Thursday, December 14, 2023

We're Back!

  Meet Mick and Kristina Spiro from RockedOutVibrations...

We are Mick and Kristina, RockedOutVibrations. We are obsessed with all things sparkly. We are excited for our first avant-garde art and craft show! We started working with stone 20 years ago and find inspiration in crystals and gems, but nature is our next biggest inspiration. 

How we discovered our talent.. We've always been creative in drawing, sculpting, and metal work. We're always exploring different mediums, so it was a natural progression. 

Our five year goal.. In five years we see ourselves continuing to hone different styles that interest us and to find if we have one particular style that is only ours. The message behind our work is: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Meet Kailee Essick from The Viking Witch...
My name is Kailee Essick and I have lived in Pittsburgh all my life l. I have two children, both boys, 11 and 2. My husband and I while both working for our small business, also work for a speciality pharmacy. Needless to say we have a lot on our plates! We have been working and building our business for about a year now. This will be our first Avant-Garde art show since we are still fairly new.
What inspires me... I create items that I would love to buy and own. I started by necessity. My first item I started with in my shop was a tarot card bag and reading mat. I created this because I own several decks of cards and the boxes are terrible and fall apart easily. So I grabbed some fabric, and sewed my own bag. After this, friends of mine loved them and said I should sell them. From there I’ve made wood burned Nordic runes, incense, hand poured candle bowls and and candles. 

My creative process.. First, I look for things I want and need for my alter. Once I figure out what the item is, I work to break down what I need for the item and I read on how to create it or watch videos. 

My five year goal... my husband and I are working to open a Meadery and within that, I want to have my shop items available as well so I can continue to create the things I love. All of my items are meant to help people on a spiritual journey whether it be converting to Wicca, trying to get more in touch with the old gods, or just enjoying all life has to offer. Please follow me on Instagram @the.vikingwitch.

Meet Marsha Fries from Burleson Welding & Fabrication LLC...
Burleson Welding & Fabrication LLC, located in humble Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a locally owned and operated business that is dedicated to serving our community with all welding needs and services! With years of expertise and experience, Burleson Welding & Fabrication LLC offers welding services including welding projects, metal fabrication, firepit/fire place creations & repairs, railings, stairs, steel fabrication, custom projects, and more. We strive to offer our clients the absolute best customer care and high quality results. I've been doing this for 13 years now!
I am inspired to create by a combination of artistic expression, practical needs, and the challenges of the craft. The creative outlet provided by shaping and joining metals allows for artistic exploration and imaginative projects. Functional requirements, whether constructing structures or solving problems, drives me to apply my skills to meet specific needs. 

Inspiration may also be drawn from architectural and industrial design, nature, collaborative efforts, and a desire for personal growth and mastery. Additionally, staying abreast of technological advancements in welding fuels my curiosity and encourages experimentation with innovative techniques. 

In essence, my motivation is to create is a multifaceted blend of creativity, functionality, problem-solving, and a continual pursuit of excellence in the craft. and a continual pursuit of excellence in my craft. After following my dream and attending Dean Technical School, I realized that I had the passion and talent to pursue this career.
My creative process involves a dynamic interplay between imagination, technical skill, and problem-solving. It begins with conceptualizing a vision, whether inspired by artistic expression, functional requirements, or a combination of both.

I then select materials, considering their properties and suitability for the intended purpose. Precision and expertise come into play during the meticulous planning of the welding process, anticipating challenges and devising solutions. The physical act of welding, akin to sculpting with molten metal, transforms the envisioned design into a tangible creation. 

I constantly refine and adapt the approach, making artistic decisions in real-time to ensure the final product aligns with the initial vision. The creative process unfolds as a dynamic journey marked by technical mastery, adaptability, and the pursuit of a harmonious fusion between form and function. 

In five years I hope to have Burleson Welding and Fabrication LLC a household name.  I hope that everyone is able to see the functionality in welding but also the beauty that is in my work. 

My message speaks of resilience and craftsmanship, turning raw materials into functional or artistic creations. Through the melding of metal, it should convey a message of transformation, highlighting the beauty in the fusion of strength and precision. My message is one of problem-solving, as I navigate challenges to bring ideas to life. Ultimately, my art signifies the enduring spirit of creativity and innovation in the face of challenges.

Meet Dorothy Darroch from Gray Ghost Glass... 
Hello, my name is Dorothy Darroch, owner of Gray Ghost Glass in Pittsburgh. I am retired after working as an executive secretary for over 40 years. I’ve been working with glass since late 2016. This is my first Avant-Garde show. I have been drawn to primary colors in artwork and glass for many years. I’m fascinated with the many techniques and processes of fused glass.
My pursuit of fused glass started when I took a class at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. I created a simple fused glass ornament. I found a local glass supply store that offered classes in stained and fused glass, and continue to take classes to learn new processes. Taking fused glass classes taught me not only the science of glass properties, but also the beauty and endless opportunities to create lustrous designs. The optics of glass can bring the illusion of movement and life to each piece.
What influence me... No doubt I have been influenced by the many artists that post their projects on social media. However, I take an idea and create my own spin on the design. When I’m not on a deadline for an upcoming show, I enjoy the process of creating new ideas for combining different processes of fused glass. Each glass design is handcrafted and therefore unique. I hope to expand my business by participating in more art shows. I’m interested in the many techniques of fused glass and continue to learn new processes that I would include in future shows. My glass creations continue to evolve. The properties of transparency, refraction, and magnification set glass apart from other art mediums. I am a lover of color, a collector
of skills, and always curious at heart.

Meet Emily from
My name is Emily and in this season of life, my full time job is being a stay at home mom to two wonderful boys (a 3 year old and 5 year old). In 2020 I delivered my youngest and felt called to leave my full time corporate job to raise my children. As I adjusted to my new normal, I was in search of a hobby to fill my down time and decided to teach myself to crochet. I now find myself taking my yarn bag with me everywhere I go. It has become more than a side hobby for me but something that I am truly passionate about. I am so thankful that it has become something that can not only bring a smile to my face, but can bring joy to anyone I share it with.  I have been crocheting since 2020 but only recently have started to sell at local craft events. 
What inspires me... first and foremost, my boys. They have shown so much excitement every time I create a new project. They love seeing things come to life and that makes the whole process so much more fun for me.   I have never really had a hobby or something that I found great interest in. So when I set out to find a hobby I experimented with things such as baking and painting (both were not very successful!). However, from the first item I created through crochet, I was hooked! (pun intended). I started by creating seasonal decor for my home and making Christmas gifts for my family as a way to save money and it has only grown from there. I am not sure that "discover" is the right term. It has been a constant learning process for me. When I look at early projects I cannot help but cringe because I see that it did not start as a *talent* at all. But through constant trial and error, I have discovered techniques that work and pitfalls to avoid. That is part of the fun of this craft- I am constantly learning!  I typically only create things that I either would love to have myself or something that I would have loved to have when my kids were littler. I also often tell people that having two boys, I get a lot of enjoyment creating items that I would have loved to have if I would have had a little girl (the pink, girly stuff is so fun to make!). I also tend to stick to colors and textures that are cozy and warm. I then usually seek approval of my finished products from my kids. They love seeing all the new stuff that I create!
Seeing as I have only recently started to sell my creations at markets, in 5 years I would to see my business flourishing. I have loved all the events I have attended thus far and hope to increase my presence in the craft show world. The message behind my work is to use the gifts that God has given to you. What use are your gifts and abilities if you don't use them to spread joy? So I hope that through my creations, I am able to brighten someone's day just as it has for me!

Meet Dyanna,
I have been married for 29 years and have two children and seven grandchildren. I started my custom design business after working in retail management for 22 years. This was due to the permanent closure of the store that I managed. I have been doing this for 6 years. This would be the first show that I have participated in. I have an Associate’s degree in fashion design. I attended school in my early adult years and have always kept the passion for designing.
I started custom design because it is something that I have always wanted to do. I believe that I am very creative, and this is a way that I can put that passion and gift into fruition. I discovered my talent in high school in taking sewing courses, then made the decision to further my education and gain skills to perfect my craft.
My creative process taking an idea and creating an original one-of-a-kind item. In five years, I see myself expanding my business. I’d like to add more items and products to my repertoire of what I am already able to do. The main message behind my work is to create a custom product that makes my
customers happy.

Meet Robert from the Crux Calix Company...
The Crux Calix Company began in 2016 as a company for carpentry design and woodwork, and has since evolved into an umbrella company for many personal interests and passions, including the hardwood and abalone shell creations we are showcasing today. We are lifelong crafters, but we just started doing craft shows a few months ago. Our hardwood and abalone coasters began as an idea in 2018, and we’ve ramped up production in 2023 so that more people can enjoy our products. This is our first Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. We are inspired by architectural beauty, history, natural woodgrains, and beauty in patterns in nature. 
We have always loved crafting as a creative outlet. With an ever present interest in design and a passion for woodworking, the possibilities are endless. We love beautiful woodwork, and we enjoy the process of learning a craft. Once we dove into designing and developing our products, the ideas just kept flowing. We are constantly looking for inspiration in the world around us. Once we have an idea, we have to figure out the logistics of how to make it. The best part is seeing our designs come to life in our products. 
In the next 5 years we hope to develop a variety of handmade goods and original designs that showcase the beauty of natural elements. We look forward to growing our business in the digital space. We hope to display the intersection of natural beauty, technology, and innovation to produce elegant, distinctive, pieces that bring art into everyday life. 

Meet Carol's Creations,
As a young child I always enjoyed embroidery and crocheting, learning these from my talented Italian mother. As an adult, I found additional interests in crafting. As a former elementary teacher, I was able to incorporate my creative spirit into my classroom. Upon retirement I found that I had the time to devote to learning and experimenting with a new skill. I have been beading for approximately 14 years. The amigurumi was my covid craft-having taught myself this during shut-in. This is my first Avant-Garde show.
For me creating is my therapy. It helps me to relax and yet it is stimulation to
create something from a handful of beads and some yarn. When I see something in a boutique, book, magazine, or on-line that I like, I challenge myself to make my own version of the item. If I like something, I try to do it. Mostly through trial and error and then sticking with what brings me the most pleasure, and it often evolves into a passion.Most of the time I let the beads speak to me- especially in bead embroidery. It’s a feeling that I get when I know that something is working. I do however follow patterns when I find something that I really like. This is especially true when I doing amigurumi.
For me this is really not a business-I would consider this more of a hobby. Enjoy what you see! I hope that anyone who purchases something from me delights in it as much as I loved creating it.
2023 Pittsburgh Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday, December 16, 2023 - 10:00am-4:00pm
Teamsters Local Union 249 
4701 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Thursday, December 5, 2019

It's Show Week, Pittsburgh!

Meet Debi Mottes of The Creative Dabbler...
I live in Monaca, PA located in Beaver County. When people walk into my house, they always want a tour because each room is uniquely painted and decorated.  My daughter’s room even has an entire wall of leopard print!  I have 3 grown daughters and 3 fur “grandkids”.  I am a Penn State alum with a Bachelor’s degree and a 15 year career in social work.  “We are Penn State!”
After my Social Work career,  “The Creative Dabbler” was open. My business consisted of everything from faux finishes, stenciling, hand painting, murals, creating accessories, and all things decorating. I recently closed my business after 21 fulfilling years and decided to pursue my talents off of the ladders. Painting furniture in a variety of colors and patterns has peaked my interest since creativity is in my blood. That, as well as my first love – anything crafty!
As the oldest cousins in my family, my sister and I used to make holiday favors for all of our younger cousins. After that, my imagination kept soaring….through all of my daughters’ activities  - school, church, girl scouts – I was always the craft lady.  My daughter’s friends always refer to me as the Creative Mom; my daughter’s friend always jokes that she wants to be the next Mrs. Mottes. 

I have attended many craft shows over the years, but this will be my first Avant Garde craft show. I am excited to be a part of it! My inspiration and creative process are pretty much the same thing – I was blessed with a fix it gene. Repurposing things or making them look better comes natural to me. Good thing, because I have many projects that I have been waiting for my retirement to get to!  My basement is full of furniture and many things waiting to be a future project. 

Meet Dawn Wallhausen of Dawn Glassworks...
In addition to being a glass artist, I am an editor and a writer, a mother of three and a wife, and co-caregiver to a big, sweet, goofy dog. I like to hike, camp, swim, draw, paint, read, and bake and I travel when I can. 
I started learning to make glass beads around twenty years ago. When I was a child, we had a family friend who made specialized glassware for laboratories. One Christmas, he made me a glass ornament with my name etched into it. That ornament is the first thing I can remember sparking and deepening my interest in glasswork. The mosaics came along a little later, but I have probably been making them for around fifteen years. For me, glass is an inspiration in itself. I love the million different shades, opacities, and textures. But all kinds of art and artists provide inspiration, too. Paintings, photographs, and three dimensional art of all kinds can spark an idea. 
I mostly do glasswork as a hobby and give much of what I make away as gifts or donations to fundraisers for causes I support, as I have a full-time job as an editor. I do like to do a show around the holidays, though. I'm happy to work this way, but I wouldn't resist if my glass art took off. 

Some of the things I make are purely artistic expressions, but I do like to make things that are both practical and interesting to look at. That is why you will find small housewares decorated with my lamp-worked beads and trays or storage boxes covered in stained-glass mosaics among the jewelry at my table. The main message I wish to convey is that art and beauty make life infinitely better. This is my first Avant-Garde show and I am so excited!
2019 Pittsburgh Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday, December 7, 2019 - 10:00am-5:00pm
Teamsters Local 249 Banquet Hall
4701 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
For more information, contact Amanda Look, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Just A Few More Days, Pittsburgh!

Meet Elaine Pollock from JP & Son Woodcraft...
JP & Son Woodcraft is a family craft with everyone having some part in it! The main craftsman is Joe Pollock. He is a veteran who returned to Pittsburgh, PA after serving 20 years in the Army. He’s had an interest in woodwork since taking shop classes in high school. 
This year he started doing woodwork with the encouragement of his son Joey and support of wife Elaine, daughter Kayla, and daughter-in-law Becky. Everyone takes on some role in the craft. The best part of the business is working together as a family. Hopefully the future holds bigger roles for everyone in the craft and less time on current full time jobs.

Meet Girl Scout Troop 54442...
Girl Scout Troop 54442 tries out new crafts every year.  Our Girl Scouts have quilted, sewn, felted wool, and made beaded jewelry, bath bombs and paper.  Mosaic work stuck with the girls.  
Many of our pendants are made on camping trips or during meetings.  The girls work, chat and laugh.  Best:  since mosaics require both hands, our art is cell phone free. 
The girls have honed their entrepreneurial skills after 11 years of cookie sales.  This small business allows them to integrate all of the art and financial skills they've developed in the Girl Scout Program.  Several of our mosaic artists have thought about opening their own Etsy shops when they graduate high school!

Meet Christine Balistrieri from Something Pretty For Me...
Hello, I am married to the most wonderful man and have a son and daughter in high school. We live in the North  and love it there! I work as an Assessment and Enrollment Specialist for LIFE Pittsburgh because I am passionate about helping the elderly. I have been doing this for 4 years now.
This is my first Avant-Garde show! I see designs, color schemes and styles, then make them my own. After I was laid off a few years ago, I was inspired to learn how to make jewelry. I have found this creative outlet most rewarding! Friends even commented that I should sell my pieces because they liked them so much! 
Sometimes the materials design themselves. Sometimes my finished creation is not what it looked like in my mind originally and that's always fun! In 5 years I hope to continue as I am now. I purposefully create simple pieces that are affordable to purchase and can be worn everyday. I also make custom pieces, and I can be found on Facebook at Something Pretty For Me!

2018 Pittsburgh Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 10:00am-5:00pm
Teamsters Local 249 Banquet Hall
4701 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
For more information, contact Amanda Look, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Coming To You This Weekend Pittsburgh!

Meet Kimberly Ryan from Kimberly Ryan Art...
I have been painting since childhood so I would say it is a lifelong passion! What inspires me the most is everything around me. People, animals, nature and landscapes - as well as other artists - I spend tons of time looking over their work.
I got introduced to this hobby when my mom was coloring and drawing with me from age 3.  think that is a continuous process that continues from day to day and year to year. I make it a practice to create something every day. I like to collect a variety of images ad reference them as I sketch or paint. I work all hours of the day and night just letting things come to me as the painting progresses. In five years I hopefully see myself still growing. The message behind my artwork is that I try not to impart my own feelings - I want the viewer to have their own personal experience.

Meet Brittany Papas from Papas Designs...
My name is Brittany Papas. I am the owner and artist behind Papas Designs. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and live locally in Lawrenceville with my husband, two amazing identical twin daughters, and two fur baby dogs. By day, I am a full-time School Counselor for a local school district. I enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and family, and being creative.
I have been making and selling jewelry since 2004 when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, but
established Papas Designs as a business a few years ago with the start of my Etsy shop. Before 2004, I was exposed to jewelry making, stained glass, and mosaics through the wonderful art program my high school had to offer. Creating jewelry and other crafts is my personal escape. When I create, I am in a very happy place where I can get lost for hours. I treat this creative outlet as my own version of self-care and a healthy avenue for mental well-being. Like I said earlier, I am a counselor by profession.
My love of gemstones! I was a huge rock collector as a child. I would go to the science store in the mall to find my own geodes to crack open at home and even had my own rock tumbler. I collected rocks or shells wherever I went. As I got older, I found a way to incorporate my love of gemstones into wearable art. I always loved to craft and create as a kid, but when I was in high school, I was able to explore different opportunities through the art program. I took a jewelry class every year in addition to other types of classes. When I went off to college, I started making gemstone jewelry as a fun outing with friends.
I purchase pieces for my jewelry that I find are beautiful without always having a set plan in mind for what I’m going to create. When I am creating a piece, I look around at my supplies and put
combinations together that I think will work. I try to make pieces that cover a range of styles and sizes, and I only put my name on something that I am satisfied with and can stand behind.  I hope to see myself grow locally and expand to include furniture and home goods into my business as I
also like to refinish furniture and have recently began to upholster pieces and build with wood. The message behind my work would be to find a piece of jewelry as unique as you. One-of-a-kind pieces designed for every female to feel just as beautiful and confident on the outside as they do on the inside.

Meet Andrew Barrowman from Barrowman Photography...
I picked up my first camera just two short years ago and became immediately hooked.  I love the idea of being able to capture how I see the world, and then be able to share my vision with others! There is so much beauty in the world and being able to share that beauty inspires me.
I just wanted to start traveling more and thought I’d grab a camera to tag along with. I never thought it’d become such a passionate hobby to me. I discovered my talent by pointing the camera, and shooting! Composition and having an eye for photography is unique to the artist and that’s what I love about it. I typically see something I want to capture and immediately get an idea for how I want to shoot it. I run through composition, lighting, mood, perspective and probably 10 other things I can’t think of right now before I set up the camera! My dream is to make photography a full-time job. Right now I am just sharing my work and hoping people like it! The message behind my work is get out there, explore new things and places and get creative!

2018 Pittsburgh Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 10:00am-5:00pm
Teamsters Local 249 Banquet Hall
4701 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
For more information, contact Amanda Look, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hey, Pittsburgh! Meet some of our Vendors!

Meet Christine Scott from Raucous Squawk...
I have lived in the Pittsburgh area my entire life. I studied art and earned a living working in electronics manufacturing. Now that I am retired, I can do what I enjoy most: drawing, painting, sewing, and spending time with cats! This is my first Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show.

I am inspired by pattern, color, and cats! 
I want to create pleasurable experiences for felines and their humans. I believe that cats need to live indoors to be safe and healthy. Cat toys can contribute to an enjoyable indoor environment. I try to craft cat toys that are stimulating to cats and amusing to people. I strive for toys that are safe and eco-friendly. I use new cotton fabrics and USA grown organic catnip. I do not use fibrous polyfill. I do not use plastics or adhesives. I do not use metal fasteners. 

Some of the toys feature fabric I designed myself. These fabrics are printed from my digital designs using water-based non-toxic inks at Spoonflower, Durham, NC. I have a couple special Pittsburgh cat toys which will be available at the show!

In the future, I hope to expand my work in both the craft and art directions. I hope to craft well-made cat beds. I hope to make prints of my cat-themed digital artwork available. 

The message behind my work is that the relationship between cats and people can be one of life's joys.

Meet Lindsay Gibb from Wick and Lather...
My idea is to offer handmade soy candles and bath products that will help you to feel relaxed and happy. Imagine the scent of a burning candle and hearing the wood wick crackle as you relax in a warm fragrant bath. Think about that clean, fresh feeling after a shower using a pretty soap or a sudsy body wash. 

Wick & Lather will have the products for you to enjoy those scents and feelings that will help you to feel your best.
You also have the opportunity to create a beautiful gift set or choose a specific scent for any product.

Meet Michael Copen from CI3 Sublimation...
I am a computer nerd by day, artist by night. I also am a skateboarder, musician, and all around good guy that likes to learn new ways to create art. For example, ever since I was a little kid, I have always like creating art. I used to create superhero outfits out of construction paper as a child and recreate photos with pen and paper.

I have been running CI3 Sublimation for three years and would love to do this full-time in the future. Previously, I worked for a skateboard manufacturer and knew about creating art for that medium. I decided to move it over to mugs, socks and other printed goods. My creative process can stem from an idea from a customer or a phrase that somebody says. Iconic art/images have alway been a fascination of mine, especially artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Sean Cliver, and Marc McKee. 

I believe wherever your art takes you, go with it and don't fight it.

2018 Pittsburg Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday May 19, 2018
Teamsters Local Union 249 Banquet Hall
4701 Butler Street
Pittsburg, PA 15201
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, at
Visit us on:

We're Back!

    Meet Mick and Kristina Spiro from RockedOutVibrations... We are Mick and Kristina, RockedOutVibrations. We are obsessed with all things ...