Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Working far outside my comfort zone in workshop with Dan Nelson

We just finished a workshop with Dan Nelson. Filling our paintings with light and color was a big focus of the workshop and just what I needed!

I really wanted to stretch myself and do something I normally would not do. Not because I don't want to do it, just don't know how.

Here is how it went.

Don't know that it is exactly finished but in the manner I would normally paint I would NEVER attempt to do anything with this much foliage!

Much more colorful and interesting in my opinion.

This is the fountain in the First Presbyterian Churchyard with old St. Paul's Catholic church in the background.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Notes from our customers

Thank you to our lovely loyal customers of Carolina Creations - for making our Saturday, our week, our month... and for yet again enabling us to pay many working artists for the good work that they do!!
We LOVE the notes we get from our customers! I think of how many times I've written a note to a shop...... not very many..... so we are thrilled to receive these....

I love shopping at Carolina Creations!! Always a great selection and I like the variety of different artist!! Something for everyone. Amanda

While visiting New Bern in May I stopped off at your shop and absolutely loved it.  Bought a few pieces of clay art that I carried on the plane back to Tacoma, WA.  The sea ray and crab are now hanging in my bathroom and remind me of my visit!  Thanks for the memories. Pat

Carolina Creations is the coolest!!!

Love my hours spent in your shop.  I'm coming soon!!!

I love your gallery!  We live in Wilmington, but discovered your shop and have stopped in to see your displays when we are in the area.

Your store is just loaded with perfect gifts and surprises. always a joy.

We love Carolina Creations! Aimee

I live in Wilson and always look forward to visiting New Bern and Carolina Creations.  We love shopping at your store for Christmas presents throughout the year. Thanks for providing such a unique and charming shopping experience.

Good golly Miss Molly you guys have the BEST artisans' work in your shop!  So, I'm going to be bringing in more friends in the coming months to enjoy the plethora of artistic brilliance!

I am absolutely itching to get to your store, and I will be there soon!  It's been a long dry season without you.  Retail therapy is definitely in order!!!

Today (Sunday Oct 28) we're going to take a break since Sandy is blowing through. We don't have any flooding or anything but it's pretty rotten out!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beautiful new pieces from Geoffrey Lloyd

Beautiful new pieces just in from NC potter Geoff Lloyd! We love the new glaze with lots of purple, very dramatic!

Merging elements of traditional and contemporary forms, Geoff's pots are glazed with natural wood ash glazes. In shades of blue, green, and neutrals, these functional pots would work well in any decor.
Geoffrey's work is functional, ash glazed fine porcelain that's oven, dishwasher and microwave safe.

The transition from mortgage loan officer at a major bank to studio potter may not seem like a natural one, but in 1994 that is just how the journey began for Geoffrey Lloyd. With the help of some wonderful friends at Crocker & Springer Stoneware in Elsah, Illinois who put him to work as a production potter and showed him the basics of how to operate a pottery business, he was able to take the leap of faith and become a full time artist.

In the late fall of 1995 Lloyd was able to move back to the area where he was raised in North Carolina and begin making his own line of work.

Geoff has continued to develop his line of pottery as well as occasionally doing production work for other potters. Working out of his home studio Geoff is focusing on providing work to craft galleries close to home while continually developing new shapes and glazes. Geoff also works as a pottery instructor.

To purchase or to see the details of some of the pieces we have go to our website by clicking her.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Glass Ornaments by Jim Downing

We'd like to welcome our newest glass blower Jim Downey - an Eastern North Carolina resident.

Jim began his adventures with glass in 1976 when he enrolled in Salem County Community College’s Glass Technology program. He learned the skills needed to create complex scientific glass apparatus during the day and the joy of artistic expression during the evenings.

In 1978, he began his career as a scientific glassblower with EMR Photo-electric in Princeton Junction., NJ. He recently retired after 31 years of service to Schlumberger and is now free to pursue his own glass interests.

In the early 1980’s, Jim satisfied his artistic yearnings by continuing to create glass art in the evenings after hours at work. He absorbed ideas and techniques from the various glassblowers he met along the way. His best teachers were Don Stoop, his boss at EMR, and Hans Geyer, a glassblower at Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, NJ.

Jim’s glass ornaments have been developed over the past 30 years. The concept of putting a glass figurine inside a clear ball is known in glassblowing circles. However, Jim expanded the idea by using color glass and by developing a catalog of figurines that continues to grow every year.
All the glass figurine ornaments that Jim makes are signed, dated and numbered. These are his signature pieces. He has also made hundreds of vases, candle holders and various figurines. Jim makes wedding cake tops and one-of-a-kind gifts as requested. His masterpiece is the wedding cake top he made for his own wedding in 1998.
In the area of scientific glass, Jim works mostly in borosilicate and occasionally in quartz. He specializes in glass-kovar seals, graded seals, and the fabrication of chemistry apparatus for use in the laboratory.

We'd like to welcome Jim to our Carolina Creations family!
Jim Downey Glass Ornaments

Friday, October 19, 2012

October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We have just received these wonderful "Shirley" vases. They are created by Lauren Burman and named in honor of her grandmother who was battling cancer.

Local ceramic artists handcraft every Little Shirley carefully. The company donates 10 percent of its profit from each purchase to organizations that work towards a cure for cancer or create awareness around it.

The handcrafted vases are only 4 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide. This makes them ideal for a small housewarming or birthday gift. When I spoke to one of the ceramic artists she told me that each vase is touched by several artists during its creative process.

We have so many friends and family that have been touched by cancer it is heartbreaking. Hopefully one day there will be a cure.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Years Christmas Ornament

I have to apologize for being so pokey with my Christmas ornament this year. If you've read my previous posts you know why!!

This years depicts the Bank of the Arts. A portion of each sale will go to the BOA building renovations.

To purchase click here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Carolina Creations Wins Sun Journals Readers Choice Awards

Carolina Creations wins the Sun Journal's
2012 Reader's Choice Awards
in Two Categories!
Simply the Best
Gift/Specialty Store
Best Place to Buy
Art & Sculpture
Thank you!!

Friday, October 05, 2012

2012 New Bern Christmas Card

My new Christmas card has just arrived! It is fashioned after the drawing I did for my new tea towel.

 On the inside it reads
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

10 cards for $9.50

We have such a beautiful town! I never tire of walking, riding, kayaking around and looking at it. Three centuries of history and building.

Click here to purchase!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Carolina Creations October Newsletter

Our October Newsletter was sent earlier this week - in case you didn't get it here is a link and a list of what's in it!  Link to October newsletter.

Brenda Behr
Brenda's show at Carolina Creations consists of oil paintings Brenda created over the past year, en plein air. These paintings were all done with a palette knife.

Read more about Brenda's show by clicking here!

You won't want to miss this show.

Bernie Award

Workshop with Dan Nelson 
Register Now - Space is Limited
October 25, 26, 27, Thurs, Fri, Sat
- A note from Jan - "I took the spring workshop with Dan and learned SO MUCH - I can't wait to study with him again. Not only is he a great artist he's a great teacher too." All skill levels welcome.
- Paint in Oils or Acrylics
- Location Jan and Michael Francoeur's Studio   $295   Space is limited to 12 students 
- Each day 9-4:30 with 1 hour for lunch. Bring your lunch or there are restaurants in the area.
- Start promptly at 9:00 - come at 8:30 am for a cup of coffee

What we'll cover - Don't be left wondering how to construct a captivating landscape.
These secrets are not only key, so is their order.
Students will learn the step-by-step thought process that results in landscapes that turn heads:
1. Focused Light
2. Intentional Composition
3. Rich Texture
4. Inviting Perspective
5. Balanced Color
6. Believable Objects

The class will run from 9-4:30 with an hour lunch break. This is not a medium-specific class, but Dan is going to paint with ACRYLICS for his under painting, and OILS on top. 

Pumpkin Patch at Carolina Creations
Blown glass and velvet pumpkins galore -- while Christ Church across the street will be selling real pumpkins on the 6th of October, we have our own pumpkin patch! The glass pumpkins are off hand blown glass - which means they are totally shaped by hand (not blown into a mold) using paddles, pincers and other tools. Molten glass is gathered on pipe, air is blown into pipe to inflate glass while helper shapes it, stem is added!

Pumpkins and gourds by Paul Lockwood
Velvet pumpkins with real stems
Blown glass pumpkins by Lisa Oakley and Glass Forge

New Bern Christmas Card and Ornament On The Way!

Each year for the past 18 years Jan Francoeur has created a new Christmas card and Ornament. They will be 10 for $9.50 and will arrive on October 4th.

Our ornament for this year depicts the Bank of the Arts. We are not sure exactly when they will arrive but they will surely be here by the 1st of November.

A donation will be made to the Bank of the Arts toward the building fund for each ornament sold. They will be $13 and you can order online, we'll ship them the moment they come. Click here!

Our Picks
We get excited when we get new work, either from artists we've carried for years or from those we have just met.

Jan's favorite this month - jackets hand crafted in Massachusetts from Polartec®
Michael's pick - stingrays from Stan Harmon
Lou's pick - new pieces by Anne-Marie Chagnon
Donna's pick - Velvet Pumpkins
Irene's pick - Wrap by Caron Miller
David's pick - New bird sculptures by Tori and Jim Mullan
Lori's pick - Sweet growth charts - love the bold graphics, printed on canvas.

Downtown News
- There is a new antique and gift shop opening on Craven Street, The Antiquiry Boutiquiry, that's all we know about it but they are going to open during MumFest.
- And another gift shop of some sort - no details on it - will open across from Mitchell Hardware. Welcome to both!
- A new Indian Restaurant will open soon where the Boston Deli was.
- Be sure to drive by the office of Chesnutt, Clemmons & Peacock on Broad Street after dark - outrageously decorated for Halloween!

Carolina Creations Calendar
Through October 31 -North Carolina Meets French Impressionism - Oil paintings by Brenda Behr
October 5-14, 2012 - Celebrate American Craft Week! Demos by Brenda Behr and Dan Nelson during Mum Fest.

October 25, 26, 27 - Workshop with Dan Nelson. 

November 9 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk featuring our Holiday Show with work from gallery artists

Bridal Registry  
Did you know we have a Bridal Registry? You can choose pieces you would like to receive for your new home. We'll even create a page on our website so people can shop online.
Our special couple this month is Lauren DeBolt & Dave Lenn November 17 2012

From Jan & Michael
The summer zoomed by and so did September. Hard to believe that a year ago I (Jan) was in a wheel chair. The ankle is better but now I can predict the weather!

This is our anniversary month being in business in Downtown New Bern for almost a quarter of a century! Our Downtown has really been transformed in that time.

It was 10 years ago that we purchased the building we are currently in and started the renovations. We still think of it as our "new" location. With each move (this was the 3rd - to 317 Pollock St) we tried to reinvent ourselves.

While we don't plan on doing any more moving we continue to, as they say, "change things up".

Recently we have been adding more wearables like scarves, fingerless gloves, jackets and throws.

We hope you will stop in and check them out!! Look forward to seeing you, Jan & Michael, Lou, Donna, Irene, Lori, David, Shirley 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


With the death of our friend John, I spent the week reflecting on how I spend my time.

Here are a couple things I need to keep reminding myself of.
I DO think of time as a precious resource.

From Francis Bacon - Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand...and melting like a snowflake.

And lastly - the very last email we got from John.

 "Life is too short to put everything off for too long.


Fortunately Michael is done with his treatments and now we need to think of how short life is, enjoy everyday and make each worthwhile.

I realize now that we have been holding our breath for the past year, while our business has continued to thrive (with no small thanks to our employees), we personally have had a string of things that occupied our minds instead of allowing them to wander and create - my broken ankle, Michael's health problems, and John's issues then death.

Painting, designing new products, even doing ads takes a clear mind for me. When I'm distracted I can't create.

All of a sudden my mind is clear! Not forgetting or dismissing what has gone on for us - but we don't have these things looming in front of us. So I'm making a list of all the things I want to spend my time doing over the next few months - other than be busy at Carolina Creations with Christmas.

- painting of the home at the corner of Craven and Johnson Streets for home tour poster
- finish my painting of the garden and back of the Attmore-Oliver House I started in February
- read some books and articles and get them off my desk
- finish my 2013 calendar
- plan the 2013 calendar of events for Carolina Creations
- plan our vacation to Florida
- do some new calligraphy pieces
- complete 3rd set of coasters
- do the 1/2 dozen paintings that have been floating around in my mind for a year.

Time to get started!

Jan Francoeur