Sundae on Monday

Sundae Brooch by Q. Cassetti, 2013 available on EtsyIts been a while. A busy while, nonetheless… Let me think about the news, the new ideas, the state of the state. The Federation of Farmers Market meeting was very nice and homespun. I liked meeting and seeing the range of people, their engagement, and the vitality in the room.  It wasn’t a huge group, but lots of interest in all that was said. I had the pleasure of meeting the Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Growers Market and the President of the Board of the Ithaca Farmers Market. The takeaway from that experience as that we should absolutely embrace the dynamics of a small market and truly own it, build into it…and keep it the personal experience that it is today. Bigger is okay, but not for our little community. What we can do for our community is provide a gathering space around food, eating and locally made objects.. We can provide a platform for local music, local performers, local arts. We can provide a neighborhood approach to “why not” type of entertainment and gathering from dish to pass suppers, to fundraising auctions, to the craziness of my friend Deb’s Soap Box Derby. We can revel in Local, Locavore, and in each other. We can use the farmers market to create new bonds beyond the church, the schools, and the community groups. We can continue to weave those ribbons of connection between people…to build and support each other. This is something we do well here in our little Village…and if we are deliberate about this activity, think of the strength we ill all have in each other.

I was prodded to join the Chamber of Commerce. Kicking and complaining…saying no…no…no…and then, surprisingly, I attended and am enchanted. It was such a bright group of action oriented people that being at the table to represent the Farmers Market was a pleasure. The Chamber and the Market both have literature distribution issues, so we are going to create a job and share the expenses etc. There you go! Reason one to go to the Chamber, share the wealth and get stuff done. So, more on that.

We had a very engaging Farmers Market meeting last week. The librarian at the Middle School attended and spoke about partnering with us to do some programming with him around a Middle School “read” to a community read…The book is SeedFolks…and it is about the power of planting to help draw people and communities together. Of course, we are on it…and interestingly, after an email to a variety of community groups, we have traction with them. So, we are going to meet this week to get this thing rolling. The day one of this activity is April 26 to roll through a month, so there is not a ton of time, but it should be fun to see what can happen. It was very rewarding to make a few calls and write an email or two and see the energy that is being put towards this thing. Not much more than that, but should be very cool to see what happens. I am feeling this.

Off topic entirely, Squarespace (the entity I author this blog with) has a site for visual people to create more visually inspired pages (Squarespace 6) along with a way to post retail pages /create a store which is linked to Stripe (a company that can do the financial transactions). Lets just put it this way, my mind is a whirl on this.

Kitty is home for Spring Break. It is great to have time with her. I taught her how to needlepoint yesterday and gave her a kit which I must admit, given how she is absolutely voracious…it will be done before the week is out. This is a great thing as with all the bus travelling she does, this will keep her hands busy during that down time. She had a group over last night to eat snack food and celebrate the Saint who chased snakes out of Ireland….I wonder if he wore green loafers much like the pope?

My tiny world

Turkey Brooch, Q. Cassetti, 2012You know I am obsessed these days by all things tiny. I am probably the largest importer of small stuff from lands far away in Central New York…with more wonderful things to come. I am living in a teeny tiny zone…learning how to think and visualize in millimeters, learning how to search out these gems that I can turn into fun stuff to wear. I am learning about this teeny tiny world where people create their ideal life complete with paper plates and napkins to celebrate holidays, St. Patrick’s day etc—to 1:12 scale home healthcare equipment, to odd/unusual and out of reach furniture and housewares that any normal individual might not be able to afford. Living in this tiny world, celebrating holidays with little people, tiny babies, eensy boardgames, televisions and iPads—is a happy place where we can exist, own our own healthcare facilities, our own bakeries, charcuteries, and lingerie stores. This is the world where we can own pets who do not pee on the newly cleaned rugs, or puke behind the radiator, who do not eat the chicken on the stove as it cools, who quietly love and adore without any effort. This is the world that Santa is guaranteed to come, and household servants (in uniforms, no less) will serve you, bring the car around, and cook your savory dinner that includes pate, turkeys, and every form of cake, pie and fruit. This is the world of Christmas trees with real lights in every room if you want that never shed a needle, and can be weighed down with bitsy little ornaments that cost three times what they cost in the RW (real world…or at least the 1:1 world). However, I am Gulliver in this world—thudding through, collecting my batch of goodies that I can design with (with a fist filled with a squished tube of the miraculous E-6000) andHappy Party Cake Necklace, Q. Cassetti, 2012 make little confabs of iced cream cones, or veggies, or a whirl of tiny carrots and garlic. There are small breakfasts to go on your lapel, and birthday cakes that adorn glossy bangle bracelets. What fun. I have some little silver teasets that will adorn business card cases…along with candy encrusted compacts to whip out to fix your lipstick or make sure that corn silk is not hanging out of your teeth. Sickly, I am so charmed….and it has spurred me back to vectors (you got a dose last week) for fun (and happliy for profit I cannot speak of).

Now that this work is going to be at Sundrees, I am doing my own little affordable Queen of Design from Estee Lauder, Princess….and I am buying small wooden tables to display my jewels and pins, along with small black windsor chairs, and happily, some 1:12 bakery cases! Cute and sooooo fun! Forget playing in the tiny world—I love using the medium to sell the twist on the medium. Sundrees is a fun store here in Tburg filled with really wonderful and tasteful things and they have offered to carry my teensies, cameos, prints, cards, illos. I have gotten some big prints made along with some big “posters” (printed one side) that I am running through my accucut diecutter to give me 5.5” x 5.5” finished sized (two fold) cards of my farmers market wreathes. I am making a ton of cards to see what goes… and I am cutting out kraft boxes—to package all this stuff. Illustration is being layered on top…and is selling as well. So, I am keeping busy…and am psyched to see where all of this time will go.

Simple squidly

Squid sketch, Q. Cassetti 2012Kitty finally got the packing done with all her things moved to the dining room for us to move later this month to Northampton/Amherst for her. We had a quiet day—with Kitty packing and me musing. Alex was camping. Rob came back from Nascar for a nap and then to take Kitty and me to go hear Johnny Dowd at Felicias which was fun and always interesting as Johnny is one live wire. Johnny was celebrating his “25 yrs. in showbiz” complete with looped music, poetry and wry commentary. Not a crazy crowd, but everyone there was there to hear and admire Johnny, a rare bird who attracts a specific audience who want to listen and hear.

Tonight, there is a village meeting having some points about the Farmers Market being discussed, so I will need to be there to represent. I hope it’s brief….but you never know.

I discovered something very obvious, but very sweet between Etsy and Pinterest! If you have an Etsy store, you can “pin” your items in the store….and move them into “board” on Pinterest…with the image, text and even price moving over in a neat format. So, you can easily share and promote your store through Pinterest, and begin to see whatever you are offering up to become part of people’s scrap and personal reference information. Be cautious, however, as their copyright stance was questionable…though I am seeing via the web, they are getting more in line:

“Pinterest is a platform for people to share their interests through collections of images, videos, commentary and links they can share with friends. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides safe harbors for exactly this type of platform. We are committed to efficiently responding to alleged copyright infringements. We are regularly improving our process internally with the help of lawyers who are experts in the field of copyright.” from Pinterest

Here is QToo on Etsy. Here is QToo on Pinterest…as a fyi for Y O U. I am learning quite a bit from this  little experiment…and learning that sales can happen. We will see if the price point is sweet enough…or if a bit of refining might move the product. I am sure you are less than fascinated, but I am. There is something marvelous about this time when an entrepeneur can build a business, one brooch or one blouse at a time…and for a miniscule price, post those products to sell to the world if the design is right, if the audience is right, if the time is right, if the price is right. All these essentially free tools that help us take tiny risks to see if there is traction…and to see if there are “legs”. Then, there are the flash auctions like One Kings Lane and who sell online—and are happy to take on a single item, handmade or design specific things. One could graduate from design school or an illustration program and create your own job versus waiting for one to fill… and, if you are wise, you create your own space, your own position, and not wait to be the square peg in the round hole. So much potential. So much wealth in these venues. Rich for ideas, rich for development and potential. What a great world.

As an aside, or did you love the Olympic Octopus yesterday? I did!

Sunday Funday

Northern Lights,v.2, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink/ digitalTweaking the color...things were itchy last night with yesterday's coloration, so I decided to brighten it up to see where it could go....and I think that this might be better. Learn as I go...and see what happens. Happier is better here. The sobriety of the other one is a bit of a downer. So, I got rid of the subtle/ multiply shadows at the top of the dark area, and in the burst at the top. This is a bit better. I was thinking of recoloring a bit more wildly just to see how it could go. I am, however, obsessed to continue onward with these for a while as they remind me of Chinese papercutting and folk art in general (Ukrainian/Hungarian).

There is some backwards forwards insideout, up down, and layers in the thinking around these images which is thrilling as the back and forth keeps the gears spinning.

This week the Etsy adventure begins. Wikipedia says the following about Etsy:


"Etsy is a website that provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade items as well as vintage items and craft supplies. Handmade items cover a wide range including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, and toys. The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee. It has been compared to "a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay", and to "your grandma's basement"." 
"Etsy makes money by charging a listing fee of 20 cents for each item and getting 3.5 percent of every sale, with the average sale about $15 or $20 and mostly sold by women, who tend to be college-educated and in their twenties and thirties. Along with handmade products, people on Etsy sell vintage items, homemade sweets, and craft supplies. Etsy offers multiple options for paying for items, including credit card, money order, and PayPal (which is part of eBay); international sellers prefer PayPal.
Etsy has a permanent office called the "Etsy Labs" in Brooklyn, New York. The site's customer support, marketing/PR, business and communications teams operate out of this office. Additionally, Etsy Labs has a community workspace that provides equipment and donated materials where Labs members gather to make items, take and teach workshops, and attend special events.
Etsy is one of the main members of the Handmade Consortium, a 2007 effort to encourage buying handmade holiday gifts."

My launch into Etsy will be with all the cards I already have printed and boxed, Valentines and envelopes, tattoos and postcards. We will sell the felt balls I buy from Nepal and maybe a wreath  or two as well. I will post Gliclees as well as copies of Memento Mori books which surprisingly folks like and send checks to buy. I have the stuff. There is interest among those that know me and the idea of consolidating and marketing these things in the evolving marketplace is perfect. I have teenage help for the mail and why shouldnt we jump in and figure it out before everyone goes to college. Seems like a prime opportunity.

Etsy has a nice (read seemingly easy) interface to set up a shop...and their fees are fair. The grassroots beat sez that Etsy is "coming on strong" which I totally believe. I bought a bunch of nice holiday presents from Etsy--things that were cherished and immediately worn upon opening.

Wonderful Don Kilpatrick (MA, Syracuse 2006) markets his screenprints and lovely sketchbooks through Etsy as Little Buffalo Press  and cleverly uses Facebook to talk to all of us who adore his work and his books. It seems that he clears out his offerings pretty quickly among his friends of FB. And friends, you know, have the network evolves.

Time for studyhall. More pictures...and the great rising of Whole Wheat Sourdough. This bread is a new one...that needs to actually ferment (read more science less Magic (which is what I believe happens in the Pain Levain)) and takes longer to rise and work with. So the long and slow perfect for this coloration fun. Believe me, I need the time...This is work!