Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bob Rickart - About the Artist

We met Bob and his wife Jacqueline at a show 3 or 4 years ago and we always look forward to seeing them 2 or 3 times a year. They came to New Bern last fall, right after we moved into our new house.

Bobs work is great and we love the fact that men love it, you know how hard it is to find things for guys.

Bob was in college in the 60s and started out in the theatre designing, building and lighting stage sets. He went on to stage productions for a regional California theatrical company.

After starting a family Bob switched to designing computer software, which he continued to do for the next 30 years.

Now he's back creating art. It started with puttering in the garage, and has now turned into a vocation that allows him to travel across the country working with galleries.

His tools are those common to metal fabrication shops: saws, shear, brake, torch, plasma cutter, welder, drill press, grinder, blast cabinet, spray booth.

We currently carry Bobs clocks, to see more or to purchase go to our website

This coming year we're working with Bob to have some of his larger wall pieces.

Many people stand and puzzle trying to figure out what materials he uses. It's aluminum and auto paint.

We'd love to help you find the perfect piece for your home or business. Bob always welcomes commissions.!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Meet the artist behind Mismatched Socks - made in NC and they're "green"

Marianne Wakerlin, is the founder and owner of Sol Mate Socks. We met Marianne at a show in Philadelphia in 2005 when she just got started.

The company is named after her mom, Sunny, who taught Marianne how to knit. Marianne continued to knit for the next 40 years, but it wasn’t until she started knitting socks that her real passion was born.

"I found it exhilarating, designing a pair of socks that didn't match and were knit in random patterns with multiple colors. I loved my finished socks!" Within a few years Marianne had knit over one hundred pairs of socks for family and friends, and she decided to turn her hobby into a business.

Her colorful and complex patterns are knit in North Carolina at a family owned knitting mill, hand finished and mismatched.

Not only are they great looking and comfortable, everyone at Carolina Creations has at least 1 pair, but they are also knit using recycled cotton yarns. These yarns are recovered from the production of other cotton products (mainly t-shirts), and re-blended with other fibers and spun into yarns for Solmate Socks.

You can purchase socks online on our Carolina Creations website click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You're invited!!

On Friday we're having an open house and You're Invited!!

Not only is Carolina Creations having an open house but so is Mitchell Hardware, Craven Arts Council, the Four C's, the Next Chapter Bookstore, Juliette's Boutique, Nauti Paws Boutique & Bakery, The Pepsi Store, the Accidental Artist, One World Shoppe-Life is Good, SnapDragon, BoatHouse, Green, the Galley Stores and Bear Essentials!

You can read the story "A Christmas Carol", eat, and shop your way through Downtown New Bern all day Friday and Friday night as well! Our streets will be lined with luminaries 5-8 pm, and 15 shops will be open until 8 pm.

The Dickens of a Christmas Trolley Tour is at 5:30 and 7 pm each Friday through Christmas. Call for reservations!

New Bern Tours & Convention Services
333 Middle Street
New Bern, NC 28560
Phone: 252.637.7316
Toll Free: 800.849.7316

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Here are some of them - rest to come!t

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trail of Flames - a new African-American History Tour

In 1922 there was a huge fire in New Bern. One person was killed, 18 injured and 3200 people were made homeless. Of those 3180- were black and 20 were white. Twenty five hundred people were housed by the Red Cross.

Over 1000 buildings were destroyed.

A new website is being developed about the fire, it won't be launched until January 1, 2009 but click here and bookmark the site.

There will be a tour on December 1st. Meet at 9 am for Breakfast at the Firemans Museum and the cost is $20. Call New Bern Tours and Convention Services, 637-7316.

I have read some accounts by people who were children when the fire took place. The fire started early in the morning and was fanned by high winds.

It eventually leveled 40 blocks and some victims lived in tents for over 9 months.

This should be an interesting tour, you won't want to miss it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Centuries of Celebrations
at Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens

The Tryon Palace Christmas Candlelight Tours have been recognized as one of the Top 20 Holiday Events in the southeastern United States by the Southeast Tourism Society since 2004. This year’s festivities offer visitors an opportunity to experience the holiday traditions that make the Tryon Palace holiday celebrations so very special.

The 2008 holiday season celebration begins the Friday after Thanksgiving, and runs through the end of December.

Centuries of Celebrations at the Palace recreates two major festive occasions from December 1770---the grand opening of the Palace, North Carolina’s first permanent capitol and government house---and a birthday celebration for King George III.

Contemporary accounts of the day confirm this celebration was such a grand party that it deserved a place in history. Dancing, dining and various other entertainment popular with eighteenth century partygoers contributed to the December 1770 revelry. Twenty-first century visitors will enjoy experiencing an array of diversions guaranteed to put everyone in a festive spirit.

Of course, the spectacular nature-inspired decorations that are the hallmarks of the Tryon Palace holiday season will once again beautifully complement each historic building. In addition to the Palace and the site’s three historic homes, the Museum Shop and the New Bern Academy Museum will also be decked out for the holidays.

Natural holiday arrangements will be accented using oyster shells, red and green apples, pine cones, juniper berries, lotus pods, tallow berries, peacock feathers, and lots of greenery. The holiday decorations will also feature beautiful dried flowers, including celosia, larkspur, and yarrow.

Candlelight tours on Saturday, December 13 and December 20 will offer an even greater variety of entertainment both inside and outside the Palace. At 5 p.m. the Fife & Drum Corps leads visitors through the entrance where they will encounter strolling minstrels and costumed characters portraying colonial New Bernians who will gladly recount stories about their lives in the eighteenth century. Crowd pleasing Signora Bella, the Italian equilibrist, is back this year to everyone’s delight. Otto the Sword Swallower has also returned to amaze young and not-so-young visitors with his impossible feats and daring.

Holiday tours are offered November 28 through December 31, 2008. Daily tours run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Evening Candlelight tours focus on the Palace complex only and are scheduled for Saturday, December 13 and 20, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $15 adults, $6 students and tickets are valid for two days. Advance tickets are on sale now by calling 252.514.4935. For more information call 252-514-4900 or e-mail Out of state visitors may call 1-800-767-1560

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

They are finished and being delivered tomorrow!

Just this evening I put the finishing touches on the storyboards telling the story "A Christmas Carol" for the windows of our Downtown merchants.

We'll be delivering them tomorrow.

Here is another sneak peak as they looked in my studio tonight. They are 6' tall!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In the News - Amazed at how many people get up early!

We had a nice turnout Friday for the ArtWalk despite the rain most of the day. Many, many people told me both Friday and Saturday that they saw me on tv, a show that aired from 5-7 am.

I want to thank both WITN and Heather and Jim as well as Phil Knight for allowing me to be on their shows.

Phil had Greg and I on talking about the upcoming "Dickens of a Christmas" in Downtown New Bern on his Daily Neuse Show.

Here's a link to his website link. I've been told that the segment will air again tomorrow night (Monday) but I have not confirmed that.
I didn't know that his show is Simulcast LIVE at 8am on 1490ESPN in the New Bern area, on the internet at, Live Weekdays 8 am - 9 am with rebroadcasts at 5 & 11 pm, and Previous Interviews are available by clicking here, and then selecting "On-Demand" although I didn't find our interview yet.

On Friday WITN came for their WITN On The Road segment. I met Heather and the camera man (I'm sorry I cannot remember his name) at 4 AM at our gallery. I am a night person and would more likely be still up at 4 than getting up at 4. I was able to get up at 3:30 and meet them, they were driving in from Greenville so must have had to get up at 2 am.

Anyway we got all set up and Jim arrived at about 4:30. I can't say enough how nice all 3 of them were and they mentioned Carolina Creations, Downtown New Bern and the ArtWalk no less than 50 times. It was a great experience and we really appreciate it. I am going to go talk to Heather again in a week or so about "A Dickens of a Christmas". I'll keep you posted on the date.

And last but not least Charlie Hall from the Sun Journal came to my studio several times in the past couple weeks to see Carol and I painting the Storyboards for a "Dickens of a Christmas". Here's a link to the story, we got A WHOLE PAGE, Wow!

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Segway Tours in New Bern!

Did you know we now have our very own Segway Tours in Downtown New Bern? We haven't taken the tour yet but we will.

From their website:

About The Seller: There are many great historic, educational, and entertaining places to explore in North Carolina. Add to that the thrill of gliding on a Segway PT and you have Tarheel Adventures!

The owners, Neal and Lorine Davis, are native North Carolinians who enjoy traveling across their home state and are always searching for new and fun places to explore. Neal is a career entrepreneur and Lorine is the Executive Director of an Education Foundation.

They began touring on the Segway PT in 2008 and have "glided" from the mountains to the coast. Neal and Lorine are your tour guides and have extensive personal knowledge of the venues they've selected. The historical and educational information they share is second to none... and they guarantee a fabulous Segway experience.

Come enjoy our tours... "with the wind in your hair and a smile on your face." Tarheel Adventures... the better way to Segway!

Very cool.

Here's a link to their website where you can read about the tours and buy your ticket.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ArtWalk November 14 5-8 pm

You're invited to ArtWalk this Friday evening from 5-8 pm! We're having the opening for our Nativity and Hand crafted ornament show, as well as new work from our gallery artists, T Rader, Lou Plummer, Kathleen Master and others.

Here are few of our featured nativities!

From top to bottom:

By Justine - I am going down to glaze the pieces I created during my visit this summer to work with Justine. See previous blog entry.

I am also going to pick up some of her wise women sculptures.

They are 3 figures of wise women, as opposed to wise men.

The wise women "Would have brought better gifts, would have asked for directions and would have helped clean up afterwards". Justine in her usual irreverent style.

Next we have white porcelain nativities by Sue Burkart Chisholm. These pieces are hand built (as are Justines pieces) .

Finishing touches on the Nativity are derived from a collection of antiques and other treasures that span 5 generations and 3 continents.

Beginning with a slab of damp clay; forms are cut, and the textures are embedded. The delicate slab is folded or drape and a body develops. Finger prints and “life lines" are this artist's immediate signature. The life lines are on the backside where the "body" was cradled in one hand, while the other hand shaped the robe. Finger prints are everywhere. Muggy days in Georgia allows more lifelines, and finger prints to appear in the clay.

The Lists of Textures:

Joseph's robe is impressed with a cut glass salt shaker.
Mary's robe is lace.
Baby Jesus' swaddling cloth is embedded with a fruit strainer.
The kneeling shepherd's robe is impressed with chair caning.
The wise men's robe has window hardware and a button.
The manger is impressed with old barn wood.
The donkey texture is from a mold of a 1947 Willis jeep tire.
The camel's texture is a wooden block stamp.
The ram's texture is a Georgia peach pit.
The ewe's texture is the butt end of a cinnamon stick.
The lamb's texture is a sea shell
The black sheep " grandmother's favorite" farm animal has a bolt for texture

Next we have Nativities by Sarah Grant and her Sticks Studio.

Each piece is hand carved, wood burned and hand painted.

I've posted many of our nativities on our website in a Holiday Collection. To visit and/or to purchase click here.

This is going to be a long week!
Monday night Michael and I went to the HDRA, Historic District Residents Association meeting to hear about the Elks Building.

On Tues at 7:15 am I picked Greg up and we went and talked about "A Dickens of a Christmas" on the Phil Knight Show" on Community TV Channel 10. We had a great time and Phil was an engaging host.

Wednesday I left at 7 am for Justines and returned in time to go to a painting class at Art and Materials at 6 pm. Attended a Board meeting of the Craft Retailers Association for Tomorrow via the phone while glazing my pieces at Justines.

Thursday I have a 9:30 am meeting with an artist before opening the Gallery at 10.

Then Friday morning we are hosting WITN News at Sunrise in the Gallery to talk about ArtWalk that evening. We are thrilled that our Gallery was chosen to host this. The only hitch is that the news team arrives at 4 AM!!!! Heather King will be doing the interviewing. I've invited T Rader to talk about his work as well as Chris from Art & Materials to talk about what they are hosting that evening. So starting the day at 4 am and finishing at 9 pm. It's going to be a long but rewarding day.

Whew! Hope to see you Friday night, Jan Francoeur

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Elks Temple Building, Downtown New Bern

On Monday night I heard a representative of Empire Properties speak about the Elks Building, which they purchased last year. The de-construction phase is underway.

Even with the downturn in the economy the work continues.

He said it should be finished this time next year, just in time for the 300th.

At this time the plans seem to be a restaurant on the 1st floor, 3 floors of office space and the use of the top floor is still up in the air.

From "Souvenir of New Bern, North Carolina" (New Bern, N.C.: Owen G. Dunn, Co., 1910?), 68 p. A history of New Bern produced for the Bicentennial Celebration in 1910, this volume also includes illustrations of many of New Bern's attractions and businesses, we have the following excerpt:

The Elks’ Temple, a new 5-story, yellow brick building, completed just a year ago by the Elk’s Construction Co., local capitalists, contains a large department store, office rooms and public library, with the Elk’s lodge and club rooms on the 5th floor, the latter being unquestion­ably the handsomest furnished lodge and club rooms in the entire South. The views of the harbor and surrounding country from the lofty club rooms, excite the admiration of all who visit the city. A party of Rhode Island veterans of the civil war, among whom are ex-Chief Justice Douglass, of Providence, Rhode Island, were the guests of this club in last July, on the occasion of the selection of a suitable site in the National cemetery here, on which to erect a beautiful monument commemorating the valor of their fallen dead who lie buried in the cemetery at New Bern. These distinguished gentlemen were profuse in praise of the remarkable cool and invigorating air found here in the summer and were most agreeably impressed with the marked improvements found on every hand. This building, furnished complete cost about $120,000. The Elk’s Lodge here has a membership of 225 who are the representative business men of the city.

A little about the developers whose headquarters is in Raleigh -

Empire Properties’ first historic preservation project, the 1995 renovation of a 1950s warehouse on West Street to house Jillian’s Billiards Club, inspired in Greg Hatem and partners Joe Hatem, Mickey Hatem and Bucky Ransdell, the desire to revitalize downtown Raleigh. The early success of this first project and their appreciation of old structures drove the formation of Empire Properties’ plan to complete one downtown Raleigh development project each year over the next five years. Other early redevelopment projects included Commerce Place, a 40,000-square-foot, 1950s four-building complex in the warehouse district (Depot District), and Peak Fitness (originally Capital Fitness), downtown Raleigh's only 24/7 health club housed in a renovated 24,000-square-foot 1950s warehouse on North Street.

Since 2000, Empire Properties’ success has enabled the company to accelerate its pace of redevelopment and historic preservation in downtown Raleigh. The full service real estate development company now owns and manages 41 downtown Raleigh properties that offer a range of office, retail and restaurant space. Downtown Raleigh buildings currently undergoing renovation by Empire Properties include: Heilig Levine, Odd Fellows Building, Raleigh Furniture Building and Raleigh Bonded Warehouse. The company also recently started work on three new real estate development projects:

The Lafayette, featuring luxury condominiums and a boutique hotel on Salisbury Street; David Allen Buildings, a mixed-use development in the Glenwood South area; and a mixed-use, collaborative project with Wake County on West Davie Street.

While its historic preservation, redevelopment and real estate development efforts have had a strong, positive impact on downtown Raleigh and its buildings, Empire Properties also has been intimately involved with the City of Raleigh’s efforts to revitalize downtown. From actively participating in the Livable Streets Partnership Steering Committee and the Fayetteville Street Visioning Team, to providing in-kind office space to the Raleigh Urban Design Center (a Division of the Department of City Planning), Empire Properties is deeply committed to brightening the future of downtown Raleigh.

For its real estate development and historic preservation efforts, Empire Properties has been recognized by the Raleigh City Council with the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance, by the Triangle Business Journal with the Edge Award for Best General Contractor in an Urban Environment, and by the Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women with the Impact Award for work in restoring downtown Raleigh. Empire Properties also has received a number of Capital Area Preservation Anthemion Awards for its outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in historic preservation.

An interesting good note was that this company "buys and holds", in other words they'll develop this building and maintain ownership.

Another interesting thing is that they have their own restaurants, one of which MAY be the type of restaurant that will be on the 1st floor.

We are thrilled that this building is finally getting some tlc.

To go to Empires website click here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tryon Palace History and Education Center

It's really happening!

Thank heavens the funding for the North Carolina History Education Center was already in place before our current economic crisis set in.

Construction has begun and we'll be following it on our blog.

The construction of this "green" building is going to get New Bern a lot of press for it's construction and when it's finished it will be a state of the art facility which should attract a new generation of tourists and history buffs.

As you can tell I'm pretty excited about it. I have a previous blog that talks a little more about it and a link to Tryon Palace's page that will tell you more.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Funky Reindeer

Once again we have gotten our funky reindeer from North Carolina Potter Bill Hicks.

Many of our customers buy some every year, adding to their collection. And many customers leave them out all year long.

Every year Bill ads new poses to his repretiore. This year the Diva series is new with the big lips and the fur collars!

They're made out of stoneware, each one sculpted by hand. Bill uses Dogwood twigs for the antlers. They're just great! There are three sizes and in each size many, many different poses, standing, sitting, and laying down.
To view more go to our website

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wow where did the week go? Nativities

This week we are setting up our nativity and ornament show. It usually takes us a few days to complete.

We've got great, hand crafted nativities and ornaments from our friends across the country!

Here are a couple of our favorite nativities.

This little set is made by Clayton Dickson, one of our longtime artist friends.

Clayton started making clay items with his mom when he was very young. Every summer in high school and college he made clay things to sell through bazaars and art shows. In college he studied business and when he was finished he went back to what he knew, clay.

Clayton and his helpers live and work in Halifax, Nova Scotia. To purchase.

Another favorite is this raku Nativity by Chris Moses. Chris lives in the western part of the state. We sell her raku whistles and other sculptures year round. We have many collectors of her pieces. This is the first time we've ever had a nativity and it's FABULOUS! To read a previous post and learn more about Chris click here.

The Stable even has a light in it.

To purchase.

Over the next week I'll post more of our new pieces but we hope you'll stop in and see them in person.

We have an artwalk coming up on November 14 where you can see all the nativities and handcrafted ornaments, enjoy some refreshments and meet your neighbors! It's always a lot of fun.