Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Answers to Your Questions

"Where are you moving?"

Finally, the search over! 

Bear Hands hopes to be completely moved into our new location, 1208 Pollock Street, by Mid August. We would love to be able to hold our Student Art Show in our new store so that you can celebrate this transition with us. 

Its been a long search, and we are so thankful for the support that you have shown us for this transition. 

1208 Pollock Street

Our lovely new location will be on Pollock Street, right beside the Ghent Sandwich Shop! We are excited to be able to get in there and make it our own. This was my personal favorite location out of the buildings that we were looking at. 

"What about the frame shop?"

The Framing Ladies will be moving "Ballentyne Framing and Art" to 220 Craven Street, across the street from Mitchel's Hardware. They' will be moving their business in June. We are so excited for them!

"What is Bear Hands going to be?"

Bear Hands Art Factory is going to continue to be a fully equipped, growing, thriving pottery studio.  The studio will offer memberships, kind of like a gym, and new classes for members and non-members. We will still be able to provide potters in the community with quality clay, glazes, and tools. We hope that this new studio will attract more potters to the New Bern area, and draw in renowned potters to teach classes and workshops.

We will also have a large classroom where I will be teaching art classes for kids of all ages. Over the years, I have seen a need for art classes for younger children, so I hope to create programs for kids starting at age 3, and to run more classes, painting workshops, and events.

We will also be hosting some wonderful "Painting and Wine" events for adults on Friday and Saturday Nights! I am thrilled to welcome Sandy Bruno and Beth Conley to our teaching team to teach these fun painting events. 

We will also be teaching painting parties for kids on Saturday Afternoons for kids and young people!

As always, thank you for your continued support and encouragement as we grow our business to better serve the needs of  New Bern's art community.

~Hannah Mathiot,
Art Teacher 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

6 Money-Saving Tips for Potters

We invest a lot of money in our artwork, and rightfully so! But there's no reason to spend more than you have to. Here are some starting tips to help you keep more money in your pocket when you sell your work.

1. Use a Pug Mill to Recycle Clay

 Save your scraps! Potters who use Pug Mills save huge amounts of scrap clay from hand building, trimming, and throwing. Pug mills make it possible to re-hydrate all of those icky, dried out scraps of clay that you would otherwise just throw away! Since clay can get expensive, we don't want our members to have to do that. That's why we will be buying a Pug Mill for our pottery studio! 

2. Make "Mystery Glazes"

 Stop throwing away the last bits of glaze because its 
"not enough to use on anything." You can recycle glaze remnants by making "mystery glazes."

Combine glazes of the same firing range to create unique, experimental glazes.

Making mystery Glazes is not only a great penny-pinching strategy, its also good for the environment! Glazes are full of trace elements that are not very healthy for our water, so keeping them out of landfills is a plus for the green-minded potter (and the baby sea turtles)!

3. Learn About the Kiln

Investing a little bit of time and energy into learning the details of the firing process can save you a lot of pots! When you know how to load and fire your kiln properly, you could save a lot of art work. We will be offering free firing lessons for members at our new pottery studio in august.

4. Re-purpose Tools

 Find creative ways to make your own pottery tools and invent things to suit your needs. re-purpose miscellaneous items into pottery tools. Dental tools make good carving and texture tools. Junk credit cards and gift cards can be cut to make unique ribs and forming tools The list goes on!

5. Preserve your Green-Ware Properly

 If you are a busy person, it can be hard to get into the studio at just the right moment in the drying process to catch your green-ware.  A lot of pieces may get wasted because they died out before you were ready.

 You can extend the life of your green-ware by extending the drying time of your clay. Clay should be stored in a cool, moist environment. Store your green-ware  in thick bags, and keep them out of the sun and heat. 

Keeping you clay in an airtight container, such as an old refrigerator, or a cooler keeps your clay workable for much longer. 

6. Commit to Your Artwork

When you commit to year of studio membership, you will be able to buy all of your clay and glazes at wholesale price plus shipping. That's about half off of what you may be currently paying. 

If you're dedicated to your work, and you use a lot of clay and glazes, then our year-long membership is a great way to save hundreds. For more information about our Pottery Studio Memberships, visit our Pottery Studio Page. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Give Your Child Confidence as an Artist

All children are artists. It's a part of their natures. But sometimes its hard for children to express their artistic natures. It's like the artist inside them gets lost in tornado of academics, school policies, video games, and never-ending homework. 

But you are a parent. You know that somewhere inside your kid, there's still the two-year-old Picasso who "embellished" your walls with his crayons. 

If you want to help your kids develop and explore their creative natures, polish their natural skills, and become more creative, then they need to have access to real art materials, genuinely helpful instruction, and confidence that they are artists.

Unfortunately in most school systems, this kind of instruction is no longer available. According to, art education grants in North Carolina were recently cut by almost $1,000,000. 

This is exactly why I feel that the classes offered at Bear Hands are so important to a complete education. At Bear Hands, the kids are exposed to genuine art materials: our students use the same paints that our professional artists buy. They paint on the same canvases, they experiment with the same hot new mediums

When I was in my early teens, (I'm the blond girl in the pink shirt in the picture above)  I participated in a student  art show at the Craven County Library with some of the other students at our store. I was so amazed and excited to see my painting, something that I made, on the wall of the library for everyone to admire. I will never forget how it felt to actually have someone ask me if they could buy my work. 

We offer a variety of different art classes throughout each summer, and each school year. Our After School classes meet once every week, on Fridays at 4pm. We even have home school classes that meet at 1:30pm. We teach art history classes, pottery classes, wheel classes, painting, drawing, mixed media, and more. We are constantly working to develop more classes for students. 

We also offer student art shows for summer camp students, and year round students. (This summer, our student art show will be on August 10th!) Student art shows are great opportunities to help students see themselves as artists. 

Hundreds of students take classes at Bear Hands each year, and I have been blessed and amazed to watch them blossom as artists and gain confidence in themselves as creative people. 

That's why Bear Hands is going to focus on developing our kids classes more than ever this year. Sign your kids up for one of our summer camps or our After School programs. 

Help them become the artists that you know they can be. 


~Hannah Mathiot,

Art Teacher

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Free Private Pottery Lesson - $70 Value

New Bern's pottery community has grown so much since way back when we set up a small pottery studio in our store. In fact, I'm setting up a booth at the fifth annual, Eastern Carolina Pottery Festival on Saturday, June 1st, right here in New Bern. 

The festival will be at the History Center, on south front street, and there will be tons of potters there, selling beautiful handmade artwork.

Make sure you stop by the Bear Hands Booth and get some information about our growing  (and moving) store. And while you are there, enter into our drawing. We're giving away a free private pottery lesson with Shelley Mathiot. Shelley is an experienced teacher, and out thriving pottery studio would not have been possible without her dedication to her students.

Trust me, she's a great teacher. I know because she home schooled me for ten years!

~Hannah Mathiot

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Celebrate Our Future

You may be sad that we are closing out on our art supplies, and believe me, so are we! But please don't let it bring you down. We're looking hopefully into the future: to a place where we will re-focus on running a thriving pottery studio, and creating more classes for children of all ages. We will be running more painting and wine events so that our community can enjoy the painting experience. So instead of being sad, please join us in our hope and excitement for the future! 

Thank you for your support,
~Hannah Mathiot, 
Teacher, Co-Owner

Artist Looking for a Job?

Dear Artist,

I'm looking for an enthusiastic teacher to come teach our Friday and Saturday night Painting events. I need someone who can really engage people in painting in a simple, step-by-step process. The people taking these classes aren't going to be artists. They are just people who want to enjoy the painting process and make something beautiful for their homes or for their friends. They like to bring wine or beer to these events, so I need a teacher who is comfortable with that.

We've held lots of these parties before, and we have a lot of paintings that are quite popular. If you could learn some of these paintings and teach them, that would be fantastic! But there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to design your own unique paintings for these parties.

Now you won't really be an employee, but a contractor. This is better than an employee, because we will be able to afford to pay you more. Instead of paying you by the hour, we will pay by the student.

This may mean that you have to invest some time in "pounding the pavement" a little bit and drumming up some business for yourself. You wont be on your own, of course. Bear Hands is excited to offer these classes again, so you can be sure that we will advertise them as much as possible.

We want to start by scheduling two classes a week, from 6-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a lot of people, we can get you a helper, so don't be afraid of classes of 20 people or more. And the more private parties you book, the better you get paid. We will provide you with the materials for your classes, and the space to teach them.

But I need to hear from you very soon. We have almost picked a new location for our business and we are already building our fall class schedules. If you are insterested in this job, and if you think your presence in this company will help us grow and create a welcoming, creative, fun environment, then please email me your resume (or just a summery of your qualifying experience is fine) and a short cover letter. Or give me a call.,
252-514-2787 (Work)
252-876-8883 (Cell)

Thank you! I hope to hear from you very soon!

~Hannah Mathiot
Teacher, Co-owner

Monday, May 20, 2013

Eastern Carolina Pottery Festival

Come down to the North Carolina History Center on Saturday, June 1st for the Fifth Annual Eastern Carolina Pottery festival! Many of our local potters will be there selling their work.

Come by the Bear Hands Art Factory booth and enter a drawing to win a private Pottery Lesson with Shelley Mathiot ($70 Value). You can also get information about membership benefits of our new studio!

The Festival will be held from 9am-5pm at 529 South Front Street, New Bern, North Carolina.

Our Zentangle I Class

We had eighteen eager tanglers  in Saturday's Zentangle Class!

Here are our students showing off their work!

Zentangle tiles made by our students!

Pictures from Samantha's Facebook Page: Zentangle Eccentric

Experience Art

At Bear Hands Art Factory, we expose kids to real, quality art materials. Our students use the same clay as our professional potters. Our students use the same quality paints and canvas as the local artists who shop with us. When your kids make art at Bear Hands, you can be sure that they are learning to create with real art materials.

Our Schedule of Classes 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Painted Stained Glass Windows

I did this project with my kids in my mixed media painting class on Friday. 

 I created a template with a few simple lines that formed a little bird sitting in a tree. I printed out enough for my class and taped them against the front side of a document frame. 

I gave my kids sharpie markers and had them trace the bird onto the back of the glass. Then, they used Galleria Acrylic paints to paint in each section of the glass. Its okay if they paint over the lines that they drew, because the line still shows up on the other side of the glass. 

When they are finished, we removed the bird templates and held their pictures up to the light. This was a win-win project. The kids really enjoyed the process, and the results were beautiful! 

Jimmy shows off his painting. 

Emma and her fantastic painting.

I will be doing this project again many times! Hopefully in a Saturday Kids' Painting Club event!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Student Art Show, August 10th

If your child is taking part in our Summer Camps this year, they should also participate in our Student Art show. Allowing kids showcase their work in an art show is a great way to give them confidence as an artist. When I was younger, I took part in a kids' art show at the local library, where I sold my first painting, and took my first commission. I was thrilled! I felt like a real artist and gained confidence in my work.

I want our students at Bear Hands to have the same kind of opportunity. This art show is free entry for anyone who participates in our Summer Camps. We want to hold the show at our new location, although we are not sure yet where that will be! Stay tuned in to our email newsletters, blog, or website to find out.

I'm excited to see the artwork that our kids will produce in these classes.

~Hannah Mathiot
Art Teacher

Monday, May 13, 2013

Materials Liquidation Starts Today

Hi All,
Materials at Bear Hands are 50% off for the next two weeks with this Customer Loyalty Discount Card. We want our loyal customers to have the chance to get any materials they want before we start to advertise our liquidation. So come on in during our two week sale and get the materials you need!

Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to find out about our new location!
~Hannah C. Mathiot

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stay Connected!

After this year's summer camps at 219 Middle Street, Bear Hands Art Factory will be moving to a new location. Although we love the downtown area, our changing economy demands a move to a more accessible, economical location. 

 We will still be serving the New Bern community, and we are very hopeful about the new changes in our business. I will be adding more classes during the school year for both home school students and after school students. I want to add classes for young students ages 4-6, and  kids' painting party events. 
We will also be drastically improving our pottery studio. The first 20 Members (or "Charter Members") to commit to a year of membership will get exclusive benefits (we already have 17 charter members!). Regular memberships will also come with far more membership benefits than before. 

Shelley will be working to improve and maintain the pottery studio, keeping members involved with classes, contests, inspiration, and opportunities. Snag one of the three remaining Charter Memberships to the studio, or find out more about the membership benefits: email us at

I know many of you are wondering where we will be moving to. As of right now, no leases have been signed, so it's a little up in the air. But here's one sure way to find out. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter! You'll be the first to know about sales, classes, and our new location. We feature art events, local artists, student art and more. It's the best way to stay connected with New Bern's art community. 

As always, thank you for your continued support as we undergo changes to meet the needs of our artists!

~Hannah C. Mathiot

Friday, May 10, 2013

Making Paper Sculptures

Last week I taught my students how to make paper sculptures out of fiber and water. We used bisque molds, (once fired clay), 130g water, and about 10g of fiber to make each sculpture. I used a sensitive kitchen scale to measure the amounts of each material.

Toilet paper works great for the fiber: its easy for the kids to mash up into the water. I had them mash it together with a popsicle stick for about five minutes until it turned into goop.

Once the pulp was ready, they scooped it up with their hands and pressed it into the mold with their fingers. I  put towels underneath the bisque molds so that the excess water wouldn't make a mess. I reminded them to press really hard to make sure that the pulp got into the eye and ear crevices of the animal molds.

To help absorb more of the water, we put one side of the towel over the mold and pressed the water out of it.

They will dry over a period of the next few days, but putting them in a toaster oven for 20 minutes works too. The bisque molds work because bisque absorbs water. Plaster, we discovered, doesn't absorb water nearly as well. It can still work but more often than not, the paper sticks to the mold.

After the molds are done, we painted them with tempura paints and used them to make some great collages! I let the kids integrate their paste paper from last week, and some flat bottomed marbles into their artwork as well.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Essay Contest for Kids "What is Art?"

What a great opportunity for kids of all ages! I'm so excited to see what kids write!

"What is art?" essay contest from Hannah Mathiot

Click the link above to view the essay guidelines in slideshare.

Only 3 Premium Pottery Studio Memberships Remaining

We have three Premium Pottery Studio Memberships left. Members must commit to one full year of membership. There are many benefits, including: get clay at cost (wholesale+shipping), two free months of membership, a free Pottery class, and much more. This is a one-time offer.  For more information, Call Shelley Mathiot (252) 626-7723, or email her.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What to Do With The Kids This Summer

Summer is on its way. Moms, you know what that means. Nine weeks of "I'm bored," or "so what are we doing today?" and more...

Well, fear no more, Bear Hands has a huge schedule of summer camps just for you. We like to say, "A creative kid is a happy kid." The word "creative" may also be exchanged with the words: painted, messy, muddy, etc.

You can drop them off here for a two-hour class, or pack them a lunch and take the day off. We have morning sessions, afternoon sessions, and price breaks for a whole day of art camp. Our schedule is packed with classes!

See you there!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Customer Appreciation Sale

Our Loyal Customers,
To start off our relocation art materials sale, We're having a non-publicized sale just for you. We want to present our most loyal customers and followers with the opportunity to get first choice of any art materials we have in stock.

You can save and print this card, bring it in as many times as you wish from May 13-25, 2013, and receive 50% off of any art material in our store. That includes books, brushes, paint, canvas, easels, and more.

View card on Slideshare

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mixed Media Class: Art Paper

On Friday, my class of 14 Students made papers for a future collage. Based off of a paste-paper project I did in college, we painted and stamped textures onto construction paper to create unique art papers. My students used rubber stamps, foam stamps, sponges, toothbrushes, forks, pallet knives, straws, and other objects to texture and color their papers. Instead of the paste material, I used tempura paint! 

This paper was sponged with red and then stamped with blue. 
 Some students dipped plastic forks into their paint and then sketched lines all over their papers. 

 Some students splattered interference paint onto their darker papers to add a shine.

 this texture was made by dragging a fork across a layer of paint in diagonal lines.

Each student made two or three papers. next week we will cut them up and use them to make fascinating, vibrant collages!