Thursday, July 28, 2011

Autumn Classes

Autumn classes at Castle in the Air begin September 10, and seats are already starting to fill. Here are samples from seven classes in the autumn lineup. Pictured top to bottom: Dresden Wearable Jewelry, Best of Altered Books, Black Letter Variation, Vintage Botanical Plate, Designing Your Own Font, Miniature Food, and Needlefelted Book.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Origins of Copperplate

Castle in the Air calligraphers are familiar with Copperplate, the script most widely recognized for its use in 18th-century documents as varied as personal correspondence and the Declaration of Independence.

What isn't as well known is how this iconic script was developed. Most histories of calligraphy leap over nearly a century of artistic development leading up to Copperplate's era.

In this evening seminar, calligraphic historian Dave Goggin, founder of the San Francisco Pointed Pen Calligraphy Club, will reveal some of the rich variety and beauty of writing styles and flourishing of the "proto-Copperplate" era, circa 1620-1710. His illustrated lecture will include a number of "lost" variations on Copperplate, Blackletter, Dutch, and Italic, and will also show examples of single-line flourishing and the artistry and precision of "spring'd letters." Methods for rejuvenating these long-lost scripts into present-day practice will also be discussed.

Scheduled to complement master calligrapher Bill Kemp's two-day Copperplate workshop at Castle in the Air--the Bay Area's premier supplier of pointed pen books and supplies--this presentation will be held in the shop's upstairs gallery.

Origins of Copperplate
An Illustrated Presentation by Dave Goggin

Saturday, August 13
6:30 p.m.

Castle in the Air
1805 Fourth Street
Berkeley, Calif. 94710

This event is free and open to the public.
For further information, please call Clint Marsh at (510)204-9801.
Facebook Event Page

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Balloon Seller

"Who will buy this wonderful morning?
Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon,
and put it in a box for me?"

We've often written of the beautiful work that paper artist Anandamayi Arnold does for others--the classes she teaches at Castle in the Air or the surprise balls she makes for The Tail of the Yak--but last month she unveiled a project she'd done solely for herself.

Anandamayi was part of The Cries of San Francisco, an event which brought more than sixty artists out from their studios and into the streets of San Francisco, where each of them took on the role of a historic street vendor. Of course, everyone who participated did so with a great deal of artistic license, and the result was a madcap spectacle. We met an insect-antennae headdress seller, a composer of love poems and letters of recommendation, a weaver giving away crowns made from gleaned olive branches, and dozens of other wonder-workers.

For her part, Anandamayi portrayed The Balloon Seller, dressing herself in 18th century garb made entirely of crepe paper, from the top of her bonnet to the tips of her shoes. She sold miniature flying balloons inflated from a helium-tank goat of her own design, and also offered paper aeronauts to pilot the balloons and pamphlets on the French ballooning craze of 1783.

It's not in Anandamayi's nature to make anything that doesn't raise everyone's spirits with its beauty and simple perfection, but The Balloon Seller really made our spirit soar because out of all of Anandamayi's art, this project was so joyous and over the top. Three cheers for flights of fancy come to life!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"The Paper Conservatory" on Berkeley Patch

Tremendous thanks goes out to photographer J.J. Barrow for her album of photographs from The Paper Conservatory. Visit the Berkeley Patch website to see them all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Visitor from the Green Vase

We had a special surprise visitor this morning at the shop--stylist Jo Donohoe of The Green Vase. When we'd last spoken with Jo a few months ago, she was swimming in a sea of Castle in the Air crepe paper, working with her dedicated team to create hundreds of paper hibiscus flowers for display in Ann Taylor windows across the country. We're so happy watching all the success Jo and friends are having. Here are a few pictures of the project, courtesy of The Green Vase blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011


We were charmed to receive recently a virtual album of photographs from longtime Castle in the Air visitor Philip H. Over the ten years we've been in business, Philip has lovingly documented our displays with his digital camera, then worked his computer magic on the photos in the most artistic ways. Browsing through the collection of pictures he gave us took me on a trip down memory lane (one of my favorite journeys).