Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Crafts from Martha Stewart

We always have a good time at the shop in the weeks leading up to Easter. The holiday is about the return of life after the last chilly gasps of winter, so we festoon the store with garlands and bright colors.
This year's Easter season has been especially happy, though, thanks to some attention from Martha Stewart and her tireless staff of crafters. The Martha Stewart website has featured four seasonal projects using Castle in the Air's crepe paper and papier-mache boxes.
If you'd like to try your hand at making these paper flowers and decorated Easter eggs, click over to the Martha Stewart website for instructions and templates:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Laurie Cinotto’s “Making Paper Flowers”

We’ve been watching the career of artist and decorator Laurie Cinotto for a few years, and so were thrilled to learn that she’s brought her passion to the bookshelves with the publication of Making Paper Flowers, a book and kit teaching foundational skills in this resurgent art form.

There is truly a renaissance going on with paper flower making, and we often are asked by newcomers to the craft where to find books on how to get started. Before, one would have had to dig up copies of crafting books from the 1950s or even the 1920s to learn the techniques Laurie lays out here, straightforwardly and with step-by-step photographs. These instructions—along with the selection of templates for petals, leaves, and other parts—easily make the kit worth picking up if you’re ready to learn paper flower making.

The projects in the book feature page after page of pictures of our beautiful, photogenic crepe paper. We would recommend that anyone trying the projects use paper from Castle in the Air’s stock, like Laurie did, and to use glued strips of it instead of florist’s tape for a great finish on the wire stems.

Congratulations to Laurie on this milestone in her career. The publisher, Sterling Innovation, has offered to send a free copy of Making Paper Flowers to one of our blog readers, so if you’d like to be entered in the May 1st drawing, just reply to this post with a (non-anonymous) comment.

Celebrating Easter with Martha

We're excited to share with you the news that Castle in the Air products will be on Martha Stewart's Hallmark Channel television show not once but twice next week!

On Monday the 11th, Martha and Morgan Levine will be crafting flowers from crepe paper from Castle in the Air.
We have a special place in our heart for Morgan, because she was the one who brought our crepe paper into the public eye via Martha's show a few years ago.

Then on Thursday the 14th, our papier-mache egg forms will have a star turn on the Martha Stewart Easter special. We shipped Martha's crew a few heavy crates full of the egg forms last month, along with some of our Dresden trim, and we can't wait to see what they've come up with for beautiful ways to decorate them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Suitable Chimera

Spring has arrived and the animals have emerged from their hidey-holes and taken over the gallery at Castle in the Air. Classically trained in watercolor, oils, and Chinese brush painting, Santa Rosa artist Sharon Eisley has transformed our upstairs into a jolly menagerie.

Wanting to give traditional portraiture a twist, Eisley started swapping out the heads of her subjects with those of animals a few years ago. More recently, she's taken to repainting well-known works so that they now feature her "animeople" (that's "anim(al)-(p)eople"). They're lovely and wry and so much fun. I hope you can join us for the reception the night of Thursday, April 14.

A Suitable Chimera
The Animeople Portraits of Sharon Eisley
April 1 through May 15

Gallery open 11 am - 6 pm every day

Reception with Light Refreshments
Thursday, April 14, 6 - 9 pm

Castle in the Air
1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94710
(510) 204-9801

Read the full invitation and press release.

Summer Classes Are Here!

Extra! Extra! Summer classes are here! We've got 29 great workshops lined up for June, July, and August in the Studio for the Imagination, including a fantastic bookbinding series (the classes can be taken together or separately) by Alice Armstrong and a special four-date course with Chancery cursive instructor Paul Veres.

Of course, there are also classes in paper flowers, book arts and rubber stamping, vintage-inspired crafts, shadowboxes, and the popular reliquaries and soldered charms courses. We've also added new categories in costuming, paper theatres, and puppets. I haven't yet decided which classes I'll be taking, but you can join me for hours of fun and learning when I teach Czech marionette assembly and decoration for grown-ups (June 8) and children (August 17).

We had fun putting together this edition of the paper class schedule, designing and printing it like a good old-fashioned newspaper, and invite you to come by and pick one up or download it in PDF form here (516K). And you can always see which classes are available by visiting the Castle Classes page at the Castle in the Air Online Shoppe.