Friday, May 27, 2011

The Paper Conservatory

For our final gallery show of the spring, Castle in the Air has gathered a flock of the most stunning birds and delicate plants you'll see anywhere. In fact, you won't find another example of several of these beauties anywhere else, as they are extinct or endangered by the shortsighted actions of mankind.

What they've all got in common, though, is that they are all the creation of Berkeley artist Aimee Baldwin, a sculptor with a scientist's eye and a conservationist's heart. We're proud to display her collection of these legendary creatures and rare plants to show you how Aimee is pushing the artistic boundaries of the crepe paper and other sculptural materials she uses, and we can't give enough support to her reminder of Nature's fragility. Please come see the works and say hello at the opening reception for "The Paper Conservatory" on Thursday, June 9.

The Paper Conservatory
Plumage & Petals by Aimee Baldwin
June 1 through July 15

Gallery open 11 am - 6 pm every day

Reception with Light Refreshments
Thursday, June 9, 6 - 9 pm

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

Read the full invitation and press release.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Great Work

Something that came into focus for me at Maker Faire and that I haven't been able to stop thinking about this week is that there is something actually spiritual about the creative process and in making things. This doesn't have anything to do with religion but something that's more fundamentally human.

It could be weaving, sewing, jewelry-making...but what made me start to think about this was our paper model kits, which start in two dimensions and are given a third b
y the builder. To do so, that person must see what they have, visualize what it can be, and use a variety of physical skills and tools to get there. Like all creative processes, it's an alchemical act -- it's about flux, change. In a way, the paper models are more than just a flat submarine or mill or cottage that you turn into a 3D one. They are a model of the decision-making process we engage in throughout life.

And I believe there's something especially fulfilling about doing this kind of work -- through crafting -- at this point in history. Three-dimensional work has become less of a necessity than it used to be. It's more of a novelty today. Of course th
ere's plenty of novelty at the Maker Faire, and that's the place where you can see people take this idea to the furthest reaches of the imagination. But the work doesn't have to be bizarre or utterly esoteric. It can be quite simple and still be fulfilling, because creative work isn't just fun, it's fundamental. It's vital to who we are, and that's why every time we're reminded of this we feel like we're coming home.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Castle in the Air at Maker Faire

Over the weekend Castle in the Air went on a fantastic journey to San Mateo, where we participated in this year's Maker Faire. Our theme was paper crafts, and the entire Castle crew pitched in to dream up an amazing booth and fill the van all the way to the top with crepe paper, our new French paper models, vintage ephemera, paper theatres, Dresden trim, and other treasures, along with several finished pieces to show our visitors what can be done with it all.

Crepe paper artist Aimee Baldwin and I greeted countless people at the booth over the two days at Maker Faire (big thanks to Anandamayi Arnold for help
ing with this on Saturday). Aimee, who teaches crepe paper flower making at Castle in the Air, demonstrated how to make the flowers to our booth's visitors. She is a thoroughly accomplished artist and has spent the past few years perfecting her latest passion -- life-sized replicas of extinct and endangered birds made with crepe paper from Castle in the Air. Her works are flat-out amazing and she received no end of admiration and questions from the thrilled passers-by. For those who weren't able to see Aimee's birds at Maker Faire (or if you were there and want to see more), watch this space for an exciting announcement in the next few days.
Our paper model of a "Bateau Sous-Marin," an early military submarine, was another favorite with the crowd. We sold through our stock of this particular paper model within the first hour. Thankfully we had brought several more types from our 300+ style collection to choose from!

I only got a very brief chance to wander away and see a bit more of the exhibits, but even taking in just a glimpse gave me such heart and hope for the human race. We are a curious species, full of enthusiasm for trying, building, and doing, wor
king in so many different ways to make our dreams a reality. At Maker Faire we can be reminded of all this, and also that it's okay to wear this imagination and excitement proudly on our sleeve.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Prince Who?

Is it just me, or did the royal wedding last week catch you off guard, too? On the day of the event, a friend of mine mentioned how happy he was for Harry and Ginny. It made me stop and think -- I thought Prince Harry married someone named Catherine? My friend gave me a sly grin when I asked him this, and soon another friend set me straight. Yes, of course the princess' name is Catherine, not Ginny, and the prince in question is not Harry but his brother William, and I was thinking of some other famous couple, in some other far-off land.

It just goes to show what sort of fantasy world I've been living in this spring. But happily, my fantasy world includes the little prince in this picture, all dressed up by John McRae. As he doesn't have a name and is too young, and frankly too cute to get married just yet, I don't think I'll be putting my foot in my mouth again any time soon. And of course I wish the best to the happy young couple, whatever their names may be!