Jody Belo is our featured artist

4/10/2014 3:25:00 PM

Featured this month at Cape Fear Native are Jody Belo's unique designs.  She makes pouches and headbands from vintage ties.  She uses stained glass to craft colorful jewelry.  And her ceramic switchplates feature whimsical sea creatures.

 Jody describes her approach to her designs.  "My name is Jody. I have been living in NC for over 10 years and have been creating colorful items for over 20 years. A funky texture or something found in nature can spark an idea. I love to make something useful out of random objects, from vintage ties to colored glass to old sweaters.

"If you are in the Wilmington area you can usually find me at a local show with all my random items."


Featured at Cape Fear Native is Lativa Accents & art

3/19/2014 12:16:00 PM

     This month our featured artist is Lativa Accents and Art with Claudia Bustamante. Bustamante designs beautiful eco-friendly jewelry from native materials of Colombia, including tagua seeds, coconut shells and bombono seeds. Quite the entrepreneur and artist, she is expanding her brand to include locally hand-roasted coffee from her native country's coffee beans.
     " I was born in Colombia South America. Since I was little, I was always passionate about writing, art, languages and travel. I went to art school for two years and received a degree in advertising design. Later on, I followed one of my other dreams to be a journalist, so I got my Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications/Journalism, the career that I love the most.
     "While living in London in 2001, I took a trip to Colombia to visit my parents and had the opportunity to learn how to make eco-friendly jewelry. From that moment, I started developing my passion for art and jewelry. I was so inspired learning how to use natural elements from my own country to create unique jewelry pieces that people love.
     "In 2004, my journalism career brought me to Wilmington to work as a director for a Latino magazine. The magazine did not survive, but this change gave me the positive opportunity to achieve another dream – having my own business designing eco-friendly jewelry. The following year I created LATIVA Accents & Art, eco-friendly. I was lucky enough to have my own store in downtown Wilmington for almost a year.
     "Since then, my business is expanding and now I have my jewelry pieces in four retail stores around the area. As a part of my business, in 2012 we expanded our Lativa brand and created Lativa coffee Company, artisan roasted Colombian coffee, hand-roasted locally in Wilmington. This business is growing hand in hand with my jewelry business. I’m fortunate to have achieved so many things up to now, and I still want to reach more goals as a business owner and entrepreneur. I want to see my two businesses grow and expand around the United States and, maybe, one day overseas.
     "I feel lucky and thankful that I can do what I love the most and follow my dreams through all these years: write, design and be my own boss. My best reward is when I see my customers so impressed with my jewelry and enjoying a fresh cup of Lativa coffee. That's priceless!"

Aquarium to open on New Year's Day

12/18/2013 1:37:00 PM

For the first time, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will be open for New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014. The Aquarium will operate during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The attraction, however, will close on Christmas Day, Wednesday, Dec. 25 and will reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 26. 

 Those wishing to extend holiday fun this season can entertain family and friends in several ways at the Aquarium. Free daily programs offered with Aquarium admission include two daily dive programs at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Times for additional feedings, live animal presentations and more can be found here.

 In addition, the Aquarium offers an Extended Behind the Scenes Tour to watch sharks and schooling fish take part in their own feast on Friday, Dec. 27 and Monday, Dec. 30. Tickets for the 2 p.m. tour are $18 for ages 8 to 12, and $20 for ages 13 and older. Aquarium admission is included. Preregistration here or 910.458.7468 is required. 

Behind the Scenes tours also run at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28 and 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29.

Ryan Stokes is featured this month

11/22/2013 2:51:00 PM

Featured this month at Cape Fear Native is the artwork of Ryan Stokes. Working with reclaimed wood, some from the Cape Fear River and some from the old Oceanic Pier, Stokes creates a unique energy and motion with each design. His collection will be featured until December 26. 

A native North Carolinian, Stokes holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Appalachian State. He has worked in graphic arts locally for ten years, starting Ryan Stokes Art as a way to showcase his unique approach. "I have experimented with many different mediums from painting, wood building, stone sculpture and photography," he shares. "Much of my art is a reflection of what is going on in my life. Common themes that run throughout are internal struggle, desire, transformation and exhilaration." 

"I draw inspriation from the natural beauty of this great state," Stokes continues. "My most recent works are created on reclaimed wood from the Wilmington area. I came up with a unique process of using a combination of different paints and stains to create abstract images. This creates a rich surface texture and makes the images pop off the wood, creating depth. Specific areas are left bare to let the natural beauty of the wood shine through." 

Cape Fear Native features the works of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature. Here you'll find original paintings on canvas and reclaimed river wood, handmade jewelry, local photography, sail bags, handmade wood products, tiles, note cards, historic maps, books and our exclusive Wilmington city map tees/totes/prints. 

Come in and support your creative community; buy local for the holidays!

Donations needed for Coastal Education Center

11/6/2013 1:03:00 PM

The NC Coastal Federation needs donations of equipment for the new Coastal Education Center & Regional Office in Wrightsville Beach. Here are their needs:

  • Smart TV for presentations, microscope viewing, distance learning $1,500
  • Lap top/Tablet computer $750
  • T-1050 kena 3-in-1 Digital Microscope $280
  •  (2) T-22001C Cordless Stereo Microscope Magnification 10x & 30x VisionScope $480 each
  • 25 gallon salt water aquarium & supplies $400
  •  Mobile white board $200
  • Full Weather station $400
  • Educational hydrophone for field trips $350
  • Classroom supplies (lab/field supplies, calipers, tools, field guides, books, paper, pens, clipboards, storage bins, activity supplies, educational posters, etc…) $500
  • Furniture: • (4) Tables folding $80 each • (30) Chairs $40 each • (2) Shelves $150 each • Shelving system for closet $150 

Front Event Room

  • Smart TV for presentations, distance learning $1,500 
  • Lap top/Tablet computer $800
  • Couch-$750
  • (4) Upholstered Side Chairs $400 each
  • (3) Side Tables $200 each
  • (2) Large Wooden Book shelves $500 each
  • Standing and table lamps 3@$150 each

Education/Restoration Office

  • (2) Shelves $150 each
  • Shelving system for closet $150
  • (2) Upholstered side chairs $150 each
  • Side Table $50

Coastal Advocate Office
  • (6) Chairs $50 each
  • (2) Upholstered side chairs $150 each
  • Side Table $100
  • Bookshelf $250
  • Lamps $150
  • Storage Credenza $300

Region Manager Office
  • (2) Upholstered side chairs $150 each
  • Side Table $100
  • Large bookshelf $250
  • Lamps $150
Garage/Store Room
  • Generator (portable) $450
  • Storage shelves/tool-boot hanging system $600

Outside Event-Classroom Area

  • (2) Stand-up oscillating fans $60 each
  • Fiberglass tank, stand & supplies for touchtank $750
  • Display boards (mobile) $1000
  • Educational signage $700
  • (2) Large outdoor commercial propane cooker $150 each
  • (5) Steamer pots $50 each
  • Event Utensils $150
  • (6) Heavy duty folding tables $100 each
  • Commercial stainless Steel Propane Grill $600
  • Portable PA system $500
  • 12 Picnic Tables $75 each
  • Garden Utility Cart $150
  • Kitchen Set of 12 plates $60
  • Set of 12 bowls $60
  • Set of 12 appetizer plates $60
  • Serving Platter (4)(not plastic) $20/ea.
  • Chafing Dish $50
  • Cloth napkins (set of 20) $60
  • White aprons 6@$20
  • Table Cloths $200
  • Large Coffee Pot (100 cups) $85
  • Water pitchers $60
  • Porch (6) Rocking Chairs $100 each
  • Bench Glider Seat $300
  • (4) Outdoor chairs $100 each
  •  (4) Side tables $60 each
  • Picnic table $100

To make an online donation for a needed item, please click here. Designate Capital Campaign and enter the item name under comments. Thank you so much. Donations of items in new or excellent condition will be appreciated if they can be delivered. To discuss possible donations, please contact Mike Giles at the Wrightsville Beach regional office at 910-509-2838 or email

Cape Fear Native to benefit local rescue group

10/29/2013 2:15:00 PM

Through November 20, Cape Fear Native will benefit a local animal rescue organization - the Cape Fear Rescue League. This no-walls, all volunteer organization works tirelessly to provide medical care and foster/adoptive homes to unwanted and endangered animals, all through donations. They place 200+ pets in loving homes every year.

Come out to Cape Fear Native, buy your holiday gifts from local artists and 10% of your purchase will go to the Cape Fear Rescue League. Help us raise money for this worthy group!

Also join them at their annual fundraiser - "Love Rescued Me" - from 3-11 PM on November 2nd at the Sea Witch Cafe and Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach. They'll have food, raffle items, prizes and live music! And leashed dogs are welcome on the outside deck.

Here are some of their dogs currently needing homes. Meet Phoenix, Baxter and Cheyenne.

Cape Fear Native features the works of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature. Here you'll find original paintings on canvas and reclaimed river wood, handmade jewelry, local photography, sail bags, handmade wood products, tiles, note cards, historic maps, books and our exclusive Wilmington city map tees/totes/prints. Come in and support your local creative community - they have much to offer us!

New state record for tilefish

10/29/2013 1:03:00 PM

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record golden tilefish.  Rex Allen Bunting Jr., of Frisco caught the fish April 7 while fishing off Hatteras. The fish weighed 46 pounds.  Bunting caught the fish April 7 while fishing off Hatteras. The fish weighed 46 pounds. It measured 43 inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and had a 29-inch girth. 
Bunting’s fish topped the previous state record, caught off Hatteras in July 2010, by one pound. The world record golden tilefish, weighing 65 pounds, 3 ounces, was caught off New Jersey in 2012.Bunting caught the fish using squid as bait on an Okuma jigging rod and a Saltist Big Game 30 reel with 80-pound line test. He was fishing with Capt. Kenny Koci on the Big Tahuna out of Teach’s Lair Marina. 
Bunting will receive a certificate and be listed on the Division of Marine Fisheries website as the state golden tilefish record holder. 
For more information, contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or

Carve out a win at the Aquarium

10/8/2013 12:51:00 PM

Pumpkin? Check. Creativity? Check. Looks like you've got what it takes to enter the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher's inaugural Trick or Treat Under the Sea Pumpkin Carving Contest. 

Get crafty this Halloween season and sculpt your best aquatic–themed jack-o-lantern to win! Pumpkin entries will be judged based on originality, theme and craftsmanship. Winning entries receive scary good prizes including a $50 gift card and four tickets to Trick or Treat Under the Sea for the first place pumpkin. All pumpkins will be displayed at the Aquarium’s annual pre-Halloween festival 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 and Friday, Oct. 25. 

Thousands of children and adults enjoy dressing up and prowling the Aquarium galleries for spooky good times each year. Besides collecting treats and looking at cool pumpkin carvings, this year’s guests can enjoy roving performers, magic shows, games, spooky divers and, of course, wild critters . The pumpkin carving contest is free to enter. 

Trick or Treat Under the Sea tickets are $8, children 2 and younger are free. Entry forms, contest rules and advance tickets are available online here and at the Aquarium.

Renato Abbate makes wonderful pottery

10/1/2013 1:27:00 PM

Featured this month at Cape Fear Native is the wonderful pottery collection of Renato Abbate.  His mugs, bowls, plates, masks, magnets and wall hangings all reveal a unique and creative approach to his art.  

Abbate came to Wilmington from Italy 20 years ago. International experiences have influenced his life and work. Studying under master potter Hiroshi Sueyoshi, Abbate came to find his passion for pottery. He regards clay and ceramics from an anthropological perspective. 

 Abbate has been teaching and showing pottery in the Wilmington community for several years. His work is often whimsical and humorous. Many mugs are adorned with intricate carvings of creatures and faces. More of his work can be seen here.

 Acknowledging he has fun making these unique pieces, Abbate also believes that art should be accessible for all. "People have been making things out of clay for more than twenty five thousand years. The process of turning mud into something functional and beautiful is just amazing," he says. 

 Abbate is on the faculty at Dreams of Wilmington, a local non-profit organization that provides free education for children in the literary, visual and performing arts. 

Cape Fear Native features the works of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature. Here you'll find original paintings on canvas and reclaimed river wood, handmade jewelry, local photography, sail bags, handmade wood products, tiles, note cards, historic maps, books and our exclusive Wilmington city map tees/totes/prints. 

Come in and support your local creative community - they have much to offer us!

Ghost crabs haunt the beaches

9/26/2013 1:05:00 PM

 Ghost crabs are called that because they are camouflaged to slink around at night.  Found on the upper beach out of the intertidal zone, they blend in with the sand and run in all directions.  They eat clams, birds' eggs, mole crabs and most anything else they can scavenge.  They have to enter the water periodically to rewet their gills. 

More active at night, the ghost crabs burrow deep holes to hide out.  The holes can be as much as four feet deep, and provide shelter in the winter when the crabs become dormant. 

Ghost crab holes can be found on Masonboro Island, but on the more-populated beaches you probably won't find ghost crabs in abundance.