Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On a personal note

On a personal note...

My belief is if you put positive energy into the universe...positive energy will come back to you. Simple. Its' root in my life is from my time as a holistic massage therapist and Reiki practitioner. I would stand along side a client and be present to offer to the best and loving support at that moment. I've experienced some strong affects to what energy work can do.

This past week the positive energy that surrounded Crescent Moon was undeniable. We were fortunate to have WECT and WWAY interview and highlight us. Judy Royal's Retail Details column in the Star News along with Encore's Magazine Gallery page photo have brought more new customers and advertising results than ever before. Our website orders were strong. Our loyal customers continue to give us compliments that humble us.

With the season of celebrating at its' cusp Mike and I celebrate the life we are living! We love our careers and we love our community. Be a positive influence and let the Universe reward you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Harvesting Art Glass and Metal Sculpture

Autumn Tree of Enchantment $45
Kitras Art Glass...Canada

Harvest Gold Pumpkin $72
Luke Adams...Luke Adams Glass, Massachuesetts

utumn Gourd $72
Tom Kelly...Vitrix Glass, New York

Copper Fired Maple Leaf Mobile $88
Jay Jones...North Carolina

Creepy Pretty Spider $30
WGK Glass...Pennsylvania

Original hand-crafted art for seasonal decor doesn't have to be put away after the holidays. Each piece becomes a part of your collection, for display year round and eventually an heirloom. Each artist signed collection will only increase in value...certainly more enjoyable than the plastic production made decor.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Arrivals in Art Glass this Week. Blown - Fused - Painted - and Stained

Hand Blown Tear Drop Ornaments by Sunrise Glass
Scott Simmons delights us with the vibrancy of his 4" round and tear drop ornaments. Multiple colors can be found on our website. For collectors the tear drop shape is a nice gift selection. $39 Tear Drop $34 Round
Hand Blown Shell Sculpture by Richard Bunting
An actor, singer and director in local theater, Dick describes dancing with molten glass like dancing with a "hot" partner. His conch shells are well known and given as Tourist Volunteer awards in the Southeastern region. Dick's other works include wave bowls, perfume bottles and oil lamps. Shells range from $85-$295
Fused Glass "Wine Wardens" by Serendipity
Local artist and my sister, Anne Bartlett, shows her whimsical side with the creation of these fun wine stoppers guaranteed to ward off the hangover. Find more expressions and colors on our website. $26
Stained Glass "Fish" Panel by Karmawood Glass
Karen Harbaugh, another local Wilmington NC artist is both a glass and metal stained glass artist and a wood artist. Talent runs wide in her many one-of-a-kind creations. Here is her recent "fish" window panel measuring 15 x 11 and priced at $248
Hand Painted Glass by Shelby Spencer

New to our gallery is the line of hand-painted stemware, ornaments and serving pieces by Shelby. This pair of holiday lights wine glasses make an original artistic gift for you giving this season. $22/pair $12/single $40/for 4

Stayed tuned for tomorrow's arrivals.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Metal Art - the allure of the sea

New Art and New Artist!  Bobby Fuller is welcomed into our gallery of artists with his metal jellyfish sculpture.  Bobby is also the brother of talented fused glass artist Michelle Fuller Arthur.  This organic art piece is made of steel and copper and welded and hammered to give the  allure of the jellyfish in it's underwater environment.  The base is shell marrow that holds fossil prints of shells and other sea creatures local to our Wilmington area.  Stay informed with new art by Bobby here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Keep in Touch with our Industry

Niche Magazine is published by the Rosen Group who in addition is responsible for creating each year the Buyer's Market of American Craft, the venue show where hand-made craft retailers such as little ole' us go to select new artists or stay in touch with our current artists. Last year we were honored to be named a 2009 Top Retailer by Niche and our relationship with this industry of North American Craft continues.  National recognition within your industry is a wonderful experience.  The article titled "Building Business with a Standout Website"  in this month's Niche online magazine about our new website is a thrill.  As both a marketing professional and gallery owner, it is what I strive for.  Being passionate about our craft artists in glass and metal makes it easy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Journey Continues

We never know where life’s journey will take us…we’ve all heard that more than one time in our life.
I’ve written before how our journey in the new century left our conventional lifestyle behind and for reasons of necessity we came south from our home state of New Jersey, (yes, another set of Yankees) with roots from Ellis Island, landed by boat in Southport, NC in November of 2005.  That lovely boat was Quiescent

There is something about cruising on the water that gets into your bloodstream by way of your heart.  And Quiescent was a part of our love story on the water from 2005-2009.  Maybe it’s because I was born a Pisces with fish as my celestial kinship.  Most likely it’s because I have an adventuresome spirit and a husband that can be my captain and partner in the adventure.  Mind you, boating and living aboard a boat is about as adventuresome as I get.  Not interested in scaling mountains or jumping out of planes.  That is anothers journey, not mine.

Living on Quiescent was truly a journey.  It started with downsizing a house with 6 rooms of furniture and selling or giving ¾ of our possessions away to overcoming my fear of navigating the water as first mate, reading charts, tying off lines in our first “lock”, facing down the first gigantic barge in the C&D canal, and taking the helm of 46ft of fiberglass with twin Cummins 210hp engines when the captain had to jump down to the engine room to fend off some issue or another.  It was personal.

By way of Quiescent we started another leg of our journey with purchasing Crescent Moon.  A chapter that continues, and shapes itself day to day with challenges, and new opportunities. We hauled Quiescent out of the water in 2009 to concentrate on this next chapter and bought a house.  We love our house and we are acquiring possessions once again.  It takes me longer to clean and Mike has a lawn to mow, but it fits for now.  But at night, in bed, I don’t feel the water beneath me gently soothing and slighting rocking me into a nights rest.  I can’t look out any of our windows and chance to see a heron perched to enjoy dinner, or simply enjoy the sound of lapping water against the hull.
So our journey is taking us back to Quiescent, if only for awhile and if only for short cruises.  Quiescent was re-launched this week and is tucked snugly in a beautiful slip at Sawmill Point Marina on the Cape Fear River slightly north of Crescent Moon.  (This is where you imagine hearing me sigh in contentment).  We will take her south a bit to the downtown docks on September 12-13th and enjoy sitting on the aft deck, inviting friends aboard, meeting new people and capturing a magnificent Carolina sunset.  A short cruise, but I’m sure a sweet one.  The first of a few cruises before Quiescent becomes a part of another couple’s journey when she sells.

So if you are downtown on Sunday the 12th

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What In The World Is IT?

Ikebana – Japanese for arranged flower.  Wikipedia says…More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of parti-colored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The artist's intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece's color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement.

The container is a key element of the composition, and various styles of pottery may be used in their construction.

But our customers have come up with some humorous ideas of what it is.  Makes for a lightened day and gets the conversation going.  How about a potato baker?  Or a Lemon Reamer? 

And why is the “spiky thingy” to hold the flowers called a frog?  In short it seems to be a slang term which was in common use by the 1940s. Company catalogs never referred to the items as frogs. They were flower holders, arrangers, or blocks. Only rarely did the term "frog" occur in a patent.  Best guess-- The metal holders sit in water like a frog and are called by the Japanese kenzan.  The name kenzan literally means sword mountain.

I'm thinking though of trying it with the potato!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where's Cora?

Owning Crescent Moon is the best job Mike and I have ever had.  We get to meet so many interesting folks from all around...and Wednesday even a mascot!  What fun.  Have you spotted "Cora" the armadillo yet?  She has been traveling around with her adopted family, The Hendersons from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I first bumped into them at the Dahnhardt entrance of the Cotton Exchange with Cora perched on some logs having her picture taken.  Learned then that she was the family's traveling mascot for this trip.  On my way running some errands I went.  An hour later Cora and Dad Willie, Mom Barbara, and Daughter Sarah appeared in Crescent Moon and of course I exclaimed...boisterously "oh can I take your picture with Cora here?"   Anything for a little fun with our customers.  The Hendersons have come to visit us in the past.  Cora has been to their family reunion in Raleigh, at the beach, several restaurants, attractions and even a little glass shop with a loopy owner.  Her next stop?  Duke University.  WooHoo that little armadillo is getting around.  By the way armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one".

Thank you Henderson Family for  making us smile and being good sports.  We can't wait to see who accompanies you next trip.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Proof is in the Pudding!

As if I was channeling them when I posted our recovery blog, lo and behold customers and Crescent Moon fans, Kim & Jim Benci, Lauren & Phil Fellner and Laurie Brunner magically appeared in the shop today.  Why is this news?  Because they are proof in "our" pudding that our customers are our recovery.  They did not come to Wilmington last year for different reasons and we noticed.  Even commented on it last fall...mind you we had only met them two times, once in 2007 and 2008.  But we had fun helping them and Mike had his picture taken with them.  We talked about Long Island traffic and living up north.  I was envious of their tans (still am).   Adding more mystic allure is that Mike and I just said last night "we wonder if the couples from Long Island will be visiting this year?"  Not kidding here.  So imagine our delight when I spotted John and recognized him.  We all had a wonderful time chatting again. ...and Mike had his picture taken with them again.
Top John & Kim Benci Center Lauren & Phil Fellner Bottom Mike Loch Laurie Brunner
 Thank you friends for making Crescent Moon a must stop during your vacation!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are We Recovering?

I ask myself daily what are the markers for a recovery in the retail industry affecting little mom and pop shops like Crescent Moon at The Cotton Exchange. Should I be optimistic simply because we have had some upswing in foot traffic through the shop? Should I be optimistic because it seems more people are spending a little more than last year this month? For Mike and I it is not a case of optimism vs. pessimism. There is no choice, we have to be optimistic or we would need to close our doors. But optimistic or not, we have to make daily decisions to operate responsibly. That has meant stocking less inventory and more frequent ordering, cutting expenses (less paid advertising, more free networking and social media) following a plan, and consulting mentors on critical decisions. It has meant no employees. (Maybe a Sunday or two off together each month).

Last summer the tourist/visitor from out of state stayed home. They promoted it as a “staycation”. Being located in a tourist destination area this was not good. This year so far in June we are seeing customers come back with their families that we haven’t seen in 2-3 years. How do we know? They tell us. One of the benefits of being a mom and pop shop is we talk personally to our customers, we get to know them a little. We are grateful they have remembered us and chose to stop in again.

I have read articles, industry analysis, and blog gurus throughout the recession and several have polar opposite opinions. From my way of thinking many (not all) are simply guessing when they speak of recovery and current economic conditions. Too many variables to run through their algorithms I believe and not enough common sense applied. Throw in a few big egos and there you have it.

For Mike and I here at Crescent Moon, our little 465 square foot shop, the marker is our customer. Talk to our customers and they tell us how things are. Buying something for themselves versus for a gift to someone else tells us they’re feeling more confident. Cutting out the unnecessary item was the first to go in late 2008 and it slashed our bottom line over the next 2 years. Yep, our customer at the counter or browser in our shop is the best focus group we have and they provide us with direction each and every day. All we need to do is listen.

Optimistic, you betcha!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


There is nothing like the satisfaction of the payoff after a lot of hard work.  We had our payoff today.  Our very first order from Ruth of Missouri, placed through the website only 5 days after it went live.  Ruth will get a little extra something from us when her order ships because here at Crescent Moon we love to celebrate milestones.  Even as the content of art photos and artist information continues to grow on the site we will relish the fact that our customers who visit the shop and then return home, have made it a point to choose us from afar for that special something.  We promise not to disappoint.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Deadline Was Met

Within a busy week we were able to accomplish what at one time we thought would not materialize. 

Welcome the NEW Crescent Moon Website

One more "to do"...done.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Come "heck" or high water
It has been a journey…like through the desert and back, like being stuck in space with no return shuttle, like going to Iceland and playing in the ash cloud.  The start of the process for our new website was over a year ago and has had some bumps and grinds along the way.  I would like to say I know everything now about working with web designers and the tools used, the programming lingo, and the do(s) and don’ts, but I don’t.  Even at the end of the testing and approving of the beta version, I still panicked when I viewed it in Explorer.  Oops it was an old version of Explorer and it never occurred to me.  It was ugly.
The key is having a patient web designer and company.  The new site is a much more comprehensive product site that required a custom database program.  It also required us to take photos of each piece of art that arrived.  Along that path we needed to buy good lighting equipment, a light tent and a decent user-friendly camera.  Enter Curtis Thieman of Inspire Creative (the web company) who trekked their professional lighting over and set it up for us to test.  Thank you Curtis! 
But it wasn’t just simply point and shoot.  Brightness, resolution, and speed settings need to be just right.  Glass is tricky to capture.  Enter a very good friend who was willing to spend 4 hours trying different settings, taking pictures and uploading them over and over and over again.  Introducing me to Google’s Picassa program literally saved the hair on my head…not to mention my marriage.  Thank you Jerry!  Now along the way we’ve been taking photos, cropping, shadowing and uploading them to the beta version.  Then you realize you are cropping them wrong.  Oops again.   

Then…all the bugs came crawling out of the corners.  Enter a good programmer named Michael, who works with Inspire, on some web projects.  He squashed those bugs good and flat. 
So, for the next week we’ll be populating the pages with art and come “heck” or high water it will go live!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Local Art - Right Here in Downtown Wilmington

Mike and I became vocal recently regarding a misplaced effort to create what would be promoted as adding a needed vibrancy to our Cape Fear riverfront in historic downtown Wilmington by adding arts and craft vendors weekly on the street. We believe that the river atmosphere is vibrant, our tours are interesting, and our galleries full with local art.  Here are some of our Local Artist's work.  Crescent Moon's number of local glass artists total 14 now and we are Vibrant...