Week Eight of the Resistance
Clown without the laughs
Week Eight of the Resistance
Clown without the laughs
It has only been seven weeks.
Week Seven of the Resistance
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Week Six of the Resistance
The All Seeing Eye* Roll
*The All-Seeing Eye is found in many eras and cultures. It is a single eye surrounded by radiating beams of light and is generally a symbol of the watchful and protective power of the Supreme Being.
This is a stunning time and place. I couldnt even bring myself to talk about the election as it was such a moment in the time running up to the race, and then that dark night of hearing that this man who the press, pundits, pollsters, and policy wonks proclaimed definitively that "would not win the race". I was listening to every podcast around--seeking confirmation that no, Trump was in no way going to win. I was clicking on fivethirtyeight.com--looking for the data to tell me the same. There was so much confidence that someone as narcissistic and bloviating as this man is--would not con or trick the electorate into believing that he could do the job...but none of us "snowflakes" saw the mirror that Trump represented. Trump was "for" anything that the viewer saw. Want to protect your wealth? Vote for Trump! Want to take care of the "welfare moms"? Vote for Trump! Closet racist or misogynist? He speaks your language. Hateful of our first black president? Misunderstanding around health care? Want to carry your gun everywhere? Oh, yeah...Trump will bring back coal and at the same time, lighten and eliminate all structures around regulation. And his "back up band" of Bannon, Conway, Preibus, Miller and his cabinet of many misfits?
However...for each of those voters...they did not see the whole package until he ascended to the office with his weak fist bumps and spew that does not match the world we all surprisingly took for granted. And candidly, Hillary was not the person to represent the alternative viewpoint. As a Trump voter told me "Hillary already had her chance. It was time to let Trump have his chance." This is confounding...but I think this type of understanding is out there...and that the naivety and trust that many people have in leadership--is going to be challenged every day that Mr. Trump holds the reins of power.
Hillary was shrill. She had too much baggage with Bill which, though not fair--she had to bear the weight of. Hillary is a bright, hard working person but she could not compete with the con, and dazzle of the gold plated tin man and his third wife, "the model". The Dems did not organize well, did not have a compelling platform about change, and presented "more of the same" which albeit the majority wanted to continue--the electoral college presented the votes of the few to be those that swayed the election. And candidly though many talk about how Trump represents change--so did Hillary by changing the dynamic and having a country run by a woman. But that was a step too far. It is a world of change...from industry to information--from an all white ruling class to that of a multitude of race/creed/gender/ religion--and this is something that the norm is not ready to give up...thought they have no control or choice in this massive change. This vote was for that too.
And then Trump won. It was a moment, when I woke up at 3 a.m. and checked social media to see that he had taken the race. It was that sick, sick feeling that it wasnt just a regular loss like other republicans, but more a loss of innocence. It was that feeling I had on 9/11....that moment that life as we knew it, was going to irreparably change. And you know, given the last month of chaos--I have to sorrowfully say-- I was right.
To put it mildly...I have been in a funk. A deep, dark, down the bottom of the well funk that has been the end of a trail of sorrows. It was bad. Really bad. A "don't get out of bed" bad. A "eat, work, eat, sleep" life with little in the way of sparkle or shine. No laughs. Nothing to laugh about. It was a demon snowball I was stuck in the center of--rolling down the hill, frozen in the cold, singularity of self, and stuck in the heart of frigid sameness. And it was a long time coming--and equally as long a time to unfreeze out of. And I am not fully freed--but at least a little of the sun is peeking through as the time and light is working its way into my heart and head.
This was a time of fixed stares and no interest in reading, researching or drawing. This was a time of knocking on doors that never open. This was a time of silence--not the comforting silence of thought and contentment--but metallic silence of your own prison. It has been a time of reassessment, of the "new"normal. It has been a time of looking at what was real--and seeing it all anew. It has been a time of trial for me--and though I may have appeared docile, I have struggled mightily with much of my lessons--but have come to at least see them, acknowledge them and to some degree accept them--maybe not all of them with joy in my heart, but nonetheless--accept them so as to be able to move forward.
It was the solstice last night. The air was still and cracking with heat with the light lasting well toward 10 p.m. The little bugs were swarming and it would have been, if you were a fish, a feast of buzzing activity. I however, am not a bug, and it was tedious as they crawled en masse all over our glasses and plates as we attempted to have a little porch dinner to try to grab what little breeze there was out there....without much luck. It is an amazing delight, this luminary climb from the depths of December until this brilliant day mid June--brighter and brighter, lighter and lighter, more day and a little less night. More times to lighten the load and brighten your heart. Now we are on the slow decline until October, when the inky dark, long nights seep into our days--and with that crisp cold sleeping, and dark mornings with frosty windows. By then, the bugs are gone, the hummingbirds have moved on, and the dusting of snow and ice promise a long time in front of the fire.
I completed a book of poetry for a family friend--with it delivering after a day of printing and less than a week of standard shipping to everyone's delight. Nice to have that finished. Love Blurb. Love their InDesign app that makes making great publications easy. I used to be a Rah Rah Lulu books advocate, but now that I have sampled the ease and tools of Blurb--this lady is not going back.
I am working on some little houses....a collection of picture building blocks in illustrator . Kind of fun. All black and white...and pretty minimal. All inspired by primitive illustration which I adore and my midcentury illustration friends.
Time to go to the bank and be a grown up.
Here's a gumdrop for you. It's sweet. It's little. It's a treat.
As you know, I am a fan of the idea of an artist being able to "do a style" really well, and snapping it to a topic that is au courant--or nerdy. Preferably both. Remember the wonderful images created in the Lubok style by Andrey Kuznetsov? Here is his spiderman image to remind you, and a link to a great collection of images at Pagefiddler.
Good stuff? I love this. It refreshes the super hero (or any of the other topics) and brings it a whole different skew. Makes you think. And, its funny. What's not to love? Okay, one more because I am feeling jolly. This one brings Avatar to light:
So in this tradition of funny reimagining of popular culture, these Ukrainian paintings by Sergei Iukhimov are stellar examples of the fusion of Russian Orthodox iconography and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.
I am knitting these days so I am applying my basic research skills to this too. I have discovered since I laid down my needles, that the world of YouTube and Craftsy is amazing to learn new techniques (something I used to do by surrounding my self with analog learning (read, books) and making a mess. Plus, the add of searching for patterns online and the marvel of Ravelry --the community of knitters and crochet-ers-- you can see what the world is doing and "would this yarn look good as ...". It is a real time burner (a compliment).
So. recently, I learned the wonderful "long tail cast on"...a first as I have always done a knit cast on. FunFun...and such a nice edge. The other thing I am in process of learning is to knit in the continental style because it can be faster and frankly more efficient which to me makes a lot of sense. So...we will see...
Knit Picks has a great series of videos as well as Craftsy. No short of offerings...and we haven't really even jumped into the deep end.
More new to my world.
Additionally there is the amazing JimmyBeans Wool (the sales are amazing and their selection is outstanding). Service with a smile. Have not been disappointed. Another thing Jimmy Beans does is that they will ball your skeins for you for a fee which is pretty great if you do not have a swift and ball winder-or if you are the sort of person that wants to bust open the yarn box with needles ready to clack. I have always had a substandard swift that I hand wound balls from. This year, I stepped it up and have a really killer swift (from Knit Picks) and a new ball winder and am (thanks to YouTube for that education) whizzing away with making my own balls...in no time flat. A form of meditation, actually.
I have known about Webs (yarn.com) in Northampton, MA and have visited it (and love it too) but Jimmy Beans has my heart for now.
Knit Picks had some really nice fiber that they sell under their own name. Swish (worsted) is terrific, a good price and is often on sale. Plus, their needles (OMG) are a game changer..particularly the short interchangeable needle set which can let you work in very small circumferences with a very smooth, very happy and very warm wooden needle. I thought I wouldn't be as effusive about the had of these babies..but they are amazing. Get a bag for the set (or a needle case) as the case that comes with it is pretty perfunctory and will not be there for the long run. Plus, they have cute cases.... Just saying.
And the most fun, cheapest date imaginable in this world of strings and sticks is:
Discontinued Brand Name Yarn . Okay. Here's the deal. Do not judge this book by the cover. No, their website is not pretty but the deals are.
These folks buy stashes and or buy out stuff that doesn't sell...bits and pieces and resell it. So if you can track what you like and also look at the notions, needles (they recently had a few Hiya Hiya sets), or buttons...you can see some cool stuff that you might not normally see. Also, they have a sliding discounting plan (changes daily sometimes on the whole site, sometimes on a special item. I got 75% off of the marked down (30% off retail) on a mess of Cascade 220 which I am right now stashing. I have to be careful as this can be trouble. So no more buying until I knit it down...but the normal skeins of 220 worsted weight go for about $9.00 a skein. DBNY had it for $6.00 and then 75% off of that...HELLO. Right? Granted, I bought a lot of reds, washed reds and pinks...but I have lots of baby sweaters and hats to knit that 1-2 balls will do...and if there is an odd color or two, I will toss it in for mittens. Plus, if you like handpaints, there is always a ton Of Cherry Tree Hill Yarn (because DBNY is a subset of Cherry Tree Hill). So have at it...and always check the homepage for the daily discount. If you can hold..and think that your faves will be there the next day...maybe you can get a bigger discount!
Boy, do I sound like a mom or what?
This is the word for today. More "key learnings" (a word from the wild world of corporate lingo) tomorrow.
I am knitting little things. Keeping the mitts busy. You know the drill. The best thing i have found and am trying to really perfect is this: Yes, this: The knit Waldorf Crown. I had to stop gasping once I saw this...and ran to get needles and yarn just to see if my wits could lead me through this. Yes. It did. And Yes, I did...though I think a bit of more accurate blocking might really help. I also think that a really tight stitch with wool or even a heavy weight cotton might give the stitch great definition. But.... Are you kvelling or is it just me...sucker for everything?
I have tried three different patterns including knitting along with wonderful jolly Bronislava Slagle (see below) who you can knit along with her to make a crown in the round (written pattern is here>>). She also creates a pattern for you to make them on straight needles here>>Only problem, to my thinking on Bronislava Slag's crown is that see the spine or center of each of the points? see that they are not nice PSSO knit stitches like the Happy Hippo one? I think that is because its knit in the round and gets messy that way. Next Crown will be the YouTube approach with some refinements there.... But aren't these the bee's knees? I think I am going to crank out 8-10 of them and sell them (auction for MANY) as a birthday party set? What fun!
The great thing beyond its a KNITTED CROWN is that it's a tiny project therefore it's totally quick, not much yarn and can fit in your pocket. So perfection. If only I could figure out how to drive a car and knit. That would be multitasking to the enth degree...and probably more horrifying than even texting and driving.
If you are a knitter, give it a whirl. You might make yourself a Queen or King for a day.
Here we are again. Bright and fresh--delicious coffee in hand and the fan blowing. It is a lovely spring morning with my peonies at the lake in bloom and the primordial Tulip poplar shedding it's remarkable blooms. So amazing and unexpected. The sun was shining and it was misty drizzling--a delicious little surprise that the grass has delighted in. Unfortunately, the vermin deer have gobbled down all the day lily blossoms, so another year of no day lilies. I am not pleased that despite the "kill" in the village to shave our herd from over 100 dear per square mile to 8, they somehow still are devouring MY plants. Not happy.
In the cadence of the rap poet, and hate monger, Donald Trump, how would he convey these thoughts. I think Trump is a scream albeit a nightmare scream given his content--but the way he speaks and delivers a lack of idea is remarkable and worth studying. Great approach for something, I cannot figure out what--but time to put some thought into that.
It is also CSA time of the year (CSA is Community Supported Agriculture). To those not familiar, this is an opportunity to buy a share of the crops from a local farm, Sweetland Farm from early June through to November. One buys a share, goes to the farm once a week and can pick from all the veggies they have (and herbs) and fill a bag. As things roll on, there is the second bag "take as much as you want" with greens etc. along with you pick deliciousness. Flowers are part of the share, so handfuls of zinnias, cosmos etc. go home too. It is Tuesdays or Fridays--and I find the time spent at the farm, in the field so amazing and centering that I am happy its started up again. Through Sweetland, I have learned and cooked many veggies that might not have hit my basket--from kale to all sorts of little japanese turnips, kohlrabi and chard. I love the fresh seasonality and crazy stuff like you pick tomatillos that I have cooked down and turned into lovely slow cooked dinners. I have become a quick pick nut (pickles) and will pickle onions, shaved cukes, red cabbage or beets at a moments notice...and surprisingly, they are eaten very quickly and happily. Another thrill.
Here's a homerun recipe that I make every week during the summer though the limes are not "local" I look the other way as this pickle is served breakfast lunch and dinner. I am sure you can figure out what it would taste good with:
Tomorrow is day 2 of the CSA..and I wait impatiently.
Onward to work...but we will talk soon.
Okay. Enough already. The sun is shining and on a day like today, I can believe that happiness is around the corner and the possibilities have gone from zip to Huh...maybe there are some fun aspects of my life. Lets just say its a long climb out of the hole I have been in and a big dose of my dear pal, Prozac, is helping me to smell the peonies and think happy thoughts. Amen to drugs.
So much has happened. Alex Cassetti has graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Photography and won the Royal College of Art Scholarship which entitles him to a semester in England at RCA to continue post graduate studies. His work is remarkable (but I am his mom)...you make your own call>> and he is growing by leaps and bounds. Note to any parent who is worried about your child's future: do not even anticipate what the future will hold as it will be something you couldn't even imagine. Trust yourself. More importantly, trust the work you have done with your child and trust that person. It's hard. I know...but you just need to hang on and let time, maturity and the people your child connects with form the person you have raised. When we dropped Alex off at Hofstra the day one of his college experience, with his desire to be involved with music composition--there was no way that we could have even anticipated his explosion into photography, his interest in art and architecture, and his growth personally and spiritually to become the person we know today. No way. No how. And here we are. Formed by SVA. Formed by the remarkable Stephen Frailey, the sage Lyle Rexer and the generous Peter Macgill. Formed by the University Studies Program at Hofstra. These men, and so many more people have pushed and pulled our boy to think big, work hard and grab it all. And our son, the one who has to work hard for everything-- is doing just that and is so appreciative of all that his community has done for him. Stunning. And it is adding up. I cannot wait for the next chapter.
Did I mention that the graduation was at Radio City Music Hall? Well it was...and it was a lulu complete with gigantic pictures of people from the graduating class (yes, Alex was one). Uncle Miltie (Milton Glaser) was in the house and his touch was there. It was beautifully done from big projections to secondary screens, Push Pin inspired titles, and everything red/white/pink. The articulate and passionate Carrie Mae Weems spoke. There were selfies on stage. Hugs for everyone and to put a cherry on it, the organ was played and we all delighted in the festivities. It was PERFECT. It was a long day as we moved Alex out of his room/apartment the same day and drove home to Trumansburg. Rob is a saint.
Kitty is crazy busy throwing it all in at her job as a buyer at Eric Winterling working on some fabulous theatrical costume production projects I am not sure I can mention. Let's just say she is touching big big shows and getting some interesting exposure to some of the biggest costume designers out there (folks that get Tonys etc). And she is learning the business-- no magical unicorns and cups of tea. Hard work. Schlepping 4 irons and bolts of fabric. And the mechanics of the process. I cannot say how delighted I am that she is having this remarkable experience. She is also having a lot of fun with her friends--going places, doing things, dancing, experiencing NYC, doing the gallery/show thing. Another blessing. I am awed by her.
We have been to Lake Placid for the Museum Association of New York conference where I was blown away by Museum Hack (for another conversation) and by the beautiful little town of Lake Placid. It was a lovely time.
Work continues apace. Lots of very knit picky stuff. But its paying and I cannot complain. I wait for my mojo to come back with the anticipated happier Q. It will be a welcome change.
More later, my friends. Life is more interesting to me, so I have some great things to share with you beyond my dismay over the world and my disgust of Donald Trump. Later!
Nice News! The Advent Calendar has gotten two sets into the 3x3 International Illustration Show. The Goose, The Puffin, The Booby, The Shriner, and the Watch Goose will be printed in the book while the other 5 (Jaybird, Oriole, Robin, Little Decorator, Cardinal) will join them on the web as well. Twenty Five Days of Christmas and 10 get recognized is a gift and a blessing. Thanks to the judges and Charles Hively for this wonderful opportunity to share my work. Another fun reason to look forward to the Christmas Season!