Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ashley Benton Ceramics

These cool tiny pots are 3" tall, each hand sculpted and glazed.

Ashley is originally from Newport,NC and currently lives on the western slope in Colorado.

Ashley’s work is sensitive, serene, sometimes precarious and a bit surreal.  

Through line, form and space she investigates the figure beyond traditional rendering.  The work seeks to capture the essence, emotion or feeling of the subject / object. “I want  to visually articulate what is around us all the time but we do not see or notice until we are reminded.” The paintings are that visual reminder and connection back to the self. The work often emphasizes the unreachable. Something that can not be captured or held like stories, metaphors and memories in a permanent state. Making art  for  Ashley is the attempt to make the fleeting more permanent knowing all the while it is not possible making the challenge the process by which she can keep going.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 18 The girls light houses running a gallery Bruce and customer inspired art

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

Going back to Carolina Creations on Middle Street, Jake eventually moved on and others moved in. We each had our own business but helped each other in the sales department so we could each have time off.

I remember that tiny space I worked out of and the amount of art I sold out of  it!  Michael was working for himself fixing boats but I was getting so busy I was either going to have to hire someone or  he needed to come work with me. We chose the latter. I thought "he'll never be fussy enough to cut a mat", not so, within a week he could cut a mat better than I and I had been doing it for years. He took over all the matting and framing and a variety of other jobs.

I really had no idea how to run a gallery - I had no experience in it - but learned fast - and learned I had a good head for business, both selling, buying, forecasting and advertising. I really had found my niche. Who would have guessed I would eventually have 6 employees?

Some of the art I've created through the years have come from ideas from my customers. I spoke about this in my last post, but here it is again.

Like my lighthouse series. People kept asking for them and I thought to myself "there are a million lighthouse pictures out there". But eventually drew all of the 7 NC lighthouses, did prints of them, and hand colored the prints. We still sell them. And we've sold a lot of them!

Just the other day a customer was buying one and said they are the best she had seen. Well I don't believe that but it was nice to hear. I told her there were so many I was reluctant to do them and she said no, they WERE really good and she was a collector. Nice. I always tell people when someone gives you a compliment on your blouse don't say "this old thing?" you should say "thank you very much." So thank you very much for the compliment on my lighthouses!

I did a series of small prints of birds, flowers, fruits and vegetables which I would hand color. People kept saying, "do you do tiles of these?"  No, at the time I did not, but more about that later.

I always had an inkling that I needed to be self employed but I never REALLY  proved I could be until our days on Middle Street. I really didn't like high school, other than my art class, I didn't like someone telling me what to do or at least how to do it. When I worked for the printer they would bring me one job at a time. Finally one day I said bring me a bunch at a time and they will all get done much faster. I always liked figuring out a faster or better way to do things.

I started getting some recognition around town and getting lots of commissions. Mostly house portraits.

One person who gave me some work was my friend Bruce, he's still my friend today,  Bruce had, and still has, a Ad Agency. He really gave me a lot of encouragement and still does.

So thank you Jake, Marilyn, Karen, Lou, Becky, Bruce and customers!

- Jan Francoeur

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Painting by Sally Anger

For more information about this painting visit our website   by clicking here.

Sally is using Interference Acrylic colors that offer a unique "interference flip."

When viewed from different perspectives, Interference colors flip between a bright opalescent color and its complement. When applied over white or lighter surfaces, the Interference color is less obvious and the "flip" effect is more obvious. When applied over black or darker surfaces, the Interference color is more obvious and the "flip" effect is less obvious.

It is very interesting!

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, February 16, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 17 Art Shows throughout the area

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

Doing art shows throughout the area gave me a lot of recognition and exposure.

Some of the shows I did and pieces I sold through those shows are below.

Craven Arts Council and Gallery (several!)

North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort - that was a 2 person show I did with Ruth Heppler where I showed my ink and watercolor pieces.  I never intended to do the NC Lighthouses, there are SO MANY pieces of art and prints of them, but people kept coming into Carolina Creations asking for them. I finally gave in and am glad I did! I've sold quite a few prints of them. But the best part is that more than once I've told this story to people and they said, yes but there aren't any others like this, and so on. I am always thrilled when someone says something like that.
The Council for the Arts in Jacksonville

The Beaufort County Arts Council in Washington (several!)
At one of these I won best watercolor for this piece.

North Carolina Crafts Gallery in Carrboro (several!)
North Carolina Watercolor Society Show in Washington

Once Carolina Creations really took off I didn't have as much time to be running all over to shows so the past ten years I've done very few. It is also nice to have your own gallery where you can show your work since most galleries aren't interested in EVERYthing you do, just some parts of it, if you're an artist like me and work in many different mediums. Of course having your own gallery comes with a price, a mortgage or rent, employees, insurance, advertising, etc, not complaining "just sayin"!

In 2013 I did do the Home Coming Show at the Craven Arts Council with this piece.
One day when we retire from Carolina Creations, I'll probably go back to entering these shows. But that isn't going to happen (retiring) for a while!

Retirement for an artist is different than retirement for most people, we'll still do our artwork, we just won't be going to the office (gallery) every day!

It's been a fun ride.

- Jan Francoeur

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sculpture and Functional art by Sandra M Schmitt

One of the best things about my job is that through the years we have met so many talented artists. The other is we are always surrounded by beauty.
Here are some of the new pieces we just got from her.

Sandra at work.

Click here to see details of these pieces and to view more!
- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Garden Show Pieces are arriving

We love these sculptures.

Original Sylvia Shaw Judson statues can be found in public parks and private gardens across America.

For the first time ever, now many of her works, all upon the approval and permission of her estate, are becoming available for reproduction and purchase.

All statues are made in the USA, are all copyright protected, and are made using a combination of fiberglass, resin, and marble.

They will last outside forever!

The Little Gardener was originally sculpted by Sylvia Shaw Judson in 1935. An additional original was commissioned by Jackie Kennedy while she was First Lady. It was prominently displayed in the renovated Rose Garden at The White House.  It remains to this date in The Jacqueline Kennedy Sculpture Garden at The White House.
Another original of The Little Gardener was given as a gift by President Lyndon B. & Mrs. Johnson in the mid 1960s for The Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines. Additional versions of the statue have not been offered or available until now.
More recently, it was the subject of President George W. & First Lady Laura Bush’s official White House Christmas card in 2007.

Sylvia Shaw Judson is most remembered today for the statue that she called Bird Girl. This sculpture, known as The Bird Girl or Savannah’s Bird Girl, was created in 1936 by Mrs. Judson in Lake Forest, Illinois. It achieved fame when it was featured on the cover of the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In the past few years, Mrs. Judson’s Bird Girl has become one of the most recognizable and most loved garden statues in the world.

However, her extensive work can be viewed and admired throughout the United States. Public parks and private gardens across America—from Boston Commons and Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park to Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, from the White House to Santa Barbara—provide settings for the well-loved sculpture and fountains of Sylvia Shaw Judson.

Sculpted by Mrs. Judson in 1936, and made
famous by the best-selling movie,
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Known particularly for her endearing interpretation of children and animals in various media, Mrs. Judson, who was herself a Quaker, executed various commissions involving religious subjects.

Sylvia Shaw Judson was born in Lake Forest, Illinois, near Chicago.

Trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in Paris under Antoine Bourdelle, her skill and talent was recognized with an impressive list of honors, prizes, and awards.

We will have pieces arriving for our garden show over the next few weeks. Other pieces on their way are a clay totem by Steve Fabrico, garden stakes, animals made from recycled metal, bird houses made from wood, clay and wool.

The show opens on March 1, 2014 at Carolina Creations, 317 Pollock St, New Bern, NC

31 Days of Thanks Day 16 Judy Brown

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

One day in about 1991, this lady strolled in, asked me lots of questions and introduced herself as an artist.

It turns out she was multi talented, working in many, many mediums. Wood sculpture, clay, painting, drawing, furniture building, and on and on. A woman that can dry wall, do plumbing, and remodel too!

As I said before in school they preached pick a medium and stick with it. I had already starting adding some colors to my ink drawings but Judy really inspired me to branch out.

Now, 23 years later I too work in many different mediums too, ink, watercolor, oil, acrylic, clay and I will say it is a lot more interesting!  Each medium has it's place, depending on what the subject matter is or what I'm going to do with the piece.

I credit Judy with inspiring me to broaden my horizons.

Here is a little of Judy's work.

- Jan Francoeur

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Our Bags Travel the World

Our Bags Travel the World! Madeline and Edward, two of our international customers, just sent us this photo they took in front of the Swiss Federal Palace in Berne Switzerland. 

It's been fun through the years to see where our bags have shown up. 

We've got photos on our counter of our bags taken in all corners of the world, Russia, Cape of Good Hope, Mexico, Sweden, on and on!

We'd love to see your photos.


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Our February Newsletter

Check out my #constantcontact newsletter

This month we're talking about all the many events coming up in our Downtown, including those at Carolina Creations.

Valentine show
New paintings from Gallery Artists

New jewelry, gifts, sculpture and more

Our winner of the justine sculpture

Our February contest

Our new Google photos

and more.

Click on the link above.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

31 Days of Thanks Day 15 Awards Chamber Downtown Business Council

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

I was truly honored and surprised when I was nominated for and won the "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Betsy Bliss. These awards are given by the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce and Craven Community College. Wow, this was a big deal for me. I had won awards before for my art work but not for business.

As I stated in a previous post I didn't realize I was born to be self employed until I was and I've excelled at it!! I don't really know where it came from, I guess most of it from my folks and their work ethic. Work hard, do what you say you will do, stay focused and keep moving forward.

About the same time I was awarded an Emerging Artists Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council.

The criteria for the grant
  • Overall excellence of the applicant’s art work and demonstration of exceptional talent
  • The applicant’s serious professional commitment to her/his art form
  • Contribution of the proposed project to the artist’s professional development
  • Feasibility of the proposed project
Not to complain but I have always thought that artists should make their own way. I feel if their work is unique and good enough they should be able to make money by selling it, not by being given money. That being said it was an honor to receive this award. I don't remember how much it was for, maybe $500, but it did give me a boost in my self confidence and made me think I was moving in the right direction with my work.

I got involved in the Chamber of Commerce, specifically the Downtown Business Council. That gave me the opportunity to interact with other businesses in town. And through the years this has been proven to be invaluable.

- Jan Francoeur