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 own...it'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:
Email: Cody@CodysSugarShop.com
Website: www.CodysSugarShop.com

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 Becki@ag-shows.com
Visit us on:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rocky River Vendors In Action! The Story Behind the Craft!

Meet Annie Berry from Zensational Organics LLC...
Helllooooo! My name is Ann (Annie) Berry, I answer to both ha ha! The name of my company is Zensational Organics LLC.

I started Zensational Organics 3 years ago. I became aware of what I was putting on my skin. After doing tons of research there was a reason why my skin was not in good condition. It was dry, flaky, and itchy plus I had roseacea. Lo and behold I was spending hard earned money on chemically laden soaps and lotions. I went on a mission to make decadent body products that were great for my skin. Voila....Zensational Organics was born.
I make my products as organic as I can. Did you know your skin on the average is only 3/16" thick?  Everything you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream. To me, that is very scary so I did not want to put anything toxic on my skin ever again. One of my lotions and potions is named "Whippity Bobbidy Boo" a dynamite body butter that has absolutely all organic unrefined ingredients. (I do wake up in the middle of the night and name my concoctions. I really do need more sleep LOL). 

Anyhoo... If the ingredients are refined the nutrients are stripped from the product. I want to give you and I the best I can. Also, you will not find any fragrances in Zensational products. I only use organic essential oils.  Fragrances are toxic and made with many chemicals. I don't care for the word "natural" either, natural is so very misused and misunderstood.  Many "natural" products contain herbicides and pesticides and that in my book is NOT okay. Therefore I stick to "organic".  
It is so exciting for me when people stop and see me and want to try on a lotion and their response is WOW that's pretty awesome. The many men and women that stop and ask about Organics keep me going. Organics and health are definitely a huge passion for me. Zensational Organics is getting bigger and better all the time, thanks to all of you looking for a healthy chemical free life!

Some of my products: Whippity Bobbidy Boo, Rescue Lotion, Awesome Salve, Body Sprays,  Rescue Lip Balm, Insect Repellent

Soaps:  Lovely Lavender, Calendula Citrus, Guinness Bandit, Gone Surfin, Ocean Breeze, Goats Milk Baaa, Unscented, Peace Love and Patcheulli,  Bee Buzzer Medina Honey, Bow Wow Wowza, Cocoa Butter, Lemongrass, Ocean Dunes

Bath Teas: Ah-Mazing, Spicy Fantasy, Nirvana

My motto... STOP the chemicals go ORGANIC with Zensational Organics. For more info: visit: www.zensationalorganics.com or contact me directly at: annie@zensationalorganics.com. Stop on by my booth, I truly would love to meet you!

Meet Natthamol Chen from Natt Clay Flower...
My name is Natthamol Chen. I always have interest in arts however, never really get serious about it until I discovered the art of Clay Flower Making. I have been making Clay Flowers for almost a year. Starting from a regular trip back to Thailand to visit my family, since then I have been creating various types of flowers and applying this art to different merchandises. This is my first time joining Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show!

The amazing beauty of real flowers inspires me to create as most realistic-looking clay flower as I possibly could. Also, personally it makes me calm and focused in the same way as meditation would. The first time I saw my stepmom's flower creation during my trip to Thailand, I was simply blown away and surprised by how realistic those flowers looked. I signed up for one class as I only had little time. After that one class, I have been experimenting and finding out my own technique to make my flowers as realistic looking as possible!
My creative process... Everything starts from a blob of white clay. A special blend of Thai and Japanese air dry clay is super fine and stretchy. With just bare hands and small precision tools, I am able to create certain curves and forms with various sculpting techniques. Petal by petal,each flower is handcrafted and hand-painted to create realistic-looking flowers.

My goals in five years.. I would love to be a regular at the Avant-Garde shows as well as have my pieces exhibited at local art galleries.However, the most important thing is to share my passion with more and more people who are interested. 
The message behind my work: Beauty of a simple flower brings peace to inner soul! 

Want to get in contact? Reach me at 216-466-2447 or via email at natt.clayflowerart@gmail.com. I can also be found on Facebook at: Natt Clay Flower.

Meet Melanie Sloan from Bride of Frankenstein...
Hi, My name is Melanie Sloan. I am a married mother of 4, living on the west side of Cleveland. By day, I am a software tester & analyst in the IT department for a major auto insurance company. But designing and creating jewelry (and more) is what really mirrors my heart and my passion. My creations reflect my style and my greatest passions.

I’ve been designing and creating jewelry for many years… but only selling my creations since February 2014. Creating and upcycling is a really great stress reliever for me. And within the past year, I’ve discovered that sharing my passion thru my Etsy shop and craft shows/boutiques is truly inspiring and fulfilling for me.

This is my very first Avant-Garde show! To say that I am excited would be a total understatement. I’m on cloud 9 right now!
I find inspiration in ways that others may find strange. I could be watching a movie, and a certain scene will give me a feeling that I immediately want to recreate in the form of jewelry. Or, I could be out clothes shopping with my 14 year old, and some of the prints or colors on an item of clothing may give me a great idea for an upcycled jewelry box. I’ve always felt that I view the world just a bit differently than the average person. I’m always thinking of how I can recreate a certain emotion or feeling.

Honestly, I attribute my creative gene as just that… something inherited. My mother has always enjoyed crafting, for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of her making beautiful creations, of all kinds. When I was about four years old, my mom would work late into the night at her sewing machine, creating the most beautiful Strawberry Shortcake bedspread, set, and curtains for my bedroom. I loved that bedroom set! My mom is just so talented. My brother inherited the creative gene as well, and he displays this in his work as a chef. And I give credit to my father for my bravery to start selling my creations. My dad is the bravest person I know. My husband is my biggest fan. He gives me so much support and encouragement. I’m really a lucky lady.
How I got started.. I remember as a teenager, being discouraged after days of shopping, not being able to find a lot of things that were my idea of “cool”. So I started creating my own jewelry and t-shirts and accessories. I figured if I couldn’t find what I wanted at the store, that I would just make what I wanted. It was very fulfilling to me. Still is. As my confidence grew, I began creating more complex things.

My creative process.. I really do not have a process. My brain is just wired in a way where I can draw inspiration from my surroundings. I feel so blessed for that ability. And once that inspiration really hits, I cannot be stopped. It’s almost like being in a trance… once I am inspired, there is no rest until I express that feeling accurately into a work of art that can be worn or displayed.
Where I see myself in five years.. I’d love to think that my business will pick up enough that I can transition over to it full time. But that is an extremely aggressive goal. So I’ll be happy with still feeling the intense feelings of pride and amazement that I get when I can share one of my creations with a happy customer. Is there anything better than someone else feeling the wonder and emotion that I intended them to feel with one of my creations?

Although a lot of my pieces have a dark theme to them, I feel the true message behind my work is happiness! That’s what it is all about. That’s what life is all about. Doing something you love, something that makes you feel just…happy. I tell my kids all the time, the meaning of life is to be happy. Spread happiness. Strive for happiness. Do something that makes you happy. Designing and creating makes me happy. I want my creations to bring happiness to others. If I can do that, then I have succeeded in life!

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 Becki@ag-shows.com
Visit us on: