Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spring Home and Garden Tour Art 2015

Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11, 2015 10-4

Enjoy beautiful spring in New Bern and visit historic homes and gardens on the annual “Spring Historic Homes and Gardens Tour.”  

      On April 10th and 11th homeowners invite you into some of the most beautiful and interesting historic homes in downtown New Bern. Get a behind the scenes look at homes that have much to tell us of the history of this town founded in 1710. 

      Stroll through beautiful gardens and admire a delightful array of fountains. In addition to the homes, gardens and fountains, many downtown houses of worship will be open for tours.

       Tryon Palace gardens, which should be in full bloom will be among those open to the public. Tryon Palace’s Annual Heritage Plant Sale will also be held on the Palace grounds during the tour. That weekend, Spring Homes Tour ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase discounted admission passes to Tryon Palace/NC History Center.

       Be sure to grab a homemade bagged lunch to go or enjoy it in a quaint porch setting at the Blades' Veranda Cafe. Bagged lunches are $8 and include a sandwich, and beverage. 

Coffee, tea, and delicious baked goods will be available throughout the day across the street from the cafe at Peterson's Porch. A hospitality station also will be available to patrons on the grounds of the Attmore-Oliver House, 511 Broad Street.

       There will be a reception at Carolina Creations for ticket holders and the public from 4 to 8 pm. Meet the poster art artist or purchase a print by clicking here.

       Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 day of the tour and $15 for active duty military and dependents with ID. All tickets include North Carolina sales tax. If ordering an active duty military or dependent ticket you must pick up your ticket at the Historic Society office, 511 Broad St. Tickets go on sale March 2 and are good for both tour days, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Tickets will be available by phone at 252-638-8558, online at, or at the following outlets:  New Bern Historical Society at 511 Broad St.; New Bern Preservation Foundation at 510B Pollock St.; Bank of the Arts at 317 Middle St., Harris Teeter at 2019 S. Glenburnie Rd.; Carolina Creations at 317 Pollock St.; Mitchell Hardware at 215 Craven St.; ASAP Photo at 3701 Charles Boulevard #100, Greenville; and ITT Office at MCAS Cherry Point.

The Spring Historic Homes & Gardens Tour is a collaborative event presented by the New Bern Historical Society and the New Bern Preservation Foundation and is a major fundraising event for these non-profit organizations.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sculpture for the home or garden

Metal figurative sculpture for the garden or home by Artist Gail Chavenelle have arrived! We asked Gail to talk to us about her sculptures and what inspires her.

As Gail explains......
Beginning with childhood paper dolls, chains, pop-up books and greeting cards, I have been intrigued by paper sculpture. I loved the forms, but wanted the works to be more permanent.

Instead of a sheet of paper, I work with a sheet of 20-22 gauge steel. I am interested, as with paper sculpture, in creating expanded and three-dimensional images from a flat sheet. Now they last.

I am also excited about exploring movement in sculpture and my pieces move in the breeze. Finally, I am interested in accessible, affordable art, sized for apartment and garden - the ordinary sized spaces in which we live. 

The pieces have been called "Sketches In Metal". 

I do cold working sheet metal, and hand or laser cuts one-piece images and fold and bend them into 3-D forms. I explore metal's kinetic movement, so pieces can bounce, fly, or dance on its tensile strength.

In the garden the pieces can be stuck in the ground and we also have bases for them if you wish to have them in your home.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Art for and of the Garden

Carolina Creations Fine Art and Contemporary Craft Gallery announces their Annual Garden Art Show, opening during ArtWalk, March 13 from 5-8 pm. ArtWalk is the official opening but we've got most of the art up now!

To celebrate the end of winter Carolina Creations gallery artists have created a colorful collection of garden and nature inspired art.

There are large, flower stakes by Steven Cooper, field stone and steel herons, roosters, pigs and rabbits by Francis Metalworks, figurative sculpture by Gail Chavenelle, bird houses and feeders by Steve Fabrico and copper spinners by Bradley Cross, plant stakes by Lisa Feda, and work by other gallery artists.

Two dimensional work includes paintings by regional artists Sally Sutton, Brenda Behr, Donna Robertson, Jane Horner and other gallery artists.

For more information contact the gallery at 252-633-4369, email or visit the website at

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tree of Life by Carolina Creations artists

Tree of Life fused glass jewelry

Many of our artists are creating art depicting the Tree of Life - 

The Tree of Life is a metaphor in science, religion, philosophy and mythology. It has meaning in nearly every culture across the globe, connecting us all to one another.
Some of the things the Tree of Life symbolizes are

- What man can accomplish, a seed grows into a trunk (an idea), which leads more branches, to another, and another, as the branches (ideas) keep going, one feeding on another.

- Your family tree, you share roots that link you to the past, and the branches of your tree continue to multiply, where we come from and who comes from us.


I phone leather cases
- Life, ancestry, mythology, history, hope for the future, all things are interconnected.

Tree of life sun catchers
My mother was a genealogist so the idea of the tree of life has been something I've thought about my entire life.

We wrote down where we came from, filling in each branch with a name and dates.
aluminum wall sculpture

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beautiful Waxed Canvas and Leather

Waxed canvas and leather pieces have just arrived!

In 1967, Brendan Smith embarked on a course of artistry that has occupied his life for over forty years. A talented musician and composer, author, gardener and entrepreneur, Brendan steadfastly adhered to a vision of quality and ‘do-it -yourself’ simplicity in his leather artistry and business practices that has stood the test of time. At age seventeen he began sewing leather with a needle and thread then borrowed a sister’s sewing machine. Wedging it inside his bedroom closet, placing a chair in the open door and hanging various tools and findings on the inside of the closet door, he provided himself with a mini leather shop. Many broken needles later, he purchased an aging industrial quality machine and graduated to an attic room where he set up his first real workshop.

When Brendan was seventeen, he cultivated two important relationships: an incongruous friendship with the cowboy owner of a local saddlery shop who mentored him in the nuances of leather craft. At this time he also made friends with a family who owned The Hide House, a local leather supply business. Oberon Design still works with The Hide House, a treasured and honored working friendship of forty-five years. With their help, Brendan developed his skills for precision and design, sketching in notebooks and spending long hours experimenting and creating in situ at the sewing machine. He set up his first retail venue in his hometown, making and selling sandals and hats during the Summer of Love. With his budding success as a craftsman, Brendan began to identify himself with a life of creative process.

During his college years Brendan supported himself with leather craft, expanding into moccasin making, handbags, belts and wearable art in the form of figurative whole-head masks of extraordinary character. He published a ‘how to’ manuscript entitled Brendan’s Leather Book. Humorously well written and illustrated by Brendan, it was favorably reviewed and achieved a healthy round of five editions totaling over 40,000 copies. One Bay Guardian reviewer quipped that “It would charm the hide off a cow." Although out of print, it still enjoys a healthy circulation online and in used bookstores.

Brendan developed a following for his leatherwork during the seventies and eighties under the name Walking Foot Leather. His reputation grew out of his direct rapport with customers in his booth each year at the original Renaissance Pleasure Faires. In the late 1980’s he expanded his business to accommodate a large order for leather fanny packs for a national department store chain. From this expansion sprang the concept of leather journal covers whose popularity in museum shops and gift and book stores across the country lead to the creation of Oberon Design as a company that has flourished since 1992.

Brendan is proud of the fact that the design and casting of the Britannia metal line and all our leather work is done "in house." This combined with his source for domestically tanned leather, use of local and domestic businesses for resources such as non-toxic glues and dyes, thread, zippers, and other items used in our leather and pewter processes, in house production of catalogs and websites, make his studio what it is today, a good old fashioned, hands on, hard working American studio.

I met Brendan in 1970 at a renaissance festival north of San Francisco so it was neat to carry his work in our shop starting in 1995.

We were thrilled to see him a few weeks ago and to see his newest work - iPhone cases and leather/canvas bags.

A part of the attraction of designing bags from waxed canvas is the allure of the practical, yet romantic, history of its use in the seafaring world. The fact that it was originally produced in Scotland, as was a branch of the Smith family, became another fun enticement to delve the history of our materials.

Waxed canvas, linked to oilskin, is tied to the history of clipper ships. Historically, impoverished sailors would sew scraps of ruined or discarded sails and rub them with linseed oil to create a water proof poncho that protected their skin from harsh weather conditions at sea.  In the mid 1800’s, taking a cue from history, a Scottish mill that contracted as a sail maker for the British military fleet, responded to the creation of fast moving clipper ships by replacing flax sails, for sails made from cotton impregnated with linseed oil. This strengthened the sails, keeping them lighter and more waterproof in heavy gales. This trend rapidly spread to protective clothing worn by fishermen and sailors, who now, not weighted down by sodden clothing, could respond more quickly to dangerous situations. Linseed oil treatments were replaced with paraffin wax in the 1930’s, a big improvement over linseed which hardened and cracked with age.

Water resistant waxed canvas garments expanded from nautical use, becoming profoundly useful to farmers and outdoorsmen, not just Britain, but New Zealand and America. Co-opted by the military and motorcycle enthusiasts during the world war periods, waxed canvas gained a foothold in the fashion and millinery world. Use of waxed canvas in bags and clothing is enjoying yet another renaissance as contemporary Americans once again favor the practical in durable, quality materials that last a lifetime.CARE AND CLEANING OF WAXED CANVAS
You NEVER want to do this:
• Never wash your bag in the washing machine.
• Never use warm or hot water to clean it.
• Never have it dry cleaned
• Never use detergent, solvent or starch.
How to clean my waxed canvas and leather bag:
• Shake or brush off dirt, sand or any other abrasive material
• For small spots, use cold water and mild soap, and a sponge or brush.
• With a little soap, gently massage the spotted surface.
• Rinse with a sponge and cold water. Let the bag air dry.
Depending on how much hard use your back gets, at some time you may consider re-waxing it. This can be done professionally or at home.
• Use Otter Wax or Martexin Wax, or an approved product, made for this purpose, only.
• Messenger bag should be clean and dry.
• Lay as flat as possible using a table or ironing board.
• Using a soft cloth to apply the wax, rub down the entire bag as evenly as possible.
• If the wax isn’t pliable enough, warm it slightly by submerging the container in warm water or wax the bag and then let it sit in the sun to soften and impregnate the canvas.

We have a nice selection of his work so we hope you'll stop in and see it!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Cape Cod Underpainting Class with Mike Rooney

We are pleased to announce a workshop exploring the Cape Cod Method of Underpainting.
Learn the how-to's of painting with the sparkling color of the impressionists.
This will be a plein air class, painting outdoors in New Bern.
Thursday, June 25 through Saturday June 27, 2015

The roots of this technique go back to Monet and go thru Hawthorne and Henry Hensche (who taught it on Cape Cod) to today's colorists Susan Sarback, Peggy Kroll Roberts, Camille Prezwodek and others. 

Mike will include the importance of using the correct values, and you will do block studies as taught at  the Cape School to train your eye to see color, the method of laying down warm pure color on the "sun" shapes and cool colors for the "shadow" shapes. Take your use of color to the next level with mike's easy going instruction.

level: students must be comfortable mixing any color they see

student fee: $300 for three day workshop

9-4 daily with 1 hour for lunch (bring your lunch or go out)
We will be painting outside but will meet at the Francoeur's studio at 229 E Front Street each morning. Parking on Pollock Street.

Suggested Materials List:
Note: Mike suggests that you do a 6” x 8” painting with your supplies before the workshop to see if you’re missing anything you might need. Some of these things you can live without, some you can't!

This list is what Mike carries but if you're an experienced, bring what you like the best, and feel free to substitute.  

OIL OR ACRYLIC PAINT (if you use acrylic bring slow dry medium)
Yellow Ochre
*Cadmium Yellow Light
*Cadmium Red Light
Alizarin Crimson
*Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
Cadmium Orange Hue
Sap Green 
Cadmium Violet or some version of Purple
*Large tube of Titanium White
*= must have these. the other colors are what mike uses and if you'd like to, bring them too.
He uses Lukas Oil paint . it drys very fast and has excellent handling properties.
PALETTE- inexpensive wood or plastic

PAINTING PANELS (not canvases) two 9x12 painting panels (no bigger than 12x16-and only then if you're a very fast painter) for each day of the workshop. 

Panel Holders- to carry wet panels around without smearing them or getting paint all over everything. You can get some online from Raymar or bring some pizza boxes to throw the paintings into.

Cheap watercolor paper pad for exercises; 8” x 10” or 9x12, 140 #

Brushes- any stiff synthetic brush like Princeton 6300’s or Silver Bristlon (or your own favorites) in sizes 2, 4, and 8 (12 if you are painting big). Also if you have a Michaels Craft Store nearby you can use the brand American Painter. Find the stiffest synthetic. Also need a synthetic Liner (also called a Rigger) brush. Its thin and very long for detail work

Palette knife; metal small blade and medium blade. bring a large blade if you are painting big.
Easel or Pochade

Medium- Liquin Original- a fast dry medium for oil paints. excellent for underpainting too. A small bottle will do.

A lightweight tray or portable table (if you don't have french easel or pochade box) to put your materials on makes your life much easier, particularly in the field; it’s not required but will keep you from having to bend up and down all day.

Photographs; a few, detailed, landscape photos for days when it rains or it’s too hot outside; photos with good light and shadow pattern (stark difference between what’s being struck by the light and what’s in shadow).

Odorless mineral spirits
Container for the spirits
Paper towels
Digital Camera
Proper clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun out of your eyes (for when we work outside on block studies)
Very optional; Bug spray, drinking water, painting umbrella, roll of duck tape, some clamps from Home Depot come in handy too.
Put all the stuff in a large backpack (suitcase on wheels works well too)
If you have questions about materials, after you register for the class, you can email Mike Rooney:

Bio: Mike Rooney is a popular workshop instructor, teaching painting workshop classes from Maine, to Key West, Florida, as well as abroad in Cuba and Italy. Mike has a very laid back style of teaching, which makes learning easy and fun. He has made 7 instructional painting DVD's for a national art supply company and his work is collected by individuals and companies worldwide. He's also been published several times in a book on North Carolina plein air painters.

If you don't live nearby there are hotels and b & b's in close proximity.
Courtyard by Marriott across the street
DoubleTree 1 block away
Bridgepointe 3 blocks away
B and B's
The Meadows Inn across the street
Harmony House 1/2 block away
Hanna House 1/2 block away
Aerie B and B 3 blocks away

If you don't bring your lunch there are numerous restaurants 2 blocks away.

Email us with any questions

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

A customer was in today and said "I don't think Jan is here anymore".

Well yes and no.

We've been dealing with some family health issues the past couple of years and it IS true, I haven't been around much. That doesn't mean I'm not still totally involved in pretty much everything that goes on at Carolina Creations.

I still do most of the buying, all the advertising, newsletter, bookkeeping, and trying to dream up new things for Carolina Creations in addition to doing new paintings, tons of pottery and lots of commissions.

I'm not at the cash register much any more, instead drift in and drift out as things come up that I need to do. We have wonderful ladies that keep things going and do a great job of working on the displays, taking care of business and seeing that things are just right with each and every customer.

As we start thinking about how we can celebrate our 25 years in business, I keep thinking "we've been doing this for 25 years!" and through the years things change.

So this is our latest change, I'm still around, just in the background a little more than I used to be.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Tea accessories and Savannah Bee

We were thrilled to meet the folks from Savannah Bee a few weeks ago. Great people great products. And what a nice addition to our tea accessories from Moonspoon.

Where does honey come from?

Sunlight is one of the most important ingredients in honey.  Sunlight is used by tupelo trees, orange trees, and sourwood trees to grow, produce flowers, and fill the flowers with nectar. Nectar is a sugary liquid that comes from flowers.

Plants use brightly colored flowers and sweet nectar to encourage pollinators like honeybees to fly into the flower where they collect nectar on their fuzzy bodies.

A pollen covered honeybee will then travel to the flowers of several other plants spreading the pollen it collects. This process is called cross pollination. Cross pollination is a very important part of the plants’ seed making process. Seeds are required to produce the next generation of plants.

The honeybee takes the nectar back to its home, a beehive. In the wild, honeybees make their beehives in any unoccupied empty space, like a hollow tree.

Beekeepers provide bees with hive boxes, usually made of wood, for the bees to make their home. Boxes can be stacked on boxes to provide more space as the colony grows. The place where a beekeeper keeps all of her hives is called an apiary.

Once a honeybee colony settles into a beekeeper’s beehive boxes, the colony will begin to grow. When the time is right, the Queen Bee will begin laying eggs. The Queen Bee is the parent of all of the new members of the colony. A honeybee colony can grow very fast because a Queen Bee can lay more than 1000 eggs a day!

The honeybees that visit flowers and collect nectar are called Worker Bees. When the Worker Bees return from the flowers, they deposit the nectar collected into little cells that are hexagon shaped spaces in the hive’s honeycomb. When the cell is full of nectar, other Worker Bees will fan the nectar with very fast moving wings. They do this to evaporate the water from the nectar creating honey.

When the hive boxes are full of honey and honeycomb, the beekeepers will remove the honeycomb and extract the honey.

The beekeepers will very carefully fill big barrels with their honey and send it to the Savannah Bee Company in Savannah, Georgia. Some of the bee keepers send the bee boxes with the honey still in the combs where it is  hand-cut and cleaned.
A beautiful tea strainer, assorted designs.