Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fusing Glass

Fused glass and wire wrap by Siyeh

We have several artists that do fused glass.

What is it?

It is glass that has bee fired in a kiln between 1100 degrees to 1500 degrees. The difference in the temperatures results in different effects on the glass.

Slumping is done at the lowest temperature, in other words the glass is heated to between 1100 and 1250 degrees - and it will bend into the shape the mold the glass is set on.

Example of tacking
Tack fusing takes place between 1250 and 1350. This is an example of tack fusing. In other words pieces of glass are stuck together but not totally fused.

And full fused glass is fired at 1350 to 1500.

Shown here - a jellyfish panel by Stan Harmon - full fused.

Example of full fusing by Stan Harmon

Most fusing methods are don by staking layers of glass to create their design. The stack is placed into the kiln and the temperature is risen slowly until the pieces begin to fuse together. The temperature is then allowed to drop back down to 1050 then allowed to soak, or sit at a particular temperature, then taken down further and soaked again. This prevents it from cooling unevenly and creates a stronger piece. The cooling phase can take 10-12 hours.

Steven Palmer, Fused then slumped

The glass will not be removed from the kiln until it reaches room temperature.

The temperatures can vary depending on the size of the kiln, the size of the project, the number of layers and so on. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

31 Days of Thanks Day 1 My high school art teacher

In high school the art teacher at my school was, how can i say it, a snob and not a very good teacher at that. If you were not a cheer leader or on a team she had no time for you. And our assignments were not very inspired either.

I was going to go to college but didn't exactly know what I would study. But knew I had to have a foreign language. They only taught German at my high school and I was not really interested in that, Spanish seemed to be a language I might be able to use more. So I signed up for an exchange program with another school, 15 miles away. We would be going there two afternoons a week and take 2 classes, so for my second class I signed up for art.

I soon discovered I had no aptitude for Spanish, didn't have the ear for it, although I could eventually read it.


the art class changed my life!

We worked in many mediums.

We did
wire sculpture
worked with clay
on and on

Within a couple months I started telling my folks that when I went to school I wanted to study art - and I wanted to go to the American Academy of Art in Chicago.

They said you need to get a real education.

So I went to Siena Heights College (now University) instead and earned a BA.

The first piece of art I ever sold was a wire sculpture I had done in my high school art class. I sold it for $25 to a girl in my dorm.

I was not a "natural". I learned how to draw by practicing. I guess my real talent lies in design, I have a "good eye" so they say. The rest just came by doing.

Thank you -Mike Fisher, art teacher!  

You truly changed my life.

- Jan Francoeur       Day 2 of 31 Days of Thanks will publish at 11 am est on November 3 and I'll write about painting with my friends and a second teacher.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Block Printed Flour Sack Towels and How Its Done

In college I learned how to do linoleum and wood block printing. I've been in love with the printing process since then, in all forms. I even worked for a commercial printer and a newspaper, and continue to use printing in my artwork today.

A while back I introduced the new towels, napkins, coasters and runners, made in the Carolinas. Today I'm going to talk a little about how its done.

Here are their new Christmas designs!


Linoleum is an easily cut, inexpensive material where simple tools can bring good relief prints. Relief printing means removing material so that the remaining raised inked surface comes in contact with paper or in this case fabric. The ink is transferred to the fabric using pressure. Designs are made by what remains, or what is not cut away from the surface. There are few limits regarding designs-making linocuts as simple or detailed as the artist chooses.

Current brands of linoleum contain a gritty inner material that rapidly dulls tools, but battleship linoleum, while looking the same, is superior material. It cuts well when cold and like butter when warmed. A close lamp, iron or sunlight is enough heat to make a difference.
You start by penciling a design on the lino, remembering that it will be reversed in the printing process. Some use a mirror to see the design inverted. Once you have a design, you redraw the lines with a permanent, blue ink Sharpie pen, marking across any unwanted lines to avoid errors. It helps to label areas to be cut out.

There are four cutting blades. They are "u," "v," a straight edge, and a pointed edge, all in various sizes. To start, you precut the lines using the pointed edge, holding the tool upright like a pencil, turning the lino to facilitate cutting curving lines. The pre-cutting makes for crisp edges and is good for close clearances.

The "v" gouge cuts a simple line and the "u" gouge  scoops out large areas, cutting towards the already incised safety line from my original cutting with the pointed tool.

Once you have your design the way you want it you ink it with a brayer, put your fabric on it, if you have a press, you press it down, and it's done!!  If you don't have a press using a wooden spoon rub it over the material to transfer the ink to the fabric.

That's all there is to it!!

Here is one of their every day designs we have.

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, October 20, 2013

31 Days of Thanks Insight into who has influenced us and our business throughout the years

I saw a blog post by one of our artists saying that every day for 31 days she would post about those who have contributed to her success. What a great idea - I'm going to do the same thing, reflecting upon what has contributed to our art  and our business. I was going to do it all in one month then decided that people would start thinking I was spamming them if I posted every day. So I've decided to intersperse my Days of Thanks in between my regular posts and do one each week for 35 weeks. And with Thanksgiving just around the corner I think this is a good time to start it.

My Days of Thanks posts will be published every Sunday for the next 31 Sundays.

It is really all about our journey and how we got to where we are with our lives and business!

Some of the people and things we'll be blogging about are

other artists who have influenced us

and so on.

I'm kind of excited thinking about writing it!

It will also get me back on track on my blogging. We've have some issues that have been a distraction this year - some of the issues have been good - but they have kept me from writing as much as I had been. Sometimes I run out of things to talk about, other times I have a hundred ideas! So right now I'm working on 31 things and people I'm grateful for and how they influenced our work.

Jan Francoeur

Friday, October 18, 2013

Elizabeth Spotswood Alexander Spencer at Carolina Creations

We are honored to be representing Elizabeth Spencer at Carolina Creations. Elizabeth is a full time instructor of Art at Craven Community College.
She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Dartmouth MA  and a Bachelors of Fine Art from Murray State University, Murray, KY. Woodworking, Functional Design.
She has taught and lectured at Northland Polytechnic, Whangarei, NZ, The Farm Foundation, Middlebrook VA, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC, Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, Gatlinburg TN,  Kendall College of Art, Grand Rapids, MI, Penland School of Arts and Craft,  Haystack Mountain School of Arts and Crafts, and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Teacher of Record, Dartmouth, MA.
Her artists statement:
As a little girl I was a smooth, freckled face amongst a sea of wrinkles, a rapt expression enchanted by stories, legend and lore.  A soft breeze of voices whispering in my ears as the tribe of women who raised me told me where I came from.  Held tight with fingers crooked by age interlaced around my belly, my grandmother would tell me the tale of the Grey Man. And then the crooked fingers would shift from pale to dark and there I would sit on Josephine’s lap listening to the story of the bastard from Tangier.  Through
the rotating and sure touch of the women who raised me, I was given elaborate maps of stories to guide me, to illustrate where fact meets fiction, shadow becomes light, and where the most tender parts that entice and tangle the human condition are eventually exposed.

The stories of my childhood told me of joy, reassured me of disappointment, and gently explained that love and pain are never far from one another.  They left me with a permanent ache of what I have no other word than “homesickness” to describe.  And as I listened to these same stories told over and over again, I began to learn that these stories, while unique only to a small part of the world, spoke of experienced lessons.  They have become a type of collective experience that allows me to navigate through reality and develop a greater sense of identity.
I am always captivated by the idea of a surreal experience within the bounds of reality.  It is not faith that is important, but encouragement that a person, a place, and a time have an element of magic and mysticism that can be revealed on an individual and intimate level. Using stories and contemporary experiences, imbedded between the surfaces of the human condition, I am able to mold the world into a reflection of what is absolute and what is wished for.  I am always seeking for ways to make this union tangible through an instinctive mixture of concept, form, and materials.
My work reflects heavily layered, magical and surreal moments incrusted with shards of nobility, where fact has little supremacy. Thus I often find myself in a rich and superstitious dream world where what I remember, what I want, and who I am dramatically collide.  I take these collisions and create both functional and non-functional wooden and mixed media sculptures that construct a fantastical reverie.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hand crafted nativities and their artists

We are trying not to get too ahead of the season but nativities are something people always look for early. We have a nice variety this year!

Each unique PotTerre work of art is created personally by artist Terre Christensen. Raku and stoneware pieces are made one at a time. Raku, an ancient glazing process, renders pieces bathed in flashes of blue, purple, and red in a fiery field of shiny copper.

Sandra McKenzie Schmitt Nativity. 
Sandra McKenzie Schmitt has been a working artist since 1973, first showing her figurative sculpture at Gallery 10 in New York City in the same year. In 1964, she received her M.A. in intaglio printmaking from University of Iowa under the direction of Mauricio Lasansky. Receiving her M.F.A. from Bradley University in May 2000, her emphasis was ceramic sculpture with additional work in bronze, stone carving, and metal fabrication.


Sticks nativity - One of a kind, hand carved and painted.


Stephen hand builds each piece of his sculpture from stoneware. He rolls thin slabs,
 texturing each with a variety of lace designs.
Stephen Wise

Clayton started making hand sculpted items using left over clay from his mother's studio. He was 14.

Clayton grew up in a sea side, summer resort town chock full of galleries, boutiques and quaint shops.

A local boutique owner discovered some of his creations and wanted to sell them in her store. They were well received; reorders followed, he was in business! She still orders from him to this day... more than 30 years later.

We've been carrying Clayton's work since 1998!

We've also got many of his Santas and his ever popular toothbrush holders.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Carolina Creations October 2013 Newsletter

In this month's newsletter -

Lou Plummer  Evolution  Paper Collage

2013 New Bern Christmas Card &
Ornament by Jan Francoeur

Introducing New North Carolina Potter
Shayne Greco

New work by Jan Francoeur

Just Arrived! Delias Thompson

Nativities, pumpkins and ornaments.

Bridal Registry

Art to Wear
Whats new downtown

This month's drawing.

Read the newsletter by clicking here!