Mid Century Furnace: Stoked

I had the fortune to attend a morning of the Pyrex Seminar at the Corning Museum of Glass as Rob moderated a session with the former Director of Design and some of his team from the old days of Corning Consumer Products. It truly was a climb into my way back machine--seeing and hearing about a time in my own history with Corning Glass Works and the men and women that worked on the same campus as me, creating American design classics, such as the Pyrex measuring cup--that we all take for granted--that those elements that our mother's used to bring us breakfast, lunch and dinner--that became ingrained in the musings we have of that time and place. And through these elements, these hard working mixing bowls and casserole dishes folded into the texture of our childhood--they have a space in our personal palettes and perceptions. For me, there was more. There was a lookback for me from the impatient twenty something designer wanting everything to be just so, and not understanding the culture that this design work happened in. Every product for Corning had to be a "hit"--so the data they gathered from the test kitchens, the consumer testing areas, and the knowledge of the incredibly shifting markets at the time (the advent of Walmart/Kmart/Target and the shrinking Department Store that Corning had built their business around). So the purple tinted glass, the brown tinted glass, the cranberry tinted glass all was founded in data and not necessarily in what we wanted to do...but in the market. Terra and some of the other ideas shown--really portrayed that the team was ready and able to do exceptional work...but were constrained by the conservatism of the corporate culture as well as the marketplace. It was far from "Design First".

Rob sklllfullly directed the team to talk about their work, some of the challenges they had and innovations blending design and the capabilities of the machines. As my friend Tina Oldknow exclaimed to me while all this was in process..."I would love a day of this...it's all so good!". And I agree....beyond the nostalgia--there were key historical moments.

A point I had forgotten was that opal pyrex was the dinnerware that was specified by the military for all of their dining halls, and the thick, thick handleless mugs--that brought comfort and home to many of those fighting or in service--brought this material into so many homes in the boom post war. So, bringing fun patterns and colorways that the Missus would want--only made sense. 

Terra, Decorated Opal Pyrex.

Terra, Decorated Opal Pyrex.

Dennis Younge delighted us about the design of the stacking measuring cup. Herb Dann talked about a line of White "Opal" pyrex called Terra, a matte, decorated pattern inspired by nature--with simple forms that I want in my future split level. Gorgeous. Anna Eide, pattern designer and current Design Director for World Kitchen spoke about the complexity of a world that moved from everyone wanting the same time ("matchy matchy") to the trend now for everyone to be distinct...and how to develop designs, forms and patterns for that complexity (and multiply it by an international market). Jerry Wright, a long time acquaintance spoke about his work, his interest in establishing an archive for Corning of the design and engineering work that became a significant asset in the years to come. Rob kept it all rolling. Amazing as these guys were his seniors and bosses when Rob was a design intern in 1978 in the model shop at Consumer Products. Funny how things work.

Postscript: Can you say Tammis Keefe and the fabulous Carl Tait? This is all coming from the same vein.


Pissing and Moaning

Peony from the Lake, Q. Cassetti, 2012Poor  Alex Cassetti. Today he has to go on the Senior Picnic and then…oh my, he has to submit himself to being fitted for a costume. Pissing and moaning about how put upon he was this morning as we finished up the big big load of recycling and trash….to be surprised by Mr. White’s productivity in the Killing Fields. Yes, once again, right on the back porch, Mr. White methodically decapitated another squirrel (last one was Monday if you recall), and started his process of devouring the beast leaving the head, tail and a foot or two and the liver (always feels almost Masonic in the symbology). So, to spare the neighbors the site of this massacre, I moved the squirrel and Mr. White to another less central/less visable location and he lost interest. Now we have a half a squirrel in the freeze (in a freezer bag) waiting for Elly to take to the Super Hawk, Tucker. Waste not, want not. There was a look in Mr. White’s single eye that suggested that this might not be the only prize of the day.

Yesterday’s conversation with Steve about my work we are going to try to do at GlassLab on Governors Island (July 1, 2012) was exciting and productive. I have my list of things to try before we go — so I am making up a sheet of glass decals, ordered up some 3M Buttercut, and some resists to see what we can do. I am looking into glass enamel paints to see what that would yield tooo….and then away we go. The Maryoshka dolls going from the largest being clear, middle a bit less clear to the tiny one being color and brilliant is the approach. We may do some burka Maryoskas as well as it would be another technique, and could be a second to that nested set. So, I am psyched. Might learn a few things and might add a little nice twist to the things on my resume. And who knows, maybe we can pull it off.

Off to see my friends at TreeGate Farm. We are reviving their project…and hope to get some lift for them. RedByrd went back on press. MacDonald on stall  until his rush of work slows a tad. Goodlife wants to relook at where they are.The Farmers Market starts a week from today….and I am getting a bit nutty around everything working out. I had a nice meeting with a board member who recalibrated everything for me…which was a blessing. And so it goes. Local food, local growers coming on with the season.

And the RFP keeps chugging away. Today is the review of all of our insurance work. Left foot, right foot.


Matryoshka in Blue, Q. Cassetti.2012, Adobe Illustrator2300˚ Thursday night was great. Gold Dust Lounge played their surfer noir music to the delight of the outdoor revellers. The amazing and handsome Makepeace Brothers filled the auditorium which was blissfully airconditioned to all our delight. The sales in the shop were amazing (I bought a bunch of rhinestone wrap bracelets, some earrings for kitty and an amazing brooch that grabs my entire shoulder and encrusting it in colorful sparklers describing flowers and parrots. Kitty, Alex, Elly, Gloria and I had a great time. Rob was on the clock, but it looked like he was having fun too. Kitty and I got her set up with Kelly (Kelly Girls) for her weekend work in July at Governors Island with the Museum of Glass and the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design in New York City. 

I was flattered and delighted to be asked to join a group of graphic designers who will work with the GlassLab Team on Governors Island  from June 30 to July 29, 2012. Each designer will be realizing a design/ idea with the hot glass team to learn and experience what glass can do. I have been working with the idea of nesting  Matryoshka dolls with the largest being clear and colorless with just etching for the features and simple detail. The second would have more etching and be a little less transparent, and the finally tiny one being brilliant, patterned etc. You all know how I love being a folky girl…and the Matryoshka shape really suggests glass…that we can decorate like crazy with glass waterslip decals, enamel paint, hand etching and diamond point pen. So I am investigating crafty etching products. Thanks to  Michael Rogers from RIT- for this decal supplier that can be put on glass: InPlainSite Art. So, I am ramping up to trial a bunch of these things prior to show date. As soon as I know the date, I will let you know…and as I am sure you will be seeing sketches as they come. I have a phone call to talk techniques and how we will roll this thing out on Tuesday. We are looking at a bunch of surface texture approaches (Graal for instance), or stamping and encasing the pattern into the glass before all the crazy applied decoration I would love to do.

We are rolling down to NYC tomorrow and back on Monday to take Kitty to FIT for her summer engagement. Now, all we need to do is watch her pack…(!). I am a bit worried…but hey, it will happen.

Go with the flow

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink.Did I mention that I have figured out how to make a really decent vegetable stock? Probably not. But I did!

You know how the vegetable stock at the store is kind of weak—not really very flavorful and loaded with salt? That was my impression of what the starting point was. But, thanks to the bounty of root vegetables, the frozen chopped leeks and organic (read majorly flavorful) celery—filling a large roasting pan to the top. I did a big roast last weekend, and then after around 3 hours at 300˚ with lovely crispy brownness—in it went into the big stock pot with water to cover and cook down for another 2 hrs at a simmer. I emptied out all the bits and ends of parsley, of wilted red peppers and the scroungy bottom of the vegetable bin and dumped that all in the pot too (that might be the secret). And voila! Brown deliciousness. Plus, all the soup detrius goes right into the compost bin, so nothing goes in the garbage. Yay and double yay.

Talk about fascinating, I went to Sweet Land CSA yesterday to collect my share. Of course everything was gorgeous—-and there was the centerpiece for many of us, the KALE. Funny thing though was the kale was in a pile of snow in the totes they keep all the produce in. As I was digging through the snow to garner some to take home, my neighbor was happily anticipating how sweet the kale is this time of the year and that to her thinking the snow is what does the trick. Who would have guessed?

In the spirit of new things (Kale being the newest obsession), I have started the Tofu initiative. I like tofu, when I have it out. I like tofu when others make it…but there somehow was fear involved with my giving it a try. No more! This winter launches the tofu initiative, where yours truly will buy tofu, read recipes, and then cook with it…pushing it on the poor souls (read the boys) who then will be forced to eat it and provide feedback. I have been quizzing everyone on how they cook with tofu and yesterday was the first foray.  First off, there is the pressing. Tofu is predominantly water. So, in order to really have a go at something that can compete with meat on a plate, the tofu needs to stand up and not a be a wiggly form. So, one cuts slices (not too thin, not too fat), puts it between towels, and puts weights on it to drain it (much like eggplant). Then I marinated it (ginger, garlic, soy sauce and a teensy bit of sesame oil in the blender to immulsify) for a day. Then onto a greased cookie sheet for around an hour at 300˚ and it was ready to go. I served it with fresh sauteed spinach (from Sweetland)—and you know, it was good. Worth doing again good. And so it begins.

As you can see, the hair obsessed hairhoppers continue. This approach is really fast—and the less I think about them, the nicer and less uptight they are. I like the way this one has Klimt hair, where it flattens out at the top and takes a life of its own, really not related to the head in any way. I am trying to stay discipilined and not get in and over noodle it with shading etc. I like the purity. I am also trying to remember all that Mentor Murray (Tinkelman) would say about women’s noses, and mouths…and I think it is working.  I am also being entertained with seeing how much of the page I can fill with hair…and head and stuff. There is  a ton more here. Again, who knows if it has any other reason than entertainment, but at least that is being provided.

I am getting some traction on a project that frankly, I was dreading (fearing) doing. This dread and stupidity is in my head as I got rolling on it yesterday afternoon and have been enjoying the work, the process and the design. Today I have some spot illustrations I will need to do for part of this project, so it will sing. Enough of putting things off…they get worse when you postpone as my head takes over. Stupid me.

I see my farmers today to see where they want to take their image/symbol. Should be interesting to see what works/doesnt. I have a few more farmers circling…so I will need to get this finished up.

An inch of snow is promised today. Rob is one of the ringmasters at 2300˚ tonight at the Corning Museum of Glass. Ann Gant will be drawing with fire which should be amazing. Alex is practicing at school (prince in training). He is suffering a bit at getting his lines, getting his songs, and the general start up of learning all t his stuff. He fumed a bit a me yesterday (which was good) as he needed to get it off his chest. I am always intrigued to see what ticks him off, and how he deals with it. He is so solid and centered…and young, that the pressure of many things and wanting to be perfect right out of the gate is the prime sweet spot. It can only get easier as he goes.

dream state

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkIt snowed and snowed. We now have white stuff…and it feels like January, finally! I just finished whomping up a torta kind of thing from all the leftovers and orphans in the fridge so Alex has something to eat for lunch and supper tonight. I need to confirgure the vegetable stock I made the other day into something else we can eat. That is all exciting as the dregs go directly into the compost (not a bit of fat) and secondarily, I have room for more roots and tubers this week from Sweet Land CSA.

Rob left at 4 a.m. to drive to Elmira to catch a plane to Miami. He is going to do some work down there and be in West Palm Beach for the Norton Museum opening of the Hot Glass Road Show which will be paired with Beth Lipman’s installation. The Hot Glass Road show is staffed by a team of master glassmakers, and do demonstrations in hot glass not only to educate but given how skilled these guys are, show off a bit of their chops. I am always impressed, exhilerated and never bored by these demonstrations (and I have been seeing them since they were prototyped over about 20 years ago). I cannot even begin to imagine the response in West Palm Beach. What a treat for the Norton visitors. What a treat for the glassmakers to be in such a divine place for a few months. Should be delightful and fun for Rob. The extra bonbon is that he is staying at the Standard in Miami with it’s eternity pool and oceanfront mud baths.

I plan to read and draw today. Take a vacation, a bit of the holiday vacation today to just do what I want to do. No work…just my stuff. I am working with lines and am thinking about pictures and lines…so something has engaged. We will see where the work goes. Speaking of minds, I love the book I am reading, Haruki Murakami’s Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. He paints these visceral, dreamy landscapes and speaks about mind and memory that articulates my thinking on that, on life, and on what this all means. Plus, he stirs in wonderful characters, compelling parallel stories and always leaves me in a state of wonder, questioning where I am, where I am going and what will be next in this magical book.

I am stunned by Random House’s Murakami site. Check it out. He is an amazing artist beyond the writer artist he is.

Gotta go. The torta beckons.



Glass Farmers Market at the Corning Museum of Glass, 10/08/2011, Q. CassettiPicture perfect day. Alex was up early to get on a gorgeous bus to take him to Ohio to ride the roller coasters, “enjoy” the buffet breakfasts, and hang with the bros. He had a nice evening with friends back from college—a catch up with the new freshmen and all they are experiencing, missing, confounded by. Great to hear it a year or so in advance.

Rob and I tootled down to the Corning Museum of Glass’ Columbus Day spectacular, the Glass Farmers Market. It was a gorgeous drive with the color finally beginning to pop. There was grape in the air…in the warm, humid air that made it even more sweet. A lovely drive with pumpkins, yard sales,and produce..the last of the tomatoes and the beginnings of beets, potatoes and carrots.

Yes, The Corning Museum had all sorts of gourds and pumpkins in glass available to take home (and they do not stink, mold or rot). I bought a few for friends and a tortoise shell one for me. I have a little collection of them…and its fun to add to the grouping. Many of mine are clear (from the Studio Sale) but I have some orange ones, a green one…and now brown. I love this one so much, I could see doing tortoise shell ones entirely. I fess up, I LOOOVE tortoise shell. I cannot say why, but the aesthetic is one; the history of how we have tortoise shell is two, and just how it works…for me. It was fun mixing it up with my museum friends, seeing the enormous numbers of asian and indian tourists (and how smoothly the whole thing was)—An amazing hat trick that these lovely people seem to do with great humor and aplomb. They had great wooden boxes filled with apples (as a give away) inspired by the Tully Cross Country event we attend every year and how the great treat are the free apples. The crowd loved it (Tully and today).

On the way back, we stopped at the Seneca Lake microbrewery, Two Goats and were impressed by the packed deck, the piles of cool people and the tasty brew offered. We ran into some old Corning chums full of good energy having come back from helping with a grape harvest for a friend.

And now, lakeside…the cats scamper. There is manure thick on the air….but the rosy sun is setting on the lake and its not quite 7. And the year rolls by.

More finish.

Finished, I think, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5So, First portrait is done. Need to chip away at the publication for now…and then back at the other portrait. The process was pretty fun yesterday—and as you can see, the work tighened up and was a bit more designed from the show and tell last night with the client.  The image came together pretty quickly (considering other images I have done)—so the quickies earlier this summer had some value in getting my “eye in”. Then, it gets married to some type.

It was announced that Steuben Glass, a former client of mine, is closing it’s doors, it’s factory—and letting it’s employees go.

Ben Dobbin, an AP Reporter says:

Luxury crystal maker Steuben closes NY factory

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — The Ohio owner of Steuben Glass, the company still making luxury lead crystal by hand in the United States, said Wednesday that it plans to end production after 108 years.

Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, which bought the business from longtime owner Corning Inc. in 2008, said declining sales in the choppy economy have been eroding Steuben Glass’ profitability.

Steuben’s sole factory, which employs 60 people making everything from wine glasses to art objects in the small city of Corning in western New York, is set to close Nov. 29.

When the factory opened in 1903, founder and designer Frederick Carder’s richly hued creations turned him into a giant of the glass arts scene alongside Louis Comfort Tiffany and Rene Lalique.

The Steuben Glass store in New York City will remain open until its inventory sells, while the shop at the Corning Museum of Glass will close in November, Schottenstein spokesman Ron Sykes said.

Before its sale to Schottenstein, the crystal maker had been unprofitable for a decade. It had lost $30 million over the previous five years, and its sales had shrunk to $25 million a year, company officials at Corning said.

Steuben Glass artwork can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Its wine glasses start at $75 apiece. For more of this article>>

The Elmira Star Gazette reports.

Crystal Biscuit, Steuben GlassHow sad this all is. Steuben Glass has been part of my history and that of my husband and his family. This American Tradition of giving and receiving the finest crystal in the world we share the love of with our friends who are designers, craftsmen and top managment of this concern with threads of knowledge and design reaching down to the former generations of designers and craftsmen. This remarkable company provided gifts of state and gifts to friends for 108 years presenting bowls for Buckingham Palace to candlesticks for the dining room table from grandmother, to mother to daughter. This is a company we all talked about, stretched to understand, reached to grow, and lean into to showcase the best of the best. (the example to the right is an example of where they have gone….a personalized glass dog biscuit…from the pinnacle that created and produced many magical pieces from James Houston (to name one), creating and producing Sydney Waugh’s Gazelle Bowl (1935) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see the bowl)

Steuben was the pride of the Corning valley. It embraced families of glassmakers, copper wheel engravers, design cutters, glass cleaners, glass craftsmen, gaffers, gatherers, and teams. Everyone had even a small piece in the requisite knick knack cabinet, a “dust collector” (as I called them)—with company gifts, personal gifts, momentos given and displayed. It is a sad day for the valley…and a sad day for the company. I have many happy memories of the company with the grey linen box.

Today is my dear son’s birthday. Happy Day to Alex. Speaking as someone who was at the original Birthday, he is as adorable as the small Alexander Commander who arrived on the scene on time, as predicted—sweet and burrowing into our hearts. We will have dinner out at a splashy restaurant tonight. I bought him a used electric guitar which is his present from me. Gotta go.


Neck Cat

After Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies, pitt pen and moleskineBoys are doing a round trip to NYC today to get a family member to a medical specialist for an annual. Just called, and things are good. Thank goodness. They have blue skies and melting snow versus rain and sleet and snow. Shady is laid out in sunshine on the green floor. Mr. White, my new patient, is receptive to his treatment (eyedrops) and cookies that go with his good behavior. The vet tech said that they identify cats just their color and markings. Mr. White fits into a category as a “neck cat”. Neck cats climb up you, and will sit on your shoulders and around your neck like a fashion accessory. And believe it or not, Mr. White was doing that yesterday for comfort. Made wearing a thick wool jacket (like I am) a wonderful foil for the claws—creating a positive velcro environment for the big guy. Now, like a baby, he climbs up and sits on my shoulder after he gets his eyedrops looking for a little sympathy. He is a squinty pirate, and I guess I am the new pirate ship for his captaincy. I am not a big fan of cats, but Mr. White is alright. We have a week of eyedrops and then another trip to the vet for a confirmation.

I have been at the office since a quarter to 7 a.m. Getting a bunch of things done. Uploaded a brochure and two big sized business cards to Bargain Basement Printing with the cards being (500 pcs. for $14) and the brochure equally inexpensive. So, in a week or so, we will be able to kvell or cry about the quality/price. I hope I am going to be delighted. There isn’t much flexibility around this printer (thus the price), and the file requirements are touchy, but I made it work after a while, and am heartened.

A person I met at The Museum Institute at Sagamore contacted me to see if we could repurpose my valentine for a wedding “Save the date” card. I am flattered, and we have Joe Sepi at Pioneer rolling on the reconfigured redo. What a nice idea!

Next stop, cheap stickers!

Got a poster done for the HS play (on the edge time), got some memos done, paperwork filled out and done, and started some trial-ing the specs….and surfacing more stuff. That hurts. But, if we do not check the work, we will be working and justifying and trying to figure out the specs after the fact. It hurts to have to bounce the stuff back…but better now than later. We still have time to make it work.

Need to go.



Lotus Valentine, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpie.Loved my tutorials yesterday on Lynda.com. Learned about the new variable width line tool, the new pathfinder replacement shape —shaper. And the perspective tool. Oy. I dont use perspective this much, but what with this new easy tool, I would consider adding it to my palette of tools to offer. The Lynda.com tutorials are wonderful…and with the files, you can follow along and actually learn the stuff. I need to keep at it as it will make be more of a “proficient” quicker. And quite honestly, I should do the same for photoshop, acrobat and inDesign as it will inevitably save me time with the reeducation.

I need to catch on fire about something. I am in that miasma of not being neither fish nor fowl, not engaged in a topic but working along with the Mudhubari work…but not on fire. The silhouette illos were happening last year this time. Granted, the color work hadn’t happened at this time last year…and the bees hadn’t happened nor had it become a glimmer in my eye. So, there is time….but I am filled with agitation and worry that nothing will happen. But, it will… I know…

Made a pot roast and hung out with Alex last night. Rob was late as he had a dinner with a new consulting group at the Museum. Good things to happen it sounds like.

Today, I frosted a cake I made last night. I was fearful that Shady might have eaten the cake last night as she brought a half eaten sandwich from the bottom of someone’s bookbag and was cuddling with it on her bed last night. But, thankfully, the mouldy sandwich was far more appealing. I made a gigantic pot of spaghetti sauce for this week’s consumption this morning too. We had a visit from our old friends visiting from Montclair, NJ which was a delight….and here we are with the sky dark and the evening in front of us.

Advent Day 6: Full Swing Holiday

Lacy Angel v.1, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpie from the second advent projectThe Studio sale was great. I picked up a bunch of drinking glasses and goblets on the dollar table and then went to the high priced, cooler stuff. I got a few lattecino patterned vases, a bracelet, and a few cool little bowls (for me). So, there is cool stuff to give to local friends, and a few great things for us. It was nice to see a bunch of old Corning friends and to see the Museum bursting with their holiday open house.

Then, it was off to Sams Club (I thought they might have swags and wreaths which they did). It has been years since I have been in a warehouse club, and it was great…particularly as Rob didn’t let me go full bore into the thises and thats. We got the swags and wreaths (making the wonderbus particularly fabulously deliciously scented), some new sharpie brand pens (ultra thin), some printable postcards and some cheese for pasta. I also got a huge box of oatmeal for granola making. Thinking of granola, I think that might be my version of the Christmas cookie this year. It looks good in the container; I have the wintery stickers; and folks tend to love it…and its a tad bit healthier than cookies. I think I will be doing some dog biscuits though. Really fun and the poochitas love them.

Collection of Holiday headwear from the web.A note: Going to Corning is a bit like going to another universe. People just do things a bit differently than we do here on our plateau. The general populace’s sense of public humor, their favorite restaurants and stores, what they do in their spare time, what they value is a bit different and to me, interesting. Where is she going with this one? Well, I was horrified and at the same time amused by the passigiata of people at the Studio sale (particularly) casually strolling about with their holiday Santa Hats. First it was a middle aged mom type with fuzzy boots on and a big, pink, fluffy santa hat with a big embroidered patch in the front saying “Princess”. After her was a little girl wearing the same pink hat with a crown sewn into the fluffy white band. It was also branded as “Princess”. Then a rather sloppy man, calmly sported a Vikings Santa hat (purple and white and big graphics just like the Eagles one above). Another nonchalant man had the traditional Santa hat with Mickey Mouse ears (a holiday classic). While we were prepping to exit Sams, I looked across to the car facing us in the lot, and there was a skinny, runty guy with his gold and black Steelers hat!. I think there is a market there. How about some really deviant ones? Like Masonic Santa Hats with an all seeing eye on the top? Krampus Santa hats? Or Santa hats with cool words like “Stupid” or the novel word, “Dank”? Need to work on that. Big money potential. Very funny to me.

There were holiday sweaters galore. Everyone had something with holly or candycanes printed on them from belts to shirts. It all was very “festive” and it frightened me to death. Need to do some more scary illustrations.

Onward to more Advent calendar images. I am vascillating between all sorts of things..and am getting charged up for a new body of work inspired by my friend Peter suggesting I work on a green man image. I am loving what I am learning. Could be the bees for the winter for me. I knew something would pop up if I just kept at it…yay.

Heavenly Joy

Double Sirin from Lubok, Q. Cassetti, pen and ink, digitalFrom Wikipedia on Sirin:   Sirin is a mythological creature of Russian legends, with the head and chest of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird (usually an owl). According to myth, the Sirins lived “in Indian lands” near Eden or around theEuphrates River[1][2].

These half-women half-birds are directly based on the Greek myths and later folklore about sirens[3][2][4].They were usually portrayed wearing a crown or with a nimbus[5]. Sirins sang beautiful songs to the saints, foretelling future joys. For mortals, however, the birds were dangerous. Men who heard them would forget everything on earth, follow them, and ultimately die. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirins by shooting cannons, ringing bells and making other loud noises to scare the bird off[3]. Later (17-18th century), the image of Sirins changed and they started to symbolize world harmony (as they live near paradise). People in those times believed only really happy people could hear a Sirin, while only very few could see one because she is as fast and difficult to catch as human happiness. She symbolizes eternal joy and heavenly happiness [6].

The legend of Sirin might have been introduced to Kievan Rus by Persian merchants in the 8th-9th century. In the cities of Chersonesos and Kiev they are often found on pottery, golden pendants, even on the borders ofGospel books of tenth-twelfth centuries[5]Pomors often depicted Sirins on the illustrations in the Book of Genesis as birds sitting in paradise trees[1].

Sometimes Sirins are seen as a metaphor for God’s word going into the soul of a man. Sometimes they are seen as a metaphor of heretics tempting the weak. Sometimes Sirins were considered equivalent to the Polish Wila. In Russian folklore, Sirin was mixed with the revered religious writer Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Thus, peasant lyrists such as Nikolay Klyuev often used Sirins as a synonym for poet[1].


Eternal jou and heavenly happiness. Imagine. Love this idea. The wikipedia page shows fine examples of Russian Sirin(s) with fethers and crowns, perched on the ground or on heavenly bushes/trees.

I am so pleased that the work got into the Society of Illustrators Illustration 53. It’s funny, but I had a hunch with the nutcrackers as American Illustration (another tough show to get into) took a Krampus…to my delight and pleasure. It is so good to have this personal stuff which seems obsessive and strange—but happily infectious for me, pleased enough of the judges to get in.  Anelle mentioned that there was a field of over 4,000. entries…so to get in is no mean feat particularly given the talent that is out there.

I think the nutcrackers may be a saleable card for next holidays along with the lab card. I think this stuff can/could sell. Etsy keeps selling something every day or so. It will be interesting to see what pops up over the course of the season. I sent a valentine to Pioneer with a nice quote which we are going to foil stamp and put in a Kraft paper square envelope. I am going to run extras to sell online as well. They are pretty and yet pretty odd (not the typical heart and flowers)…more tattoo-ey.

Am up against it with a few reports for Cornell along with a calendar coming our way from the Museum of Glass. Speaking of the Museum, my graphics for East Meets West (a show opening today) look wonderful. The whole idea of creating a stripe makes a pretty bulletproof way to look at show graphics. Your thoughts? It was an interesting design problem as the show works around the idea of eastern style vessels/ decoration imitated by western glassmakers for a western audience was the hook. So, I did something with the east/west type orientation, using my favorite (ligatures) and when possible, an eastern and western man painting from the same vessel…. I will post after this for your review.

Alex has a synth these days and is wildly plugged in making music. He is adoring this European stuff very “fashion show”(what R and I call it) with a dance beat and good percussion. Its nice he is on fire about this. It should be interesting to see what comes out of this thing.

More later.

Dreary Tuesday

East West Postcard, Q. Cassetti, 2010, for the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NYUpcoming fun at the Corning  Museum of Glass. Pencil it in…with Kelley and the Cowboys and Eric Meek, glassmaker extrordinaire along with John Ford..the man that spans both cultures interpreting in probably both Chinese and English. The show opening, “East Meets West” is an interesting take on objects inspired by those things Eastern created by Western hands. A bit of this, a bit of that. Eggrolls and Tacos? Tofu and Hamburgers? Sake and and Whiskey? Rockabilly and a  Tea Ceremony? All in beautiful Corning New York. If you are a CMU alumni, there will be a gathering of the Tartans as well. Look for more details coming your way. And as you can see, two color layout with my favorite Hoefler Frere Jones font, Knockout in all sorts of iterations.

Alex is being challenged to win the race today. Everyone else is being asked to make it a “tempo run” with Alex and a friend being told to take it…with some stiff time expectations put in place. I hope he can do it. Now the question of the big dinner I need to whomp up for him.

Am working on tables and info for the Baker and Feline. Lots rolling for the big client. We MAY have a holiday card…pretty noncommittal, but something. Right now, I will take anything.

Tom Buechner leaves us all.

From the Corning Leader (06/14/2010)
By The Leader Staff, Corning Leader
Posted Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:36 AM
Corning, N.Y. —

Renowned artist Thomas Buechner died Sunday in his home.
According to the biography on his website, Buechner, who was born in New York City in 1926, was the first director of the Corning Museum of Glass from 1950-1960 before becoming the director of the Brooklyn Museum from 1960-1971.
In 1972 Buechner became the president of Steuben Glass, chairman of the Corning Glass Works Foundation and president of the Corning Museum of Glass.
He also helped establish the Rockwell Museum in 1976 and served as its president for 10 years.

In 1985 Buechner became a vice president of Corning Glass Works.

Buechner wrote the glass section for the Encyclopedia Britannica and founded both the Journal of Glass Studies and the New Glass Review.

He also wrote “Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator”, in 1971, and, in 2000, “How I Paint”. His most recent book, “Seeing A Life”, was published by the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York in 2007.
Painting full time since 1986, Buechner was an established portrait, landscape and still life painter. He had many one-man exhibitions in New York City, throughout this country and in Germany and Japan.

Buechner is survived by his wife, Mary, and three children, Bohn Whitaker, Thomas Buechner III and Matthew Buechner.

Monday first Monday in November.

Working a bit on the Star poster. Its a hand holding the star (which up until now, they have not done one like this)--with some little flying spirit effigies in the background. Not sure on the coloration, and may put a little banner with the word "Onward" or something along that line in the layout. I am planning on a tone on tone thing in the background/some floral insanity hopefully. But, this is the beginning (as you can see the star is still being worked on.

Yesterday afternoon, I generated dinner for the week: a pot of chili, 2 pans of lasagne, a shepherds pie (with leftover mashed potatoes from last week and the left over browned meat for the chili), along with roasting 4 chicken carcasses with leeks,carrots, celery and leftover parsley stems for stock. It was a cooking afternoon of cranking. I feel like the cook has been here and all I need to do is pop it in the oven and not have to scratch my head and wonder what I was going to serve up. It was a great exercise in opening up boxes and bags to also see what weathered the constant summer infestation of "flour" bugs. I just hate them...but, those bugs force one to review, compost and or devour quickly all flour related food as they have the ability to dig into any vessel (except for mylar sealed packages).

It was deadline on top of deadline today. So much so that I worried about it from around 3 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. without any real solution other than to call the client and ask her to help us prioritize the emergencies that were heaped upon each other. That drove a lot of sanity for us...and surprisingly, we got through quite a bit of the work that was there. Tomorrow, I feel I can catch up and get back to zero/ or at least a levelset I can handle. I laid out 2 dozen slides from scratch, amended a logotype for the Museum, reviewed a bunch of stuff, reconfigured final art for a tradeshow exhibit skin, and began a layout for a tradeshow "abstract" paper. Numerous emails and confirmations along with a few scheduled calls. Yikes.

And, now I need to worry about tomorrow. Also, need to worry about Christmas, cards and the whole shebang around that. And, did I mention the taxes due in January? It just keeps coming. Bring it on... I will try, try very hard, to be ready!

Quiet before the Maelstrom

Early up this morning to get Kitty to round two, SATS. Urg. Next weekend, ACT and the following week or so tests, regents, APs. She will be a testing machine. We dropped by the farmers market on the way home (Ithaca) to admire the pink and warm red poppies, the fluffy iris and the new plants beginning to blow out. We will pick her up around noon and rush off to WinLee (our local asian grocery store) for rice noodles and Pad Thai fixins. I am on an asian cooking jag because I have never done it and found this week that its quite simple, quite plentiful yielding leftovers for those who work here and for gigantic 15 year old golf playing, track running guys. There is never enough food for them. I stocked up at the Regional Access with a case of Pesto (another 15 yr. old staple...forget peanut butter! We only eat Pesto and cheese!). They have a little broken case section at the Regional they refer to as the "bodega." I bought some lovely olive oil and some cans of curry as this is another crowd pleaser with the youth--particularly when we eat at Thai restaurants which is a new love with the home team. So, Winlee to flesh out the mis en place for asian cooking.

I took some pictures of poppies and iris along with greenery for another vector valentine I want to do using really tight, self shot reference...Sweetsy with flowers and birds and butterflies. I think this has legs and I think it might be fun to do. Am getting some headshots for my CF Payne/Gary Kelley portrait(s) done in a very distilled, graphic character manner. Flat color, some detail...proportions stretched. Thoreau is number one guy. Poe and Twain...need 3 more. Library of Congress has a digital library (specifically portraits) as does the New York Public Library which has an impressive volume of digitized images. With the NYPL, there is a bit of a trick in the downloading and saving.

Finished the tortured waterfall project. Kitty proclaims it better than last year. I proclaim it done. Done! So more time for portraits, heads, Olivia Langdon and the like (even more asian pictures like the promised sleeping pig!). It is a bit over a month before Camp at Hartford, so getting the ship in order is appropriate.

Rob has the Glass Arts Society Annual Conference (GAS) in Corning this next week. He will be working long days (with music and festivities, demonstrations and lectures). GAS comes to Corning every 10 years--so it has in our lives become a milestone. Last time, Kitty and Alex were 5 and 7. Now look. Its always fun and if you are around here, worth the less than $300. conference fee to get the full bore. Many of the glass biggies are there (along with students and the biggies in the making). Often there will be shows of work, work created on site, huge neon and kinetic glass on the Brisco Bridge. The Horseflies will be playing the closing party along with a new Jim Reidy band.

I need to make my asian food list before we jump in the car to get into Ithaca.