Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's Chagrin Falls Show Time!

Meet Alex Ahren from You Bath & Body...
Well… My mother thinks I’m an exciting, interesting person. That should say it all. But allow me to indulge. I’m mildly good at a lot of things. Below, you will find proof of that last statement. Ex-B Average Student, Kindergarten through 12th Grade - won multiple coloring contests during this period. Ex-Pizza Topper & Order Taker Ex-Professional Ballroom Dancer - closet full of trophies. Need I say more. Ex-Cocktail Waitress Ex-Gigging Singer Songwriter Ex-Used Book Seller Ex-Talent Rep in LA Ex-Golf Bar Cart Beer Slinger Ex-Floor Scrubber Ex-Furniture Flipper Ex-Construction Worker (believe it!) Ex-Etsy Jewelry Maker (currently selling said made jewelry) Current - AMAZING All Natural, Luxury, Artisan, Vegan SOAP CREATOR and SELLER!

In addition to the above: - Vegan/Once a Year Cheese Eater - Wife/Girlfriend/Fiance to AMAZING Husband/Boyfriend/Fiance - It’s hard to explain. - I cry at everything. Mostly the good stuff. - My friends called me Alex, Al or affectionately Bunny(only my husband calls me this. Might have something to do with the size of my teeth). My family calls me Judge, Jahdge or Ja Ja. Nickname as a child. It stuck. Feel free to call me any of the above. - I LOVE nature, the seasons and holidays. I’m like Martha Stewart except I don’t bake, or build birdhouses. Nor do I throw amazing chic parties and decorate my front door with wreaths handmade out of Horsehair and Modge Podge. And I dress everyday in one of my hubby’s dirty, old button up shirts, soap splatters and all. Sweat pants. Sweats are an everyday, all day thing. Don’t do the makeup thing either. Nor do I own a home in Maine. Other than that, I’m just like her. - I am the greatest, unsalted, vegan soup maker anywhere on the planet. - I have self administered a coffee enema. - We don’t have children.. Yet… but we do have stuffed bears that we talk to… and who talk back. They can be quite ornery at times. - My 21st Great Grandfather is Sir Edmund “Lord Justice” Anderson (1530-1605). Sat as a Judge at the trial of Mary Queen of Scots. - I can’t bend my thumb without bending the rest of my fingers. And I think we’ll leave it at that.

It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I made my first loaf of all natural cold processed soap. I was hooked, testing my creations on willing family and friends. And when they began to report back to me with wonderful stories of the benefits they were receiving, I thought maybe this could be my way to impart a little bit of happiness, health and luxury onto the world.
I am very excited to report that this will be my first ever Avant-Garde Show. And when I mentioned to my mother that it would be in Chagrin Falls, she said “Oh my goodness, that’s where Ed Asner filmed The Gathering. It is such a charming little town”. She’ll be there with me, taking orders and packaging soap up. Thanks Ma! Side note: I have never seen The Gathering.

How I got started? That’s a great question. It’s in the genes I guess. The arts run in the family. Actors and musicians, artist and writers and dancers. I would probably say I’m equally left brained and right brained though. Soap, I think, is a combination of the two. I can’t get so free spirited where I deviate from the recipe. Otherwise, I’d have soupy mess on my hands, but I’m able to get creative within the boundary of what the science of it will allow. In some cases, it means you must be more creative in order to get what you want when certain restrictions are put on you. I like that.
Before soap and body scrubs, I spent the first 8 years after high school competing professionally in Ballroom Dance; traveling and dressing up in fancy costumes. Spray tans are a must! And because I was always active, I was never aware of the havoc I was wreaking on the inside of my body. Up at 4am applying fake eyelashes and doing whatever I could to drastically change the color of my skin from pasty white to orangy brown. Working off of 3 hours of sleep, I’d down a Red Bull before the sun came up, after I’d already had my coffee. My partners and I were not the most health conscious of people. Our lunch usually consisted of some sort of vending machine slop and of course another Red Bull. It was years later that the stress of it all began to catch up. At age 29, my health had seriously declined. I could no longer climb a flight of stairs without needing to take a break halfway up. My blood pressure was off the charts. I would get heart palpitations, headaches and would go through grueling bouts of depression. I was not overweight, but my body could have cared less. It was letting me know the damage I had done to it. “I was too young” I told myself, to be having problems like these. I desperately needed a solution and I found one. 

After searching the internet, I came across a documentary called Forks Over Knives. Along with my husband’s support (who happens to be a chef), we watched it, and we both agreed to a date we would eat our last piece of meat. After beginning this vegan journey, within two weeks I began to see significant improvement and within two months, all of my aches, pains and worries had dissipated. I was a brand new person. My attitude had changed, my creativity flourished, my enthusiasm and excitement for life was off the charts, and I’ve never gone back. Eh… well… to be honest, we have cheese about once a year. It’s a big to-do in my house, like Christmas or the Superbowl. What does this have to do with Soap you might ask? After I started to become conscious about the things I was putting in my body, I was able to see the effects of the products I was putting on the outside of my body. The store bought, chemical laced, lotions, soaps and shampoos were next on my list to kick to the curb. It wasn’t until years later that I began making my own soap and it has been a great discovery for me, both in health and in creativity.

I did not seek out a hobby or craft to fill my free time. I have plenty of those. This was almost out of necessity. And now they are created out of love. 6. How did you discover your talent Which one? HA! Just kidding. But not really. Um… I think I knew I had a knack for making cold process soap when I tested my first recipe, it came out beautifully and I fell in love with it. Not Drying. Velvety to the touch and lasting. Yep. I make some pretty killer soap.
My creative process is a bit experimental I would say. I create the essential oil blends myself, which after they have cured with the soap can often times come out slightly different than what you had imagined. That’s part of the fun. But I rarely deviate from my plant oil ratios. Where I get to have some fun is in the coloring and the scents. All natural of course. My absolute favorite part of the soap making process is slicing each individual bar. It’s almost like slicing through a marble cake. You really don’t know what design you’ve created until you cut through it. I also design and create the packaging myself using a process called eco print in which I boil leaves, twigs and flowers with paper and voila! Beautiful packaging. Although the soap is the main attraction, I take just as much time in creating what I wrap around the soap as I do the actual soap itself. I love the idea that I can take something as utilitarian as a bar of soap and turn it into a luxury work of art. Nothing will make you feel more like a million bucks than a luxury item that’s original purpose and creation was out of necessity.

Where do I see myself in 5 years with your business? I would absolutely love to see my products in multiple boutiques and stores. One of the more charming aspects of any crafters work is that it’s handmade. It’s what makes it so valuable and appreciated. I would never want to lose that. So the sky’s the limit, even if I have to be pouring unsaponified soap batter into bathtub size molds in order to keep up with the demand, I will always try to keep the brand, You Bath & Beauty, artisan and hand crafted. Unless someone offers me a big pile of money. Bags and bags of money. Then I may reconsider. Just saying. 9. What is the message behind your work? You. That is the message. Take time for YOU. Take care of YOU. Pamper YOU. Love YOU. Spend a little time everyday doing what YOU love until you are overflowing with so much love and gratitude that it spills over into other people’s lives. That is the message. That is my message.

Meet Brandi Holowecky from Beach Glass Art by Brandi...
I am a college student who has a passion of searching for beach glass on the shores of Lake Erie and making beautiful pieces of art out of it. I have been making and selling beach glass art for a little over two years.
I am inspired by the simple things in life. It amazes me how these simple pieces of beach glass can make such unique and beautiful pieces of art.
My hobby of searching for beach glass has grown into also making things from it. I used to just find the beach glass and keep it in a jar, but then I decided I should do something with the pieces that other people could enjoy. It is interesting when looking at my art to see all of the different shapes, sizes, and words that may be still on the glass. It is thought-provoking in the fact that this glass could have been dropped in to lake from hundreds of miles away.
I discovered my talent by testing out different methods and seeing what was the best. It took about 2 months to find the most effective way to make successful pieces of art. Since I initially started, I have grown from just making framed art to now making beach glass soap and ornaments. View more of my work at:

Meet Lindsey Germovsek from Lindsey's Laces...
My name is Lindsey and I am the owner and designer for Lindsey’s Laces. I live in Mayfield Heights, Ohio with my amazing boyfriend and my cat. This is my first Avant-Garde Art and Craft Show and I cannot be more excited!
Lindsey's Laces is a specialty store that handcrafts unique and cute dessert inspired jewelry and accessories from polymer clay. Polymer clay is a type of modeling clay that after it is sculpted, it is put in the oven to harden and cure. There are many types of polymer clay, but the ones I work with are FIMO and Sculpey.
I first started crafting my jewelry in December 2014. Just this year I added my exclusive handcrafted miniature cupcake ornaments to my online store. My inspiration for my jewelry comes from desserts, pastel and vibrant colors, and Japanese styles. I make jewelry that stands out and lets the person wearing it feel unique!

In five years I hope to grow my business more online and be able to wholesale my handmade jewelry to boutiques.
2016 Chagrin Falls Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday & Sunday, December 10th and 11th, 2016
Saturday - 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday- 11:00am-5:00pm
Federated Church Family Life Center
16349 Chillicothe Rd.
Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at
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