Your Neighbor: Meet Caren Carter-Lowrie

Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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By Mandy Haggerson

When you spend your childhood immersed in your passions, it makes your adult life interesting in all aspects. Just ask Caren Carter-Lowrie, who is getting ready to celebrate owning her art framing store for over 25 years in Clemmons.

“I was inspired by art as early as I can remember,” Carter-Lowrie said. “From the cardboard inserts that were in my dad’s dry cleaning to great teachers at Summit School as a child, there was opportunity to create in many places.”

The budding artist enjoyed working with colored pencils and paint to create pictures of animals.

“I have loved animals, and especially horses, from as long as I can remember,” Carter-Lowrie said. “Combining art and animals was how I spent most of my childhood.”

If Carter-Lowrie wasn’t drawing or painting, she was often found at the barn.

“I began taking lessons at the age of 10. I had asked for years, and I think my parents realized it was a serious passion,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I took lessons out where Brookberry Farm is now. When I turned 12 years old, my parents gave me my first horse, Jimmy, as a present. It was the best birthday of my life.

“Every day after school, I would ask my mom to ride out to the barn to take care of him, clean the stall and take him for a ride. The only thing I didn’t do for him was feed him in the mornings because I was at school at that time.”

Proving how committed and dedicated Carter-Lowrie was to her horse, she got a second horse at 14.

“At that point, I started showing that I enjoyed training the horse, seeing the progress that was made, and found it so rewarding to help him advance his skillsets,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I also enjoyed the competition aspect of it.”

Even throughout high school at Salem Academy, Carter-Lowrie remained committed to working with her horses.

“I found high school to be very academically challenging, but in a good way,” she said. “Riding my horses was a great outlet from the academics.”

As Carter-Lowrie began to look at places to attend college, wanting to stay close to her horses was a huge factor.

“I also wanted to find a school that had a strong art program,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I started at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I felt very prepared from my time at both Summit and Salem. After the first two years, I decided to transfer to Wake Forest University, where I ultimately graduated.”

During her years at Wake Forest University, Carter-Lowrie met her future husband, Al, through mutual friends.

“He was also an art major, and we met in the art studio,” Carter-Lowrie said. “We started dating after I graduated after we realized how much we had in common. Next week, we will be celebrating our 32nd anniversary.”

Carter-Lowrie was also considering next steps professionally after graduating.

“I had gained valuable experience in my teen years taking art lessons from Mary Goslen, a local artist who had a frame shop,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I had learned how to help her with printing serigraphs, too. I had really enjoyed my experience there and decided, after working in other shops, that Al and I should open up our own. We are excited to be celebrating our 25th year of being open together at Tanglewood Art. The shopping center that we are at is 27 years old, too.”

Carter-Lowrie enjoys working with a lot of regulars who frequent their shop.

“We really get to know the customers that come into our store,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I love getting to create 50 percent of the time that I am working. Our customers really appreciate the feedback that we provide for each project we take on.”

An average week includes working on pieces from a family’s collection to any art that could be found and stored at the Reynolda House or Wake Forest University.

“We get to see some really cool art,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I never take that for granted.”

They also display local artists in their store as well for purchase.

“When people ask how to pick out art, I tell them that it’s important to collect what you like,” Carter-Lowrie said. “There is really no rhyme or reason with how art goes up in value. We have some good galleries here in our state, and oftentimes, even going to auctions when people are downsizing their collection can help you find some great selections.”

If Carter-Lowrie is not creating or designing at Tanglewood Art, she is likely found at the barn with her 1,700-pound horse, Pilgrim.

“He’s a 19-year-old draft horse, which there aren’t many of those around here,” Carter-Lowrie said. “I love spending time with him and will show him once or twice a year for charity through the Horse Education and Rescue Organization (HERO). He gets a kick out of it because he loves the attention he gets since he’s so big.

“We’ve also got two rescue dogs that keep us busy and entertained. Animals have enriched my life so much, and so has having a community that has appreciated what we do.”