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.

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.

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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.

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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.



My Summer Internship

This is a guest blog post from One of our summer interns Cat Sar

In the month of May, I threw two suitcases in my car, and drove 14 hours from Louisville, KY to Avon, NC. I had never been to Avon, had not met my employers in person, and had never seen the trailer I would be renting for the summer. I wasn’t sure I would like Avon. I wasn’t sure I would like working at Studio 12. All I knew for certain was that I was ready for an adventure. Now, as I hang up my glaze-splattered apron for the last time, I can testify that an adventure is what I got including unattended children, Shark bites in the ocean, and a fire at a hotel close by,—oh my!


I remember walking into the studio for the first time—my first day of work—and being completely overwhelmed. There was so much to visually take in, and on top of that I was soaking up information about my responsibilities as an intern. Carolyn later told me I looked like a deer in headlights. Over time, of course, I learned the ropes, but there were times I was stressed out and spread thin. Although the majority of customers at the studio are easy going and fun loving, sometimes I faced red-faced, bawling babies and red-faced, bristly grandmothers (and everything in between!). Apparently, not everyone is easily able to relax on vacation. I had to learn to take a deep breath and do my best to solve one problem while there were three other issues tugging on my apron strings. I gained valuable experience thinking on my feet and multitasking.

Overall, working at the Studio was a wonderful experience. I could not have asked for better employers. Carolyn and Gary have always been understanding and supportive—in and out of the studio. They took time out of their extremely packed schedules to teach me about their respective art forms: glass fusion and ceramics. I value this time above any other experience I had this summer. During my last week, Carolyn asked me what my favorite thing about Studio 12 was. My answer? I love the hustle and bustle of a rainy day. I love being kept on my toes in a challenging and fun environment. But most of all, I love the day to day interactions with people—customers and especially my employers—who know how important art is for everyone’s well being.

Everyone needs cat sarand deserves a place to create. At Studio 12, Carolyn and Gary have achieved this. Anyone who steps across that signature teal doorstep can leave the stresses of the world behind and just be. This transformation is my favorite thing about the Studio. Come in on a quiet Saturday morning and you will see it. Take a deep breath, let everything else go, and get a little messy!

I’d like to thank Carolyn and Gary for this opportunity.


Interested in a internship with Studio 12?  Contact Carolyn Schena

Summer Art Classes 2015

Glass Fusion Class on Wednesday

Summer art classes are in full swing at Studio 12.  There are many different medium to choose from and lots of great instructors to work with!

On Wednesday learn how to work with glass and create your own glass fusion sun catcher with Studio 12 owner, Carolyn Schena.  Carolyn has been working in glass fusion for over 8 years. She started small creating a line of dichroic glass jewelry and has since “graduated” from the small stuff and now creates decorative and functional works such as bowls.  After you have made a sun catcher in class you can also try your hand at glass fusion jewelry. Carolyn’s work can be found online! The glass fusion class is great for adults and kids ages 7 and up and is taught every Wednesday through August as well as in September.

Canvas Painting Fun!


On Thursdays there are two classes that alternate.  One week you will find artist Deborah Tucker in the Studio teaching painting on canvas.  And on the other week you will find Laura Howard teaching mermaid rings.

Deborah’s Painting class uses acrylics and focuses on either a sunrise or sunset over the ocean or sound.  Deborah’s 20 years of teaching experience makes her classes fun and easy peasy!  All skill levels will have a blast creating their own canvas creations! Bring your own beverage, relax and have fun

Laura Howard’s mermaid ring class is a lot of fun, I mean who does not like making their own bling!  Laura will have a huge array of Pearls, and crystals in more colors than you can imagine so that you can create your own unique ring that any mermaid is sure to be jealous of!  Laura is great with kids and adults, but we recommend ages 8 and up so that little hand won’t get frustrated with the bending and twisting of wires!

On Friday morning make something beautiful to wear!  artist Betty Kungle takes you step by step and shows you how to wrap sea glass to make gorgeous necklaces or you can create earrings, a bracelet or all three!  Betty’s 20 years experience of collecting sea glass on the beaches of Cape Hatteras has left her with wonderful stories to share and a tremendous amount of knowledge, letting you know the type and time period of various colored sea glass.  No matter which class you choose you are sure to have a great time learning a new art skill and making new memories, not to mention a terrific souvenir!

To get the latest schedule just check out class page on our website so you can get exact dates and times.  We also love booking private session for groups whether you are celebrating a birthday or a bridal shower! Just Call us to get the fun started, 252-995-7899

Making Waves


Carolyn’s Wave Sun catcher 6″ diameter

sun catcher in progress

Boxed and ready to ship

I got a great opportunity a few weeks ago to meditate on waves.  It started with a phone call and questions.  Could I make several dozen wave sun catchers and ship them out in the next two weeks?  My response: Gulp! and So I began meditating on waves.

My line of glass fusion wave pieces was created a few years back, under similar situations.  Gary, my husband and I were asked to make a contribution to our local empty bowls fundraiser.  We anticipating donating Garys wheel turned stone ware pottery bowls.  But as the deadline drew near it became clear we were not going to be able to get his bowls glazed and fired in time.  We needed something done faster.  Glass was the answer since they could be made and fired within a few days.  (assuming the kilns aren’t already spoken for with other projects).  But what design?

At the time I had been painting canvases, working in a very loose and fun style, often putting the brushes down and working with my hands.  Waves were a favorite subject and so I had been doing a series of them in various colors.  My arms had been moving in a wave pattern for a few weeks so it was only natural to apply that motion to glass.  I worked with cut glass and then ground glass called frit.  The frit acted more like paint allowing me to apply it loosely and get the flow that was similar to applying paint to a surface. The first kiln load came out good, I  made our deadline for the  donation we had promised and a whole new line of work had been born.

Even though large orders, on a deadline can be stressful, I have grown to like them. It is  an opportunity to solve problems that arise when meeting new demands. And the process of making a piece of art work over and over again becomes a type of meditation, an opportunity to focus on a particular motif and examine it deeper. Making the art work becomes a meditation.   Each time I set down a clear glass blank and begin the process of creating a wave sun catcher, I can get a new inspiration. Suddenly a different combination of blues seem even better such as adding some opaque streaks, or shifting a color to the left or to the right, adding a lighter or darker value.

In the process each new piece of art becomes an improvement on the last. It becomes a luxury to create multitudes, in this case a blue wave glass fusion sun catcher over and over again.  And although I feel that the art continues to improve, like most art it never feels done.  The next wave will be even better, or at least different!

Carolyn Schena owns and operate Stuido 12 along with her husband Gary.  Carolyn teaches glass fusion classes throughout the busy summer season. Find out more about her classes or purchase her work at  www.studio12hatteras.com