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 Paintbrush is a Magic Wand

A paintbrush is a magic wand that in the hands of a child has the power to unleash a world of unfettered imagination.  A child’s mind is full of possibility where trees can be purple and skies are green with orange clouds.  Luckily kids haven’t learned yet how things SHOULD be and why should they?  Isn’t creativity one of the most important skills that anyone can possess no matter what profession we are in?  Creativity can help us solve the seemingly unsolvable problems and work with sometimes the most difficult people.

My daughter is four years old and to this day I have never bought her a coloring book.  I don’t want her to have to think that she has to color within the lines.  Why not instead give her a blank notebook where she can fill the page with all that is unfolding in her rapidly growing brain.  Her world is a world where all things are possible, where a paintbrush is a magic wand that can turn Mommy into a tiger, or a princess and stuffed animals into talking beings.

At Studio 12 we are fortunate to see toddlers everyday taking paintbrushes and turning them into magic wands.  They transform blank pieces of pottery like coffee mugs and plates into worlds of color depicting family members, favorite pets and all kinds of things.  It is hard for us adults to just let them go and not transfer our rules onto them, where the grasses must be green, and the oceans blue; where every blank piece of pottery must be filled with color and colors can’t be mixed.  But if we can let go of our pre-conceived notions of what art is suppose to be and just let our children go, we might find that what they create is more beautiful than we could have imagined.

To help bridge the gap between our world of what should be and the world of what can be here’s a few tips to help.  If you have a piece of pottery or certain gift you are making in mind then  talk it over with your toddler ahead of time about the piece you want to make, such as a coffee mug for grandma.  Let them help by choosing which mug to make.  Start with an array of light colors, allowing your kids to cover the pottery as they like, which could be with tons of paint or just a few brush strokes. With light colors such as yellow, light green and orange the colors can mix together and still look great. Definitely leave black on the shelf, while dark colors are attractive to little ones they can quickly over run their work.  Save the blacks and dark browns for last when those little fingers can be used to create a personal touch.  Dark finger prints on a light painting can be transformed into all kinds of cute creatures such as turtles, crabs and jelly fish to delight even the most discriminating art critic!

Hands and fingers become adorable creatures

So let those paint brushes be magic wands transforming you and your child’s world into worlds and worlds of possabilities!

OBX Sunset Photography Workshop

Dan Water Photography Workshps

Summer Sunset photogrpahy Workshops with Dan Waters

Dan Waters is a self-taught photographer who turned his part-time hobby into a full time career.  He started with a 35mm camera before digital photography. When not running his successful stonemason business in MD he was outside capturing images of nature.  “I learned to develop and print black and white and color photographs and enjoyed the exciting process of seeing my images come to life in the dark room. This gave me a solid foundation in photography to build on.”

Dan’s  photographs  have been featured in several nature magazines.  He has a one person photography exhibit at the National headquarters of the National Wildlife Federation in Northern Virginia and you can even find Dan’s work on one of the Sierra Club’s greeting cards.  Dan says that “through photography, I attempt to bring my visions and feelings to the viewer. I hope to share my insights and enjoyment of nature with others. I believe in taking nothing from nature but photographs and leaving nothing behind but footprints.”

Join Dan on one of his Sunset Photography Workshops being hosted by Studio 12 this summer.  Dan will take you to a great location where you will shoot on site in a small group setting for lots of one on one attention.

Workshops are being held on Thursdays at 6:00pm the next one is scheduled fo r August 2nd and August 16th. Space is limited in each workshop so it is wise to sign up early!

To see more of Dan’s work check out his website: www.danwatersphotography.com

Babies Footprints in the Sand

I must have washed over 60 toes this past week, each one so tiny they were smaller than the nail on my pinky finger.  They have no ideal, these precious little bundles of joy that they have participated in a hear melting surprise gift for grandma or that Mom and Dad are thrilled to preserve one of their favorite Outer Banks vacation memories; seeing their child’s first footprints in the sand.

The footprints in the sand plate was inspired by my daughter Samantha when she was about 14 months old and just starting to walk on her own. After spending a nice hour “strolling” on the beach one morning, I was in love with seeing the impression of her little toes in the sand and then so dissapionted to watch them being washed away all too quickly with the next rolling wave.  When I arrived at  Studio 12 later that day and saw the blank wavy plates stacked on the shelf, I realized that I didn’t have to lament the loss of those first beach baby prints but could capture them forever.  And that was when the first “infamous” foot prints in the sand plate was born.

While the art work looks complex and not for the beginning painter, it is actually quite simple and I love taking customers through the steps to show them how they and even toddler age children can paint the plate together. Painting pottery can become another vacation experience that all of the family will treasure. After the pottery is painted it gets glazed and then fired in a kiln, making the the plates dinner ware safe and long lasting, long enough to become a family heirloom.

I will never tire of washing so many little toes. Knowing that another precious moment in time has been captured for Mom and Dad is priceless.

Summer Art Classes


Whether you are 6 or 86 years old Studio 12 has some great art classes throughout the summer that will help you to unleash your creative side!

Painting Class with Carolyn

Our line up of instructors this year include Studio 12 owners Carolyn and Gary Schena, long time Studio 12 staff member Betty Horan, and award winning photographer Dan Waters. All classes have limited seating so that we can give students the time and attention they need to create beautiful works of art they are proud of, and that is why we are offering online registration so you can sign up for your classes now before you leave home.  When you sign up now online you save can save up to $3 dollars off each class, for a total of $20 when you take all 7 classes on the schedule! This offer will be good only until June 20th so sign up now!

Glass Fusion Jewelry Thurs 11:30 am

Glass Fusion Jewelry will be taught again this year by owner Carolyn Schena. In this class you will learn how to cut and design glass that will then be fused in a kiln and transformed into eye popping pieces of colorful jewelry. You can choose to make bracelets, rings, earrings, and pendants.  jewelry class will held on Thursdays at 11:30am and 1:30PM The jewelry is ready to pick up on Friday.

Back again by popular demand is Carolyn’s Husband, Gary Schena teaching mosaic stepping stones.  Gary will take you through the steps to learn how to design and layout your stepping stone and what matertials to use. With our large selection of colorful tessare (tiles) you will have a great palette to work with so you can make a beautiful work of art for your yard.  Gary will have some pre-drawn designs to work with or you can bring an ideal of your own.  Many students return each year to make additional stones, adding to their growing collection of yard art!  Mosaic Stepping Stone Class will be on Tuesday at 5:00 pm.

Mosaic Stepping Stone Class Tuesday 5:00pm

We are also really excited to team up with OBX photographer Dan Waters this summer to be able to offer a on location sunset photography workshop. The focus of the two hour workshop is to inspire creativity, provide a friendly and fun experience, expand technical skills and teach hands on in the field to all levels of photographers. The class will shoot on site at a location on the water. Limited to 6 people so you need to sign up for this class EARLY! The sunset photogrpahy class will be on Thursday at 6:00pm on July 19th, August 2nd and August 16th.

So there it lots to choose from on the Studio 12 summer art class schedule this year, don’t miss out on an opportunity to try out a new creative medium this year. Keep checking back on our website and facebook to see what new instructors might pop up over the summer!

Glass Fusion Picture Frames

Warm glass is the term used when working with glass at the 1100 to 1500 degree temperature range.  This the temperature range for fusing glass, a process of heating up glass and then bending or shaping it, or fusing several pieces together. For the past several years we have offered glass fusion jewelry classes, blending colored glass with dichroic glass to make beautiful sparkling pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets. This year we have expanded our glass fusion area so that our customers can make even move projects with glass including pictures frames, and sun catchers which are great projects for adults and kids!  Glass fusion projects will be offered as classes and walk in.  Like ceramics, all glass fusion is fired in the kiln, so after making your project it will be ready to pick up in 2 to 3 days. For class information just check the website, online registration will be available starting March 22nd for classes held the first two weeks of April.

glass fusion picture frames!

Studio 12 Expands

After 8 years in our current location we were beginning to feel the need for just a little more elbow room. Luckily the space next door became available in December, so we are now in the process of renovating Studio 12.  This has including knocking down some walls, and putting up a few walls! The end result will be a much bigger space for our customers to create in meaning more elbow room, a few more tables for those crowded rainy days and more space to show off our finished art work and other artists work as well! More space means we can add another kiln for even more firing fun and we are in the process of putting together some great new classes for the 2012 season that will involve bigger glass fusion projects!

Re-open after Hurricane Irene


It is one thing to move furniture and art work and stuff to prepare for the hurricane and the advent of flooding; then it is quite another to do the clean up afterward.  We have been lucky, for the past 8 years we have only had to put everything back in place when the hurricane passed. But with Irene there was over a foot of flooding clean up after including the remains of sludgy water, eel grass and other nastiness. Afterward moving everything again in order to tear out dry wall, and insulation and then re-hanging new drywall and then of course painting. And you know you can’t just paint the lower four feet of a wall so this means the removal of even more stuff (where am I going to put it all?) and re-painting the entire studio.   There were days in the middle of all this chaos that we laughed so hard when a visitor wandered in the studio and asked “were you effected by the storm? No we’d say this is always how we decorate! But, finally we have nice fresh new walls, a beautiful warm off white paint and ALMOST everything back into place. It is absolutely awesome to have some table space again!  I want to take a moment to thank Gary Schena who has worked tirelessly non-stop since the arrival of Irene, customers who have been so patient with online and custom orders, and friends like Christina, and Jeanne who lent us a helping hand with childcare, shows and overall moral support. Although we still have a floor to re-paint (we are putting that on hold for now) we are feeling more and more like we can close a chapter on hurricane Irene and turn our attention to what is left of  the 2011 season. Stay tuned for upcoming holiday shopping specials. And we really look forward to seeing you at the Studio!

BEFORE                                AFTER

Studio 12 hits the road

While the road is stilled closed to Hatteras Island and thus no one can visit Studio 12, we are taking Studio 12 on the road.  We will be packing up lots of our art work and taking the interim emergency two hour ferry ride across the Pamlico sound to get to Kill Devil Hills. This will be a a one day trunk show be held at Knitting Addiction. Saturday October 8th 10am-4pm

This one day event will feature Gary’s hand thrown yarn bowls in a variety of glazes as well as hand crafted buttons by Carolyn. We will also have many other items at the show such as Carolyn’s glass fusion jewelry and other pottery by by Gary including coffee mugs, serving bowls and trays!

The yarn bowl, hand thrown by Gary Color: “Yarnlicious”

   Knitting Addiction is located at 400 South Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NCwww.knittingaddiction.comOne button wrap by Knitting Addiction owner Jeannie Shrader featuring Carolyn’s mermaid button
 We look forward to seeing you on saturday at the Knitting Addiction, it will be a great opportunity to so some early Christmas shopping!

Post Hurricane Irene

As I write this entry from our home in Buxton I can look out and see the toll of Irene on the forest around us; the trees have been stripped of leaves, pines turned orange from salt spray, dead trees knocked over.  Samantha and I returned to the Island Sunday night after 10 days of evacuation.

Samantha and I arrived at the new emergency ferry dock in Stumpy point at dusk.  We joined the half dozen cars already lined up, waiting our turn to board and make the two hour ride from the very desolate area of stumpy point to Rodanthe.  As we waited in line amongst the mosquitoes we began to catch up with neighbors and friends, swapping stories and information. It was great to see familiar faces and to hear good news from others.  The ride across the sound was beautiful in the setting sun and exhilarating for Samantha who got to re-connect with her best toddler buddy.  We arrived to the Island in darkness and immediately we could see the remnants of hurricane destruction; 4 foot piles of debris on both sides of the highway greeted us like a morbid parade that included appliances, furniture, and scraps of wood intermingled with loads of sea grass. 

I have the luxury of returning to a home that has been unscathed.  My attention can be turned to our business which was flooded with about 18 inches of water and to my island neighbors to see what we can do to help them.  Gary remained on Hatteras for the storm working diligently right up to the first winds securing and stowing items and preparing for what we expected would be some of the worst flooding we had ever seen, and turned out to be some of the worst flooding long time island residents had ever experienced.

 Preparations for teh storm included  putting everything and anything in teh studio  up atleast three feet or higher.  This included taking apart the kilns and raising them, while we were doing this, we were at the saem time time trying to do business as normal, until the last visitors would be evacuated.  Now 12 days after the storm we are still cleaning up and assessing the damage, and the impact of losing several weeks of business. 

Thank you to everyone who sent us emails and facebook messages with your concern, we have been touched. We are happy to report that the first kiln load will be fired this week which will included customers pottery painted just before the storm and pottery that we donated to “kids camp” an impromptu day of fun arranged for kids who were hearing during the storm.  As we try to get back to a new sense of normalcy, we want to also take a moment to thank you for your support!

To help us breathe life back into our business and get busy doing what we love we are offering great sales on our art work and glass fusion supplies.  Take advantage of these post Hurricane Irene specials and pick up some great gifts for those upcoming birthdays not to mention some early Christmas shopping! Friend us on facebook and take advantage of daily deals happening this month!


Microwave Kilns are Hot

Microwave Kilns are Hot! Customers are raving about the microwave kiln kits they bought from Studio 12 this Summer.   A great Christmas present for the crafter in your life! Fuse glass right in your microwave oven! see more…….

Fuseworks Microwave kiln is lined with a high tech composite material especially formulated to fuse glass in a home microwave 800 watts or higher. The 2.75″ internal fusing platform is perfect for fusing jewelry pieces in as little as 3 minutes. Small and compact it stores easily making glass fusing easy, safe and economical.  Kiln dimensions are 3 1/4″ H x 4 1/2″ big enough to fuse a few pieces at once. The Studio 12 kiln kit comes with basic cutting tools, 7 ounces of assorted COE 96 glass, 1 ounce of assorted dicrochic glass and findings to create 4 pendants and 2 earrings.