Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

As we see 2011 come to a close we always like to examine the year and plan for the next!

2011 started out with strong sales that continued right up to August when Congress could not come to a consensus about the national budget. Everyone was on pins and needles. At the time all I could think was the only thing wrong with the economy is Congress and the media. That was followed by hurricane Irene which did no damage to our home or business but did a lot of damage in the surrounding area. Some people are still not back to normal from that.

But as we've seen in the past business gets back to normal after about 6 weeks so by the time we got into our Christmas season we were going great guns! We had an outstanding Christmas season and loved seeing all the families we watched grow up through our 20+ years in New Bern.

We sold hundreds (probably thousands) of fabulous pieces this year and met some great artists. Here are a few of the pieces we sold this year.

We met some great new artists and new customers. We are lucky to meet people from all over the world as they visit New Bern and come into Carolina Creations.

We meet many new artists that way too!

Our little town of New Bern is becoming quite the arts destination, just in our Downtown alone we have seven shops and galleries selling artwork.

Our plans for the coming year include, as always, looking for the next great artist! What is additionally important to us is to have a variety of interesting pieces in a wide range of prices. Yes you can purchase a $5000 piece of glass or a $3500 table at Carolina Creations but you can also find an artist created pair of earrings for $15 and hand crafted soap for $5. And there is everything in between.

Some of our in between best sellers this year are

So now on to 2012, it's always a big question mark - what will it bring? As far as business, we think it's going to be great. we're getting in new jewelry for Valentines Day, we've got 5 bridal registries, the artists and other galleries we've been talking to this past week all report that they are happy with the way the year turned out!

We'll be looking for new glass artists, garden art and the unusual. I'm sure we'll find it!!

Looking forward to what the new year brings.

Again Happy 2012!

Jan Francoeur

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Mobiles

Created by North Carolina artist Jay Jones - beautiful copper, leaf mobiles!

"I am constantly striving for balance in my work both literally and figuratively. When it happens, it is beautiful! The effect of something floating effortlessly can be mesmerizing. It can cause you to stop. Take a moment. Slow down."

It was Thanksgiving weekend 2007. Jay Jones and his family spent the day in Washington DC and visited the National Gallery. In the rotunda was a mobile created by Alexander Calder. Jones spent most of the day just looking at that mobile. It was large, imposing, constructed from steel but had the effect of being weightless. Every day Jay Jones works to create mobiles with that effect.

Jones' work is inspired by nature. After drawing and designing the individual leaves, he cuts the shapes out of solid copper and hammers, polishes and applies the finish. He creates the pieces with either a fired edge or with a patina to bring out the colors. Using silver solder, he solders the leaves to copper coated steel rods and, at that point, is ready to begin building the mobile.

Jay learned by observing. Having an equal mixture of mechanical aptitude and artistic sense, he observed, educated himself, and created pieces again and again. The artist considers himself lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists and artisans in New York (Robert Rauschenberg) as well as around the world.

Click here for details and to order.  Ginkgo     Maple

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Bern Souvenirs

When we moved here in 1989 I noticed that there were very few quality New Bern Souvenirs . 99% of them were made in China and most of the shops that were downtown then all had the same ones if they had any at all.

Once we determined we were going to stay in New Bern I made it a mission of mine to change that.

Adding to the dozens of souvenirs I've made through the years, here are my two newest!

The first is letterpress cards, one of Tryon Palace and the other A Slice of New Bern. A plate has been made with my drawing on it then printed by hand by Courtesy Press in Pollocksville on their 1917 Chandler and Price press.

Don't know what letterpress is?

Here's an explanation from Wikipedia -

Letterpress printing is a relief printing of text and images using a press with a "type high bed" press and moveable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image. It was the normal form of printing test from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century and remained in wide use for books  until the second half of the 20th century. In addition to the direct impression of inked movable type onto paper or another receptive surface, letterpress is also the direct impression of inked printmaking blocks such as photo-etched zinc "cuts" (plates), linoleum blocks, wood engravings, etc., using such a press.

The cards are printed on beautiful 80# bamboo paper. 4 to a package, 1 design. Click here to purchase.

The second newest souvenir is this little notebook, 5 x 5, with my drawing on it, printed by offset press. Not hand printed like the cards. But a handy size to put in your purse.

Click here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sometimes I wonder

Why didn't I think of that before?

I have had tiles and cutting boards reproduced from my New Bern tiles and from some of my paintings but I've never had any of our "Celebration Pottery" pieces reproduced.

So my mind is really going now!

So much of my work has been local, that its nice to have some ideas of things that have a broader appeal.

Here are my new "Blessings" coasters. Next I'll do another cutting board from one of my celebration pottery pieces.

Coasters are available on our website.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home and Garden Tour Art for April 2012

This year the featured home in the Spring Home Tour is the Foy Munger house.

It's on the corner of Middle and Johnson Streets and is one of my favorites, nice garden, fountain, gingerbread, Beaufort fence (up and down pickets), interesting architecture.

I've painted it many times and here we go again. This one will be used on the Home tour poster and brochure.

For more information on the home tour visit the website by clicking here.

Jan Francoeur

Monday, December 19, 2011

One of a kind polymer bracelet made in North Carolina

North Carolina artist Missie Mcreynolds creates one of a kind bracelets.

They are very unusual and fit all.

Stop in to check them out!! Open til 8 this week Mon-Fri, 10-6 Christmas Eve, Closed Christmas Day then open again first thing December 26.

Friday, December 16, 2011

6th Annual Valentine Show and Sale Benefitting Craven County Art Classes

We are pleased to announce our Annual Valentine Card Show and Sale benefitting the Art program of the Craven County Schools.

Under the leadership of art teacher Pat Eglinton, this project is entering its 6th year. During their regular art classes in schools throughout the county, the children create art on cardstock donated by Carolina Creations. During these classes they learn new techniques using a wide variety of mediums - like paper making, working with clay, paper cutting, monoprinting, stippling, just to name a few.

The cards are hung at Carolina Creations and sold through Valentines Day. Each card sells for $3 with ALL proceeds being donated to the art program.

The show and sale opens during ArtWalk on January 13 from 5-8 pm and continues through February 14.

The children are always excited to see their work hung in a gallery!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Carolina East Medical Center Tree

With my card & tile images.
- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas in Our Downtown

This has been a busy and beautiful Christmas season in our Downtown!

The weather has been amazing and the special events endless.

As chairman of the Christmas Committee there are a lot of people to thank for making it successful. Here is a list of everyone I can think of. If I've left anyone out I'm sorry & please let me know!

This is the 4th year of our Dickens of a Christmas event in Downtown New Bern. It has been the hard work of a very active committee.

Vicki Vitale for going to every single business in our downtown and encouraging them to light their businesses.

Lisa Edwards and Amanda Banks and all their helpers from Salem and Associates who pulled together the Light Up the Season event on the Friday after Thanksgiving. People said it was like Times Square. Other comments included that fact that for some, it was all they were doing for Christmas due to finances. They were grateful for the free craft tables for the kids, face painting and entertainment. These two also are the driving force behind making Bear Plaza the wonderland that it is.

Owen Andrews at Alphagraphics donated picture supplies
Bob Klein made the key/box to city lights
Chaz Foret at Trentwood Hardware donated materials for Christmas balls and made them for Bear Plaza
JoeSigns discounted signage
Susan Bridges who played Mrs. Claus
Jean Kenefick/Diane Schmitt helped “light up” Bear Plaza
V103.3 for the live remote
Timothy and Leslie Bridges from Carolina Carriage Tours who brought Santa in
Danny Batten of  Surf, Wind & Fire for labor, supplies and use of his back room for Santa’s to change
Restaurants who are helping feed Santa and Santa’s helpers
Sarah Vogel and Sara Pierce - Santa’s helpers
Annabeth Brown, owner of Get The Pointe Dance Studio and her dancers
Amy Thore, owner of Wanda Kay’s School of Dance and her dancers

Caroline Norwood for working with the kids to make jewelry and for donating all the supplies for the jewelry making table
Lindsey Bennett, face painter, who painted many, many faces!

Joan Ziemba at the Accidental Artist for making signs for Bear Plaza

Darlene Brown and I worked on the advertising. Darlene wrote many articles and spend hours going over events and submitting them to the media.

Mary Davidson and Williams Nursery for the Kissing Stations. Mary Davidson for the Dickens Detective puzzle and all the businesses that are giving out prizes for solving the puzzle.

Greg Smith for coordinating with the City to wrap the light poles with lights purchased by the Downtown Business Council and our sponsors. A BIG thank you to the city for doing that!

Pat Schaible, Janet Lamb, Michaele Watson, Rick Lang for passing out information.

Carol Tokarski and the Sun Journal for taking care of the wreath contest. And the businesses that contributed gift certificates to the voting winners - Twice as Nice, Carolina Creations, Mitchell Hardware, Beads & Bowls, and the Accidental Artist.  To everyone who participated in the wreath contest (and to those who voted!).

Our Santas for their time and enthusiasm.

The Sun Journal (Jacob McConnell and Sandy McKinney).  Inner Banx Media (Bill Poole and Kim Ball).  Radio Joe with V103 for being super media sponsors. Mark Miller for doing such a great job emceeing the Light Up the Season event.

Marcie Mills for coordinating the Downtown Council table at the holiday gift show and for all her efforts in promoting the event. To everyone who worked the holiday gift show serving cookies and cider.

New Bern Magazine for making us the front cover and featured article!

Swiss Bear for coordinating the billboards and allowing us to use their meeting room.

And all who helped decorate and repair the Santa House, Bear Plaza, put storyboards in Elks Building (thanks to Holton for allowing us to put them there).

Many businesses contributed monetarily to purchasing lights and advertising and just making everything happen in general.
Aerie Bed and Breakfast
AG Salem & Associates, PLLC CPA's
Bear City Fudge
Bern Bear Gifts
Branch's Furniture
Carolina Creations Fine Art Contemporary Craft
Comfort Suites Riverfront Park
Craven County Arts Council and Gallery
Downtown Pilates 
First Citizens Bank
Four C's
Fraser's Wine and Gourmet Cheese
Historic District Residents Association New Bern
Joe Alcoke
Mitchell Hardware
MJ's Raw Bar and Grille
Morgan's Tavern and Grill
New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce
New Bern Artworks & Company
New Bern Fireman's Museum
New Bern Riverfront Hilton
Overman Capital Management
Poor Charlies Flea Market and Antiques
Port City Java
Swiss Bear Downtown Development
The Accidental Artist
The Chelsea Restaurant
The Next Chapter Books
The Pepsi Store
Tryon Palace
Twice as Nice
Williams Farm and Garden Center 
Pinecone Perennials

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Workshop with Dan Nelson Unlocking the Mysteries of Painting February 2012

On February February 10; 11 we will have a workshop with Raleigh artist Dan Nelson.

Day 1 is optional  morning how to see 

Day 1 afternoon how to move

Day 2  morning A hierarchy of the mysteries of painitng

Day 2 afternoon Take it away work on a painting of your choice.

Start promtly at 9:30 - come at 9 am for a cup of coffee
Day 1, Morning--   HOW ARTISTS SEE
Comprehensive instruction designed to help develop key drawing skills.
1/2 hour lunch break
Day 1, Afternoon--  HOW ARTISTS MOVE
Developing the mindset and skills that really makes a good paintings GOOD.


What is it that REALLY makes a painting beautiful? What is it that all great paintings have in common? Whether you are a beginner, or well advanced in the art of painting, Dan will get you (or keep you) heading toward a mastery of the elusive mysteries that all great works of art possess . . . AND he will tell you which ones are most important and WHY.

In this session, we will all do one simple painting together, step-by-step, so that each student can experience these "mysteries" coming together on their canvas.

Day 2, Afternoon--  TAKE IT AWAY!
Each student will work on a painting of their choice. They may work from one of their own photos, or use one of Dan's.

Note: This list is merely a suggestion for those who have no idea what to bring. If you are an experienced painter, just bring your normal materials. The acrylic underpainting technique is OPTIONAL; the whole process MAY be done in oil, if you prefer.


Note: These can be either liquid or regular tube acrylics.
Any good brand will do. Avoid “Hues” (H), except in yellow.

Warm Blue (Phthalo)
Cool Blue (Ultramarine)
Cool Red (Quinacridone or Primary Red or Magenta)
Yellow (ANY light yellow will do-- so no need to get Cadmium)
Burnt Sienna
Titanium White

Medium: Golden GAC 100 or Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish--32 oz. or more

Small re-sealable container cups--like “Ziploc” or “Glad”-- about 8 oz. One for each color.


Any good brand will do. Avoid “Hues” (H), except in yellow.

Warm Blue (Phthalo)
Cool Blue (Ultramarine)
Warm Red (like Naphthol Crimson, if you want to avoid Cadmium)
Cool Red (Alizarine)
Warm Yellow (Indian)
Cool Yellow (Lemon)
Titanium White
Raw Umber
Burnt Sienna

• Medium: Winsor Newton Liquin-- 250 ml

Purple (any pigment)
Viridian Green
Yellow Ochre
Any Black


An normal assortment of bristle brushes, be sure to add a couple large brushes-- like 2” wide.
An assortment of sable brushes-- Nothing smaller than a #2-- synthetics are fine.

We have 5 easels available, if you have a travel easel please bring it! Let me know if you need to use one of ours.

Day 1 only     $95
Day 2 only     $125
Both Days      $200

To sign up visit our website by clicking here.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

New Jackets

By this time we usually have everything new we're going to have in the gallery for Christmas but yesterday we got some great, reversible jackets in by a small studio.

Here is a sneak peak.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jan Francoeur Clay Sculpture Demo at Carolina Creations

For my American Craft Week Demonstrations I worked on some clay pieces using some techniques I learned from my friend Steve Fabrico.

Using a mold i make shapes and press them into the mold, The really neat thing is I don't know what it looks like until I pop it out of the mold.

I then make a second one and put them together.

Making a garden ball!

Then just for fun I decided to make a sunface.

I cut a circle out of a slab of clay then cut the edges and started adding the features.

Boy I was busy those two days! I also made a funky moon face.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

15 Stocking Stuffers for $15 or Less from Carolina Creations

CD style New Bern Calendar featuring 12 new paintings by Janet Francoeur $15 to purchase

Birthstone soap - beautiful glycerine soap that looks just like your birthstone to see them all

Calendar by Sticks! To purchase click here.

Handkerchief angels by Shirley Erickson

Toss this in your tub for a soothing holiday bath! $5.80
Neat tin ornaments full of seeds! $3.75
2011 New Bern Ornament $13.50 Details click here
New Bern Peace Magnet Click here for details
Beeswax Bear Candle $9.95 Purchase
Holiday Earrings $14 many designs!
Set of 2 coasters for your car drink holders! Many designs!
New Bern Flashcards To order & more details

Magnetic budvases/pencil holder $14
Slab budvases $14 assorted colors To order click here