Sunday, July 05, 2015

Bike Art

Each year we look forward to the summer so we can ride our bikes. We also look forward to the hundreds of bike riders that come every year for the Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride 2015. So we are always looking for bike art, sculpture and jewelry.

This one is sold, our artist is making another for us.

We are starting to accumulate this years collection!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Busy Busy Busy

It has been a super busy spring. I've never sold as much pottery or had as many special orders!

Unloading this kiln this morning.

And more ready for clear glaze.

I am thankful for our ladies at Carolina Creations that keep the place running while I'm able to create.

Here is my latest painting, a gift for a retirement.

Looks like my photo is a little crooked, my painting isn't!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sallys Painting Party

We had a great turn out for our first ever "Sally's Painting Party".

Even those with NO painting skills ended up with a painting good enough to hang on their wall.

The date of the next one will be Thursday, August 6, from 6:30 to 9 pm, at Jan Francoeur's (me) Studio, 229 East Front Street, New Bern, NC.

$55, just bring yourself all supplies are provided. You might want to wear old clothes or bring an apron.

This is a photo from the last "party" ---

This is the painting we will be doing on August 6.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Up Coming Show

We're excited about our new show At the Shore.

One of the artists that will be in this show is local photographer Zach Frailey.

 We will hang the show on July 1 and the official opening will be Friday July 10 at ArtWalk.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Trunk Show with K Maley

We are SOOOO excited that California Jeweler K Maley will be at Carolina Creations on Friday, June 26th from 5-8 pm for a trunk show!!

She's visiting her family here in North Carolina so is coming to see us too.

Kathleen Maley is a California native - having studied jewelry and metalsmithing at San Diego State Univerity, she now lives and works at a communal art space in the historic Best Foods building in San Francisco.  She has always lived near the Pacific Ocean, using that energy as her muse.  As she writes: "the dramatic landscape of coastal California has become a doorway to inspiration for me:  the sweeping cliffs and tumbling waves, the linear horizon and the curved coastline, the textures and forms of rocks, sand and seashells --these elements become the stylized lines and forms that give shape to my work."
Kathleen channels that energy into the loops, spirals, and esoteric mathematical designs that she is known for.  For example, some of her designs invoke the famous Moebius strip - a type of twisted band found in geometry that only has one side no end.  It's enough to boggle the mind!  Maley's work, with its kinetic energy, provides a contrast to more organic jewelr.  Kathleen's work is a kind of sculptural jewelry, one that furthermore "highlights the contrast between sterling silver and high karat gold vermeil".  Maley's pieces are a unique addition to our collection at Carolina Creations.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Gifts for Golfers

Around here you can pretty much golf year round, but we are now coming up to the time we start having a lot of tournaments. People are always asking for ideas for trophies. Also Fathers day is not too far away, they make great gifts for that too!

Great gifts for golfers.
This golf cart sculpture is has golf bags that can come out of the cart and the clubs come out of the bags! The wheels on the cart also turn. Give us enough time and we can have the artist engrave it to make it really special.

This golf bag sculpture has wheels that roll, the bag comes off and the clubs come out (they do the same on the golf cart sculpture at the top.
Golf cart with two golfers.

Flea golfer with bouncing ball.
Inlaid box 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sallys Painting Party was a lot of fun

We had a lot of fun at Sally's Painting Party last night. EVERYONE'S painting turned out great!
 Thank you Sally for not just showing how to "put the paint here" but actual painting techniques.
 Even people that knew nothing about painting turned out a picture good enough to hang on their wall.
 We will look forward to the next time.
If you are interested in coming to the next one please give us a call and give us your email address and we'll let you when when the next one will be. We did it at my studio and it worked out great. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Memory Lane 2

We were disappointed to see the the Towers are in really bad repair, we'll be surprised if they are still there the next time we visit. This was always a big tourist attraction when I was a child.
Here's some history taken from Wikipedia - 
"In the early 1920s, the Michigan Observation Company sought places of high elevation to erect 50-foot-high (15 m) enclosed platforms to boost tourism. In southern Michigan, a tower was placed atop Bundy Hill in Hillsdale County and officials sought a knoll in the heart of the Irish Hills in Lenawee County. A farmer who owned half of the knoll, Edward Kelly, turned down the company's offer to purchase his portion of the land. The adjoining land owner, Thomas Brighton consented to the sale of his plat, and construction of the Irish Hills Observatory commenced.
The opening of the Irish Hills Observatory was announced by The Brooklyn Exponent in September 1924. In a gala celebration on October 4 and October 5, hundreds of people ascended the hill and tower to gaze upon the rolling landscape and crystal blue lakes in all directions. Kelly seemed spited by the exploitation of the MOCs venture, and protested by erecting his own tower. By the end of November, 1924, his own observation platform was in place, just feet away from the MOCs structure, and several feet higher.
The Michigan Observation Company responded by adding a second observation enclosure to the top of its own facilities, now designated as the Original Irish Hills Tower. Kelly proceeded to add a raised platform to his "Gray" tower (named as such because of its gray painted exterior), an act which brought the two edifices to an even height. The MOC informed Kelly that if he attempted to compete with more height given to his tower, they would tear down their own and construct a metal observatory so large that Kelly's efforts would be nullified. He conceded, and turned his efforts instead to drawing more revenue to his creation.
The Irish Hills Towers operated as separate and competitive entities through the 1950s, when Frank Lamping acquired both and connected them with a gift shop at the ground floor. They briefly closed in the late 1960s, and refurbished in 1972 by Allen Good. They were given new observation platforms and as a result attained a near identical look.
The Irish Hills Towers closed to the public at the end the summer of 2000. The township deemed the towers unsafe in April 2013. The Irish Hills Historical Society began demolition of the tops of the towers on July 1, 2013 to begin the process of bringing them up to code. As of their September 2014 meeting, the township board had once again agreed to hold off demolition while the historical society continued fundraising to save the landmarks."
All along this stretch of M50 there are tourist attractions that are no longer in business, like Prehistoric Forest, Golden Nugget, Frontier City. They were all thriving in the 60s and 70s, it seems people aren't interested in that type of thing these days. However, the lakes in the area are all thriving, beautiful new homes have replaced the cottages I grew up with. At that time not many people lived at the lakes year round, they were mostly summer cottages.
I learned to snow ski on a tiny hill behind the towers, once we moved to Colorado those hills were about the size of the bunny hills there.
Manitou Beach - 
This is the closest town to our family home on the south side of Round Lake. 
Round and Devils lake sit in the middle between Toledo, Jackson, Ann Arbor and Hillsdale just about 20 miles north of the Ohio/Michigan line.
Devil's Lake (village at the north end of Devil's Lake) was a Powtawatamie  (the tribe of Michaels ancestors) village until about 1830.
The first European settlers arrived in the early 1830s and it became a resort for them by 1900. Ferries took people to the south end of the lake where Manitou Beach was established, there were hotels, bath houses, a dance pavilion, boat rentals, a water slide, picnic facilities and restaurants.
The name Manitou Beach come from the Potawatomi name of Devils Lake Michemanetue.
The Manitou Beach post office was established on March 20, 1889 and a station on the Cincinnati Jackson, and mackinaw railroad was built (later part of the Cincinnati Northern Railway. There was a viaduct in Manitou Beach that the senior class at Addison High School painted every year. I'm told when it was torn down a few years ago the paint was inches thick. I just ran across some photos my Dad took of a train crash at the north western side of the lake, it was a freight train. I remember going to see it.

Another rail line crossed the one that went through Manitou Beach, it was the Detroit, Toledo and Milwaukee Railroad (I am also a railroad buff and will take a train ride at every chance). This line still exists (but with no stop at Devils Lake, but the one that went through Manitou Beach is gone. Too bad.

The region was devastated by two F4 tornadoes on April 11, 1965.  I was in this tornado, some of my friends were killed, and there is still a big reminder - the road to the pavilion was lined with huge trees on either side creating a canopy. Now there are just a few small trees on one side of the road. More about this below.
Several books on the lake resort have been written, including "Along the Shores of Michemanetue" (2009) and "Night of the Wind" (2002) By Dan Cherry, "Lake Reflections" by Margaret Brighton and the Lakes Preservation League (1996), and "Ho! For Devils Lake" by Barbara Page Roys (1998).
The Devils Lake Drive-In-Church, a drive-in movie theater, closed its doors after 58 seasons due to the death of its operator.
The Manitou Beach Inn was destroyed by fire in 2010, the inn was rebuilt and was the start of a revitalization of the old business district along Walnut Street.
We are thrilled to see that Manitou Beach is thriving with new businesses and renovated buildings.
Some of my memories of the Beach are 
The Devils Lake Pavilion -
This is a photo of the Pavilion by Dan Cherry - we had a lot of great times there.

We went to lots of dances there and some of the bands that played there were Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, the Mindbenders, the Animals, Freddie and the Dreamers, Brenda Lee, Frankie Avalon, Joey Dee and the Starliters, Bobbie Vinton, Paul & Paula, the Four Seasons and more.

On Sept. 2, 1963, the original pavilion burned to the ground in a fire caused by faulty wiring in the band shell.  It was rebuilt as a 16,000-square-foot building called Devil's Lake Pavilion. It opened in April 1964.

Then, on April 11, 1965 – Palm Sunday – that pavilion was destroyed by an EF4 tornado that caused widespread damage throughout southern Michigan.

It was rebuiit again, this time it was a 20,000-square-foot building. Green's Pavilion opened on Labor Day 1965 to a paid attendance of 10,000.

By the summer of 1966, more than 1,000 teens a week were coming to the pavilion, which was open Wednesday through Sunday nights during the summer and weekends in the winter.

Between big-name acts, up-and-coming bands played Green's Pavilion. This included Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, who performed with the Yardbirds on Aug. 10, 1966. Bob Seger and his first band, the Last Heard, also played there.

In 1973 the Pavilion was sold to the Tibbs family, who converted it into the Tibbs Bros. Pavilion grocery store.

In 2013, Jerry's Market bought the store, revamped it and renamed it Jerry's Pavilion Market. Sections of the original wooden dance floor still are in the store. 
When I talk about the tornado, I mean it was flattened. The strip between the lake, through Manitou Beach and down Rollin Highway. It took the roof off our church and leveled 2 others, as well as a school I went to.

That afternoon I had walked around the lake and remember the sky was an odd shade of yellow. I will never forget that, I can see it today, 50 years later. If I ever see that sky I take cover. I did see it once here in New Bern and sure enough there were tornados across the river.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Slow Blogging


It has been almost a month since I posted, I don't remember the last time that happened. I usually try to post 8-10 times a month since I know I have some regular readers (thank you!)

I will do another Down Memory Lane post, but for now I will say we spent a couple weeks in Michigan visiting family and friends.

Once we left and started home we were going to stop at a friends Gallery in Akron but they were closed on Sunday when we went by so we continued toward Pennsylvania.

We stayed at Beaver Creek State Park, along the Ohio River.

It is quite picturesque, the Sandy and Beaver Canal, which fed into the Ohio and Erie Canal, passed through what is now the park. This canal ran 73 miles and had 90 locks. One of which is in the State Park near their pioneer village.

I've always been fascinated by this mode of transportation. Some of my ancestors worked on building the Erie Canal and others were some of the first pioneer families that went west to Ohio and Michigan.

On my list of what I want to do before I die is to be able to ride my bike on some of the tow paths and on some of the trails on the "Rails to Trails" system.

We then visited some friends that have a gallery similar to ours in Ligonier, PA. It was our first time there and was a beautiful little town, and the Laurel Highlands, the area in which Ligonier lies, is stunning. Have to go back there!

A hint though.

On this trip we went to Midway, KY on a Monday and very few shops were open and in Ligonier, on a Monday only about a fourth of them were open. And we couldn't imagine that in a town the size of Akron a shop would be closed on Sunday.

Yes it would be nice for our staff if we were closed one or two days a week but it such a disappointment for visitors. We are open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Memory Lane First Installment

I grew up in southern Michigan in an area called the Irish Hills. Last week we took a trip up there and I was reminded of the history of that area.

The history of the Irish Hills dates back to the 19th century as a stopping point during the five-day stagecoach trip between Detroit and Chicago. In the early 20th century the region developed into a popular tourist destination. There are over 50 lakes in the vicinity. The name of the Irish Hills came from the fact that it was settled in the mid 1800s by immigrants fleeing the potato famine in Ireland. And many of the local place names like  Kelly, Killarney, Brighton and Monaghan stem from names they brought from Ireland.

There is a lot of farming in the area but there are a lot of tourist attractions in addition to the many lakes. 

Michigan International Speedway

When I was in high school our girl scout troupe made money by picking up the trash after the races at MIS. $5000 was a lot of money to us and it helped pay for a trip for 28 girl scouts to go to Mexico. The Speedway has 2 races a year as well as a wine festival, music and other events. If you are not going to the race you don't want to be on US 12 around race time.

Hidden Lake Gardens

We always drive through the gardens when we visit - The Gardens were established 70 years ago by a donation by Harry Fee, an Adrian businessman.

He had always dreamed of owning a lake, and, upon his retirement in 1926, he purchased Hidden Lake along with 200 acres of land surrounding it. "He repaired and refurbished the old farmhouse, built a greenhouse, and began farming. He soon realized that the land was not suitable to conventional farming or raising livestock and so he began to grow nursery stock. 

Not wanting to compete with local nurseries during the depression he planted the stock on his own land in an effort to create a “series of pictures” .  Mr. Fee described Hidden Lake Gardens as a “dream as you go development”. 

He built a road in from Hwy 50 and landscaped it with a shrub and perennial border. The lake was cleaned out and the small pond and rock garden were constructed.

“...I determined to build a road which would make the several beautiful views to be had from various places on the property accessible…” This road was built around the lake and later extended to the top of what Mr. Fee called Juniper Hill, which is what we call it today. Much later, small parking areas were added at these vistas to allow the public to pause and enjoy the views.

“When the idea that I was making a series of beautiful scenic pictures available to the Public and just when I decided to dedicate the Gardens to public service I do not remember…all subsequent work has been and should be continued with the prime object of its being for the Benefit of the Public…” 

Mr. Fee donated Hidden Lake Gardens to Michigan State University (then Michigan State College) in 1945 and his wish that the Gardens be for the benefit and education of the public has continued through the years. He was actively involved in decision making at the Gardens until his death in 1955.

The original 200 acres have grown to 755 acres! This includes a 120 acre arboretum that was begun in 1962 and consists of plant groups such as crabapples, lilacs, maples, evergreens, and shrubs.

Another benefactor of the Gardens, the Herrick family of Tecumseh. They donated funds for many of the buildings. Year-round educational programs for all ages are offered in our Visitor Center which also houses a library, exhibits, auditorium, meeting rooms and a gift shop. The Conservatory includes tropical plants, arid plants, and a variety of flowering houseplants.

In addition to more than 6 miles of one-way paved drives, there are nearly 10 miles of hiking trails to allow the visitor a closer look at the beauty the Gardens provides."

As a child we always drove through the Gardens every Easter. While we did not have a lot of money growing up we always got a a new (to us at least) dress, hat and corsage every Easter!

Walker Tavern -

The Walker Tavern was built as a modest farmhouse around 1832 at the important intersection of the former Chicago Road (U.S Route 12) and the Monroe Pike (M-50). 

The name comes from Sylvester and Lucy Walker, who purchased and converted the structure into a tavern in 1843. In addition to a tavern, it also served as an inn for travelers traveling from Detroit to Chicago — a stagecoach trip that once took five days along what is now US 12, which started as an Indian trail.

Famous guests included Daniel Webster and James Fenimore Cooper.  The structure served a variety of purposes, including a meeting place for religious and political gatherings.

In 1921, Frederic Hewitt purchased the tavern and converted it into a museum. In 1965, the Walker Tavern underwent several alterations during a restoration process.