Thursday, January 30, 2014

Take a 3 d Tour of Carolina Creations

Carolina Creations
317 Pollock Street
New Bern, NC 28560
(252) 633-4369

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WooHoo Painting finally finished for the Home Tour poster and brochure

Home tour art 2014 watercolor

Below are some previous years art!


For quite a few years I've been doing the artwork for the Historical Society for the Home Tour. The Bryan House on Pollock St is their "signature' home for the tour this year.

It's quite an honor. Plus I get a lot of publicity out of it and sell prints of the paintings. If you are interested in a print of any of them I have them on our website.

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, January 26, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 14 Jake and Middle St

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

When we first arrived in New Bern I went to the temp service and got a job working at Bosch in the customer service department. While there Chuck introduced me to Jake. He did that because he knew that we were both artists. Jake was also a computer whiz.

It wasn't long before we were cooking up a way to have a presence in Downtown. Jake rented a building and I rented a space from him. He did his painting and set up a graphic design studio. I had a spot there and started drawing New Bern. I reproduced my drawings into notecards and black and white prints, and hand colored the prints.

I remember an old guy coming in and saying "I used to do this kind of work in NYC, what makes you think you can make a living here doing this?" I was speechless, so to have something to say I asked him about the flowers he was carrying and he told me about his wife's illness.

Jake helped me as I started really working on my watercolors. He worked in different mediums, I said how can you keep it all straight?  I was in awe. I was also in awe of his work on his mac, we were still working on our KayPro!!!

Ever since leaving my job where I had access to a type setter I felt at a disadvantage. I had to have the printer do the typesetting for my cards and advertising pieces and I didn't like it at all.

Carol from the Arts Council introduced me to Jack from Kinston, who was also an artist and a computer whiz and he assisted me in purchasing, what they guy who built it for me called, a bleeding edge, computer. Looking at where computers have gone since the early 90's it wasn't much but at the time it was top of the line.

I was back in business!

A couple years later that old guy came back in and said "You don't know who I am do you?" I said, "give me a minute". He had a smirk on his face like, sure, she doesn't know me. I said, "You came in a couple years ago and said to me - I used to do this kind of work in NYC, what makes you think you can make a living here doing this?" you had flowers in your hand for your sick wife. He grinned and said "why do you clutter your mind remembering things like that!!"

As I was trying to paint in watercolors after such a long time I just couldn't seem to get it. I could hand color my prints but to do an entire painting just in watercolor and remembering how my friend Frances and Tom Thiery painted, with a lot of water, I was struggling. Then one night thinking about it I decided to approach the painting like I would a drawing, sketch the picture out and just slowly build up the color. Voilà it worked!! Like magic I was able to do a successful painting!

The funny thing that still happens to this day is people say "I love your colors". Having worked in black and white so long mixing colors was all new to me so to hear people say that over and over really pleased me.

So, through the years we have met many memorable people!!

Thank you Jake, Carol, Jack, old guy - you all inspired me. And thank you to all those first customers, many of whom are still coming into Carolina Creations.

- Jan Francoeur

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why by Craft from Carolina Creations

This is what happens when you buy craft locally...

1. You Embrace the Unique - You want your home to be a unique reflection of yourself... It makes sense that you buy something handmade, rich with character and a sense of place.
Clay Sculpture by Vicki Sutton

2. You Nurture Community - We all like to support local businesses and causes. Your craft purchase helps us to build strong relationships within our community.
Ceramics by Jan Francoeur

3. You Vote for Quality - We support the best quality handmade products that meet our guidelines, for the best in local craft. We stand behind our local craft products as being safe, well made and well designed.
Tiles by Jan Francoeur

4. You Keep Dollars in Our Economy - Nearly every cent you spent stays in this community. Our craft producers are from the region — many of whom use locally sourced materials!
Clocks by Sabbath

5. You Invest in Local Jobs - You are helping to create jobs in your community and region. The local retailer and craftsperson are often self-employed entrepreneurs, employing themselves and others, many in small towns and rural communities throughout the region.
Cutting Boards by Sabbath

6. You Help the Environment - Buying from a local business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and packaging.
tiny pots by Carolyn Curran

7. You Create More Choice - The nature of being handmade by local craftspeople, in not being mass-produced, are better able to respond to what you want and like.
Painting by Brenda Behr Pottery by Ray

8. You Make Dreams Come True - Local craft retailers and supporters are passionate about life and community... so are our craftspeople. More than anything else, craftspeople want to pursue their dreams of a creative life in their studio and workshop.
Felted Sculptures by Gayle George

9. You Support Local Entrepreneurship - Creativity and resourcefulness are a key to successful creative economies. Small businesses are paramount to making that happen.
Woven scarves by Jane Wilson

10. You Reinforce Local Destinations - The more memorable and unique we are as a place and people, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests to our local retailers and craft studios. This benefits everyone!
Fused Glass by Stan Harmon

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mirrors and Frames on their way

We've carried Grant and Norans picture frames for a little over a year but this year they'll be sending us some of their mirrors as well as more photo frames. They are fabulous!!

Ingela Norén and Daniel Grant create finely crafted works of functional art.  Their partnership began in Pietrasanta, Italy in 1986 as marble sculptors.  Ingela Norén, a renowned and published weaver, studied arts and crafts in Sweden, her native country, including the study of faux finish techniques.  Daniel Grant, a skilled and professional marble sculptor and painter, studied art and philosophy in California.  He made custom furniture and cabinets before joining Ingela in creating this combined artistic venture in 1994. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Some new work we have coming in

We had the great pleasure of meeting David Klenk and seeing his beautiful woodworking. We'll have some of his desk organizers and boxes. I can't remember the last time I saw a box with a key! His work is exquisite, well made and the finish is beautiful.
David has been designing and building furniture, custom interiors, and fine wood products, out of his shop in Maine for many years. Before that he studied fine woodworking and furniture making at the College of the Redwoods, in Fort Bragg California and completed design courses at the Boston Architectural Center.
We'll have his work soon. What a beautiful piece to have on your desk.

I'll have to say he is truly a lovely gentleman and we can't wait to get his work.

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, January 19, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 13 Arts Council and painting more

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

Shortly after our arrival I went into the arts council to see what that was all about and met the executive director Cary.

Cary was the director when we started having ArtWalks - the first one was for the Governors Conference on Tourism. ArtWalks have really done a lot to promote the arts in our Downtown and boost business.

During that first visit to the Arts Council I picked up a newsletter.

In the newsletter the announcement was made that they had hired a new gallery director, a graduate of Siena Heights College - "you have to be kidding I thought", my graduating class at Siena was only 100, what are the chances another graduate was here in New Bern?

I made a phone call, and said, "I'm not big into this alumni thing but I went to Siena too." That was the start of our now 24+ year friendship with Carol Tokarski.

I was thrilled when Carol and I had a joint show at the Arts Council, it was a show of New Bern scenes and the first watercolors I'd done since college. As I remember Carol painted trees and I painted architecture.

Through the years we've worked on different projects together, most recently A Dickens of a Christmas and the Dickens Story Boards.

Thank you Arts Council, Cary and Carol!!

- Jan Francoeur

Slow Blogging

January is always an interesting month.

We're in recovery from Christmas and going at full speed every day.

We have to do inventory, start getting things ready for taxes, try and catch up on jobs we didn't get finished in December and start looking for new work and new artists, plan shows for the new year and try to figure out what we can do better this year.

I'm busily working on the painting for the Spring Home and Garden tour Poster. Almost finished with that!! Will insert it here when finished.

Then I've decided to do the Depot for the 2014 Ornament and the Historical Society would like me to have them available for the Home Tour in early April - once designed it takes 2 months to produce. Then I'll do note cards of the Depot as well and they want those for the Antique Show in February - yikes!! In the mean time I've been to 2 shows and our house is going to be open for a tour for the Main Street Conference coming up the end of the month so need to get the house ready for that.

So trying to keep everything moving forward I've been negligent in my blogging.

In upcoming posts I'll talk about what was good last year, plans for this year, and some new artists or at least new work, we'll have coming in over the next few weeks and months.

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, January 12, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 12 Our Arrival

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

So following the advice of Fred from Currituck we came to New Bern and it wasn't too long before we fell in love.

The people were so nice and it is such a beautiful city!

Within a few days Michael found a job. The the wife of the guy Michael went to work for took me under her wing and gave me an opportunity to show my work in her interior design shop.

After a few months of living in our motor home we purchased a boat and moved onto it.

The first drawing I did of New Bern was out the window of our boat at the Ramada (now Bridgepointe). The marina was new and we were the 2nd boat there!

I showed my work at the New Bern Craven County Library.

The pieces in that show were mostly ink drawings of birds with just the bird being in color. What happened is I had worked so long in black and white I didn't really know how to mix color. So this was a way I could start painting again.

Why paint now?

I remember driving to Colorado and thinking, everything is so brown. After a few years there I grew to love it but being in the Keys with all the beautiful flowers and water, I just wanted to paint. Just didn't remember how.

The other thing is we arrived in New Bern at the end of May, after the spring blooms were gone. The following spring I was totally blown away when the wisteria, azaelas, dogwood, etc started blooming. I had never seen anything like it - now I REALLY needed to start working in color again!!

Thank you Jeff and Jenny and New Bern-Craven County Library!

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, January 05, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 11 Journey

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

We loved our time in Aspen, had a great time, met a lot of people and were exposed to a lot of new things. But at that altitude you have 8 months of winter, 2 months of mud, and 2 months of summer. So one day we decided we'd had enough of winter so started looking for a new home.

We had the opportunity to take a little time off so spent a month driving from Aspen, to Scottsdale, San Antonio, Galveston, New Orleans, Florida Panhandle, then the Keys. We decided to spend the winter on Big Pine Key, just a few miles from where Michael proposed to me!

We were fortunate to fall in a with a group of folks that had been going to the keys every winter for years. They adopted us as family and became great supporters of my work. There is only one couple left from that group and we still keep in touch with them.

I now wish I was painting more when we were there, the flora and fauna are amazing as are the birds! It wasn't until we got to New Bern that I really started painting.

After talking to a lot of people we had decided that we would look for a new home in the Carolinas. It had to be on the water, have something for me to paint, be big enough we could make a living, but not too big, and it needed to be "on its way but hadn't gotten there yet."

A gentleman from Currituck,  said "You need to look at New Bern, it's just the kind of place you are looking for."

So we did.

We have been here in New Bern for 25 years now!

Thank you Fred from Currituck!

- Jan Francoeur