black and white

French Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkThere is a skunk trapped under our porch. Tucker the boyman in his helpfulness decided he would set a have a heart trap under our porch to encourage the groundhogs to come to us…so we can begin to reduce their population. Turns out we found out that yes, we caught something—it is just the stinker that we have been experiencing for the past few days in the front room of our house. So, the interesting thing will be how to get the trap out and covered so as to get rid of the skunk. But, a solution is at hand.

Alex has been accepted now at Landmark College, Lynn University and McDaniel College (yesterday). So, he has some schools to choose from…and a few more to add to the mix soon, we hope.

I was flattered and delighted to be elected to serve a 2 year term as President of the Board of the Tburg Farmers Market. So, plan to hear a lot about this new add to the program. We have a lot to do and even more hurdles to get our act in gear, bylaws written and approved, processes in place, people actively adding to the experience of the market, and reaching out to our producers and letting them know their value to the market. Quite a bit to do, but we have a wonderful board of actively smart people who care and care down to the details. Its pretty exciting.

The drawings I did in pencil (sketches you will never see) are manifesting themselves into nice, graphic images. I am delighted with the quick progress that the drawing is giving me. I am just going with it.


Advent Calendar Day Three, 2011

Scherenschnitte 4, Advent Day Three, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink on watercolor paper“Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not the expensive gifts that call for time and money. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a kind gesture, a little help, forgiveness. And the joy we give will certainly come back to us.…Let us pray that this presence of the liberating joy of God shines forth in our lives.”

Pope Benedict XVI (12/2005)

Spinning Plates.

Scherenschnitte 3, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkWild wrapping and drawing. All the plates are spinning. And, just as things start whomping up, my computer decides to go finicky in the email department. Jeez.

There are pubs to be corrected. Pubs to be laid out. I love the work these days—because production methods drive the design. So many publications I am working on these days are output to pdf or even (god forbid) word docs that are sent to individuals to output to their little pokey desk printers. Will our local offset printers become rarer and rarer with this type of work just being printed locally—and the idea of bleeds and delicate tints thrown out the window with the blunt tool of the cheap desk printer. Will excellent printing go the way of jobbing out typesetting (with all the kerning and proofing that the old typesetters used to do)? Is the graphic designer now just going to be the technology arbetor?

As you can see, I am bitten by the land of scherenschnitte…only my ink version of it. There are many miles in these pix, and they will evolve as my advent project in black and white—with maybe a half dozen of them in color. I like taking this up again as the images are a bit better designed…and I can bring animals and flora into the images to make it more mine. However, I love these Swiss trees, and want to imprint it on my brain and hand. Squirrels, raccoons, bear and deer. Leaping cats and daffodils. The little Swiss cottages need to change to Greek Revival farm houses with fences and chimneys. Someone commented on the Home Sweet Home images wanted to know why the windows were light versus dark… worth looking into. Maybe some musical instruments too?

I got 4 boxes out yesterday with another 3 filled, wrapped and addressed (ready to go). I dawdled with this stuff until around nine last night. I only need brown paper to get the other significant things out. And then, cards…and chez Camp presents. Need to get going. December is two and a half quick weeks. Yikes.

Cyber Monday with my Etsy stuff (we knocked 25% off everything) yielded someone buying a stack of tattoos. Jeez. I did mine with Etsy (something for Kitty and something for a resident of Camp Camp this summer). The dachshund card, however, is blowing out this year. We are selling multiple packs of cards at a clip. Also, big Cyber news, Fat quarters on Spoonflower is a great price (twofers) this week. Could be cool if I had a minute to spare. I want to make some Qillos pillows.

Masks on!

Halloween Warmup, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5Cranked up some tylenol this a.m. Two days of the same blasted headache needs to STOP. Cranking up some caffeine too. Maybe that will help. It was blistering yesterday. Take off the glasses and press the palms to your eye sockets ouch. I am being positive about medication and caffeine. I can hope. I think its the change from fall to winter. A hard freeze is promised for tonight. Oy.

I have every turkey part available from the bits and pieces department at Shure Save—roasting in the oven with all the leeks and celery I chopped and froze from the Sweet Sweetland CSA a month ago. Smells delish. I am going to brew a lovely rich stock for Thanksgiving today/tomorrow (we are aiming to have a freeze tonight which will help the stock) and then gravy this weekend (to freeze).

The gorgeous bones (what an italian grandmother I have become…or a baba yaga?)  are done roasting. New bag of frozen organic celery added to the cauldron to brew the turkey stew/stock. David C. said it smelled like Thanksgiving. I guess its doing what I wanted it to do! Two down for the Festa della festa.

Speaking of fun, Annie K. posted this great link to Kate’s recipe for making your own cola. I am so all over this.  Hello vanilla beans! Right here>>

As you can see, the Halloween imagery is rolling. A pumpkin for today. I was looking through imagery of store bought masks from when I was growing up. The whole costume in a box thing was a puzzle for me as a kid…with the little cheap screenprinted jumpsuit and these neon printed, vac form masks that gave kids who didnt make their costumes something to wear. I marvelled in these costumes that came in boxes (why that was fascinating, I cannot figure) but the masks…they are scary in the mode of clown illustrations for me. They seemed like a cop out for me as a kid—and that homemade costumes of being a cowboy, or nun, witch or cat were the way to go. However, the kitchiness, the context of neon cereal boxes, Mr. Bubble commercials, Saturday a.m. cartoons recalibrate these costumes for me—and really would like to think of them as part of reach of advertising and imagery that we took for granted.

I guess these costumes are collectible now (not a surprise) so it was interesting to see how this little snippet of my childhood is curated. Look at the cape and skirt of this witch is just decorated without much design. The costume holds all sorts of Halloween symbols without really messaging witch. Funny. The imagery screened on these essentially, “dry cleaner bags” decorate with ideas having to do with the holiday, or the most obvious images that reflect on the character. When did we finally decide this boxed approach to off the rack costumes change to what we have today, more distinct, “fashion-y” garments that may or may not be accompanied by masks (and not screen printed/vac form masks)? When didn’t this cheap panacea for moms work…?  And Why?  I think it might be linked to the Martha Stewartization of what a real, a “good” mom does. I think it might be Martha highlighting Halloween (with the exquisite make up and costumes that highlighted MS annually on the cover from spectacular to spooky at a very high level). Perhaps that MS shove, transformed Halloween from the simple Trick or Treat holiday of one day, to the second decorated holiday event we have today…with blow up lawn ornaments, orange Halloween trees ( like December holiday)…Wow. Did the advent of cheap Chinese manufacturing (at a high level) affect this too? I am surprisingly fascinated and nostalgic about the old Halloween…and will surf around today to see what else pops up. I know, sick.

Here are some links just to keep em coming: Goblin Haus
Ben Cooper>>
Ben Cooper on Ebay>>
Collegeville on Ebay>>
Halco on Ebay>>

Collegeville on Google Images>> (please be seated)
The Halloween Museum (check out Spock at the bottom. Heckle and Jeckel is alarmingly bad)

Just got off the phone with a list (!) of projects and branding initiatives for my big client. Should wrap it up with you to be productive.


Flippity Flop color, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink, digitalSo, a new technique is emerging. Not exactly new…but taking these detailled black and white line drawings beyond black and white. I add tone via Photoshop (see yesterday’s image) using postitive and negative aspects of the original line work along with tone added via brush and eraser. Then, the toned piece is the base for the coloring (see above). I am thrilled with the way this is looking. lots of detail, and it is working as a color piece too. So, now onward to working with it. I do not know why Memento Mori images popped back up, but they have and I am looking at Mexican Sugar Skulls again with happiness in my head and pen.

Speaking of pens, do you know about the refillable Copic SP Multiliner pens? There is a wide wide range of widths along with a brush that is permanent. Sweet. Jet Pens have them…. and of course, they have wild and wonderful Japanese office supplies.

I am a bit nuts as a bunch of rushes were plopped inbetween me and the preexisting work that will keep me in my chair until at least 8 tonight. I would like to be able to leave before 7 on a more regular basis. It gets a bit tedious, but books on tape keep me wanting to work to stay with the story (thank goodness!).

Gotta go.