Big Bear Artisans

78 Catawba Avenue Old Fort, NC 28762
Tel: 828-668-1239


Inspirational artwork, amazing furniture, and other hand crafted creations made right here in Old Fort!

Helen Sullivan

Helen   retired from  full time employment and moved to the McDowell County   area with her husband and  best friend, John, in October 2009.    
Although    she always doodled (especially during boring meetings), Helen didn't   take art classes  until about 8 years ago, when one of her friends   talked her into taking a  watercolor class at the local Northern   Virginia community college.  She  had such a good time that she took   another, and another, and another.  A  local artist invited her to   intern with him, which she did for almost 5  years.  

Helen    is inspired by the beauty of western North Carolina.  She paints in   water-soluble  oils, acrylics, and watercolor.  She has also done a few   clay sculptures  and some wood carving.  Helen definitely still   considers herself to be an  art student, rather than an artist, because   "I still have so much more to  learn."

Helen's   work has appeared in several juried art shows, and in solo and group   exhibitions. The image of her painting "Catawba River"  has been used by   the Catawba River Protection Foundation in one of its  presentations.

John Sullivan

John retired after 39 years of public service and moved from Virginia with his wife, Helen, to Old Fort, North Carolina in October 2009.  John has always had a love of working with wood and retirement gives him the time to practice and improve his wood working skills.  Although John does not have formal training in wood working, he has had many opportunities over the years to learn from a skilled cabinet maker and wood worker while in Virginia.  He has developed the ability to craft pedestal desks, bookcases, chest of drawers, armoires, as well as a variety of cabinets and storage units.  

In addition to working with wood, John has developed a unique line of hand made scented candles that provide great fragrance and substantially long burn time.