Friday, June 9, 2017

Show Time!

Meet Sophie Knee from Soap Cubed...
I am Sophie Knee, from SOAP CUBED.  I was born in the United Kingdom, and arrived in Ohio in 1988, as a young adult.  I have a Fine Arts background and day job, but have been making things all my life.  Making stuff was “normal” on both sides of our family; people sewed, knitted, crocheted, built furniture, baked bread, developed film, and did home canning.  One of my grandfathers (a high school teacher during the day) had a hidden talent for cake decorating.  Sometimes people make fun of me for doing myself, instead of paying other people to do, but the truth is, when I create, I feel connected to the people who first taught me how.
I started making soap in 2016.  I have lived with skin allergies all my life, and had read that natural soaps are gentler on the skin than most of what's commercially available. When I made my first batch (It was “Lavender Brown”), I tested it first by washing my hands for a week, then taking it into the shower, then finally used it on my face.  When that was OK, I asked some family members to be my testers.  My family: 6 adults, 3 teenagers, 4 PhDs, about 8 other academic degrees (various), 6 people (plus self) have skin allergies (various).  They are the “nerds with skin allergies”.  They're opinionated people, and pretty soon they all started asking me for particular kinds of soap, and telling me what they thought of what I already made.  In rather a short time, I had made more soap than I knew what to do with, and still wanted to make more.  I have been washing with handmade soap for about 6 months now, and my skin has really improved: no allergic rash, and less need for lotion.
Also, I found that I really love making soap.  The basic ingredients are very simple, and nothing special.  I find most base oils kind of gross, Lye is (honestly) quite scary.  When you combine these ingredients correctly, you get a magical (OK, it's really chemical) reaction, and then you have soap.  Yes,  botanicals and essential oils are beautiful, and also seem like magic to me, but they represent only a tiny part of the soap.  Soap smells great, and it cleans everything.  (Did I mention I'm a nerd?  This is the Miracle of Saponification”.)  

I came up with a packaging system, and a logo.  This was fun, too; I got help from my sister (PhD in Biology), and designed the SOAP CUBED logo.  Then I set up an Etsy shop, all the time listening to a little voice in the back of my head, telling me that people needed to see (and smell) this stuff in person.  That led to my very first ever Avant Garde Craft Show, which went well, so the Columbus show will be my second.  I believe that SOAP CUBED is still in the “proof of concept” phase,  and I don't think I can see what will happen 5 years from now.  I do know that I want to create something beautiful and good (The Eternal Search for Truth and Beauty?).  SOAP CUBED is about finding a safer, more natural option for skin care, that can still smell great, and look beautiful. 

Meet Pam Walton from Craft Addict...
I am an engineer by day and crafter by night/weekend.  I have an understanding husband and two teenagers (one who just graduated high school!)  I don’t often sit around with nothing to do! I'm my fourth year of business!

What inspires me... I dabble in many types of crafts. When I see things online or in craft stores I always want to see if I can do something similar.
My business started as a fundraiser.  My daughter wanted to go on an international trip and I wanted to teach her that you have to work for what you want.  People don’t generally like to hand over money for nothing.  So we brainstormed different ideas of products we could make and sell.  This was only going to be a one year thing.  I enjoyed it too much to quit!  Her international trip fell through, but now proceeds will go toward the purchase of her first car.  Next goal is to help defray costs of college!
My mom taught me basic crochet when I was nine and I grew to have a talent for drawing and music as a teenager.  I have always doubted my true creativity so I tended to create ‘crafts’ instead of ‘art’ (I follow instructions well).  But many crafts aren’t cost effective until you are creating larger quantities of items.  Craft Addict has afforded me the opportunity to experiment with many facets of the crafting world, from sewing to making candles to different styles of jewelry to putting images on wood in one fashion or another.  I’ll never stop searching for that next ‘talent’!

My creative process.. I feel like I’m always looking.  Specialty groups on Facebook, friends’ suggestions, craft stores, Pinterest, YouTube are all sources of inspiration.  Sometimes it’s a new style of something I already do.  Sometimes it’s a whole new genre with which to experiment!
My five year goal.. In five years both of my children will be grown and on their own.  I will then have the open schedule to attend more shows in the spring and fall/winter (I’m currently limited to summer months).  I also intend to foster a larger presence online.  People ask if I’m going to be bored once my busy kids leave the nest … nope … got that covered!

The message behind my work is that I provide product that can beautify both the person and the home without emptying the wallet.  It doesn’t take a million bucks to look like a million bucks! View more of my work at or my facebook group

2017 Columbus Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Makoy Event Center
5462 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 43026
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Glitz and Glam Vendors!

Meet Debra Smith Tolley from Mad River Joys...
Mad River Joys is a newly established business by Debra Smith Tolley that is still experiencing many "firsts". The 2017 Columbus Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show will be her first Avant-Garde show as a vendor. That show comes only twelve days before Mad River Joys' first anniversary.
Debra grew up along the Mad River in rural Urbana, Ohio, and graduated from Miami University with an architectural design degree. She has always loved nature and design, so she is now combining those loves to bring to many others the joys they give her.

Debra's many items of home décor, jewelry, and photography are handmade by her design. The designs reflect her desire to bring joy to everyone, everyday.
Items include pocket memory keys, fairy gardens, shower curtain dangles, bookmarks, ornaments, ornament hangers, beaded tea lights, wine glass charms, bottle stoppers, beaded napkin rings, purse dangles, sun catchers, decorated glassware, door hangings, fan/light pulls, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, photo coasters, photo mouse mats, and framed photos. The list of products is always growing.

The photos are all taken by Debra, or her husband, Frederick "B'ar" Tolley.
Mad River Joys' products may be purchased anytime online at or on Facebook at Mad River Joys. The Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show is one of several "in person buying opportunities" Mad River Joys offers as listed on its website show calendar or Facebook page events.
Custom orders are welcomed. Some items work wonderfully for wedding décor.
Since most items are handmade to order, delivery may take two to four weeks. If items are in stock, they will be shipped right away.

Debra's inspiration generally comes from a combination of a walk in her large yard, materials on hand, and shared pictures of others creations.

She would love to have a staff producing her designs in the next five years.
Thank you for visiting, and please look to Mad River Joys to be sure to have little joys in your daily life.

Meet Carolyn Scono from Jewelry by Carolyn Scono...
I absolutely love what I create and take pride in the design and quality of each piece that someone will love wearing.  I have been designing and creating jewelry since 2003.  I get pleasure from creating pieces that are distinctive, one of a kind, easy to wear at affordable prices.
Design inspiration comes from the semi-precious gemstones, cultured pearls or glass beads that are introduced in most pieces to craft elegant art jewelry.  My work is handmade, constantly evolving and fresh applying a variety of techniques to create unique designs--such as metalsmithing/soldering, wire-wrapping, and fold-forming; beading; weaving chain maille patterns and Kumihimo. 

Additional information about my work may be found on: Website:, Facebook: Jewelry by Carolyn Scono.

Meet Julie Ross from De Constructed...
I have been creating jewelry for about 5 years. But never sold anything until two years ago!

I am inspired by absolutely everything! Especially people and clothing. Sometimes I become overwhelmed with ideas that I can’t even sort it all out in my brain. Once I get creating, I can go until the wee hours of the morning.
I began scrapbooking years ago and my interests began to evolve into mixed media type projects. Somewhere along the line I began playing around with old jewelry. The endless possibilities intrigued me. I began finding unusual items to incorporate into my jewelry. I love to scour flea markets and yard sales looking for old/broken/discarded jewelry and other rusty and unusual found items. My passion is to bring new life to these unwanted items.
I was shopping in a little boutique in Galena, Ohio, Talula’s. I overheard a conversation about making jewelry. I spoke up and said “that’s what I do” (very unusual of me BTW). The next thing I know I am meeting with the owner and began selling some of my jewelry at her boutique. I owe her so much for giving me the confidence to really “put myself out there” and show the world what I love to do.

My creative process is a HOT mess! I have to have my supplies scattered about in front of me. I have always been a messy creator.

The message behind my work is that everything old can be revitalized and new again!

Meet Joyce Dorn from Jewelry Designs by JoyD...
I have been creating Jewelry for about 10 years, I knew I was meant to do this when I visited the Cultural Arts Center in Downtown Columbus. As soon as I stepped into the Jewelry area – every sensor in me was pinging inside me and I knew I found a place I could express myself. With this I have also taken other classes from local Bead stores and Workshops in and out of Ohio to learn more and get better at my craft of metalsmithing.
I have participated in six shows with Avant Garde. I am thrilled to be part of this event and have learned quite a bit about selling my pieces and interacting and helping customers. I like that I see the returning customers at the shows. Greeting new people and helping them make their jewelry choices. It helps me improve my design choices and see what customers are looking for. I have altered pieces to so they have the best fit for them. So I guess you could say my customers inspire me to create and continue to learn.
My creative process is based on what I have learned and I pour over magazines and pictures even the coloring books looking at drawings or that “spark”. I don’t copy I create my version. I have jewelry mentors – people that inspire me with their styles – I don’t copy them but they create my desire to do better!
In five years – I hope I can say I have a customer base that I can cater to and hope that I can attend more workshops to continue learning. I like the rustic in my designs – I like working with the copper and silver metal and wire components.

If there is a message to be learned – I would say it would be to continue to learn and find new methods of creating. Be true to yourself – and your craft.

2017 Columbus Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Makoy Event Center
5462 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 43026
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's Show Week!

Meet Audrey Foster from Captain Hook's Crochet...
First and foremost, I am a college undergraduate student majoring in zoology at Ohio State University. My major goal is to become a zookeeper after I graduate in August. Other than that, I love reading and writing fantasy novels, watching movies, hiking, and kayaking. 

I have actually been crocheting for about twelve years now, but I have been seriously working on my hobby since June of 2016. I started my Etsy business when I was doing an internship at the Roosevelt Park Zoo in North Dakota. I had a lot of extra time on my hands (I didn't know anybody), and I wanted to express my love of crochet and animals through amigurumi. This inspired me to create my shop.
Animals and wildlife conservation are my main passions. Amigurumi was a way for me to incorporate my love of animals into something solid that create and share with everyone. In my personal life, I am into all things nerdy and geeky. I love anime, and when Pokemon Go came out, it caused me to want to create things like the pokeball bag purse and other various nerdy items in my shop.
My grandmother is actually the one who got me started on crocheting. When I was little, she would always make me socks and blankets, and I so desperately wanted to be like her. She is the one who gave me the set of crochet needles I use today. What's really cool about that is that I even have the crochet needle that her mother used to do all of her projects with.

I guess I discovered my talent by watching my grandmother make projects and trying to cope what she did. A couple of years ago, my cousin started her own Etsy shop, and I wanted to open one for myself. I wanted to feel what it was like to fully own and operate something that was within my creative vision.

I would say my creative process is pretty varying. Many times, I have a pattern to work off of, and other times, I wing it. For example, another cousin of mine wanted me to make her a hat modeled after her dog. So with no pattern, I created that. Then there are times that I simply modify patterns to make things my own, or to fit the needs of my customers.
I hope to see myself continuing my business part time. I also hope to expand it, and I hope to be able to do more craft shows grow my Etsy shop. The message behind my work is really just to have fun live on the wild side. If I can get people excited about wildlife and science through my crochet, then I have done my job.

The first picture is the one I would like used of me, if you would! That was taken at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and it is my absolute favorite place on Earth. I also included five pictures of my products. If you would like any more, please let me know. I actually have two websites that can be used: and

Meet Barbara Curry from Pure Aroma Essentials...
Barbara is a retired Certified Public Account (CPA) who graduated with a 4-yr degree in accounting along with two minors, business administration and management science.  Barb grew up in Ohio but moved to Dallas, TX in 1989 with her husband, Rick and her two sons, Chris & Nick. While in Texas, Barb worked as the Corporate Finance Director for Metro Media International requiring extensive travel throughout Europe & Eastern Asia. She later worked as the Accounting Controller for SCI Roev Corp, Univest Corporation & PCA Management Corporation, respectively. Barb retired from accounting 4 years ago Barb formed Pure Aroma Essentials in 2010.

I was inspired to create due to my strong interest in the healing effects of aroma therapy.I discovered my talent by accident. I got tired of buying candles that smoked up my home and that did not really scent my home. I am also very health conscience and don’t want to burn harmful chemicals in my home. I took some candle making classes and studied the healing properties of aroma therapy so I could make my own healthy candles just for myself (keep in mind, I was working full time as the controller of a large corporation Dallas at the time).
How I got into my hobby.. My friend Carol come to my house one evening while I was burning my candle. She ask me what that amazing smell was and I told her it was my candle. She wanted to know where I got it so she could go get her one. I told her that I made it and she could not believe it. Naturally, she wanted me to make her one…so I did. This kept happening when people come to my home when I was burning my candles and it started happening at my friend’s house also. I started making candles for everyone…this thing had a snow balling effect. Everyone was coming to my house to pick up my highly scented soy candles. I also started getting emails and calls from people who said they got one as a gift and wanted to know how they could get more. It was then that my friend told me I needed to do shows. I enjoyed doing it, it was my passion so why not.
My creative process is taking pure, healthy products (soy wax, natural oils, metal free wicks and beautiful ceramic containers and turning them into not only pure candles that will actually scent your home but leave you with a beautiful ceramic container that you can use after you burn your candle. I also do the pure, healthy wax scent cubes…compare the way ours smell to those others out there. They not only smell superior but last a lot longer as well.

The message behind my work is that a quality hand-poured candle cannot be purchased in a store, it is far superior like an Amish hand-made piece of furniture.

Meet Nancy Jacobs from Cat in My Lap Designs...
I have always been a rock hound and love natural gemstones.  Mother Nature is amazing in what she creates.  Several years ago while attending the local Rock and Mineral show, I purchased a strand of beads, with no idea what I was going to do with it.  After experimenting with stringing, a new addiction was born.  Having a four-footed furry helper, my company name was a natural. 
I started participating in Arts & Craft shows in 2005.  Over the years I’ve taken classes on wirework and metalsmithing, but mostly I’m self-taught.  My design ideas tend to come to me in the middle of the night.  No wonder I’m always tired! J  Over the years I’ve honed my art from simple bead stringing to making my own sterling silver findings and even obtaining a copyright on one of my designs.  I travel to the big February bead shows in Tucson, AZ to handpick my beads, making sure I buy only the best quality available.
I strive to create amazing wearable art by combining color, shape, texture, and size.  My designs appeal to a wide customer base as they can be worn with blue jeans, a business suit, or a dressy night out on the town.  I tend to call my jewelry “working women’s jewelry”, as it is reasonably priced and can be worn so many different ways.

Traveling to five states to participate in shows has been an educational experience.  Visiting many beautiful areas and meeting interesting people is very rewarding.  I will miss this as I wind down my art career over the next few years (I’m getting old!). I hope to continue to do local shows and set up an online shop.

Meet Laurel Cisler from Jasmine's Attic...
I am a full time small animal veterinarian and mom to 4 kitties, Ursula, Dash, Pearl and Max.  Aside from sewing, I'm also a beekeeper, an avid reader, and a newbie vegetable gardener, although no promises on how that's going to go!

I have been crafty since I could hold a glue stick and a piece of macaroni.  I started sewing in high school but didn't keep with it when I went to college and veterinary school but started back up about 5 years ago.  I started Jasmine's Attic in December of 2012.

I am inspired to create by the stress-relieving, cathartic effect it has on me. Am I allowed to say I sew so I don't punch people??
I originally started Jasmine's Attic because I was looking for safe, engaging and, above all, FUN toys for my own cats.  I was finding that so much of what you could find in stores had parts that would come off, weird glues, sub-par catnip and the like.  As a veterinarian, I've seen first hand what can happen if a cat swallows a long string or gets a jingle bell stuck in its intestines.  So I decided to make my own!  My cats LOVED the wool blend felt and super potent catnip pellets that I was using, so I kept creating!  I didn't want to leave out the doggos though, so my mother's dog Mocha became my spokespoodle and model for my bowties and bandanas, which have gone over very well.  Mocha says he feels SUPER fancy while wearing his bowties.
I think I discovered sewing for the first time when I was in high school and I wanted to make a cute pillowcase to take to camp with me.  My mom showed me how to use her sewing machine and away I went.

My creative process is....chaotic.  There is a whole lot of doodling, coffee drinking (and let's be honest, wine drinking), rummaging through fabric, and sitting at my sewing machine with my feet on the table watching Netflix that goes into coming up with ideas!  I definitely have to keep a mental filter going to keep track of what I want to make next!
In 5 years
, I hope to be doing more than just 2 or 3 craft shows a year.  I don't get to sew full time, but I hope to be able to streamline my process a bit and find a way to keep enough inventory around that I can participate in a few more shows a year.

The message behind my work is the love of pets!  It is serendipitous that the recipient of the fundraiser for this Avant-Garde show is a pet rescue, because that's how this all began for me.  Even though I have been moving towards making a lot more handbags, wallets, and other "people stuff" than I used to, I can't imagine that I will ever leave the pet products behind!

My etsy shop website is  

2017 Columbus Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Makoy Event Center
5462 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 43026
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on: