Wood is an entirely natural paper product derived from the tapioca plant. I also use...parchment flowers, faux succulents, craspedia, moss, seashells and other materials I find to be textural and colorful. 
I love working with so much color, it brings me joy and inspires me to keep creating! I get a lot of great feedback from people that have purchased my floral designs, they seem to love all the colorful choices and it brings them joy as well.
Where do I see myself in five years?...Still designing and hoping it brings inspiration to others with an itch to be creative themselves! I love coming up with other designs and creations that people can enjoy! I also enjoy living life to the fullest and spending time with my family! 
This is the first Avant-Garde Arts & Crafts Show I will be in and I am excited to be a part of this talented group of Artisans!!! 

Meet April Hardin from Kanyon Creations...
My name is April and I'm a stay at home mom with two boys ages 7 and 5 months. I've been crocheting since I was 8 or 9 and I was taught by my sister who learned from our great grandmother.This will be my second Avant-Garde show!

My inspiration comes from my children. I've always loved arts and crafts. All the girls in our family all love drawing, painting and crocheting. A few years ago after only making blankets, I started watching You Tube tutorials on hats. Once I realized how fun they were to make I kept going! The rest is history! 

My creative process is basically envisioning a child wearing the items and what I want them to look like. The goal is too make the items adorable, while also functional in keeping them warm!
My five year plan is to continue to build out my online business and continue attending craft shows. The message behind my work is that children are a true blessing and I truly enjoy making things for them to wear and enjoy!

Meet Bill Winter...
My name is William Winter but I prefer Bill. I am retired from the heavy equipment , engine, transmission and marine business. I am the father of two, the grandfather of two, and one on the way! I live in Rocky River with my wife Donna and Max my dog.

I have been working in wood most of my life in various home owner building projects and minor artistic attempts. It wasnt until my retirement that I seriously started working with wood for various furniture pieces, canes & other odds and ends.

This will be my first art and craft show. My wife and daughter have urged me to show what I create, especially my wife Donna, she told me we are running out of room in the house for any more pieces!

My inspiration to create comes my love of wood, its texture grain patterns and colors. No two pieces are ever the same they are each unique. My father was my true inspiration, he was a very talented wood worker. He was also a carver of animals and birds that won many awards. I do not have the carving talent but really enjoy what I do. The first table I made was from a slab of wood left in the garage from the previous owner of the house. I noticed the beauty of the grain in the wood, and made a table as a Christmas present for my wife. From then on I was hooked!

My wood creations are made of fallen timber or reclaimed lumber. I do not use nails or screws on any of my furniture, all joints are glued and doweled only. On some pieces I incorporate images of animals that are wood burned in to the piece. I do not try to remove all the blemishes in the wood. I want piece to show the textures from age, insect damage and saw marks made while rescuing the piece. The legs are made from fallen branches and are draw knifed to remove most of the bark. All work is done by me.

I once asked my Dad how he knew what to carve, and he said the wood will tell you what it wants to be. I never understood that until I really looked at the piece of wood; not with a builders eye but with an artists eye!

My five year plan.. To be honest, I do not know where this will take me! My only hope is that people would enjoy what I have created and be remembered for it!

Meet Cody Brooks from Cody's Sugar Shop...
By day I'm a programmer creating lines and lines of code... by night and on weekends, I love to explore delicious ways to bake and the art of decorating. I see it as a great creative outlet. I love learning something new and challenging myself to get it just right. It's so motivating to see others enjoy something I've created as much as I do. Bakery just makes people happy.

Officially, Cody's Sugar Shop is a little over three years old. I've always enjoyed baking and had the inspiration to pursue it as a business over 4 years ago when I did my first wedding and learned how to make fondant that actually tastes good. What a blast that was!
I enjoy trying new things and that sense of accomplishment it brings. I'm often inspired by colors, flavor combinations and textures/shapes, especially as they appear in nature. I firmly believe texture and flavor are as important as pretty decorations. Decorations capture the eye and flavors and textures capture the heart, mind and tummy!

I got into baking as an outlet for creativity, to learn something new, and to work toward build business of my own. One day I casually asked my husband what business he would like to own if money was no object.  He immediately said bakery. When I asked him why, he said because bakery just makes people happy.  I knew then this was the direction to put my energy into! Baking has become so much fun for me that it's almost therapeutic!
How I discovered baking... Actually from my first attempt at buttercream, which was a near disaster. It tasted fine, but looked horrible!  I was determined to get it right though...and I eventually did. Once I discovered what making something from scratch tasted like, and that I could actually do it, I was hooked. I started researching how to make more things from scratch like marshmallow fondant (yum!), cake pops, decorated cookies, and on and on...!

I enjoy reading recipe books like they are novels, searching online for inspiration, which doesn't always come from food, and sharing ideas with my husband who is a natural at flavor combinations. My process can differ depending on what I'm trying to accomplish. If it's something new, then I like to take a little extra time to experiment. I'm fortunate to have lots of family and friends who enjoy being my taste testers and advisors.  I'm grateful for their honesty,  encouragement, and support.
Where do I see myself in five year? An actual store might be nice! I would like very much to have built up my business enough so that having been a programmer by day will be a fond memory. There are a variety of options as to where my business can grow to. While I believe in setting goals I also believe it's critical to be flexible enough to be able to adjust your goals as needed. Most of all, I want to be able to maintain the same level of motivation and excitement to create as I do now.

The message behind my work is that I make fresh, made-from-scratch delicious treats to be enjoyed as part of any occasion, or just when you want a little something special! After you've tasted made-from-scratch, the other kinds of bakery (boxed, or mass produced) loses its appeal, really! Maybe it's that funny taste from the chemicals or preservatives in them! And of course... enjoy the sweet life and chose made-from-scratch from Cody's Sugar Shop!

For more info:

2015 Rocky River Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sat. March 21st (10am-5pm) & Sun. March 22nd (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: