Monday, November 29, 2010

Roll Up! Roll Up! Spring Classes Are Here!

We had such wonderful fun planning and making our upstairs display of theatres, puppets, and masks that we thought we'd extend the theme to our schedule of Castle in the Air spring classes -- out three months earlier than usual! The Mr. Punch Man is banging his drum to spread the news. All the classes are listed at the Online Shoppe, and most of the samples are already here and photographed for display there as well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Grand Transformation

Tonight I am sitting by a cozy fire, listening to a rainstorm that is bright with lightning and thunder, and wondering at the magic of the day. Today is one of those days when it is easy to believe in real magic.
This morning I was at the shop during those precious minutes just before sunrise when the night sky turns a luminous blue and everything is quiet. A muffled patter, echos of tiny footsteps scampering into shadows, interrupts the silence and then is gone. I am grateful for the little gnomes that are our helpers, for this is the spectacle that they brought:
It is my great hope to capture a real gnome on film one of these days - maybe next year. In the meantime I will enjoy this real magic.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Delivery from Another World

We were beside ourselves with excitement the other day when box after box arrived bearing strange and wonderful markings. It must be another shipment of inks, sealing wax, and other treasures from our friends at Abraxas!

I fell in love with Abraxas during the ten years I spent painting with nothing but inks. After trying as many different brands as I could find, I decided that the
irs were the ultimate. Abraxas' palette spans an unrivaled spectrum of colors. I loved the effects I could get from them. The Carbonite ink from the Artist's Line, for example, begins as a grey color but, with the addition of water separates into a slate blue and an orange. Some of the inks are made from natural materials such as flowers, herbs, and minerals. Incredible!
That kind of alchemy isn't the only parallel one can draw between Abraxas and medieval magic. Just look at the above photographs of their workshop they sent along with the shipment. More than an
y other place, Abraxas epitomizes the type of artist-run shop and business we aspire to be at Castle in th
e Air -- ancient apothecary bottles full of pigment lining the walls, all the labels applied by hand -- and always with a cup of tea nearby! It's clear that the people at Abraxas are living the dream, and I for one couldn't imagine a more perfect place, or more perfect products.

The love and attention to detail Abraxas puts into their products extends to their packing as well, like these beautiful identification charts for the sealing wax and inks. If you're ready to dive into the amazing world of Abraxas, come see us at Castle in the Air or check out our freshly restocked sealing wax and ink selections at the Online Shoppe.

Happy Gnomevember!

The month between Halloween and the cracking open of the first door on our Advent calendars is known at Castle in the Air as Gnomevember. It's a month of paradoxes, one where we tease the gnomes as much as they tease us, even though now is the time of year when we need their help most of all.

So last night everyone at the shop shared a table with the gnomes (and some candy and cookies -- remnants of our Halloween hauls) to map out the terrain between now and the end of the year. Even if you haven't yet begun to think about the holidays, they've been foremost in our minds for several weeks now, and they were our main topic of discussion and planning.

Without giving away many details now, I can tell you that we and the gnomes are ready to bring you another over the top holiday extravaganza, complete with two floors of treasures and more Christmas trees than we've ever had before. The last of our wonders from around the world are speeding toward Castle in the Air, and when you don't see one of us in the shop, rest assured that we are tucked just behind a curtain somewhere, sorting all of the marvels that will be on display. By Saturday, November 20, Castle in the Air will be transformed into a winter wonderland, and we hope you'll come in between then and the end of the year to take it all in.

Last night's meeting helped me to realize that much of my own preparations for the holidays will be taking place in the Castle in the Air classroom. I'm planning to attend several classes in the coming days, in order to make gifts to give to friends. My older daughter is begging to come along to a few of the classes, too. Be sure to check our class offerings to see that you don't miss out on your chance to make one or more of the beautiful projects taught by our amazing teachers.