Thursday, May 30, 2024

Columbus Get Excited! It's Time the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show!

 Meet Janet Forbes-Green from Made to Adore...

Retiring after 35 years as a math/science teacher for Columbus City Schools I now have the time to devote to an interest I’ve always had which is creating art. Being an empty nester comes with some advantages as my 2 children are married and have their own families which gives me an at-home art studio. (Yeah!)  With the help of my husband of 44 years I can now devote time to developing my craft.

During my years of teaching, I attended conferences set in New Orleans, specifically near the French Quarter. Between classes, I would walk the Quarter mesmerized by the colorful houses and French-influenced architecture. I really wanted to reproduce that look in a colorful, whimsical way. My art reflects my interpretation of the homes of New Orleans. Made with polymer clay, acrylic paint, and resin to enhance the color, each house has its own unique style and charm.

I became a member of the Worthington Area Arts League to gain guidance and advice.  It has taken me at least 4 years to develop my style of art. Some of my work is displayed through their website and in art/craft shows around the area. I also show some of my work on Facebook. I also create personal pieces for people. 

Meet Stacy Piper from Middle School Chaos LLC...

My name is Stacy Piper and I am the owner of Middle School Chaos, LLC. I am a full-time middle school teacher and have two grown children. I craft to help relieve the stress of teaching math to 7th graders! I began scrapbooking when my son was born 25 years ago. My style has changed over the years but I still enjoy every minute of creating. This will be my 4th Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show!

What inspires me is a bit of anything and everything. When I see something online or in a store that I like, you can probably be sure I'm saying "I can do that." I create mostly with paper/cardstock but I also mess around with t-shirts, tumblers, stickers, and coasters. Every year I make classroom decor for my "home away from home" - my classroom. 

My creative process is chaotic at best. I often start a project and will change midstream. You never know what you are going to get in my craft room. This is why my store name is Middle School Chaos - like my classroom, my craft room is a different day of chaos every day. 

In five years I hope to see myself retired from teaching and doing more arts & crafts shows. The message behind my work is happiness... I want people to look at my work and have it remind them of a story or memory that they've had in the past. I can't wait for this show!

Meet Katherine Patrick from Nuthatch Yarn Studio...
Hi! My name is Katie, and I’m the creator of Nuthatch Yarn Studio. I live with my husband, a grumpy old man cat, and an embarrassingly large stash of yarn. I’ve been crocheting since I was a kid, but I’ve been focusing on amigurumi (a big word that basically just means crochet plushies) for about five years. This will be my third Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show, and I’m so excited! I love to crochet when I have downtime, and ending up with an adorable final project is so rewarding. It’s the perfect distressing time after work for me. 
My grandma taught me to crochet when I was young, but over the years I’ve also dabbled in an eclectic assortment of crafts including cross stitch, scrapbooking, and miniature painting. Crochet is the one hobby that’s really stuck. I feel so proud when I turn a ball of yarn into a cuddly companion, and sharing people’s joy when they see my creations just enhances the experience. When I crochet, I like to experiment with different patterns and colors. I typically don’t make the same thing more than a couple times, so my stock is always changing! 
I also try to think about the seasonality of my items. Before Christmas, I did a lot of penguins. This spring, I had surprise Easter eggs and marshmallow peeps. At this show, I’ll be focusing on Pride-themed items for June, so expect to see lots of bright colors and flag designs! While I’d love to see my business flourish, I most of all want to have fun with my hobby and be able to share my work with others. My aspirations are to continue doing a few craft shows throughout the year. Of course, I’m always open to custom projects as well!

I’m looking forward to the show and hope to see you there!

2024 Columbus Summer Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, June 2nd, 2024
Makoy Event Center
5462 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 43026
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Columbus, Let’s get it started!

Meet Jillian Renee from Jillian Renee Art…

My name is Jillian, I've been making art and crafting my entire life, but over the past few years I've realized how unfulfilled I was in my career and have been transitioning into making art my full time focus. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my partner and our two cats. Ever since I could hold a crayon I've been making art. 

Every day I'm reminded of the beauty and simplicity of my childhood and seeing life through the eyes of my inner child and allowing myself the freedom to play. I create art that is bold, bright and whimsical and always work to cultivate joy in whatever I create.  An innate drive to create. My hands always need to be fiddling with something so I've dabbled in almost every kind of craft over the years (pottery, glasswork, woodburning, yarn spinning, etc.) but have always come back to painting. In a world that is constantly chaotic, painting is a time that I'm able to be myself and quiet my mind.

My aunts and uncles are artists and always encouraged me to play when it came to art. When I was 6 I recall sitting down in front of a still life my aunt set up.. now as an adult I have that very still life framed in my kitchen. I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't creating.  My creative process is seeking joy and allowing myself the freedom to play.  Most of my paintings are done without reference photos and are simply created from my intuition.  Within the next 5 years I will be building my audience and expanding my work into galleries outside of Ohio and will be launching my first solo exhibition. 

Meet Alexa Szczepanski…

I am a cat mom to a sweet little bean named Jonas, and am a plant mom to many houseplants. I really enjoy spending as much of my time outdoors as I possibly can, going for trail walks and longer hikes. As of recently I also enjoy trail running! My partner and I just ran the Autumn. Squatch 10k and it was a blast. I cook for work, and have intermittently been involved with mental health advocacy throughout the last eight years or so. I went to undergraduate for psychology and intended to become a mental health therapist, but I have decided to take a step away from the field to give care to myself. 

I made art a lot when I was young, art classes were always my favorite whether in elementary, middle, or highschool. My first real dream was to become a professional artist and while that is no longer my dream, I am glad to be creating again. I took a break from art towards the end of my highschool years and didn't do much creatively in college unless it was required of me for a project that I did. I didn't really start to delve back into making art until this past March. 

My actual art itself is definitely inspired by the nature and life around me - plants, insects, animals, all of those things interacting with each other. What inspires the art making process for me though, is my own healing. Making art is soothing to me, it's meditative for me. It is a time when I can just sit and be quietly present with myself, and I tend to gravitate more towards my art when I am feeling heavier because it's a space for me to hold myself in. It's a very intimate and nurturing process for me.  I think I've always been into the craft hobby, but not formally. I don't think I ever outgrew that creative exploration that we all have when we're kids, I really enjoy the process of making cool things with the materials I have on hand which usually results in multimedia arts and crafts. 

I would say that there was never really a moment in time where I felt that I was all that talented. When I make art, it is always one of those things for me where I cannot tell how it will land for others - if they will enjoy it, if they will feel neutral about it, or if they just won't like it but I don't really make art for other people anymore. As in, it is no longer my intention to please others with what I create which is really important to me. 

When I started making art back in March though, was when I first really started to enjoy what I was making and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'd let go of the attachment to what others might think and I just started creating for the sake of creating.  

I have no real consistent creative process. Usually I see something out in the world that I really enjoy, which leads to an interest in trying to paint that thing, or paint something that captures the feeling of that experience for me. And then I paint it! I joke with my partner sometimes because no matter what I am creating, halfway through I always have this moment of thinking to myself "oh man, I don't know if I'm going to like this or not." And that used to be what stopped me from finishing pieces when I was younger, I would have that thought and assume that it just wasn't going to turn out good. So I would never finish it, but now I challenge myself to finish every piece even if I'm unsure of the vision, and I always end up really enjoying them. 
As I mentioned too, I tend to gravitate more towards art making when I am needing extra care.   I may eventually offer the opportunity to create custom pieces for people, but I do not ever plan to turn my artwork into a business. I will definitely be participating in more craft fairs as I have the opportunity to, but I've learned that it's really difficult for me to do the things that I really enjoy doing all the time. Anytime I have pursued my personal interests beyond just hobbies, it has led to me working too hard or burning myself out and who knows! It may be different with art, it has been different so far with cooking. I have two jobs that require kitchen work for me and cooking is something that I really enjoy, and it definitely sometimes takes away momentum from cooking at home because after working on my feet for so long in a hot kitchen, the last place I want to be is another hot kitchen. But, I still really enjoy cooking. 

Many of my pieces do not have a specific message, but I think the intention that I sit with whenever I am making art is to just enjoy living. I struggled with my mental health consistently for a long time as an adolescent and early in young adulthood, and I was constantly seeking some deeper meaning in life in order to give myself some sense of fulfillment. But this past year especially, I've realized that I do not need a meaning in order to be content with my life. My joy is present regardless of whether there are difficult days or difficult things happening in the world; my joy exists alongside lots and lots of grief. And it is all a part of being alive. Lots of my artwork includes mantras or affirmations that I've found for myself during those moments of deep grieving, of gratitude, of forgiveness and acceptance. 

Meet Jennifer White from JAWS Woodwork

My name is Jenn White and I love wood. More specifically, I love

 the possibilities of crafting with wood. I have a simple operation: me, a few tools, and endless options to create. If it can be made with wood, I'm going to do it. I have been doing this for only about three years. Woodworking started out as a simple hobby but quickly became my passion. I can always be found in the garage making a lot of saw dust.

This will be my first Avant-Garde Art and Craft Show and it is my

 first show of any kind. I'm very excited to share space with other amazing crafters.  The world around me inspires me to create. Everything I see, I think about how I can make it out of wood or incorporate wood. Making things that matter to me and others also inspires me. There is a different, wonderful kind of value to something when it's handmade. 

Woodworking started as my hobby during the quarantine times of covid.With no where to go or anything to do but be at home, I had to find something to fill my time. I read an article about woodworking and decided that is what I wanted to try because it incorporated so many elements I enjoy. Little did I know where it would take me. I really think I found woodworking by chance. I’ve always had a creative side, love to figure out how things work and love building things (thanks to years of playing with Legos as a kid). Woodworking pulls together all of these for me and I was hooked from the beginning when I was given my first saw as a gift. I still use that loyal jig saw to make all the detail cuts in my work.

I would describe my creative process as dependent on how I feel at the moment. I do like to start with a plan, drawing it out on my graph paper, a few cuts to start, but as a project starts to come together, that's when I can really see what it will eventually become.  In five years I hope to see my hobby become more of a full time business.


The message behind my work is that the thoughtfulness, quality and uniqueness of handcrafted items is the best way to add personality to one's home and life. The attention to detail that goes into every piece for a person makes it so much more meaningful. 

Meet Dani Phillip…

I am fortunate to live and travel to different countries on different continents.   Each place I call home for a while, or I visit, is a part of me as I try to capture their energy and emotions they stirr within my art works.  Years and years,  I dabbled using different media as a teenager.   Art is a big part of my life.  A place, a time, an emotion.   Each moment, fleeting as it may be, worth remembering and sharing with the world.

My father, being an artist himself, for starters.  And meeting and being friends with great artists.  I was told I am creative and talented since high school, and I just tried to express myself using different media.  It starts with an emotion, a memory of a place and a time.  I try to capture the essence of this emotion, in a simple, minimalistic way. Art is such an inspiration for all of us, even if we don't realize it at times.   Art gives personality to our spaces and makes our lives better.   I am humbled and grateful to have my art welcomed into people's homes and lives, around the world.  Art is a two way street.   It is not only about what I feel when I am creating it, but more importantly about what you feel when I am sharing it with you.   My art is an invitation to daydream with me for a moment, and forget about everything else.   Are you inspired?   Then my work is done.

2023 Columbus Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday December 10, 2023 - 10:00am-4:00pm
Makoy Event Center
5461 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:


Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Holiday Shopping Coming Your Way!

Meet Katie Runyon from Nuthatch Yarn Studio...

Hello! My name is Katie Runyon, and I’m the face behind Nuthatch Yarn Studio. During the day I work as a pharmacy technician, but what I really love to do is crochet! I share my home with my wonderful husband (Alex) who is so supportive of me, and a grumpy old man cat (Jake) who thankfully doesn’t really like yarn. I’ve been crocheting for about 5 years. 

This is my first Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show, and I’m so excited to share my work with everyone!

I’m inspired to create because of the joy it gives me. Although I do sell my items, crochet is primarily a hobby for me. After a stressful day at work, spending time making something adorable out of soft yarn is the perfect way to relax. The process is more important than the finished product. If I can bring others joy when they see my creations, that’s wonderful, but I would still crochet even if nobody ever saw it. 

I became inspired to create, about 5 years ago I happened to see an image online of amigurumi. My grandma had tried to teach me to crochet when I was a child, but at the time I wasn’t interested in making scarfs and blankets. When I learned that crochet could be used to make cuddly animals, I was amazed! I remembered the basics, and I watched YouTube videos to learn the rest. 

I discovered my talent when my first piece was a small fox made with turquoise yarn (because that’s all I could find lying around the house) and stuffed with tissues. I winged it, watching videos each time I came across part of the pattern I didn’t understand. I was sure my first attempt would be a disaster, but the fox came out cute in all its imperfection! I was hooked! (pun intended)
I like to make new things. I’m constantly looking for new patterns and I don’t typically make the same thing more than a few times. I do most of my crocheting in the evenings after work and on weekends—even when I have other activities, I often bring along a small crochet project…just in case.

In 5 years I’d like to see myself participating in several craft shows throughout the year, as well as having a successful online presence where I can share my work with a broader audience. 

Through my work, I want to bring joy and make people smile. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy cute plushies! I want to encourage people to do what makes you happy, regardless of what others might think about it.

 Meet Amber Fosler from A Crafty B...
Hi! I'm Amber Fosler. I've been an artist since my first box of Crayola crayons was given to me!  I'm happiest when I'm creating.  It's always been my go-to for when I'm stressed, anxious or just trying to process heavy stuff that life throws out on occasion. I was an event planner for many years and loved incorporating my creativity into events from weddings to business meetings. My career path took a very sharp turn when I became a mom. My amazing kiddo has been medically complex since birth.  By the time he was 5 months old, my husband and I realized that one of us needed to be home full time to care for our son. After a quick round of rock, paper, scissors (kidding.  Sort of.), I was the chosen parent to leave my job.  That was 10 years ago. While still very medically complex, my son is healthy and thriving. It took a lot of years in the weeds of parenting before I could really come back to one of my first loves: art.  And then the pandemic started.
Because I had more time at home, I started teaching myself new skills: Paper flowers, watercolor, quilting and hand embroidery. It was the last one though that really lit me up though.  I loved how calming it felt.  I really fell in love with how portable it is.  I almost always have a work in progress with me.  It gives my hands something to do while waiting with my son for doctor appointments, during trips to the hospital, while in OR waiting rooms or just the school pickup line.  It became a very calming way to sooth my nerves and make extra stressful days go by faster.  

I loved that it challenges me but it also gives me a creative outlet.  I went from buying one beginner kit and pattern to diving right in to making my own patterns. I honed my skills (thanks to YouTube) and used my friends and family as my test subjects.  LOTS of people in my inner circle received my first projects. And I still love to give to people I know, a finished piece that I used as practice for a new skill.  

Hand embroidery has also become a sensory activity for me.  I was diagnosed as autistic when I was 41.  In learning more about autism from other autistic adults, I realized that my sensory needs are probably different that those of a neurotypical person.  Creating art in just about any medium gives me a sense of peace, calm and event control when the rest of the world seems confusing, chaotic and out of my control. I started hand embroidery just over 18 months ago.

This is my first show and I am so excited to participate! 
For me, creativity is ultimately a need.  When life gets in the way (like it does) and I'm not using my creativity regularly, life gets exponentially harder. I'm grumpy and impatient.  I have a harder time understanding and processing the world around me. I have a general feeling of being unwell.  But when I'm happy and making time for creativity, my entire world is a source of inspiration.  I get excited to think about all the possibilities, all the colors and mediums available to me. I'm inspired simply by wanting to feel whole. I'm inspired by continuously learning, playing and becoming my favorite version of myself.

I started crafting because of Social media! Knowing I need art in my life to feel whole, I started following more and more artists on social media platforms. For me, looking at art is almost as grounding and soothing as actually creating art.  Then I stumbled upon hand embroidery. I was quickly inspired by the embroidery artists who were putting a really modern spin on an art form that has been around for centuries.  I quickly fell in love with what a tactile art form it is.  As an autistic artist, the sensory experience is important. I knew just from seeing other artists' work, that it would be a good fit for me.

I've always loved trying new mediums in art.  I randomly ordered an embroidery kit online.  I learned some of the basic stitches pretty easily.  It was when I started learning some of the more challenging techniques that I realized I had a knack for it. I discovered that hand embroidery is a much more forgiving form of needle arts (I'm AWFUL at counted cross stitch) and it gives me freedom to simply pull ideas from my head and sew them down to fabric. 

For my creative process, I get ideas from everywhere but those ideas frequently start as an encounter with something that makes me laugh or smile or is a color that I seem to have a physical response to  I'll see a color that lights up my brain and then I will start visualizing what I can make using that particular color.  From there I will just start stitching without a real defined outcome in mind.  Other times I will come up with a concept, using color as my jumping off point and then create an actual pattern to transfer to fabric.

In five years, I hope that I still have the luxury of making what speaks to me, what lights me up inside.  I also hope to grow my custom business.  I love taking an idea from a client and running with it.  The collaboration of taking someone else's vision and interpreting it in my own way and then getting that out onto fabric is such a fun process.

I like to think of myself as an inclusive artist.  I really hope to create items that just about anyone can enjoy.  I try to make sure I have a lot of representation in my pieces.  My goal is to bring smiles to people from all walks of life.

Meet Rachel Hanger from Mae Designs...
I am super passionate about creating one of a kind bracelets to add to your style that no one has created before, each piece comes from my creative brain work. I've been doing this for a very long time! But officially started my business in 2016! I've participated in one Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show previously.
What inspires me to create is knowing I put a smile on everyone’s face! I mean tears, happy smiles, and shocked faces! 
I started crafting because started creating my own unique bracelets since about 11 years old. I went to craft shows with my mamaw, then started in 2016, my own brand- I fell off of it and got lost but found myself again in 2019! Full force! 
I discovered my talent when I looked at a bracelet that cost about $500 at macys and said I can do that- so I did only better :) I just create! I don’t have a lot of inspiration through artists, very few, but I’m an artist through and through.
My goal.. I am already in shops downtown Columbus the main ,but a absolute goal would be to be in more shops all around US & just make people feel good and complete their looks 😆

The message behind my jewelry is stack em! Get what calls to you! There’s only one of you & many stacks to compete your outfit 🤍‼️
2023 Columbus Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday December 10, 2023 - 10:00am-4:00pm
Makoy Event Center
5461 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:


Friday, December 1, 2023

Columbus! Are You Ready for It?

Meet Carol Barber from Trammelink...

Hi, my name is Carol Barber. After many years in the corporate world, I now have a chance to pursue a creative endeavor! Some of my former colleagues (as well as family members) have been able to provide knowledge or assistance to my new business. And a few of the skills from my prior career have also come in handy, even though the businesses are quite different.

I made my first Trammelink® about 15 years ago, and over the years, made several more for myself, friends, and family. I started working to set up Trammelinks as a business about a year ago.

It was my pleasure to participate in two Avant-Garde Art & Craft Shows in 2022 in the Cincinnati and Columbus areas. Due to schedule conflicts, Trammelink will only be able to attend the 2023 Columbus Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. However, we are looking forward to Avant-Garde #3!
What inspires me to create is the fulfillment of finding out what people like and then creating trammelinks that resonate with them. Hopefully, people attending the shows will provide me with their thoughts and feedback, even if they do not purchase one right away. Listening to comments from others is the key to creating an exciting and diverse collection of trammelinks.
I started crafting as a hobby because an early retirement offer came my way last year. I always wanted to make trammelinks into a business, but I did not have time. So now I have a new career and purpose:

The discovery of Trammelinks was truly born out of the “necessity is the mother of invention” phrase! The button-down-shirt-over-a-shirt style has always been a favorite of mine. But I found that wind, purse straps, and backpacks would make that style look messy very quickly. So I made the first trammelink to keep the outer shirt from flying open and to keep it somewhat aligned. The name really describes it once you know the word “trammel” means to tether or restrain. Then “link,” in this case, refers to connecting both the left and right sides of the clothing. Put it together, and you have a trammelink!

The way I would describe my process is a pendant, charm, or button will catch my eye, and then I find the appropriate other parts that look right with it. That might happen quickly, or it can take weeks! 
Buttons can be difficult because of the different sizes needed for different types of clothing. That must be considered, too, when matching up a pendant with a button. The chain and other “findings” are a different situation. For those, I want the strongest options available so the trammelinks will be sturdy.

In five years, It would be great if the business would grow and remain stable, so I can keep making trammelinks for many years to come.

The Trammelink slogan is: Helping you keep it together. Fashionably.
“Keep yourself together” is a good daily goal through good and bad times (although the “fashionably” part can be questionable at times for me). Helping others keep it together is also a goal, so a portion of the proceeds from Trammelinks is being donated to a breast cancer charity. Being able to do that is very meaningful as breast cancer has affected many of our friends and family members, and we were grateful to be able to donate $186.00 last year.

Meet Katy Mowery from Resonate by Katy...

My name is Katy Mowery; I am 17 years old and an inspiring artist and entrepreneur. I am a high school senior at Westerville South, and other than making bracelets, I enjoy theatre, running, dancing, and videography. 

I've been running my business for about 3 years now, but these bracelets specifically for around 2 years. This is my first ever Avant-Garde show!
What inspires me to create new jewelry is seeing what other people are loving and wearing around me. I love to take inspiration from what I see in stores, on people's wrists, and online that is doing well.
I've loved crafting for years, especially when I was younger, because my grandma loved to craft and would let me help her with crafts.

I discovered my talent when I realized how much this style of bracelet worked for me and my business.

I would describe my creative process as messy but exciting because when I finally have a new design that I love, it is all so worth it.
In 5 years, I will graduate from college and hopefully sell my bracelets in more stores nearby or have 1K sales on Etsy.

The message behind my work is that everyone can express themselves through jewelry, even in the daintiest of ways.

Meet Barb Whiskey from Artsy Ape...

My name is Barb Gibbon, and I have a BFA from CCAD (Columbus College of Art & Design).  My focus has been creating large abstract oil paintings and drawing charcoal pencil portraits of my children.  A few years ago, I illustrated and published a children's book, Animal Homes ZXA: an Out of Order Alphabet Book, using colored pencils. I recently purchased a pottery wheel thanks to a supply grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council.  While at CCAD, I took pottery for a few years but didn't go in depth, as painting was my major.  

I am really having fun honing in on my skills and throwing bowls, mugs, vases, teapots, and other items on my new pottery wheel.  I've been creating art professionally for the past 33 years, but I've been drawing since I was 3 years old.  

I discovered I was good at art in kindergarten when my classmates asked me to help them paint their pictures after seeing the farmyard I painted.  (My mom still has that childhood painting hanging on her wall.)  Ever since then, I was always told that I could draw and paint very well, and that I had a natural sense of design.

This is my first Avant-Garde Show.  I am excited to participate and look forward to selling my work.  

I enjoy the tactile experience of working with clay, and I'm glad to have an additional creative outlet.  My abstract paintings are inspired by emotions, and the colors and gestures directly correlate to how I'm feeling.  My charcoal and colored pencil drawings are motivated by the technical challenge of replicating or representing the realistic nature of a person or animal.  I am especially intrigued by drawing eyes.  When working in clay, making something successfully spurs me to create more.

I look forward to seeing the results of glazed items after they are fired in the kiln.  I'm never sure how they are going to turn out, so it's like a Christmas present to myself to see the end product.  This further inspires me to create more. I usually have an idea of what I want to throw, but many times, something else might form in my hands, and I go with it. 

My five year goal.. In 5 years, I will be retiring from the library, where I currently work in youth programming, and I will be able to delve deeply into the arts full-time. 

2023 Columbus Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday December 10, 2023 - 10:00am-4:00pm
Makoy Event Center
5461 Center St.
Hilliard, OH 
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on: