You have heard, perhaps, of the sweet and whimsical little store in Berkeley called Castle in the Air. I first heard of it years ago when my friend Kristin took a class there on altered books. She told me I needed to see this place, so I met her there and was immediately enchanted. Giant gnome villages, paper theaters, a mermaid's grotto...It was like stepping inside a fairy tale. I have since stalked Castle's class catalogues, knowing that one day I would take not one, but many classes there, pouring through the class descriptions, biding my time. Willing it into existence. Then a few months ago, I left a comment on their blog, and won a spot in a class! My first Castle class. The first of many. Because this is the one that got that old ball rolling.
The class I got to take was taught by John McRae, and it was all about making party hats out of crepe paper. I am ashamed to say that, although I arrived in Berkley 2 hours before the class was to start, I was a half hour late to class because I wrote the time down wrong. No matter, John brought me up to date and got me started on my first hat.
Okay, so if I'd taken this picture at the Castle, there would be glitter and dresden trim in the background, not hair gel and deodorant and dog shampoo. Try to ignore that, if you please. I picked out the colors and made the wave shape, but it was John who suggested the dresden fish and crepe seaweed. He was a generous and lovely teacher.
The women in the class were sweet and helpful too. I have noticed this every time I've taken any kind of art or crafty class. Here are some of their hats.
I would have loved to have taken more pictures at the Castle, but as I said, I arrived late and never had the chance to ask if that was okay. I do have my eye on the next class I want to take!
Thanks to John McRae and Castle in the Air. It was a magical experience.