Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A customer writes about crafts and Carolina Creations

Crafts have always been a part of the history of our country. Pottery making, basket weaving, furniture, as well as glass blowing and metal crafting were born out of necessity; today our fascination with and love of crafts reflect our appreciation of the artistry that goes into creating an object of beauty.
Crafts take on many forms, from painting a piece of pottery or making a piece of jewelry to works of art that took years of training and application to produce. From a child’s handprint in plaster of Paris made in nursery school to the most intricate piece of art, they all reflect the heart and hand of the creator.
 My husband and I have lived in many states during his military career and have visited several foreign countries. We have accumulated boxes of pictures of these various sites, but nothing stirs the memory like a craft purchased there. The painting of birch trees from a street fair in San Francisco still graces our dining room wall.   On display are a piece of pottery from Washington State, an angel carving from Salem, MA, and a painting of the beach near our last home on Long Beach Island, NJ. A series of watercolors from a Russian artist who spent ten years in the Gulag under Stalin brings back memories of the artist who, in spite of the many hardships he faced, painted beautiful scenes of his native city in the Ural Mountains. A sparkling bunch of glass grapes from Murano, a carved cross from the Black Forest in Germany, and a carved chest brought back from China, remind us more than any photograph of the beauty of those countries.
A desire for a retirement community led us to New Bern. We frequently stayed “in town” on our house building visits. Those stays always included strolls through town, browsing through the many shops. We never missed looking in the enticing windows of Carolina Creations, our favorite spot.  During one visit, I spied this beautiful mirror, framed with a mosaic of jewel toned glass.  How I loved that mirror! But I hesitated, knowing we were in the midst of house building. Several weeks later, on a return trip, the mirror was no longer there. “Well”, I thought, “I had my chance”.  Of course we went inside and there was the mirror on the back wall.  The next day, my husband shows up with a wrapped package containing…the beautiful mirror! 
Carolina Creations has such an amazing collection of crafts that it seems more like a gallery. I continue to find  unique gifts for family and friends; glazed goblets for my sister’s new home, evening purse for my New York friend of over 60 years, a Sticks carved wooden plaque for a granddaughter, a piece of jewelry for my sister- in -law. My friend, who writes an environmental awareness column for the local newspaper, was having a birthday. What better gift than a basket made from chopsticks and cocktail napkins made from recycled paper? I have been known to gift myself. I couldn’t resist a whimsical metal lizard that now is propped against a window in the Carolina Room, gazing out into the garden, much to the amusement of friends. A bronze butterfly of beads, twigs, and leaves on hand made paper by Kathleen Masters hangs above a painted piece of papyrus, brought back from Egypt by our daughter and son-in-law; different works of art on hand made paper from countries on opposite sides of the earth.
If North Carolina in general, and New Bern’s Craven Arts Festival, Art Walks and Carolina Creations in particular are any indication, crafts in the United States are alive and well. It is heartening to know that the love of hand made pieces of art will always be with us. There may be trends that come and go and economic ups and downs but, like our beautiful mirror, love of artistry will win out.

Thank you so much Joan!!
from all of us at Carolina Creations

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