Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wow! From Sticks

We just got this fabulous grandfather clock in from Sticks! It has a wonderful chime that rings on the hour and half hour. A totally awesome piece of functional art. Sarah and her studio helpers never cease to amaze me.

Other new arrivals include a love me love my cat and love me love my dog stool that could also be used as an end table.

And last but certainly not least is this wonderful mermaid end table.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Justine

Here are a few more photos of the things Justine and I made last week. It's pretty obvious which ones are hers!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Southern Living

This afternoon a guy with a camera strolled in and said he was from Southern Living and would like to take some photos of Michaels and my pottery. He took some other shots around the gallery too.

We love it when that happens!

Other people on his list to shoot were Mitchell Hardware, Captain Ratty's, Nauti Paws and we sent him to Tryon Palace.

Didn't want to act too eager so didn't ask him when it would run, I'm sure we'll hear. He said he'd be back tomorrow so will try to remember to ask then.

We feel fortunate that we were on his list!! Jan

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

View from the porch last night & this am

Very cool.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My time with Justine

I had a wonderful time with Justine last week. We started out making a dancing lady, it's obvious which one is hers!

Her figures are fabulous!

Mine are, well, figures.

More photos to follow in another post.


Jan Francoeur

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Horseless Carriage Club of America

This week there will be 60 antique cars running around the area, the newest being 1926!

Their headquarters is the Comfort Suites and many of the folks are staying there. Their meet starts tomorrow night at 5 pm.

Unlike some car clubs these folks DRIVE their cars, not just show and polish them.

You'll see them touring our streets.

They'll be taking an excursion every day, to Beaufort, Oriental, Kinston, Pollocksville and all points in between. This is their 57th Annual Tour!

I let them use my skyline drawing for their tshirt.

If you want to see the cars come down early in the morning or after supper because during the day they'll be out on the road.

We love having groups like this in town, whether they're Carolina Creations customers or not they bring a lot of color to the community.

Of Course they love talking about their cars so come downtown and check them out!

Here's a link to their website.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Promise (post #2 for today)

I promise this isn't going to turn into all politics all of the time! I went and spent a couple days with Justine and we made sculpture. We're planning some kind of a party at my house where you can come meet her and see her new work. If you would like to be invited please email me by clicking here and tell me you'd like to be invited and what evening of the week would be best for you.

If you would like to see more of her work right now go to our website by clicking here.

I'll post some photos of what we made in a day or so.

Uptown New Bern

I've really been thinking about town these days, and involved in some of what's going on. The latest thing is the hopefully turning around of the 5 Points or as some would rather call it Uptown area of New Bern which is just south of Downtown.

As I learn more about it I'll post it here. I'm going to get a history lesson and a tour next week.

It behooves all of us to have this area blossom. Many people come that way to get Downtown, especially now with the bridge being out but even when that is back in commission it is important that we help promote this area.

I wondered about the gutted building that is standing there. I understand that it will be restored. What will be in it remains to be seen.

The image I'd really like you to see is a couple photos I saw the other day of a fountain that was located on the point. At the presentation Kathy Adolph talked about the neighborhood being population by Blacks and Lebanese. When I find a photo I'll pass it on.

Here is a blog that is dedicated to this area. Five Points Rising
Jan Francoeur

Monday, July 14, 2008

As Long as I'm Polliticking

While there isn't a person I know that is opposed to us building a new jail there are many of us that are concerned about and opposed to the County moving the court out of downtown.

If you're interested in reading about the impact that moving the court would have on our downtown email me and I'll send you a copy of the Court Relocation Report that Randall Gross prepared.

Copyright Orphan Law

I've heard that the House plans to markup the Orphan Works bill this week, and then send it to the floor for a vote. Markup is the process where congressional committees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation. In this case, we are hoping that they will debate the bill, not just pass it through because their colleagues ask them to. Amendments to H.R. 5889 will most likely be offered by House Judiciary Committee Members- some will improve the bill, some will not. The Committee will then vote to accept or reject the changes. After markup, the bill could be reported out of the House Committee, and go to the floor for a vote-which is what we are trying to prevent.

It is critical that we reach out to members of the House Judiciary Committee today or tomorrow and ask them to consider how this legislation will affect us before they send it to the floor for a vote.

1. The bill will basically allow anyone to use a design for any purpose- without the copyright holder's permission - after performing a vaguely defined 'reasonable search'. This is a problem because looking for the copyright holder on an unidentified image, no matter how reasonably or diligently the search is handled, is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

2. The bill will allow an infringer to create-and copyright-a derivative work.

3. The bill requires the implementation of a visual arts database that does not currently exist. While it does not require artists to register their work on this database, any work that would not be included on the database could easily be 'orphaned'. This is a catch 22; the legislation only makes sense if there is a reliable way (such as a visual arts database) to trace a piece of art-without that ability the effect will be to CREATE millions of orphaned works-but there currently is NO reliable way to trace a piece of art.

4. The biggest problem is that the legislation is scheduled to become effective whether or not the required databases ever come into existence, as it is scheduled to take effect on the EARLIER of: January 1, 2013, or when the copyright office certifies the existence of at least two independent, searchable databases. In order to be meaningful, the effective date should-and MUST- be tied to the implantation of searchable databases.

If you can't get the staffer on the phone, leave a message saying that "as a constituent I am opposed to this bill, and would like to discuss my concerns with you BEFORE the markup meeting", and then give your phone number.

Hon. Howard Coble (R)
202-225-3065 ask to speak to the person that is advising the congressman on the Orphan Works legislation (HR 5889)
Hon. Melvin Watt (D)

For more information on this legislation visit

Those of you who know me well know that I have had several copyright infringement lawsuits where people have taken my work and reproduced it and sold it as their own. This devalues the work and is stealing in plain language. Even worse we have friends that have had their 3d designs purchased by big companies, the company sent the piece to china and had it reproduced. The artist got nothing other than the cost of the one piece the big company had purchased. The fallout is that the artists work is in a gallery, then customers come in a say "I saw something just like this in _____" for half as much. Even though the piece isn't just like my friends from far away you might see the resemblance, my friend will never be able to sell her pieces like it again. Her design was stolen and so was the way she makes her living.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

View from the Porch

The very best thing about our new house is the porch.

Yesterday the weather was perfect!

Low humidity, cool, sunny, the very reason we moved to New Bern almost 20 years ago!

After closing the gallery last night I came home and just sat on the porch until dark and snapped these photos.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Last Night ArtWalk

If you didn't come downtown last night, you missed a great time! We had crowds of people and one of my favorite things about our ArtWalks is how many times we hear, "I haven't seen you in years!" (ArtWalk attendee talking to ArtWalk atendee) and "You have to come downtown to see anyone!".

During the ArtWalk Brenda did a couple paintings in her fabulous calligraphic style of watercolor out on the sidewalk and Karen Dodd signed lots of books.

We have more of Brendas paintings and Karens books if you weren't able to attend. We also have fabulous paintings by Mary Page Whitley and others. You know these ArtWalks are just the kick off of new shows for us. We'll have this show up through the end of August. As work sells we replace it with new work from the artists.

In addition to getting ready for the artwalk last night we spent yesterday unpacking glass by Glass Eye Studio.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Visions Committee

A couple months ago I was asked by the Visions Committee of the Chamber of Commerce (I'm on the Board but many people other than Board members were asked) what my vision was for New Bern over the upcoming years, 10 - 20 -30 years. From that questionaire the committee asked for volunteers to sit on committees to come up with a consensus of what our vision for the area would be.

The different focus groups are Transportation, Business Development, Five Points/Broad Street, Retail Growth, Entertainment and Environment.

A surprising 90 people volunteered to be on these Vocus Groups. What I wrote about being interested in is the visual look of our town and outdoor ammenities or the Environment Group.

It will be interesting to see what others vision is.

I have a couple things I'm really concerned about. I would like to see dedicated bike trails throughout the area. In my mind a 2 foot extension of the car lane with a white line is not a bike trail. I would love to ride my bike down to Taberna or out to River Bend without having to ride on the road. I envy areas that have the Rails to Trails in their area.

Walking trails go hand in hand with Bike Trails. Another good website is Walkable Cities.

I would like some rules about landscaping on the approaches to town. I think about being on the outer banks last year and seeing miles of solidly built road ways, few if any trees and lots of concrete. Then when you got up to Duck it was still solidly built but between the buildings and the road there were trees, grass and other plantings. I can still remember feeling tense during the concrete part and my feeling of relief and calmness when I got to the green area. We have a beautiful town here and we need to be paying attention to the approaches as well as the city itself. I want to see commercial development, we need it to take care of the people that are moving here but it can be done in a sensitive manner.

I'm thrilled with the new Paddle Trail system that we have, I wrote about that in a previous blog entry. You can pick up one of the maps at the visitors center at the Convention Center.

An offshoot of the 300th Committee is the River Walk Committee. The vision is to have a walk along the Neuse and Trent Rivers from Riverside to Lawson Creek Park. This is well underway but will need the support of all of us. Some of the sculptures in the Sculpture Park at the corner of Middle and Broad will go along the River Walk. A Donor has commissioned a very large moving sculpture that will sit at the end of Broad Street , I'll be able to see it from my house, can't wait.

I'm sure others on my committee have their own things of interest. Our job is to come up with the vision, we don't have to tell anyone how to accomplish it.

When we're finished we'll present our visions to both the City Alderman and the County Commissioners.

We have lots of issues just like any other city that is growing, but I've learned you have to pick your battles. One thing I can't help myself but have to say..... a week or so ago there was a letter to the editor about skysail, the talbots building, the sculpture park. About how horrible all these things were and Downtown needs to stay just the was it was. We need rules for building and growth but if we just stay the same we're dead. I think about what our Downtown was like when we opened Carolina Creations in 1990, it was kind of sad.

I don't remember who said it but he (or she) said "when you're finished changing, you're finished."

Keep the Faith! Jan Francoeur

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Hand blown glass at Carolina Creations

Don't know if you've noticed but we've got a lot of fabulous glass at Carolina Creations. We represent glass blowers from all over the country. Many of them studied at Penland in Spruce Pine.

The Penland School of Crafts is a is a national center for craft education located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Penland was founded by Miss Lucy Morgan, a teacher at an Episcopalian school that once occupied several buildings which are still part of Penland. In 1923, she organized the Penland Weavers which provided looms and materials to local women and marketed their handwoven goods. She invited guest instructors to teach weaving, and when requests for instruction began to come from other parts of the country, Penland School was born. Soon after the first students arrived in 1929, other crafts were added and the school began to raise funds, acquire property, and construct buildings.

Among other things it has become a major force in the American Glass Movement, many of the top glass blowers today either studied or taught at Penland or both.

Some of our top glass artists are Paul Counts, the guys from GlassHouse, Adam Kaser, and Rick Strini.

People sometimes ask why glass is so expensive. once you see what goes into it you'll see why.

On You Tube I've found several videos that show demonstrations of glass blowing. Here's one at a hot shop in Louisville I visited a few years back. And another from Tacoma. At any moment the piece their working on can self destruct and probably the worst is when it's finished, they've put it in the annealing oven to cool down and it explodes because the outside glass cools quicker than the inside glass.

As you know we always try to have items in a price range for every pocket book. So in addition to the larger pieces we also have some really cool glass ornaments like starfish, tear drops and jellyfish. We've been having a run on jellyfish this week!

Sometimes people see all the ornaments hanging in our window and ask "what do people do with them? Well.......... they hang them in their windows! You just suspend them from your window frame, put a cup hook up there and attach a piece of monofiliment to the ornament and hang it, we'll even give you the monofiliment.

We also have witch balls... you'll have to come into the gallery to hear about what those are!

On another note, we spent last evening on our porch with our close friends, watching the fireworks and the crowds of people coming down to Union Point. The evening was beautiful and it was great seeing so many people! The biggest crowd I can remember.

Keep the faith.

Jan Francoeur

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Brenda Behr - plein air - don't miss her demo

A couple weeks ago I got to watch Brenda Behr work on paintings for our show "Summer in the City" which Donna and I hung at Carolina Creations yesterday. I was really intrigued, she works so differently than I do!

Next Friday July 11 is our artwalk from 5-8 pm, Brenda will be demonstrating her distinctive calligraphic style of plein air painting.

Brenda has come home again to North Carolina after spending 30 years in Minnesota acting as an art director.

While in Minnesota her fine art took the back seat to her job and it wasn't until she returned to North Carolina to take care of her ailing mother that she began painting full time.

Plein air painters usually work in an opaque medium such as oils or acrylics but Brenda has develped a style with watercolors that just sings with color and movement.

She loves to paint local landmarks and has done so from Raleigh to the coast. Pieces featured in this show include "Mustards Last Stand", "James Reed Lane", and "Ada Mae" to name a few.

She also will do a special piece just for you, contact me at and I'll give you the details and set up an appointment for you. For something REALLY special if you have a wedding in your future would be to have her paint your wedding!!! I can give you details on this too. Here's a couple paintings she did at a recent wedding.

To see more of the paintings that will be in the show go to our website by clicking here!

Brenda also works in oils and has done a wonderful paintings of the now not there Trent River Bridge.

In addition to Brenda's work and her demonstration, local author Karen Dodd will be signing her new book "Begin Again Quinn" which you can read more about, and we'll have wonderful new paintings by Mary Page Whitley, Janet Dixon, Jean Dexter, Ruth Heppler and Mike Rooney.

Of course we'll have refreshments and you'll see all your friends!
Have a great day, Jan