About Carolyn Schena

Studio 12 is a working studio and gallery owned and operated by husband and wife artists Gary and Carolyn Schena. The Schenas' art work includes pottery, glass fusion and mixed media. Located in Avon, North Carolina on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, studio 12 welcomes all ages to paint pottery, make mosaics or try glass fusion. The Studio 12 gallery is filled with hand Crafted American art with a focus on North Carolina Artists.

Rainy Day Fun


There is nothing fun about having rain in the forecast during your Outer Banks vacation.  You have traveled for miles to enjoy what we consider the best beach in the world.  And during your 7 days on Hatteras Island you want to make the most of it!  But, mother nature is not always in sync with our plans.  But there are other ways to enjoy a bad weather day at the beach and still make some great vacation memories!  At Studio 12 we have an array of ways to have some family fun and turn a rainy afternoon into a great OBX vacation memory.

Pottery Painting. Maybe your grandmother or mother use to attend a ceramic class years ago and came home with ceramic Christmas tree filled with lights. Well, you can still paint bisque Christmas trees and a whole lot more!  We have over 50 different pieces of pottery to choose from. And with over 50 different glaze colors, there is more than a rainbow of fun waiting for you!  Make your next cherished Christmas ornament, or a mug that you can use everyday to remember the beach, or a special gift to say thanks to the pet sitter, or special family member.  After you paint the pottery we dip it in a clear glaze and then it gets fired in a kiln.  The kiln is a special oven that reaches temperatures of over 1800 degrees. So, if you paint pottery Monday – Wednesday we have your pottery ready to pick up on Friday.  If you paint on Thursday you can pick it up on Saturday.   And of course we can ship!   But if you want to make something to take home the same day we have mosaics.

Mosaics are made from small, flat, roughly square, pieces of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae.  At Studio 12 we have hundreds of different tesserae to choose from in lots of different materials, shapes and sizes.  The fun of mosaics is using the tessarae to decorate your shape of choice.  You can go functional and make a mirror, coat hook rack or trivet.  OR go decorative and decorate a wall plaque such as a seahorse, mermaid, cross or fish to name a few.  After you have assembled your pieces, and secured with glue you can take your project home,  We give you grout so that after 24 hours when the glue dries you can finish off your work of art.

If you feel like you need a little more guidance when jumping into making art then sign up for one of our classes and our art instructors can help you create a great OBX souvenir.  This summers class schedule includes tissue paper seascapes, how to paint a beach scene on pottery, glass fusion sun catchers and  making a sea glass pendant. our previous blog post gives you the details.

Just call the studio to sign up, because our classes have limited registration and can fill up!  However, we can also create a special class just for your family or group.  With a minimum of 5 participants you can have your own arty party, great for a bridesmaids get together or family reunions.

Whether you choose to paint pottery, make a mosaic or take an art class no matter what the forecast is its always sunny at Studio 12!

2017 Summer Classes!



The 2017 summer class schedule is in full swing,Just look at all the fun you can have while creating a great Outer Banks vacation souvenir!  Of course you can also come in anytime to Studio 12 to paint pottery or make mosaics, no registration needed.  Here is a look at the classes we have this summer:

Paint a Beach Scene on Pottery.  Studio 12 owner Carolyn Schena will show you how to make a beautiful beach scene on any piece of pottery you choose.  Whether it is a cup, bowl , plate or mug you will have a great functional work of art or a great gift!  This class is on Tuesday afternoon at 4 pm.  It is $15 to register plus the price of your choice of pottery piece.  As with all of our classes we recommend registering in advance.


Glass Fusion Sun Catcher Class

Glass Fusion Sun Catcher Class will be on Wednesday morning at 10 am.  This year we will be making square sun catchers!  We have a new batch of templates to work with that includes a jumping humpback whale, lighthouse and dragonfly, plus many of the favorites such as the wave, and crab.  Class is $39 which includes all materials. After you have completed your sun catcher you can stick around and learn how to make glass jewelry.  For $19 you can make your choice or a pendant, earrings or bracelet.  OR make all three!  All pieces are kiln fired and ready for pick up on Friday.

Have you heard about Wine and Paint or Sip and Dip or any of the other catchy phrases?  Well then you might like our Thursday class Tissue Paper Painting!  Create a really cool seascapes with tissue paper!  This class is such a blast and you will be amazed at the results.Tissue Paper Seascapes is on Thursday at 4 pm. Grab a smoothie or latte from Samantha’s Coffee Smoothie next door to enjoy with the class.  The price is  $39, this class is on Thursdays at 4:00pm. The last date to do this class is August 17th.

On Friday mornings you can create your own Sea glass pendant.  Artist Laura Howard will take you through step by step to teach you how to wrap sea glass to make a beautiful pendant. You can choose a charm and beads to personalize your piece and have a great OBX souvenir!

Make a Sea Glass Pendant
Friday 10:00 am

All Studio 12 classes are great for adults and for kids ages 7 and up.  And for all classes we recommend registering in advance in order to secure your spot.  Each class had a limited number of students so that we can have the best teacher to student ratio.  To register call studio 12 between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm  252-995-7899

Perhaps you want to do this class at a different time or at your cottage with your family?  With a group of 5 or more and depending on the artists availability we can schedule a date for your group. Just give us a call!  252-995-7899

Getting those three coveted letters!


In my last blog I talked about my different kind of winter and how  I started my chemo journey, and entered the world of leiomyosarcoma  When I started this journey I heard of the phrase, NED. (No Evidence of Disease) I didn’t understand what it meant. But now after 12 chemo infusions I know intimately what it means, and how precious these three letters are.  On March 13th I had my post chemo CT scan. Or as I like to refer to it, my trip into the doughnut.  That is  how I explained it to our nine year old daughter Samantha when she asked me what a CT scan was.  “Well, I said to her, first I have to drink this very big drink, It takes about an hour to sip it all down.  Then I lay down on a table and they slide me into a machine that looks like a giant glazed doughnut standing up on it’s side.  Samantha thought that was very intriguing.

“Early Morning” 12″ x 18″ acrylic on canvas by Carolyn Schena

On My last day of chemo a friend gave me a gift.  It was a poster filled with pictures of me  and  my family and friends throughout my journey.  In between the pictures their were beautiful little drawings my daughter and her friends had made, along with little notes and kisses.  In the middle of the poster was written a quote in big letters “ It always seems impossible until it’s over.”.

One of the things that felt the most impossible for me was to keep creating.  When Gary and I started Studio 12 Thirteen years ago it was our intention to create a space where people could enjoy a quite moment, meditative if you will, a chance to re-connect with themselves.  Caught up in the anxiety of the cancer/chemo journey I was forgetting what Studio 12 was all about. But, finally by round three of chemo my paint brushes and canvases saved me.  They gave me a way out and a way  to a happy cancer free self.

“One of those still days” by Carolyn Schena

When I was wrapped up in the challenges of a painting, trying to capture what had moved me in nature, then I wasn’t thinking about cancer at all. In that creative process I was present to what was the most important part of my healing.  Being happy, being present.  Not being caught in worry, and fear.

For months my life was about 10 hour round trip drives to Chapel HIll and hours of being hooked up to an infusion machine.It was about taking various medications for chemo side effects and it was about eating a strict nutritious diet to stay healthy and strong,  Now that It is all over.  There is no more Chemo therapy, no more long trips to the hospital no more drugs to have to take to prepare for chemo, There is nothing more to fight back against. No more of those monthly trips to Legacy Healing Miami. My CT scan came back clear! I am not Carolyn, fighting cancer.  I am Carolyn Cancer free. I am NED!  The fight I have now is to stay positive and to believe that I can continue to be cancer free.

Sunrise in Buxton by Carolyn Schena

People ask me how I am doing and I tell them that every day I get stronger and better.  Each week the side effects of chemo minimize just a bit more. We all marvel at the little peach fuzz growing on my head.  And after doing yoga for two weeks I can now touch my toes!

I belong to a club I never wanted to join, and felt sorry for people who were in it.  But now I am a member of this cancer survivor club.  I will meet people throughout my life who have also gone through or are going through this journey.  While I never wanted to be a part of this,  as a result I will unselfishly and generously share with my fellow members, just as others have done for me.  I am not the same Carolyn I was last August when I did not know I had cancer.  And I will never be the same Carolyn again. I hope I am a better version of myself, I hope I am the best version of myself.   Through this cancer and chemo journey I remembered how important art is and  how much I love to paint.  I was reminded how importnat it is to have a creative outlet is to a have space to be happy in order to fee your soul. “It always seem’s impossible, until it’s done” said Nelson Mandela.  It did seem impossible, and now it is done!  I am proud to have Studio 12 and to offer to our customers a place where they can let their creative juices shine, a place where they can enjoy a moment of happiness,  I hope that their time at Studio 12 helps to feed their souls.  While I am now a member of this new club that  I never wanted to join, I also plan on staying a member of the NED club for a very long, long time!

Carolyn created  15 paintings during her chemo journey.  All of her work is on display in the Studio 12 gallery. A portion of the  proceeds form the sales of  the paintings will be donated to the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports Hatteras Island residents in cancer treatment and to the Leiomyosarcoma Direct Research Foundation working – not wishing – for a cure.

Take a class with Carolyn this summer, she will be teaching painting as well as glass fusion.  Visit the website for class details.

Carolyn and her “peach fuzz”

A Different Winter on the OBX

As an artist I love winter on the Outer Banks. It is a great time to concentrate on making art since there are very few visitors to be distracted with.  Last winter my time was spent painting, but not the the painting that I like doing.  Instead of creating art on canvas for the walls, I was painting the walls.  It was a necessary sacrifice; no studio time, but instead a beautiful new studio.  With our major renovation project behind us, my husband Gary and I were excited for this winter to do some of the things we love doing, making art  But life has a funny way of throwing you a curve ball and making you re-examine things. It turns out that this winter was to be more about healing and health and art would have to take a back seat.  But, despite that I still managed to pull out some canvases and capture some of my favorite scenes on Hatteras.

“Coming Back” Acrylic on Canvas 8″x 10″

In September I was diagnosed with Uterine Leiomyosarcoma.  Never heard of it?  You are not alone.  Less than 1% of all cancers are sarcomas, and uLMS is diagnosed in 5 out of a million women.  A tumor was discovered when I had a hysterectomy to remove a fibroid.  The good news was that all my scans came out clear after my surgery, I was NED (No evidence of disease).  There I was walking around for probably two years with cancer and I did not even know it!  But because of the aggressive nature of this disease, the way the tumor had been removed (with possible risk of cells spreading to other parts of me) I had to do chemotherapy.  In October I began making trips to Chapel Hill to get, what my friend Lucie and I began to call “the shit.” I received 6 rounds, a total of 12 infusions.

The trips to Chapel Hill and recovery from infusions cut into my beloved studio time and at some point I thought I would have to let another winter pass without getting to create any new art work. It was dampening my spirit.  And I realized that I could not let this happen, making art was a necessity.

“Dragonfly Prayers” Mixed Media on paper

I knew that painting would lift my spirit and soothe my soul.  I had to let go of the expectations of what I could make since I had to balance this with my side effects to chemo and energy levels. But, I followed a strict clean eating program which I feel kept me in the best condition I could be and allowed me to have a life and not just be a patient.  Creating art allowed me also to be present to all the emotional process that comes with this journey.

I received many cards and notes from friends and family near and far.  Each so beautiful with beautifully written messages.  I could not part with them.  And so my studio time began with these cards.  I  began collaging, something I have never done in art. I took the beautiful words and pictures and began combining them with paints and drawings.

It felt very good to be able to honor these beautiful notes and carts and it felt as though the words seeped further into my being and the thoughts and sentiments of healing were reaching me on a deeper level.

“Boat Loads of Wishes” mixed media on canvas

It reminded me how I was not alone there were so many people that were routing for me, even people I did not know that well.  Walking into the studio and seeing a table full of messy art and then words of encouragement painted in big bold letters gave me energy on days when I really needed it. 

When I felt I had exhausted myself of the collage process, I pulled out a fresh canvas and started with some beachscapes.  “Coming Back” was the first canvas I painted which flowed right off my finger tips when I went from a beach walk and into the studio painting.  It was a very happy day!  To keep myself grounded, centered and remember that a higher power was there to help when I needed it.  I often go to a favorite spot with a friend to walk and meditate.  It has become known as “The Spot” for us and so it was only natural to make it my next painting of the scene that we see when we walk to the beach.

“The Spot” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 10″

Staying positive is such an important part of the chemotherapy, cancer and sarcoma journey.  Art has played a huge part in helping to keep me in this frame of mind, especially in the final stages of chemotherapy.  I am happy to say that chemotherapy is done and in a week I will travel back to Chapel Hill for my next scan to prove what I already feel which is that I am continuing to be sarcoma free!  I look forward to sharing with you some of the other pieces I made this winter, I hope it might encourage you to find some time and space to make your own art.  Find a way to have some fun with and let your happy creative self shine!

Carolyn Schena

The Summer art class line up!

Summer is here and so is our super fun art class schedule! We have several different mediums that you can learn about, with several ways to create great souvenirs from your OBX vacation!  Space is limited for our classes so you MUST CALL to get registered!  Classes start NOW and run every week through Labor Day Weekend.

WEDNESDAY morning you can learn the art of Glass Fusion making a sun catcher with Studio 12 owner, Carolyn Schenaas she  takes you through the steps

Sun catcher class Wed. 10 am

Sun catcher class Wed. 10 am

to create your own glass sun catchers.  Make a wave or any of several ideals using templates or your own drawings. After making a sun catcher stick around to make glass fusion jewelry!  All of the pieces you make during class will be kiln fired and you can pick them up on Friday.  This class is great for ages 7 and up.  Call today to register for class! 252-995-7899.

On THURSDAY evenings join us for Art and Apps!  Choose from two different art classes and while you create you can nibble on delicious appetizers from Pangea Tavern and sip drinks from Samantha’s Coffee Smoohie.  Choose from either our Sip and Dip canvas painting class OR Mermaid Rings.  Both classes are great for adults or kids ages 7 and up.  The Sip and Dip painting class will be a different subject matter each week.  Check our face book page for this weeks painting.  Mermaid rings is a fun class where you will learn how to wrap sterling silver wire and incorporate pearls, crystals and beads to create a beautiful ring that any mermaid would be jealous of.

PicMonkey Collage Classes

On Friday morning you can learn how to wrap sea glass with artist Laura Howard.  All supplies are included for this class that will allow you to make the perfect OBX souvenir!. Adults and kids ages 7 and up will enjoy learning how to wrap sea glass.

Call Studio 12 today to regis

Sea Glass Pendants Friday 10 am

Sea Glass Pendants Friday 10 am

ter for one or all of these fun classes!  Each class has limited space and they do fill up!  252-995-7899.


Studio 12 also offers Pottery Painting and mosaics to make any time!  no appointment or registration required, just walk in and friendly staff will get you started.  Pottery gets fired and is ready for pick up by the end of the week.  Mosaics can be made and taken home the same day.  And all ages are welcome to the studio!  While you are there you can grab a smoothie or espresso from Samantha’s Coffee Smoothie located right inside the Studio 12 building 100% crushed fruit smoothies such as the Greenocolada and delicious frappes like Kona Mocha.  Studio 12 is a fun place for the whole family, a great place to take a break from the OBX beach and get in touch with your creative side!

The Big Move!

Well, we did it!  We finished the renovation and we have moved in! Now you will find Studio 12 at 41008 Hwy 12 in Avon across from the Koru Beach Club and in between Surf or Sound Realty and Hatteras Island Board Sports.

IMG_8668 2016-03-04 08.38.12 2016-03-08 09.11.49 2016-03-15 08.51.38 inside finished

Although there are still a few details to take care of and some more art work that needs to be hung on the walls, Studio 12 will be ready for customers on March 28th!  In our first week of business we will be offering pottery painting and mosaics that can be done any time.  And there will also be four classes that week including glass fusion, canvas painting and sea glass jewelry.

And now while you are painting pottery, doing a mosaic, or shopping the gallery you will be able to enjoy an all fruit smoothie or delicious coffee from our newest business, Samantha’s Coffee and Smoothies.  Samantha’s will be fully functional in a few weeks with espresso drinks but for now you can still enjoy all fruit smoothies and brewed coffee.

So please stop by and visit us in our new location and experience our biggest and newest creation in the NEW jade green building!


Renovation – Down to the Studs

Our renovation project on the new building (well actually old, but new to us) located down the street from the current Studio 12 is moving right along!  There is something very gratifying about getting down to the studs.  Wide open spaces, no insulation wiring or walls to get in your way.  Maybe it feels so good because it is the base, the foundation and everything we do from here on out is adding and building back up, Instead of tearing away at the old, and broken we are creating and making it ours.

Photo Daniel Pullen

Photo Daniel Pullen

The next steps seem like the tedious ones to me, but oh so important; putting back in the guts. This means the plumbing, and the wiring, the heating and air duct work, all the stuff that makes a building hum through cold and heat!.

Studs - wide open SMALLER

Studs - North corner looking back SMALLER

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Gary and Carolyn with Daughter Samantha

To take a moment to celebrate how far we had come and to have a record of our progress we had Daniel Pullen come over and take some pictures.  Our intention was to have a family photo for our holiday card, notice I said holiday card since they were definitely getting sent after New Year’s this year!  The photo shoot was really fun and it was a welcome relief in the middle of this, at times grueling project.2015-12-10 17.09.37  As I write this blog, the insulation is finished and we are starting on the walls.  So the next step is choosing some colors for those walls, which means my next blog should be much more colorful!  Looks like we are staying on target to have everything ready to be open by Easter week with great art classes and DIY art fun!


Demolition Time!

2016 is proving to be an exciting year for Studio 12 as we continue on with our renovation project on the building we recently aquired.  In the last two blog posts I took you on a tour of the outside of the building and then in the last post I took you on a tour of the inside of the building.  Now, its time for demolition!  As you saw from our last blog post, there is a lot of junk to be removed as well as flooring, walls and ceilings.

Gary Schena takes on the tile floor, guess who won!

Gary Schena takes on the tile floor, guess who won!

Demo - Tile with Gary - Copy








Gary Schena, my Husband and co-owner of Studio 12 has been the main man on the job!  One of the first tasks in the demolition was removing the old maroon rug and then the tile floor. There was over 1,000 square feet of tile.  The sledge hammer and shovel were our friends for this job, and the bonus was that no trips to the gym were needed that week.

Bar and floor gone and new sub flooring installed

Bar and floor gone and new sub flooring installed

Gary and I got all the shoulder, bicep, qaudracep and abdominal muscle workout we could dream of!  While the removal of flooring was more fun than a barrel of monkeys, we had to also look at removal of some internal walls and ceiling.  We removed a number of internal walls that had comprised several small rooms, including two bathrooms an office and part of the original restaurants kitchen.

Tile floor removed and ceiling ripped out.

Tile floor removed and ceiling ripped out.

After taking out so many internal walls we needed to add in some support which included three columns through the center of the main part of the building.  It was a bone of contention between Gary and I, since I had just finished figuring out the layout of our new studio and gallery and support columns running through the center were NOT part of the design.  Needless to say, structure won out over design and I had to go back the drawing board on the layout.

internal walls and ceiling removed, and support columns added

internal walls and ceiling removed, and support columns added

Now we were beginning to get down to the bare bones of the building and it is beginning to be time to build things back up again.

In my next post I will give you a tour of the bare bones of the building and the changes we made to the front!

New Location – Major Renovation

The big news for Studio 12 in 2016 is that we are moving to a new location. Gary and I have been full steam ahead on th2014-04-01 10.03.12e renovation of our new building located at 41008 hwy 12 in Avon. In the last blog post I focused on the first steps of the renovation which focused on the outside of the building.  In this post we are going inside.

2014-04-14 11.59.48

The old kitchen, potentially a new pottery kiln room for the Studio

Come on in and take a look around inside and see what work is in store for us. The building has been around since the early 80’s accumulating thirty years worth of history and stuff!  There have been several different restaurants in the building and as we enter through the back we see the kitchen. Yep, as you can see there is a lot of work to be done in this area, but it has great potential for the new kiln room.

2014-04-01 10.05.56

The wood floor had potential

Adjacent to the kitchen is the remnants of the old Oceana’s Bistro bar.  Behind the bar was the area that received the worst water damage with caved in ceiling and rotted wood floor. At first we thought the damage to the wood floor was isolated to the back end behind the bar. We thought that with a little TLC we could bring this wood floor back to life.  But as it turns out the rot went to the sub floor and in the end this entire floor had to be removed.

In the beginning when the building was first built is was a restaurant with a kitchen in the back  and customer seating in the front.  Over the years walls were put up and the building was divided into separate retail spaces.

View of the South Side of the building looking out toward hwy 12

A view of the North Side

The North side of the building held various retail stores as well as at one point a residence. Throughout this side of the building there was a mixture of maroon carpet and red tiling. The walls, contained a mixture of cedar paneling, slat wall with a popcorn ceiling throughout. A hodge podge of items were scattered throughout the space2014-04-14 12.43.57 including couches, shelving, and a refrigerator (full of rotten food). Gary probably wishes there was an olfactory app so you could share in his direct experience of cleaning this place out.  But I am glad to spare you those details!  Needless to say we had our work cut out for us just to clean out the place. There were numerous trips to the local garbage transfer station, too many for Gary to even count.  But after a few weeks the debris was cleared out.  And then the real work began. More about that in our next post!  Here are a few more pictures of the inside.2014-04-01 10.10.43

Lots of clean up was needed

Lots of clean up was needed

2014-04-01 10.09.45

Another view of the old kitchen

New Year – New Location

Studio 12 is moving to a new location! We will still be in Avon, just going down the street about a 1/2 mile across from the Avon Pier/Pangea Restaurant and in between Hatteras Island Board Sports and Surf or Sound Realty. The building we are moving into, the “pink building” has housed such busIMG_8634inesses as Taste Bud’s Cafe and Oceana’s Bistro. With thirty years of history has come what seems like at times, thirty years worth of renovation work!  It has been a huge undertaking.  Follow us along as we take you through the transformation process that is still underway with hopes of moving in this Spring for the 2016 season.

Step One:

When we acquired the building the first step was to clear away the growth of vines which included Virginia Creeper and unfIMG_8636ortunately, poison ivy.  Even with long sleeves and gloves, Gary and I both received some of the worst infections of poison ivy either of us have ever had. It was Just the first step of many in the DIY saga. We will spare you pictures of the poison ivy rashes on us!

Hurricane Irene had taken its toll on the building in 2011, resulting in roof damage and then building had been left vacant for several years. The gaping roof created severe water damage on the back south side, so the next step was replacing the roof and securing the inside from any further rain damage.  Building water damage backThe water damage proved to be more severe that we initialed realized and we had to replace the entire back wall due to rot.  Hmmm, that was not in the budget, but hey we were still very early into this project so our hopes were still high and our outlook positive!

Gary and I have only lived on Hatteras Island for 12 years but we know that the pink building has many memories for many people.  When we first moved to the Island and lived in an apartment in Avon I loved getting delicious egg and cheese biscuits from Taste Bud’s Cafe. What do you remember?

Tell us your memories of the “pink building”.  Which businesses do you remembering going to?  Please share in the comments section below!  And stayed tuned for our next blog post as when we take a look at the work on the inside.