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:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

It's Show Week Pleasant Hills!

Meet Joanne Pust from Dark Star Designs...
        I guess I’m a ‘newbie”.  I have only been selling my designs for about a year. I originally kept them or gave them to friends and family. This is our first Avant-Garde Show but we have done several over the past year. I let the stones inspire me.  I love working with copper, the color is amazing, and the stones love it too. It’s really not a hobby for me.  It is a calling.  I love making the pieces. I still don’t think of it as a talent per se, I think of it as how I see things.

        My piece never, I really mean never, end up as they are originally drawn. Once I start a piece it literally takes over.  I never really know how it’s going to end up. I hope I’m still sitting my workshop making what I love.  If I grow that’s great, if I stay small that’s great too.  I simply love making beautiful pieces. I strive for nature – natural stones, good metals, working with people to make one of a kind pieces.  There are no “cookie-cutter” designs.  My sketch books are full.  I have a lot of things running in my mind as well.  I don’t think I’ll run out of ideas too soon.  I want the wearer to fall in love with their piece and know that no one else will have on like it.  

Meet Katelynn Recklein and Caitlyn Schwalm from Mix It Up Pittsburgh...
We are future sisters with a passion for creativity and crafting. we have recently opened up a new line of products, known as Mix It Up Pittsburgh, which sells a variety of handmade dip, drink, dessert and dressing mixes. 
We have been creating crafts and handmade gift items for a couple of years now. Mix It Up Pittsburgh is a new line that has just recently been released.  This will be our first Avant-Garde show! We sell our mixes because we know that they bring people together, and in the end, that's our goal. The craft hobby was a shared interest of both of us that brought us closer together. 
Mix It Up Pittsburgh was discovered after seeing the interest that our audience had in them, so we decided to pursue it further. Our creative process is done through trial and error. Seeing what works best, and learning what our audience likes and dislikes.  In five years, Mix It Up Pittsburgh hopes to be a well known brand, and eventually open up a store front. We sell our mixes because we know that they bring people together, and in the end, that's our goal.  
2017 Pleasant Hills Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 10:00am-5:00pm
Georgetown Center
526 East Bruceton Rd
Pleasant Hills, PA 15236
For more information, contact Amanda Look, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Pleasant Hills, Here We Come!

Meet Jamie Leonard from Jamie Leonard Photography...
I'm a full time portrait and event photographer based out of Mount Pleasant, PA where I have lived my entire life, with the exception of the 4 years I served in the U.S. Air Force.  I am a bit of a perfectionist (maybe more than a bit!) and I pride myself in offering the best service and products to my clients that I can provide.
When I'm not on the clock you can find me chasing my ornery almost 2 year old around the house with a cup of coffee and a book nearby.  

Photography became a hobby of mine in high school and I received my degree in 2010.  I recently started my business in 2016, shortly after separating from the military. This will be my first Avant-Garde Art and Craft show and I’m very excited to expand my work closer to the Pittsburgh area.
I have always loved art.  Before I was a photographer I was a bit of an artist and won first place in the art competition at my high school during my senior year.  There is something very inspiring to me just in the act of creating itself, bringing forth something from nothing.  I was slightly introverted when I was younger and I also used my art as a form of expression.  Although I am much more outgoing than I used to be, I still find photography to be a wonderful and beautiful form of expression.
As I was growing up, my mother had a cabinet in our house filled with albums.  Albums dedicated to my sister, to myself, to our family vacations, to times before we were born.  I would lose myself in them for hours and month after month, year after year, I would come back to them again and again:  pulling stacks of them out of the cabinets and sprawling them on the floor, just as amazed as I was the first time.  I fell in love with photography and those solid prints before I ever touched a camera.  
I wouldn’t necessarily say that my talent was something that I discovered.  It is something that my interest in art led me to and while I do have an eye for detail and there is some natural talent required, my work has evolved very much with study and practiced improvement.  There is always more to learn and boundaries to push past to reach the next level.
It’s very important to me to meet with my clients in person before their session.  In addition to planning the session itself, where I use input both from what my client desires and my impression of my client, I also want to provide a finished product for their home.  In order to do this properly I’ve implemented an in-home consultation prior to the session taking place, where I can see the style of their home and the wall space available.  I keep this in mind during the session, envisioning the final products, and then create mock-ups with their final portraits on their walls digitally.  If wall portraits are not desired then I keep the idea of an album in mind and the type of photos that correspond well with that product.
My ultimate goal is to be able to support my family fully so that my husband may pursue his music career.  If I’m not completely there in 5 years I hope to at least be close to reaching that goal.  I also hope to expand my business to the Pittsburgh area and become more well known in the area for my work.
The message behind my work is that life is fleeting.  The only way to remember the memories we make and who we once were is to record them here and now.

Meet Alexandra Abovyan from 3D Origami Art Studio...
I create intricate paper sculptures using a variety of modular origami techniques. It's similar to ordinary origami, except my sculptures use many (hundreds, or even thousands) small hand-folded pieces of paper. Those pieces can then be interlocked to create a variety of objects.
I was chosen as an Emerging Artist in the Three Rivers Arts Festival 2014. I have been awarded the ribbon in the category Honorable Mention (Best Art/Craft) at Arts and Crafts Holiday Spectacular Pennsylvania Show in 2014. I've been a regular vendor at the I Made It Market events around Pittsburgh. I was chosen to participate at Handmade Arcade (2016-17). I was participating in Ann Arbor Art Fair in 2017 where I  got very high score from jury and in One Of A Kind (Chicago).

A little about myself: 
I am originally from Armenia and an engineer by training. I was always an artist at heart though and have gone through a variety of hobbies such as drawing, cross-stitching, macramé and numerous others. I immigrated to the United States with my children 12 years ago, settled in Squirrel Hill, and work as a resident attendant at the Weinberg Terrace assisted living facility. I stumbled upon Modular Origami about 5 years ago on the Internet, started creating my own models and grew the business from there.
Meet Chris West from Photos by CDub...
I was born and raised in Little Hocking, Ohio (don’t worry, no one knows where that is – it is near Athens and Marietta in Southeast Ohio). I attended Allegheny College and graduated in 2002 with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Psychology and Spanish. Building off of my work in the community during my college years, I worked with at-risk youth, kids with Autism, and adults with disabilities after I graduated. Then after spending 6 years as a community organizer, I currently work as the Allegheny County Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. I married my beautiful wife, Sibyl, in 2013 (and yes, I do know the actual date btw), and we live in Forest Hills, PA, with our 5 fish and 1 spoiled cat. While photography has been an interest for many years, I have taken my work seriously since 2013, and specializes in capturing the beauty and uniqueness of landscapes. This is my first Avant-Garde show and I can't wait!
I like to focus on landscapes, especially to places that I have traveled. I absolutely love traveling, and like most people, never get to do it enough. There are so many different cultures to experience in the world, so many different perspectives to hear, and so many wonderful things to see. I have tried to capture some of those wonderful things in these photos, and I hope my work makes you think of the vastness we are a part of, lets you be in awe of the beauty that is in this world, and inspires you to do some more traveling of your own. 
In college I learned a bit about the art of photography from some friends taking classes. From that point on, I started to focus on taking meaningful and inspiring pictures. I got a nice camera as a present in 2004, so my work got an upgrade then :) By 2008 or 2009 I started to realize that I was pretty good at capturing unique images and telling a story with them.  And ever since 2013, I have been taking my work seriously.  Photos I am selling at the show are from 2013 - 2017.
The first step is to be in the moment and take the picture. The 2nd step is to review digital images of my photos and pick the very best ones. Not many get through to this stage. Then I print out a test copy of a photo of the best ones, and further whittle it down from there. Lastly, I do my own framing and matting, and that helps tell the story of the photo too. The right frame and the right matte can add a lot to the picture.

In 5 years, I would like to have outdoor festivals under my belt (I have never done one of those since I just opened my business a couple of months ago) and be selling my work in several stores in the area.

2017 Pleasant Hills Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 10:00am-5:00pm
Georgetown Center
526 East Bruceton Rd
Pleasant Hills, PA 15236
For more information, contact Amanda Look, Event Coordinator at
Visit us on:

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 wan...