Friday, June 25, 2010

Deborah Zwetsch hand paints her silk scarves

We were pleased that we ran into Deborah Zwetsch a couple weeks ago. She does beautiful hand painted scarves.

I first met her in New York. I was really drawn to her work but at the time we weren't carrying any wearables, just purses.

I thought maybe it was too hot here for scarves but decided to try some. We've been pleased that we have sold LOTS of scarves since we started carrying them in the fall.

All the scarves we have are beautiful but Deborah's are exceptional.

Deborah is an award-winning artist, with a BA in Art Therapy and a degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

She began painting on silk because of the luminous quality color the dye takes upon the silk surface.

Her work reflects her innate color sense and she draws her designs from nature.

We've been expanding our area of wearables - we now have purses, men's ties, scarves, cotton socks, belts and wallets. Deborah's pieces are a great addition. They're so beautiful they can even be hung on the wall as a piece of art.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sarena Mann Flying Ladies

Last weekend we got a chance to see Sarena and her friend Susan and their beautiful flying ladies.

We LOVE the flying ladies!

These fun and spirit fill flying women are whimsical and colorful and move about in the slightest breeze. In the evening they cast shadows and continue their dance. Every lady that comes to Carolina Creations is different. Different poses, dresses, colors and attitudes.

We have customers that add to their collection every year. Where do they hang them?

One friend has a collection hanging from her chandelier, another near her bed from the ceiling and I have mine hanging near my desk in my office. Sometimes when I'm sick of doing paper work I look at her and think about flying away with her and her kite!

Made from paper mache and fabric these figures always intrigue me!

If you want to see more of them you can visit our website by clicking here.

Janet Francoeur
Carolina Creations

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Continued from the previous post! The reason I'm writing this is that I've been painting and selling my work in New Bern for 20 years, and you're probably wondering why am I not just doing paintings like I usually do?

I did prints of my ink drawings and hand colored each one. I hand colored hundreds of them. After doing about 600 or 700 of them I could mix paint!

I went on to do many paintings in watercolor and adding ink to define the shapes. I eventually dropped the ink and worked just in watercolor.  (Started doing pottery too, that's another story).

Off and on over the past 4 or 5 years, maybe longer,  I'd decide that I'd like to try my hand at acrylics and oils.

Well I'm back at it. Trying to learn how to paint with oils.

People think that if you can paint in one medium you can paint in another. Working with oils and watercolors are totally different.

With watercolors you have to leave the light. You paint from the front to the back and light to dark.

With oils you paint from the back to the front, dark to light and add the highlights last.

With watercolors you can just rinse your brush off with water, if you get paint on your clothes it usually comes out and if you get a drop of paint on the floor it dries immediately.

With acrylics it's more difficult to mix natural looking colors. If you put many colors out on your palette, they've dried before you get a chance to use them. Dried paint ruins brushes.

With oils the colors are natural and rich. The colors blend well, but if you mix more than a couple colors together you get mud. A drop of paint stays wet for days and can end up all over your studio, your cat and every piece of clothing you own.

In the past I've finished one or two good paintings in oils, then went back to working with watercolors. This time I hope to keep with it long enough to be able to consistently turn our nice  paintings. We'll see!

So to answer the question, why change, it's because I want to paint landscapes and just can't get the richness and excitement I want with watercolors.

I'll have about a dozen new oil paintings (I hope!! Some will be small) for my next show I'm doing with Carol Tokarski at Carolina Creations called "Out in the County". Which opens the second Friday of July during art walk!

Janet Francoeur

Friday, June 18, 2010

New painting in progress

I have a degree in art from Siena Heights University (then it was College), in drawing and printmaking. While there I took a few classes in clay, one painting class with Teng Beng Cho, but most were in design and drawing. The thing about it is, they never really taught you how to paint, or draw, you just did it.

It wasn't like going to a painting workshop. Here's what you do and why. It was paint and I'll tell you what's wrong with it.

What I came away with was a great sense of design.

They said, pick a medium and stick with it.

So I did.

I worked in pencil and did various types of printmaking after getting out of school. I took my work to outdoor shows across Michigan and northern Ohio.

I can't say my work was fabulous, but I did sell it. Once in a while a  kid would come along and say "I can do that!"

One day a kid came along and said, have you ever used a Rapidiograph? No, I said and went home and bought one. I used it to do pen and ink drawings, generally of architecture, exclusively for the next 15 years, still use one on occasion.

When Michael and I moved to Aspen, Colorado I continued working in ink but started drawing birds in addition to architecture.

Towards the end of our time there I began toying with the idea of adding color just to the bird.

We arrived in New Bern in 1989. We lived on a boat on the Trent River. I started drawing our skyline out of the window of our boat.  Shortly after I began to add color to my drawings of New Bern. I was nervous about it, I hadn't mixed color in 20 years!

This is turning into a longer story than I intended! I'll finish it in my next post.

The question here is. Do I put a guy on a bicycle in this painting or leave it alone?

I'll finish my story on Sunday!
- Janet Francoeur

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Michael turned 65 this week! We took the afternoon off and went down to the beach. Had dinner on the waterfront.

It seems we had dinner in this exact spot last year!

While we were there we watched some of the boats from the Big Rock Tournament come in.

Like a dummy I thought the Big Rock was just a name, in fact it is a spot on the reef. I think it's about 60 mikes off shore.

This tournament is a big deal! The purse is around $1,750,000.

I was pleased to hear a lot of it is catch and release.

They fish for marlin, Tuna, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi not flipper) and other gamefish.

While we were there we took my favorite drive down front street to see the live oaks. Today I'm going to start an oil painting of this area for my upcoming show.

It won't be long before our new waterfront restaurant Persimmons, at the end of Pollock Street, right across the street from our house, will be open.

I'll be having a one person show in September of mostly New Bern paintings and I'll be doing a painting of this scene for that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

K Maley Handcrafted Gold and Silver Jewelry

Michael and I travel to shows all around the country looking for new and exciting work for our gallery. Jewelry is something we're always looking for. Last winter on a trip to Philadelphia we met Kathleen and were really taken with her work.

A California native, Kathleen Maley has been making jewelry and art objects in San Francisco for over 15 years. Kathleen studied jewelry and metalsmithing at San Diego State University and has traveled all over the country to exhibit her work.

Working in her Mission District studio, Kathleen creates jewelry that balances the contrast between sterling silver and high karat gold vermeil, and fuses the dramatic palette of pressed glass with the luster of precious metals.

Each piece of jewelry is constructed by had from silver sheet and wire, soldered and formed using a mallet and mandrels. Textures are created using a rolling mill, and handmade stamping and chasing tools.

Kathleen uses only select glass, recycled or lab-grown stones in her work, and recycles all scrap metal to keep her jewelry-making processes as ecologically conscious as possible.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Just back from meeting with some of our artists

Last weekend we went to Las Vegas for a couple shows where we meet with some of our artists. It was 114 degrees!

Not only did we meet up with some of the artists whose work we've carried for many years, like Robert Rickard, Trudi and Eric Cooper, Mikutowski, Rebecca and Dean Derby, Justin Berg, Susanne Lorraine, Sticks and others but also some of our new artists like Sue Savage, whose work we just received.

We met some great new artists whose work we're looking forward to getting in like Shawn Tsai, glass artist; Charlotte Behrens, glass; Michele Smith, clay fan pulls; Callie Seymour fine silver jewelry just to name a few. We'll have a lot of exciting new work for later in the summer and fall.

While there, I sat on a panel about social networking, as well as led a discussion on blogging!

It was a very short trip. We left at 5:30 am on Saturday and came home Monday at 10:55 on the red eye. Don't think we'll do that again! We should have had another day.

The only thing we did other than work was to go to the botanical garden at Bellagio.

You can't really tell but the red and yellow flowers are about 5' across and are made of glass or fiberglass. At any rate they are beautiful.

Now back to work! I'm working on new paintings for my upcoming show with Carol Tokarski.

- Janet Francoeur

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Matthew Seasholtz Master Glassblower

I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Seasholtz early this year.  We have just received some fabulous pieces from him!

A little back ground -

Matt went to school at Lehigh University, then went to work at the studio of Joel Bless (who was one of the first glass artists we represented). Joel's studio, Glasslight, produces high-end hand blown glass lighting.

There Matt became a senior gaffer, product designer, and taught glassblowing.

In the late 80s he started designing his own work and in the 90s began exhibiting on his own. Matt left Glasslight late in 2003 and built his own studio.

Matt has always tried to create work using simple and clean lines. Matt’s Optic Flower bowls and Bottle series are examples of this approach. The bowls used transparent colors and the optic mold to create forms that give the appearance of blooms.

Matt say of his work "I try to create elegant objects with simplicity being the centerpiece of my design philosophy."

His pieces are just exquisite! If you can't get in click here to see more of his pieces.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Celebration Pottery by Janet and Michael Francoeur

This has been a very busy pottery making season for Michael and I!

Here are some of our latest pieces.

Sorry these photos aren't up to my usual, I'll try and get them reshot later today.

I do tiles of houses and public buildings, this is Centenary United Methodist Church. This tile is going to go in a jewelry box for a wedding, sometimes I put the peoples name on the tile as well.
We work with white earthenware. Michael throws the bowls, pansy rings and platters.

I make the flat things, tiles, crosses, and wallhangings. We fire them to 2000 degrees. Then I decorate them with underglazes, put on a clear glaze, then fire it again to 1900 degrees.

All pieces are, of course, food safe. Also microwavable and dishwasher safe.

One thing people like is the fact that I decorate both inside and out.

Since we live in the buckle of the Bible belt we sell a lot of crosses. An interesting note is that we live in a small southern town and we also sell a lot of Judaica.

It seems this year we have been doing more custom work than ever!