Monday, March 26, 2012

Castle in the Air

The day after the Hallowe'en and Vine show last September, Amelia Schaefer, Tracy Dombroski, Lori Rudolph, and myself stopped of at Berkley on our way to San Francisco. We were window shopping but also were looking for supplies for future work. Everyone asked if I minded going to "Castle in the Air". I had never heard of it but said not to worry I would go where ever everyone else went.

I am so glad that I was taken there! This charming window display greeted us as we entered the store.

Just to warn you, this is going to be a long blog post. There was so much to look at and so much to photograph that it was hard to cut out excess photos.

The first thing that you see when you enter the store is this antique shelving unit filled with German toys.

They have pens, inks, calligraphy books...

and sealing wax in a rainbow of colours!

There is German crepe paper in a dizzying array of colours. Those bundles wrapped in gold ribbon are antique crepe paper streamers. The streamers are 3" and 5" wide, I think, with a 1/4" gold paper band sewn along the centre. I covet those I will confess. They are not inexpensive but I still would love them, so instead I will use them as inspiration for my work.

You can take a course on how to make faux candy.

Their card display was decorated with giant gold card Dresden trim, those lovely antique garlands, Giant handmade crepe paper flowers, and vintage silk lanterns.

 Here is a close-up of the central part of the display, I love it!

Everywhere you look is something else to purchase or use for inspiration. I had next to no room in my luggage or I would have bought some wonderful goodies

The store presentation of the merchandise is top notch.

There is enough cotton batting fruit from Germany to fill a faux fruit stall. Up in behind the glass canisters of fruit is more of the card Dresden trim from Germany.

That bird mask is wonderful but I want a pair or two of those wings!

Vintage millenary flowers, feathers, and cotton fruit from Germany for sale.

There are skeins and rolls of East Indian ribbon to entice you.

In behind the cash desk are handmade crepe paper roses...

vintage blown glass bead and floral crowns, fairy lamps, and many other delightful handmade curios.

Upstairs in the gallery are samples of work done by instructors of some of the classes. This botanical study is about 3' high and is made from the German crepe paper the shop sells.

Here is another botanical study.

All of these birds under the glass domes on the table are referred to as Vegan taxidermy, they are created with the same German crepe paper as is used to make flowers.

Ornate antique Mardi Gras style jewelry created from German Dresden scraps, beads, and chains.

A santos figure with a seaside theme.

This vignette of a shepherd and his sheep under a glass dome looks like it has been caught in time.

When you reach the top of the stairs to the gallery and turn to face the street there is this lovely huge carved lion facing you.

On the wall that leads up to the gallery are examples of marionettes and theatre vignettes.

Castle in the Air is located in Berkeley, California at 1805 4th Street.

Friday, March 16, 2012

3D portrait update.

I have been working on the three vintage Italian metal oval frames. Here is a look at how I create the shadow box sides for the oval frames.

The side of the frame is built up with a piece of heavy plastic and then masking taped to the vintage metal frame.

Fortunately the other frames are all the same size so I can place the second frame around the other edge of the plastic. This holds the plastic form in a perfect oval front side and back side.

I then used light weight card soaked in water and then wrapped around the plastic form and glued in place. Four layers were glued around the form to build up the thickness of the inside lip of the metal frame. Once the thickness was built up I then glued two more layers of card around the frame that covered the metal lip.

The plastic form has been removed from the inside of the glued card. The card is then placed back on the frame to allow it to thoroughly dry.

Once the card is dry I drill holes through the card and the metal lip. Each card wall was sewn onto the metal frame. I do this with all of the metal frames so that there will be no problem with the card separating from the frame.

After the frames have been sewn with the wire I then glued two more layers of light weight card to the inside of the frame. These layers hide the wire on the inside as well as providing a smooth surface to work on.

The walls are about 1/4" thick. I am able screw through them in order to hold any wooden armatures in place.

The following three antique images that I came across have been a bit of an inspiration for the 3D portraits.
  



This last image is a movie still from a vintage French film. The set and props are very intriguing. It is interesting where inspiration comes from. It gets tossed together and then out comes something different.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Magic Shop.

In January I was trying to come up with a general theme for this year. Nothing was particularly exciting. 

Then I came across this image of a display of merchandise designed by Wendy Addison. It wasn't the display that caught my attention but the black banner that has the words "MAGIC SHOP" on it. That was it. I love magicians and have done pieces featuring the Man-in-the-Moon and various veggie guys before performing magic tricks. Thank-you Wendy!

I poured through my wonderful book on the history of magic.

I picked up this book about American artist and designer Tony Duquette at HomeSense for a fraction of the retail price. His design style was totally over the top. He designed interiors, jewelry, costumes, as well as movie and stage sets. There is another book out about him called "More is More". The title of that book sums up his design style perfectly and I couldn't agree more myself. A definite influence on the shop interior.

 The Sunday after the Hallowe'en and Vine show we went to Berkley and visited "Castle in the Air". What a wonderful shop! I will do a blog post soon about "Castle in the Air" very soon. They have an amazing selection of Dresden trims, I didn't buy any because I have a large stock of my own on hand and haven't thought of using them due to "tunnel-vision" on my part.

Inspiration was all around me. The store itself is decorated with giant Dresden trim that is also available to purchase.

I searched out images of old shops and came across this picture of a grocery store in Victoria. I liked the counter.

"The Magic Shop"

 Now that all of my inspiration preamble is over here it is, "The Magic Shop". The frame is 13" wide and 20" high. The shop is 5 1/2" deep. The magic shop salesman demonstrating the trick projects out of the frame making the entire depth of the piece 8". It can sit on a shelf or hang on the wall.

I have to show you the ceiling. I collect all kinds of things to use in the sculptures. This last Christmas we bought some chocolate Christmas decorations to hang on everyone's stockings. I kept as many of the foils that covered each chocolate ornament as I could get my hands on. They became the ceiling in this wonderful little shop. I would love to design a full scale store like this.

I must get back to work. I have three large oval frames that I am working on.
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