Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sinfonia d'Autunno

The preview is over and it is time to reveal the next gallery show at Castle in the Air. We are delighted to begin the gallery's second year with "Sinfonia d'Autunno," an exhibit from one of the shop's most beloved artists -- Mariaelisa Leboroni.

Fans of Mariaelisa's will instantly recognize her colorful woodblock printing style, and they and newcomers alike will be tickled to see how she has applied it to these 18 fabric prints, embellishing each piece with jewelry, shells, and charms.

We hope you'll stop by the evening of Thursday, October 21, when Mariaelisa herself will be joining us for the gallery reception. If you're unable to make it then, please come by any time between October 1 and November 15 to see these witty, whimsic
al works of art.

Sinfonia d'Autunno
The Woodblock World of Mariaelisa Leboroni
October 1 through November 15, 2

Gallery open 11 a.m. - 6 p.m
. every day

Meet Mariaelisa L
eboroni at the reception
Thursday, October 21, 6 p.m.

Castle i
n the Air
1805 Fourth Str
Berkeley, Calif. 94710
Read the full invitation and press release.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Practice: Paging the Muse

We've all heard the call of the muse. Sometimes it sings to us as we sleep, bringing us flashes of inspiration in dreams. Other times it happens at the most random of times and places -- doesn't my muse know that I don't have a sketchbook at the ready when I'm driving across the Bay Bridge? When the muse calls, it is our duty as artists to listen, to take dictation, as it were. Great works of art can grow from these brilliant seeds.

But if artists always waited for inspiration to strike, the world of paintings, music, and literature would be a much poorer place for it. Equally important is taking time to sit down and practice our art, muse or no muse. When we do this, we aren't counting on any outside force to give us something that we're perfectly capable of creating ourselves. Some days we might feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain, but unlike his labors, ours will never be in vain.

Believe it or not, I didn't get to this realization through painting (my first artistic love), but through practicing my bandoneon. Going from an abject beginner to someone who can now read music, carry a tune, and play with other musicians -- all through practice -- has been a true revelation, one that I'm finally mature enough to appreciate.

How have you dealt with inspiration and practice in your own artistic life?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Who are you?

Autumn is here, and we've been hanging masks around the shop in preparation for the fall season of costume balls, masquerades, trick-or-treating, and other occasions where one might want to try out being someone else.

It has me thinking about what it means
to don a mask. Each day when we get dressed, we put on an arrangement of clothing and accessories that presents a persona to the world. Our everyday dress might be fancy, understated, or outlandish, according to the standards of the people around us.

Dressing for special occasions, though, l
ets us step outside of the range of expression we usually set for ourselves. Many of my friends love to go to costume parties and other "dress up" events. Others strictly will not go, or won't change anything about their appearance if they do attend.

Sometimes a mask can hide one's identity, covering
up who that person really is. At other times it can reveal the person's true face. Halloween and the holiday season that follows are times when the rules are jumbled. Maybe it's time you experimented outside your normal range -- whatever it is -- and find out what it feels like to try on a brand new face, even just for an evening.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Find a Way or Make One

As an artist and a business owner, I'm always interested in seeing how the two practices overlap. Here is a diagram from the 1912 book Salesmanship and Business Efficiency, by James Samuel Knox, that is useful for most decision-making in life, be it for business, art, or anything else. It reads:

1. Have a definite aim in life.
2. Fortify yourself by a burning, conquering determination to reach your goal.
3. Know that the things you wish to achieve are legitimate, practical, and truly desirable.
4. Organize your mental forces.
5. Find a way or make one.

Makes sense to me. Perseverando!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Inspired Illumination

We love getting the chance to see what our customers do with the crafting materials they buy from Castle in the Air. Here's a photograph from Jeanne B., who used some of our Florist Crepe Paper to create giant flowers that hovered beneath lamps at a recent wedding. Thank you for the beautiful picture, Jeanne!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Anybody's Home?

Building regulations are particularly strict in Berkeley, but even though we're using some unconventional materials and methods we're sure the authorities will be charmed with the little house being constructed in the upstairs studio at Castle in the Air. It's a work in progress at the moment, so here are just a few architectural details for your enjoyment. We'll post pictures of the finished house (and reveal its inhabitant) soon!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello, September!

Can it really already be September? In Berkeley, we were just getting used to the summer weather, which began only about a week ago. No fair!

It's another banner month at Castle in the Air. Our fall classes begin on the 11th, with Alice Armstrong's popular Beeswax Collage. There are only a few seats left, so any busy bees ready to cut it up can save a seat (or a spot on the wait list) by calling the shop at (510)204-9801.

The gallery is open again after a brief summer vacation. We're previewing "Sinfonia d'Autunno," an exhibit of fine art from the woodblock printing workshop of Mariaelisa Leboroni. The preview, up through the end of September, features 21 framed pieces from Mariaelisa's line of handmade prints. Come by to get a sneak peek into her magical and mysterious world.