So many hidden talents were discovered during the pandemic, while everyone was hunkered down at home. After making her quota of puzzles, Nola Borel tried her hand at painting and discovered her inner artist. “I had never painted before,” admits Borel, who quickly accelerated to painting pet portraits in 2021, and then took a long pause from it only to come back stronger than ever last Christmas. Inspired by pelicans, she picked up her brush again to paint the state bird on wood, piquing the interest of family and friends looking for unique Christmas gifts. A couple months later, she was asked to paint a fleur-de-lis onto two white pillow cases intended for a gift. It was a medium she’d never considered, but one that gave her an idea that she ran with. Since starting NCB Art Links this April, her collection includes painted throw pillows, towels, and wooden paintings.

Nola became involved with the Delcambre Seafood & Farmers Market in May after a friend recommended that she participate. Her booth is one that commands a long slow gander of each of the 12 designs: a hummingbird, alligator, oysters, crawfish, an unexpected frog, a brim fish, magnolia – her newest design – and her most popular crab, pelicans, shrimp and the fleur-de-lis (which she says sells anywhere she goes.) “I first got the request for the shrimp, crawfish, and alligator when I started going to the Delcambre market,” notes Borel.

A former school teacher who still works in the school system, Nola turns out artwork in the evenings and on weekends in the dining room of her Broussard home. Talking about her process she explains, “Once I paint a design, I take a picture of it, and that’s converted into a digital image. Through a process called sublimation, the image is dyed onto the pillow, allowing for good color penetration.” Available in 12” x 20” lumbar and 18” x 18” sizes, the pillows are made of a soft polyester blend that have a rich, linen look. “Polyester makes the sublimination process work best, keeping colors vivid,” Nola explains. “You can put them outdoor as well as indoor; I ’ve had mine on my front porch for some time now, and they have not faded.” A great gift or addition to your home décor, the stuffed pillows sell for $30, or you can purchase the painted pillow case alone for $25.

It’s hard to leave the NCB Art Links booth without, at least, one of Nola’s tea towels, available in the same images as the pillows and priced at just $12. Made of a polyester, waffle weave fabric with a deceivingly soft cotton touch, the towels can hold up in the kitchen, while some can be just as lovely in a guest bathroom. “I wanted a towel that I’d actually use in my home; I’ve been using them every day for five months, and they have not faded,” she assures. Pointing out a couple of gift ideas she says, “One lady wrapped a towel around a bottle of wine that she was gifting someone.  Another customer said she wanted towels that represented the four seafood seasons: crab, crawfish, shrimp, and oyster.”

In her latest works, Nola has cleverly designed a group of wooden paintings with handles that they can be can be flipped and converted into trays.

Expect to hear more about NCB Art as Nola attends more crafts shows like the recent Junior League Tinsel and Treasures show. Most notably, NCB Art Links will be participating in the prestigious Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs, MS on November 4th and 5th. Out of 2,000 applicants Nola’s was one of just over 380 accepted.

Already preparing for the Delcambre Market’s Christmas event in December she says, “I love the atmosphere that I feel at the Delcambre Market. I love the customers; they’re so encouraging and give me suggestions on what to paint. Plus, I buy something every time I’m there. It’s a lot of fun.”