When I first opened my store, I made a real effort to make it a place for artists who didn't want to be boxed in. I sold art supplies, but I didn't carry any finished products made from them. I was busy defining myself as a person and as an artist, and I wanted to leave other people the freedom to do the same thing for themselves.
It didn't take long before I realized that people don't mind a little nudge when it comes to what to do with a blank canvas. Like any artist, I'm often intimidated by all the possibilities that could come from the raw materials of the artistic life. The artists who visit Castle in the Air are no exception. We all need inspiration when our own wellspring isn't flowing as fast as we'd like. So, bit by bit, the store became a place where artists were free to pick up their art supplies and as much or as little direction as to what to do with them. Some people take our classes to make an amazing creation just like the sample they see in the display case, others are happy to pick up some new techniques and take it from there with their own ideas. Everyone comes to Castle in the Air with a different idea of what they want to take away, and I don't think many people go away disappointed.
Downstairs the busy shop is filled with people and papers and pens and books and inks and paints and dolls and decorations and baubles and blotters and whatsits. Upstairs it's empty. I like it. It feels like the right time for a blank canvas, a new start. These white walls are a place to dream. They hold the potential for all kinds of new inspiration. We know a little bit about how we want to continue, to make our loft into something new, but nothing's yet set in stone. Whatever happens with these walls, it will speak to the imagination in each of us, about our work and our lives as artists. It will be its own creation, and just as it was when the store first began, this is another chance to start afresh.