Thursday, February 25, 2010

Caron's Felted Friends


No one puts life and personality into felt like our Caron Dunn. She's teaching three felting classes at Castle in the Air this March and April, all with the sweetest little characters. Take a peek at the Online Shoppe for the listings for the Nesting Bird (March 18), Easter Chick with Carriage (March 28), and Wee Baby Bunny in Carriage (April 15).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pysanky Eggs

One of the exciting new classes this spring is Elizabeth Alexander's "Pysanky - Artful Ukranian Eggs." Elizabeth is as much a treasure as any of these precious jewels, she brings such artistry and care to her work. The Ukranian style of decorating eggs involves a special stylus and a layering of colors and designs. These decorated eggs are universal symbols of the renewal that comes with spring, so we've scheduled the class just a few days after the equinox, on March 25, and a little more than a week before Easter.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Even though gnome hunting season is still more than a month away, we found a veritable passel of gnomes on our dining room table recently, courtesy of the fabulous cake master Jeff Gosche. The event was our older daughter's birthday, and she and her friends had as much fun sampling the gnomes as they did noshing on the scrumptious cake.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chinese New Year's on Fourth Street

Welcome to the Year of the Tiger! I've got a good feeling about this year, as we've got five Tigers among the Castle crew. Come out to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Fourth Street this Saturday, with storytelling, a martial arts performance, treats, banners, and of course the lion dance. Gung Hay Fat Choy!
CHINESE NEW YEAR 2010
February 20, 2010 from 12:30-5:00pm
Fourth Street at Delaware, Berkeley

12:30-1:30 Story Telling by the Tea Professor @ Teance
(age 12 yrs old and younger)

1:30-2:00 Martial Arts Demonstration on Delaware

2:30-3:00 Lion Dance Begins on Delaware

3:00-4:30 Merchant Store Blessings by Lion Procession

4:30-5:00 Lion Dance Finale on Delaware

All afternoon, merchants with a window sign reading "Gung Hay Fat Choy" will be handing out treats for kids.

Monday, February 15, 2010

And the prize goes to...


...Tumbleweed Trails! Today was the day for our One World - One Heart drawing, and when I drew Tumbleweed's comment from our hat, I was so happy to see that our copy of Commonplace Mouse would go to a grandmother who loves to read to her grandchildren. I wrote the book with my heroic younger daughter in mind, so I hope the grandchildren enjoy this story of one adventurous mouse's escapades.

Many thanks go to everyone who participated, both as giveaway hosts and as commenters. And of course, kudos to Lisa Swifka for putting on another successful and fun One World - One Heart event this year.

You know who you are.

A very happy Valentine's Day to Phoebe D., who sent Castle in the Air this lovely handmade card.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Give Me An Ink-Ling

Diamonds may be forever, but heartache is timeless, as this Valentine's card from the early 1920s shows.

Here's hoping that Bunny got her answer, and Happy Valentine's wishes to all the Billys and Bunnys of today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sea of Dreams

Earlier this week a magical boat, maybe the very one used by those famous navigators the Owl and the Pussycat, came sailing into Castle in the Air. It's the final piece to be prepared for "Prints, Charming," and it's a special vessel, as the hull of the boat used to be a whiskey barrel from St. George Spirits! Who knows how many reveries that cask has inspired in its day?

Everything is coming together to make Thursday night's reception and book signing a truly fantastic time. If you can't make it out then, you can come see the dressed prints and other art any time before the exhibit's final day of March 19.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Custom Made Love

If you've ever visited Castle in the Air, then no doubt you have been enchanted by the simple charm of Diva Pyari's Linea Carta greeting cards and sheet paper. Diva draws, calligraphs, and silkscreens all her own designs. Tomorrow (Saturday the 6th) Diva will be at Castle in the Air from 1pm-5pm making custom Valentine cards. She let us look at one such amorous note, but we couldn't peek inside because of the wonderful twine and wax seal! (It didn't seem to be addressed to us, anyway.) Come by tomorrow afternoon if you're able, and Diva will put you well on your way to making your Valentine's Day the most romantic yet.

Custom Valentines at Castle in the Air
by Diva Pyari of Linea Carta
1805 Fourth Street
Berkeley, Calif.
Saturday, February 6
1pm-5pm

Advanced Spencerian Saga

When I took my first look at the classes our teachers had assembled for this spring, I knew it would be the most fantastic season Castle in the Air's classroom had ever seen. We've got gypsies, marionettes, hedgehogs, Pysanky eggs, enchanted teapots, an octopus, and more.

At the heart of all our springtime classes, though, one course in particular stands out and is already getting quite a bit of attention.
We're proud to announce that this April 18-23, master penman Michael Sull will bring his world-renowned Advanced Spencerian Saga to Castle in the Air. Six days in length, and accommodating 24 students, the Saga is the most ambitious class we've ever hosted. Sull will be joined by longtime Castle in the Air calligraphy teacher Bill Kemp, and will go beyond the basics in Spencerian script, flourishing, and accents. Color, composition, and alphabetic combinations will also be explored.

Visit our Advanced Spencerian Saga page for more information, and to sign up just click over to the Online Shoppe.

Spring Classes Are Here!

Although the official start of spring is still over a month away, we've already got spring fever at Castle in the Air. If you do too, you'll want to take a peek at the classes lined up for this coming March through May in the Studio for the Imagination. We've posted them all to the Online Shoppe, and have also put up a PDF download (1.84 MB) of our Spring 2010 class mailer, which is at press now and will be available at the store around the end of next week. If you're on our postal mailing list, please know that after the Spring 2010 mailing, we'll only be sending out the class schedule via the Castle Crier email list. So if you haven't yet, please sign up!

One World - One Heart 2010

I'm happy to announce that Castle in the Air is participating in this year's One World - One Heart event. One World - One Heart is the creation of Lisa "Oceandreamer" Swifka. Lisa began the event in 2007 as a way for more people in the blog world to say hello to one another and share their art.

Everyone who takes part announces their participation on their blog, then posts about an item they are giving away. Visitors to each blog involved leave a comment, and at the end of the event each participant randomly selects a visitor to win their prize.

Lisa des
cribes One World - One Heart as not so much a contest but a virtual "open homes" tour with a chance to win a door prize at each stop. It really does feel that way as you click through to all the participating blogs and get to know so many people.

Last year was our first time to participate in the event. For our prize, we gave away a signed copy of Castle in the Air, the first book from Dromedary Press. Dromedary's newest book, Commonplace Mouse, was published recently, so it's a natural pick for this year's prize. Click here to see our many posts about this tale of perseverance and high adventure. One lucky winner will be sent an autographed copy.

If you'd like to enter to win the prize, all you have to do is leave a (non-anonymous) comment on this post. One World - One Heart ends on Monday, February 15, and that's the day we will draw the winner's name from a hat and announce it here.

To learn more about this event, visit the One World - One Heart blog.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Prints, Charming" is here!

Once upon a time...well, late last night, to be honest...we put the finishing touches on Prints, Charming, the new exhibit at the Castle in the Air gallery. Because this is our second show, we had the luxury of being used to the gallery space and how to put up the art. We do have some rather unique pieces this time, however, including a ten-foot long framed print, several portraits only a few inches wide, and books (glorious books!) from the Dromedary Press line.

I've been living with some of the original images from the show for many years, some for just a number of months. Now that they are all dressed and gathered together, they all seem fresh and new and as though they are all part of the same family, which of course they are--princesses, magical animals, and my hero, Commonplace Mouse, who has been immortalized in time for the show not only in print through Dromedary but also in doll form by Caron Dunn!

Welcome to February!

Today kicks off a momentous month at Castle in the Air, as this morning we unveiled our new gallery show and this afternoon we took our spring class mailer to press. Both the gallery exhibit and the upcoming classes are spectacular (if we do say so ourselves!), but don't take our word for it. Come on by the shop and see for yourself. You can pick up one of our whimsical new monthly calendar trade cards, too, the first in a series featuring a junior French chef who will be getting into all sorts of trouble over the coming months.