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!
Thank you to Charles Hively and the judges from Creative Quarterly for including my "Collection of Fowl" to their 42nd Quarterly as a runner up. I am honored to be in amazing company.
The rain has stopped for now. If I were a mushroom, I would be tremendously happy. Its cool and humid and the lawn is out of control. We have these mushroom monsters, natural sculpture that have popped up overnight under the big pine trees we have in the side yard. These babies just "happened" and though eating something that big, and derived from a pine tree does not appeal to me, their immediacy and their presence is though alarming, is also quite miraculous. More rain for the weekend--so all the plump fruit can soak it in for maybe a nice hot July to transform blossom to bite for all of us. I am thinking peaches.
As I am in the process of bringing you all up to date, I thought I would share some of the work I have been putting out--that you may or may not see in our neighborhood.
Today, I am going to introduce you to the new logotype for the Finger Lakes Cider House (FLCH). The FLCH is a new venture brought to you by Melissa Madden and her husband, Garrett Miller of the Good Life Farm, Interlaken, New York. I have been working with Melissa and Garrett on their farm logo and graphics/marketing/promo and when this gem popped up, I raised my hand to say that yes, I would love to take a crack at this. So later last year November or so, I started work on developing this mark--and this one, for me, stood out of the pack immediately. I am delighted that Melissa and Garrett agreed to this design.
The Finger Lakes Cider House is at the Good Life Farm and is a beautiful space (all built by Garrett and a team) that overlooks Cayuga Lake in a simple wood inspired space. I wanted to reflect the hand made quality of the space along with integrating a form that could be used independently (the apple and the seeds (called the seedstar)). So taking a page from my "way back machine" retro inspiration these day, I decided to start with the font and get something, (I know, god forefend) Celtic. Celtic! WTF? Miss Polly Pure Type is going off the deep end! But yes, friends, I did go Celtic and found a font that I thought would work, would express the handmade thing, and would be bulletproof (a phrase the fancy brandmakers in the BIG City would never, ever use--my new favorite that is bandied around is "mindful"--do not get me started).
What is bulletproof? Bulletproof means you can put the logo in anyone's hands (even a monkey) and your brand would still have integrity. It means applicable...even without a standards manual or 175 pages of dos and don'ts. It is a logo that is simple (one or two colors, no more), simple to apply, inexpensive to produce (xerox, output, rubberstamp) and is memorable. Bulletproof is branding made simple...and not a lot of chatter from consultants about how excellent your design team needs to be to apply it (read lots of work there with the big client). I have a hard time with logos that are just by design expensive to implement, and expensive to maintain. Why would anyone (client) knowingly select a full color logotype that has a gradient that you need a Masters Degree in IT and print production to even begin to use? I like it dumb (because that is the way I am)--and accessible. I do not think that it means bad or inelegant...but what is the purpose of a logotype if the last time it looked good was in the presentation to the client. The damned mark must look good, and fresh in most applications. Don't we all want to say that we designed "that" when people are loving it, happy. Isnt that the logo doing it's job? Plus with the added benefit to the FLCH logotype, is that we have fun widgets in the apple and seedstar to apply with the very distinct mark.
Enough of my jaded rant. Go to the ciderhouse. Its really fun, and they have well in advance of 20 different hard ciders available to buy by the bottle, with 5-6 on tap to have a tasting, a flight or a glass to see what all the fuss is about. I am delighted in this new local industry which truly has popped up in the last 4 years...and I am proud to say of the five ciders represented at the Finger Lakes Cider House, 3 (Redbyrd Orchard Cider, Black Diamond Cider, Good Life Cider) are designed by yours truly--and they do not look even like family members which was part of the challenge. More on that as we go.
USPS 2014 First Half Schedule
Love: Cut Paper Heart
The Cut Paper Heart stamp adds another romantic entry to the beautiful Love stamp series. This fanciful stamp takes its inspiration from the folk traditions of papercutting. This digital illustration depicts a large white heart enclosing a smaller pink heart with a saw-toothed edge along its left-hand side.
Art Director: Antonio Alcala
Illustrator: Q. Cassetti
First Day of Issue: TBD
Image to come.
Stamp Collecting Forum Link>
Stamp News Now>
Wow. So study hall at the Luckystone manifested rest and quiet for the both of us...with a nice dinner and a newly jiggered website/ blog/ portfolio for me with the hope of opening another retail outlet via this site on the near horizon. I was so "off" Squarespace. I was feeling limited by the template and its lack of flexibility that I think this added to my malaise about writing to all of you. But, after a little searching around, I was able to change my template to a far more flexible tool, and with a little alteration here, and there, I am closer to what makes me happy--and will be a better tool to communicate with. So, please be patient and you will have a little Q. store to shop, and a list of my favorite, most interesting and thought provoking resources I use (and will share) on the web.
Today I have an interview with an independent writer about my Valentines thesis which should be interesting. I have jotted down a few bullet points to make me sound a bit sharper than I am...and tried to recall the reason for Valentines for me. It boils down to a basic Q.Dna thing. I love symbols. Symbols are pictures chock filled with meaning...often related to tales, folk legends, and events. Those symbols are generally visual with some sort of ceremony, food and ideas that build a community (in the know) around them. My pictures are more often symbolic as are my logotypes. Even letterforms are symbolic. I came to this originally through the holidays and annual events which then morphed to an obsession with Christian symbology (art nerding out at museums and churches trying to find the most obtuse and odd symbols in murals, paintings and sculpture)> I am always on the lookout for symbols, for meaning and for faces. Just seems to poke out of everything I do.
I am cranking away on this slide show. I lost the first go round when Powerpoint winked out...and left me nothing. Now, Lady Savalot is doing just that, and I have 200 slides needing to be edited and tightened and by so doing, I probably will take out entire chunks of ideas (which I have already) to just tell a tighter story. Interestingly, I am talking about how last year's advent pictures happened prompted by Kitty's encouragement to look at how the process went, how my writing here influenced what happened with the work, and how the work fed the work. Then, as it happened, how this advent project influenced the few "Unicorn and Butterflies" images to then directly point at the current "My America" set. Same approach, same techniques, same established palettes with insane groups of brushes, symbols and swatches. Upside with this current set, new Creative Suite (cloud) has some sensational new patterning tools not only for background swatches, but for brushes (patterns on brushes you say? gradients on brushes?)....Yes...yes. and yes. I just wish I had more time right now to focus on the America images as there are quite a few tumbling around in my brain, particularly after the past week of country fairs and small town parades. Beauty and machinery, dog and pony acts, Freedom Festivals, and automotive heaven to inspire....but this can wait for now. Work, holiday cards, and getting die kinder all figured out, entertained and farewelled appropriately is foremost.
It is beets and kale for days from the CSA along with the most amazing eggplant I have ever had. Who would have guessed that I would rave about organic eggplant (and organic celery) as they are so significantly better from Sweetland than I have ever ever had. It is slightly crazy when there is eggplant offered as I will forego almost everything else on the side that we can pick from just to load up as fast as possible with eggplant. The way this Nightshade fruit (just like tomatoes) cooks down to loveliness on the grill...not the usual stringy glop--is sublime and with lemon juice...is transcends all vegetables in that moment. Unfortunately, there were no eggplants yesterday, so sweet red peppers, golden beets, and all sorts of leafiness were gathered--- A girl can hope for next week.
Yep. It snowed again. I am the April Fool. To think I was hoping that this was the end. The End of the snow, but instead, the spring promise on Saturday was just that, a promise. No commitment. Just a teensie bit of hope. And the idealist in me took wing, filling my heart with the just maybe...and now we are back into it. Hopefully, the apple trees/buds and the same with our glorious cherries will not be as romantic as I am. But weather shouldn't be the beginning and end of inspiration. It can be the prod, and I am feeling that tingle that maybe a new something is going to burst and I will be back in the picture making business again.
A girl can hope.
It is also really good to have our Saturday deadline behind us so that we can look forward to spring and change leaving the darker days of this winter behind us.
As you can see, there are new things afoot with this blog. I have migrated my blog, recipes, about Q and other things to the upgraded Squarespace 6 which has other bells and whistles that allow one to have a magnificent shopping page ( to come with the gemeralds, cards, and prints). The only thing I am struggling with (right now) is the gallery feature with thumbnails so I can bring Q.Cassetti.com over to this page as well as Luckystone Partners.com and have all of me under one web roof. I am plodding through learning this new tool (sans XML, HTML code) so it will take a bit of time, but I have patience and love SS...so it should work out.
I am taking over picnic baskets to Diane at Sundrees. We are working on a fun project to sell vintage baskets and then all the fun stuff to go inside as part of the Summer/ Bridal merch offering. I bought a bunch of baskets (Hawkeye and Redmon)--each different with some having pie racks, some having flatware attachments, a few green, a pink one, a tan one, a caramel one. I am in rapture over this beauties. There is an idea here.
On Saturday, the sun shone and there was gladness in all of our hearts. We walked to the little Episcopal Church a block away soaking in the rays, and breathing in the cool, fresh air that we have been so desperate for in this season of gray. Mary, Rob and Gloria had planned a small service with Rob, Peter, Jim all giving beautiful speeches about Ron, and Peggy delivering a sublime poem which wove the talk of poetry, music, architecture into a beautiful memory quilt. They all touched on Ron's reach as a creative person who embraced the idea and ideals and rendered them in his friendships and his architectural work. Alex played the bass with Sevi on the piano. There were Cassetti friends and family (my sweet brothers came--both round trips from Boston and Philadelphia in their grey suits and spring ties), Alex's friends, our friends and our dear community members. We convened back at the house for food and drink with wonderful, Django Reinhardt inspired music by Eric Aceto. The doors were open to the outside, and our guest spilled out on the big back porch and into the yard with little children running around, Shady Grove happy to be catching little bits of cheese off the table, and happy people talking and enjoying themselves. I think Rob, Mary and Gloria had a good time and felt embraced by all. I think Ron would have approved of how simple and yet tastefully done the whole production was. It was a perfect day.
Kitty went back to school early this morning and I have Alex to put on the bus at noon after we fiddle around with trying to get some paperwork completed for him to have an affordable summer at FIT studying photography. Must go, but wanted to say hello and try out this new blog format which I will talk about soon once I have an opinion, which you know I will.
Trumansburg, New York is a community of 1500 people in the Village and 4500 in the Town of Ulysses. Trumansburg is a very collaborative and creative place where lutiers, financiers, farmers, teachers, carpenters all meet at the local coffee shop to klatch and plan. Trumansburg is a project kind of place. We give money, but what we love more than anything is a dish to pass, a community build, a project we can make happen. We have an annual music festival, The GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, which for over 20 years has brought the world to our hamlet—and we have embraced that spirit of community and power that comes on the local level. This spirit leaks into pretty much anything that happens here, including our Farmers Market.
Our little farmers market sits on a small, triangular village park on Main Street in Trumansburg, New York. It is a young market that started under the big willow tree with several farmers who came together to sell produce and food to the local populace. There was interest and this little market grew. Grew so much that a grant was applied for, and funds were raised by the community to build a pair of roofed pavillions and a bandstand in this little park to formalize this market and move it forward. A local architect and community team designed these structures and over a 4 month period, built it over a series of weekends as a community build. There were people of every shape and size building our market with lunches brought in from local restaurants and families who wanted to contribute. It was truly a remarkable moment which for me fully defined what we were capable of as a village. It was sheer positive energy directed at making something wonderful that would enhance our life on this little Main Steet place.
That was four years ago. Today, the Market boasts a thriving community of farmers, producers, restaurants and caterers, and artisans that come together from mid May to the end of October, every Wednesday from 4-7 in the afternoon and early evening. It is dinner time, and the community turns out to do the circuit and shop, eat and meet up with friends. We have live music every week (pro-bono—but a hat is passed) and occasionally, we will have movie night after the market when we have a screen put up, and movies played with prizes, popcorn and even one evening last summer, rootbeer floats for everyone! Heaven.
We entertain, we enchant, we feed, we involve people and and, we also sell produce and sandwiches, eggs, wine, hard cider and cheese, bread, horseradish jelly and garlic scape pesto. But we need it all to move forward. The market is a three way gimbol— balancing the needs and expectations of the farmer/producer with the needs and expectations of the consumer along with the needs and expectations fo the community. As much as we would like it to be as simple as selling celery, in order for this market to have roots, we need to address all three in the most engaging, out of the box way. If we can charm and provide a treat along with educate and inform, we have a chance of sustainable success for our local food producers and eaters.
The interesting thing as I think about the market and how to talk about it—I keep reflecting on the farmers markets of my life. Growing up, my mother and I went to a farmers market in a very dicey neighborhood in Pittsburgh that must have been in a garage or something. It was an indoors market, very dark and dreary. We would go to see Mr. Kutz (from Central PA) with his red haired, apple cheeked daughters to buy eggs and chickens and occasionally something green. Somehow the green stuff always came from Giant Eagle.
The next snapshot was learning about the Ithaca Market and watching it grow. The concept that local food, or organic food would have any significant foothold was totally alien at the time. Food Co-ops and natural food stores when I was in college were grungy places that smelled odd, and the produce was less than hearty or robust. It was more about tea than it was about food, at least for me.
Moving ahead again, I was sent to the Natural Foods and Products Convention in Anaheim (1989) when I was working for Estee Lauder. I was sent to get an eyeful of what was happening in this Natural world…particularly that of the channel of beauty and cosmetics. I was sent to better understand the competition so as to be able to leverage the power of this beauty brand, the funds and product development we had, and take it to the next level from the grungy health food store to counters at Neiman Marcus and Nordstoms. I was horrified (and delighted I was wearing my badge backwards) when I sat in on a personal products break out session , when a leading light in the natural foods store beauty business pulled out an article hinting at Estee Lauder getting into the natural products world. This woman proclaimed that those in the business had better raise their sights as the competition was just about to get bigger, and they couldnt just be natural product people…but needed to improve their marketing, their image, their brand. They could not rest happily in the dusty food coops and needed to up their game. The concept of a Whole Foods was beyond imagination.
Now, look at where we are. Whole Foods is a reality. Organic produce is available at WALMART?! People really are reading the labels. Packaging is more responsible. The CSAs are booming…and popping up everywhere…can this continue? How is going to evolve? What is the model? How can anticipate this? or should we? Can the Trumansburg Market be the incubator for these new products and farms? Can we have a lovely night of stars, and friends, food, and bags of leeks and organic eggs while supporting local agriculture and thus supporting the betterment of those around us? I think we can. We are a community of do-ers…and this seems right up our alley.
Now that I got that off my chest, I can think about the board a bit more. Thanks for your patience.
Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak to the Farmers Market Federation of New York at LaTourelle Inn and Spa about how our board works with our Market Manager. Just thinking about the points I am going to make, has forced me to think about how I have engaged in the local foods movement, and the progress that has been made in the last 18 months.
In the past two years, I have provided pro bono work (some design, some consulting, some both) to: MyerFarm Distillery, Redbyrd Orchard Cidery, Good Life Farm, Sweetland Farm, Tree Gate Farm, Stone Cat Cafe, MacDonald Farm, Wide Awake Bakery, Farmer Ground Flour, Regional Access, New York Foods, The Trumansburg Farmers’ Market, Central New York Cider Week, Forge Cellars, The Piggery to name a few. I am sure I am forgetting someone. It has been an amazing journey learning about these farmers, their farms, their livlihood, their focus and why they farm. I have learned that farmers may not all be born marketers, and that the perception that there is fairness in the world/ and in the local economy should be cultivated (to that, I believe that the market teaches us if we listen—to tune our products, product selections, and the work we do to be desirable….We just have to each listen, and hear). I have learned about the import of transportation, of distribution hubs wheither it is in the form of a weekly pick up or CSA, a pop up shop or a truck that delivers to a bigger area. I have learned about farming during a drought, and the sheer knife edge these farmers live on between the seed purchases to harvest with bugs, and water, and hail, and heat or lack thereof….defining success and financial disaster. I have learned that sometimes, just sometimes, I need to give my farmer friends a bit of rope to figure things out themselves, and in the same way, give myself permission just to take a little time and let things simmer and evolve. These are people who know about watchful waiting. They know about seasons and time. They know about light and darkness, heat and cold. These are people who will move greenhouses around on tracks to make sure their greens have the best source of light and heat to bring us delicate greens in the middle of March. These are passionate people who love deeply but because of their trust and collaborative make up, can be hurt as deeply as they love. These are people who do not mind getting dirty, working hard, and when possible, playing just as hard. They care about their apples, their greens, their flowers and boules and link it to a larger, more spiritual notion. Allison Usavage created a lovely film about Stefan Senders and David MacGuinness’ Wide Awake Bakery and captures this spirit that seems to be an overlay to the local food scene here, here is the vimeo link>
This work sometimes can be challenging…but the film shows the reward. To be able to drink from the same cup as these hard working people is an honor. And, to try the first fresh greens of spring, to taste Eric and Devas sublime sparking cider as delicate as a bite of apple, or see tiny Melissa get her massive horses, Randi and Betsy pull together for her, or taste Stefan’s wonderful hot bread made from Greg’s flour (Farmer Ground) which was ground from Thor’s wheat….Or to try Tony’s black beans…the circle is complete. One blessing after the next—from the farmer to the consumer and back to the lovely land we live in and on. The same birds sing to my farmers as they do to me. The same rain and snow come our way. It is all right here, right now. And we all live in it for now.
Wintery mix. The weather got so nice and warm this weekend, it was doors open, with Rob chipping away all the left over ice in prep for the next go round. It is white and magical this morning, with a slow fall, falling quietly albeit not too oppresively. Alex is itching to work, and I need to figure out how to get him occupied for a significant amount of time so it isnt this little thing and that little thing. I have projects to do, and with the littleinterruptions all day, it can make things a bit unwieldy and though productive for him, not so for me.
I got some bad printing back (first time ever) from an online source who has an email customers service thing…and I am anxious as the job is def needing to be reprinted and it is their problem… I think I am going to send another email with a photo of the job attached….so that the question of fault goes out the window. It is a time sensitive thing, so I need to get them rolling and I do not want to take a hit to reprint a job that I am doing as a courtesy for a friend. Quel Drag.
The winter bunny is an exploration of the color palette for a local college who has gold and blue as their exclusives, which I have pushed to a rainbow of tints, with beige. I was monkeying around with it for a legit picture, and figured I would salvage some of the parts and make my own picture just for kicks. They also are looking for another approach which dawned on me could be a photographic collage which skirts the color issues (no guidance on photography) yet, gives me some leeway with imagery and the mooshing of all sorts of ideas. So, I did one for kicks yesterday in addition to the vector image just to see what their response would be. These images may be “grandmother tested” when the kids come back to school to see what they respond/react to, and then move accordingly. Collage is a whole world of opportunity we have not really even explored! How exciting! Equally time consuming but in a different, more humorous way.
“We are star dust in the highest exaulted way…”
“The universe itself exists within us…”
Neil DeGrasse TysonDay
Five! Here is a little candy coated dream for you…with twisted marshmallow trees topped with candy corn stars, a cozy little cottage and the holiday mandala of shopping swirled with candy and calories and the insane energy we all need to put behind making special holidays for the people we love. Is the part of the Christmas world
I am spinning in my head, a kawaii world of candy and color, sugar and spice and everything nice…and a whole lot of confusion (that’s there for me). It is a world that is filled with ideas that are really out there, a space of freefall and floating, a space of stars and sky, nature and artiface.
I have been so, so taken with these amazing video poems made by the group Symphony of Science. I have been watching them as I wake up in the morning and am touched and delighted by their simple and profound messages that are delivered by scientists and physicists, and now thanks to PBS, Mr. Rogers, Julia Childs and Bob Ross (the “fire in the mountains” painter) speaking about happy little clouds. I suggest these videos as a little sugarplum…and as a little peek into some of my motivations these days….Such happy stuff.
“We are Star Dust” : Symphony of Science
“The Quantum World”: Symphony of Science
“Onward to the Edge: Symphony of Science
“Bob Ross Remixed: Happy Little Clouds: Symphony of Science for PBS Digital Studios
“Mr Rogers Remixed: Garden of your Mind”: Symphony of Science for PBS Digital Studios
Here is another fantasy house—one that could not stand up nor support the candy it is weighed down with. Nonetheless, it is a little advent window for you.
As I progress in this study, I am really prodded along by a lot of learning I am doing with my tools, my thinking and the desire to keep encrusting these poor layouts with more and more stuff. Obsessively so…that this illustration still feels remarkably parsimonious and too spare for my liking but there is a limit right now for how far I can go…but maybe as we proceed, these things will get junkier and more stuffed with color and texture, pattern and form.
I am getting a bit more adept with brushes/symbols/ swatches and my new favorite tool “make with top shape” in the collection of warp tools. I wish I could take that concept of “make with top shape” and wrap it around my brain to see what odd and lovely thing would pop up in front of me. I am being entertained by the stuff that I can do that is now driving crazy illustrations and ideas. So it is technology and technique informing content and content coming back to push on technique and form to answer a need but open a door as well. Curiouser and curiouser.
Today we have a big Farmers Market meeting to review and brainstorm the past and future. Rob is still enjoying the pleasures of NYC with lots of work, meetings and grown up presentations. Our littles are still toiling at their work, studies and the ongoing personal friendships and sometimes dramas that college will present them. I am surrounded by the court of honor (2 grey cats, a half blind white cat, and a stinky big black dog) in charge of watering, feeding and taking them out. Had a nice meeting with Richie Stearns and sweet Rosie about an illustration of a tractor for an upcoming album. Am all over it. Finished a ginger illustration for the upcoming Ginger Vodka for Myer Farm Distillery. More special projects happening daily.
Gotta get to the vectors or they might run away.