Friday, August 2, 2019

Tomorrow is the Day!

Meet Arpan Shrestha of Nepali Artisans...
My name is Arpan Shrestha and I have been living in Cleveland, Ohio for almost 10 years after I moved from Nepal. I owned a handicraft business back home. I had been introduced to handicraft products since I was a kid. My uncle owned a couple of stores that sold handmade souvenirs to tourists. I used to help him manage his store during winter vacations. The craftsmanship and the intricacy of the handcrafted products always fascinate me. That’s what inspired me to open my own handmade souvenir store shortly after I graduated high school. I ran a handicraft business for 11 years.
After I moved to the US, I went to a college and landed on an internship and a contracting job for few years. However, I was never content with 9 to 5 job as I always yearned to follow my passion, to open my own handicraft store. 

I started an online business in Amazon in 2017 where I sold toys, party supplies and products in other categories but I still had this feeling inside that I could do much more.

While visiting Kathmandu, Nepal this summer, I came across handmade glass bead products that are passionately crafted by skilled women artisans within and outside of the Kathmandu valley. I found that these products were beautifully made and were crocheted in different colors and patterns. The variations in colors, design and craft skills that have been put into these items really intrigued me. This is when I decided to work with the organization in Kathmandu who trains and employs these artisans that empower them to become independent. To commemorate these skilled artisans and to promote their products was born. 
We were searching for a platform to showcase the handmade products and came across Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This will be our first event and I believe this would be the best way to connect with handmade enthusiasts like you. My plan is to participate in such festivals in future as well. With intent to give back to the community, I am hoping to donate a portion of our profit to women artisans.

Meet Katie Ferren of Miracle Wreaths in the Making...
My name is Katie Ferren and I am a creative wreath maker! I live in Findlay, OH with my husband, daughter, and two dogs. I am a band director and in my free time I love to create beautiful wreaths to share with others to admire on their doors, mantels, etc. My business has been active for about a year now.

So many things inspire me to create these beautiful wreaths. I love going to a variety of unique places and putting together wreaths that represent that place. I recently was commissioned to make a wreath for Rich's Auto Body Show in Amherst, OH and I customized the wreath to fit their shop! It was so much fun to do! I love all the interesting signs I can find or material and create my wreaths. My beautiful mother is who I received my creative talent from and we work together making our wreaths and handmade towels. I have always been creative and have dedicated my life to art and music. 
Miracle Wreaths in the Making was created to help my husband and I on our infertility journey as we pursue IVF to conceive our 2nd child. Three years ago, God graced us with a beautiful daughter, Cora Rose. She is the sunshine to our heart and the best gift that we have ever received. We have tried to expand our family but have had great difficulty. I learned that over the past two years, I am one in eight who suffer with infertility and PCOS. In all the emotions and stress that this journey has brought, I started making wreaths with my mother, Cathy. My beautiful mother is who I received my creative talent from and we work together making our wreaths and handmade towels. This creative outlet takes away my stress and emotions and I am able to create beautiful artful wreaths. 
With each season, I get the creative bug when I see everything around me. I am inspired by my surroundings or the little things I find. 

In five years I see myself continuing to create beautiful wreaths and passing my gift to my daughter and hopefully in the future her new sister or brother. I see myself dedicating my proceeds from the business to advocating for infertility coverage and supporting others that struggle with infertility. The message behind my work is how Miracle Wreaths in the Making - there are miracles in everything.

Meet Christin VanAtta of Cleveland Clicks...
I'm Christin VanAtta, maker of Cleveland Clicks I’ve been creating photos and other types of art since I was in middle school but just recently began to learn more about the craft professionally in the past 3 years. 
This will be my first Avant-Garde Art and Craft Show and I am very excited! What inspires me to create is The Ignatian principal of finding God in all things. I love to photograph the intersection of nature and urban life when I can because to me it represents the beauty of God’s natural creation mixing with all the amazing things we as humans can dream up and create too. When we create, we mirror God in our own worlds. 
I’m inspired by beauty in general and I love to find beauty in unusual or unexpected places, so I just began taking pictures of those times when I was caught off guard by something striking, and my hobby grew from there and I am still discovering my talent each and every day. 

I try to create images people haven’t seen much before, or re-imagine things that are very common. I try never to take the same picture twice, and when I’m shooting I try to ask myself “how can I make this new?”
In five years I'd like to have a website within a few years where I can consistently showcase and sell my work. I want everyone to look at my work and see the message of how God is in all things. Beauty in all things. 

Meet Meg Smith of Shabby Chick By Meg...
I'm Meg and I am a mom of two girls.  I quite my job at the hospital as soon as my first daughter was born to stay home with my kids.  My husband has always encouraged me to have me time and sew. I started sewing at 15 years old, but opened my etsy page in 2016. I love what I do and I love being able to stay home and spend time with my family while also being able to do my favorite 
This will be my first show with Avant-Garde Arts and Crafts Show and I am super excited to participate and be able to show everyone what I can do with a needle. What inspires me is my two daughters because I make things I want as a mother. I love making things and having my daughters wear them, it makes me so happy. 
My grandmother taught me how to sew and it's a memory I will forever treasure. I have always loved to create, but once I had children it became clear to make things I can use every day as a mom. I relax and find comfort in making things for little ones that I would use as a mother myself. 
I am always making new things to grow my business.  I will continue to do that for years to come. I create baby items that I use as a mother of two. I only pick fabrics that are soft and perfect for babies soft skin. 

Meet Theresa Bynum...
I'm Theresa Bynum and the thing about me is...l come alive when I am painting abstract paintings. Its like a dance and I enjoy playing with colors! We never know what we are going to create together but it makes me smile. I see something different in each one. The bonus you can get from it and something that is so completely different from so many other paintings. I prefer not to sign my work but i will leave it up to the customer. I been doing paint for 2 years and I still am in the learning and improving stage.
 This is my first ever Avant-Garde Art and Craft show and I am super excited because I want everyone to experience my story and everything about my paintings. What inspires me is the technique and I just run with it and see's where it takes me with whatever I am painting. It is so much fun and always makes my day. I also have been combining beads from jewelry and putting it on my paintings to make it pop just a little bit more. 
A friend told me about painting techniques on YouTube and that I should try it, and I would compare myself to a kid in a candy store wanting to try all the techniques out there so I looked into tit. After some digging I found out that what I like working with the most is acrylic paints, alcohol inks, and acrylic pouring. When I first started crafting, I started with jewelry making and I taught classes at the YMCA. Then my friend introduced YouTube and I have been in heaven ever since. It was a life changer for me and my work. 
When I start with my paintings I always let the mood take me on a journey with it because that usually creates the best outcomes. You just have fun with it, and have a blast while doing it. You create such colorful pieces that it is crazy how the finished product looks at the end. I see myself in five years or a little bit more adding polish in my style and being better connected. Art is fun and the best advice for anyone that likes to paint or wants to paint to let the mood take you for ride, don't overdue it, or try to hard. It should be a peaceful, fun activity that you do.

Shop & Rock Handmade Fest
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Market Square at Crocker Park
239 market St.
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Shop & Rock Handmade Fest to Premier!

Meet Annie Stahlheber of Bee Basic Products...
I am Annie Stahlheber the maker of Bee Basic Products.started this company after trying to use commercial or dermatology products to treat my sensitive/dry skin and eczema. I make small batches of skin, hair, facial and even pet care products, out of all natural, non-toxic ingredients. All of my products are intended to assist with a skin issue, such as dry skin, eczema, inflammation, acne, psoriasis, sensitivity, cuts and scrapes, and reversing the clock. I started creating my own personal care products when I couldn't find any that worked for my sensitive skin. I am a working mom with two young girls, but squeeze in enough time to create useful, healthy, non-toxic and eco-friendly products that others can enjoy. 
I have decades of experience with personal care products. Living with sensitive skin and eczema my entire life, I have experimented with hundreds of personal care products. Not satisfied with what I found, I became driven to create my own products without toxins or additives. I hope that you find my products nourishing, pleasant and affordable. 

All of Bee Basic Products ingredients score less than 2, most of them 0-1 on the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database. All products are geared to sensitive and eczema prone skin. No animal testing. No parabens, petroleum, preservatives or fillers.  Only the best, skin nourishing ingredients. 

Products include body butters, lip balms, bath scrubs, facial masks, facial moisturizer, toner, serum and cleanser, deodorant, all natural sun protection, insect repellent, beard conditioner, hair pomade, skin treatments and essential oil fragrance rollers. All ingredients are carefully selected, and intended to nourish and fortify, with natural, fair trade and organic carrier oils, local honey and beeswax, and therapeutic grade essential oils.
The main driver for me is to help people find affordable all natural products that work. I hope you find that my products meet that description. This blog will discuss the ingredient choices, best practices for the many aspects personal care, and maybe even entertain you a little :) 

Meet Shawn Claar of 99designs...

Hello,my name is Shawn Claar of 99designs. I have recently retired after 40 yrs. as superintendent in heavy construction. Always enjoyed working with wood making things for around the house and such. Love staining and finishing wood to enjoy the grains.Really hate it to see someone painting over finished cabinets or trim. 99designs is a collection of handmade, uniquely crafted furnishings made with new and reclaimed materials.
The past year or so, by using materials from around my shop, I would get an idea, draw it up and there you go. Seeing the outcome is the best feeling about the job, because it all started with a vision and came out sometimes even better than expected. With my wife's input of industrial look, which has gained popularity, a lot of my creations include reclaimed steel and other materials. I put pride into my work, making the nicest/best pieces i can. 
Everything I make is furniture, including coffee tables, poker tables, and chests. Home decor includes wine racks and other decorative items. 

I am not a newbie when it comes to being involved in the Avant-Garde Art and Craft Shows. This will actually be my third show and I always am excited to be able to show my items to people coming to the shows and answering all their questions. 

I am truly grateful that Avant-Garde has included me in the Shop & Rock Fest. Looking forward to many more shows!

Meet Lisa Parker of On The Rocks Designs...

Hi, I am Lisa Parker and I am a native of New Castle, PA, I studied jewelry-making for 4 years in high school and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 with a BA in Studio Arts & Fine Arts. Post graduation I worked in pre-press, typography, and graphic design while always creating jewelry as a hobby.
In 2006 I discovered that my passion was really jewelry design. I had created so many pieces that it was becoming impossible to wear them all myself!  Founded in January 2007,  “On The Rocks Designs” was established as my business.  I switched my focus from graphic design to creating one-of-a-kind jewelry and selling at local arts and craft fairs and online.
I especially enjoy the fluidity and variety of techniques allowed by this method to create unique designs which are not typical of metal, making each piece as individual as the person wearing it. I’m inspired to make jewelry that no one else will have – I love the One-of-a-kind aspect and the metaphysical properties of stones are intriguing to me.  I want people to feel comfortable and confident while wearing my accessories and be able to wear them every day, no matter where they are going. 
In addition to casting, I also use techniques such as fabrication and anodizing while incorporating semiprecious stones into my jewelry designs. My cast pieces are inspired by the organic nature of the wax and the natural beauty of the stones, while my fabricated pieces in titanium and niobium are inspired by my background in graphic design. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and named after a classic cocktail.

Meet Nathan Nokoneczny
 of Poppy & Nokz...
I graduated from Cleveland State University with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. I have always been very creative and enjoyed experimenting with different mediums to express my passion for the arts. I started dabbling in jewelry making as a hobby and it has blossomed into a very passionate side-hustle, as I refer to it. I love seeing the joy my jewelry brings to the wearer and helping to add statement pieces to everyday ensembles. When I'm not designing or creating beautiful jewelry, I spend my time reading comics, searching for Cleveland's best taco and spending time with my wiener dog, Milo Kunis.

I started creating jewelry within the last two years. I began just making myself bracelets with semi-precious stones and wood and eventually started experimenting with different styles and materials.

This will be my first time participating in the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows which is super exciting!

As a graphic designer, I'm inspired by everything around me. I may get inspired from a piece of wall art, a shape of a mid-century table or even just the material I'm using in general. I started getting into designing jewelry, because I enjoy wearing expressive bracelets and was tired of spending so much on them at different stores. I bought some beads and began designing what I wanted to wear.

I've always been the creative and super artsy kid. I dabbled in photography, interior design and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. It felt natural to use my skills to grow into a new medium. I've always had a great eye for fashion and jewelry and decided to experiment. 

I typically get that spark of inspiration from so many places, then as soon as possible, I look through my repertoire of materials at home or I visit my local stores to purchase what material I'm missing, then get started. If I don't like the way something looks together or how something turns out, I take it apart and start over. 

In five years I would love to see myself doing more shows and hopefully have my work in smaller local boutiques.

The message behind my work is that I design jewelry that does not fit one specific gender or person. I want my jewelry to be used as a wearable expression that the person wearing them, clicks with instantly. I created statement pieces, whether bold or subtle, that adds just the right amount of excitement to an outfit. I don't design one specific style of jewelry. I get inspired by everything around me and work with a wide range of materials. I'm always experimenting, as well, to find the next material that sparks joy while working with it. I have designed wood shapes and layered them out to serve as a base and I'm considering making my own resin bases as well. I love using glass, wood and semi-precious stones and often add Swarovski crystals for a little added sparkle. 

Shop & Rock Handmade Fest
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Market Square at Crocker Park
239 market St.
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Tomorrow is the Day!

Meet  Arpan Shrestha of Nepali Artisans... My name is Arpan Shrestha and I have been living in Cleveland, Ohio for almost 10 years after I...