Sunday, December 12, 2010

Childhood Castles

     When I was a child I loved fairy tales and castles.  Oh, to be Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel!  Castles were beautiful, magical places.
     While a freshman in college I decorated my dorm room wall with a poster of the castle Neuschwanstein in Germany.  It exemplified my childhood notion of what a castle should be.  I imagined playing my violin in a high turret.
      As I aged I learned more about castles and decided my childhood dream was just that.  A real castle would be a large, cold, drafty place and probably very lonely.  And no knights in shining armor...no princes.
      I did have one castle in my life, though.  It was a small, one story white building in the rear of my grandparents' backyard.  The Castle, the name of my Aunt Peggy's art studio, was a castle of possibilities.  Aunt Peggy was a painter, sculptor, silversmith, and potter....and probably more I have forgotten about.  Her castle evolved by growing  turrets of imaginary creations.  Below was space to study, sketch and create.  There was bagged clay on the floor near a potter's wheel, a kiln for firing pots and jewelry, cabinets and shelves of painting supplies, a wall of silversmith tools, drawers of gems and polished stones, and bookcases of ideas in print.  Long built-in seats covered with bright cushions lined two walls and oil paintings hung above. It was a cheerful, happy place full of light, color and whimsy.  It smelled of clay and paint. 
     Whenever my sister and I visited we went to The Castle with my aunt.  I loved it.  We usually painted or drew, but sometimes we tried other things.  One summer my aunt taught us how to do copper enameling and we each made jewelry with her help.  It was fun just to go through her books, look at the supplies (such as a hunk of amethyst I remember), play with clay, or watch my aunt.
     My interest turned to music, but thanks to her I appreciated any art work my children created at home or made at school.  I especially loved their drawings.  All enjoyed drawing and did it well.  I marveled at their work (it is hard work for me).
     My aunt passed away many years ago, before the birth of my firstborn.  I sometimes think of her and how much my boys and she would have enjoyed each other had she lived longer.  Oh, what a wonderful heritage I have!

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.