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