A second after the Solstice

Can you believe it? The 4th of July is in sight! The enormous moon we had this week which illuminated the evening from sundown at close to 10 p.m. to dawn was extraordinary. The gorgeous wet days, and dry evenings overlooking the lake are a treasure--each and every one of them.  What  a year of change, of transition, of growth, of query, of note. I am stunned each day. Stunned, I tell you. Not surprised, not charmed, not enchanted, not puzzled, nor intrigued. Stunned and shocked. More often negatively than positively. But then again, I should back out the time to see if this is a seven year thing.

I am the queen of mumbo jumbo. I believe in ghosts and past lives, of tarot cards and the unexpected. I do not seek these things out, but I believe. I believe that there are points in your life that are significant "change moments" which, formerly, I thought were on (for me ) a seven year cycle. But now, I just believe there are "change moments" or "change years" that happen to pull your head up from looking at your feet or looking at the clouds to say, "Yo, pay attention, knucklehead (meaning me)!" Regardless of time, we are in a definite change cycle.

Adirondack face, Q. Cassetti, 2010

Adirondack face, Q. Cassetti, 2010

I have been quiet as I have been hurting. Hurting enough to pick up the phone and see if I could start talking and focusing on my hurt--allowing me to box it up, package it, and see if I could put a topic sentence around all of it to allow me to get on with my life without the noose or divers' weight around my neck.  This drag has driven me from talking to you, to talking at all. This drag has stopped me from my public self as I want to protect the soft, squishy me from the rest of the world as I have been hurt, hurt badly, hurt daily, hurt by clueless people who don't even know they are doing this. I do not resent, but are puzzled by why I am the focus of identity theft-- hearing my words, ideas, thoughts and hypothesis come from another person without the grounding of my thinking, experience and understanding.  But, I need to put this all to rest. Let things happen and settle out....and try to rise above it (as I was taught) and be "better than that" which, quite candidly, is a crock. Better than what?

Better than losing all your data and computer in one "electronic moment"?

Since the electronic melt-down, much has changed in my office. I have a brand new computer. I have newly recovered data. I have a wonderful new cloud back up. I have Dropbox and now I have the new Adobe Creative Cloud (which I was prepared to be puzzled by, but am DELIGHTED).  We are selling cards, pins and yes, little sets of nice little things at Sundrees and Etsy. We have just gotten a signed agreement with Cornell to be a certified vendor (a full year in the making). We are throwing work out the door in a passionate, volumetric way for our big client. Our distillery is rolling with the whiskey versions of their labels (and are happy). I am busy with a kraft bag design for our local flour mill soon to be in Whole Foods. My Bee Goddess is on a label for candles in Denver. A new copper bake oven pizza place has my illo on their teeshirts. And there is more in the hopper.

Tomorrow is day one of Cherry Season. Kitty and her friend Walker and I will be picking at seven a.m. to try to beat out the hoards that strip the trees in one day. I like to think of it as the opening day of fishing season for mommies....fresh cherries for pies, preserves,granita and more. We will see what will happen.  I love how gorgeous it is, and the moment in the early morning as the dew is drying and the sun begins to heat up, as the overcast clouds rise up up up over the lake--until at 8 a.m. the ground is dry, the sun is shining and the light is such that each sour cherry glows like a christmas light in the trees. There is quiet in the orchards as we are all focused down on each pick, each cherry, each moment of sorting and picking, gleaning the ripe fruit--a seasonal gift to each one of us. It is more like a holiday this year as last year the cherries and apples were ruined due to a late cold snap that killed every blossom. Not the problem this year...which makes it a bit more like Christmas, or your birthday eve....waiting the delight ahead.


weekend antics

Asparaganza 2012, Good Life Farm, Interlaken NYFarmer Melissa, Asparaganza, Good Life Farm, 2012It was a perfect weekend capped off by great music at Felicias (Rockwood Ferry) and a gentle spring evening party, Asparaganza, at Good Life Farm. Asparaganza was at Good Life with a brilliant cloudless blue sky, happy people, delicious things to try and buy along with music, games, tours of the farm and new friends and old. RedByrd Orchard Cider had it inaugural tasting (and indeed we tasted it!) along with Crooked Carrot, The Piggery, Cayuga Creamery (asparagas ice cream, ginger ice cream as a bow to Good Life’s prides), and Red Newt Bistro. There were farmstands and Toivo playing their happy music which was a perfect fit to a glorious afternoon. It was so wonderful to see these local producers, Melissa and Garrett and their friends in the context of the haven their farm is….with the geese and big draft horses in the background. Mike from Double E (Mushroom CSA) was making mushroom logs for folks to take home to grow their own mushrooms, there were games…and tons of balls and fun things for the teensy people who gamboled amongst all the larger ones. The energy of this event was so positive, so encouraging, so reflective of this emerging community that I just wanted to hug each and every producer for the gifts that they give us generously. We never really see the whole picture, just the perfect radish, apple, blade of grain or sunflower and not the work, love, and prayers that go into creating this amazing thing.  Maybe this little valentine will help communicate that.

New website for the Trumansburg Farmers Market! Took me about 4 hours to do…and I have a bit more to do (authoring some content) but at least we are up and running so the rackcards now point to something real. Here is the site> www.tburgfarmersmarket.com

I got plugged into some phenomenal new web based tools this weekend that I am so excited about I could sing at the top of my lungs. First one is IFTTT (if this [] then that[]). I know. It doesnt make much sense. What IFTTT does is link the social media venues you may be using, to leverage your messaging to the other outlets you support. Once creates or uses already created recipes to make your content work harder for you. An example is “If This” Facebook entry “then that” sent to Twitter. If an image is dropped into Dropbox, send the same image to Flickr….and so on…mixing feeds,Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, DropBox etc. It is amazing one stop shop where usually I have had to go into the mechanisms/the account information to try to network the content from one place to the other. Now it is so much easier and not so technical. Give it a try, its free.

The second geeky delight is Evernote. Evernote is a way to collect information, images, links, notes etc. to push folks to be more productive and less paper driven. Your Evernote is sync’ed between your computer, phone and IPad…so you can have your files ready and at hand whenever you want them as long as you can get a connection. You can share ‘notebooks” with people you invite…or you can keep them private or even not shared as long as its on your desktop. You can tag your entries, sort them a bunch of different ways…Worth seeing. Their customer support and videos are great (reminds me of Squarespace, a company that has that nailed). Plus, there is a community of users out there who are actively involved in moving Evernote ahead with cool plug-ins, ebooks, and forums. It is free to try, and if you choose to do the upgrade, its not going to break the bank. I am so in love with the productivity aspect of Evernote, I am worried that I could waste time being organized…but if it helps to get the work done…no worries.

Thanks to the prod of Evernote, I am knocking things off my list…and adding new. More to talk about later. 

Water cooler

Peach tile, Q. Cassetti, Adboe Illustrator CS5I am taking a little break as the big machine is getting an Adobe Creative Suite upgrade (5.5) and as the computer whirrs and rattles, the blue band advances, I can chat a bit with you…an electronic coffee break.

I sit here in my tower, looking out over the back forty with brilliant green grass, forsythia and frosty daffodils. The stinky allium were horizontal and frozen the other day, and this morning, they were standing tall and back in order. We can only hope for moderate cold. How crazy is this weather? The deer are back in force.

Its been busy here with work work, Farmers Market work and my farmers work. I am always reluctant to talk about work/
work as its not right…but the other two, I am happy to chat a bit about.

The Trumansburg Farmers Market. We need to boost awareness, build excitement and get more people coming to the market. That is the “this year” challenge (and ongoing). Granted, we have limited funds, but I am the queen of getting a ton for your money. So, in that spirit, we are going to start to advertise in local journals and summertime rags Thank you Amelia (she found the typo!)(advertising is really inexpensive). Additionally, we are going to have a rack card that hopefully we will put in backpacks prior to school letting out ($110 for 5M pieces from BargainBasementPrinting.com). This rack card is going to promote the market along with the free live music that is offered for a fun summer night out on the town for the family. For a wider distribution, we are going to work with an artist who is very affordable and does distribution of her own rack cards, and for a fee will take ours around to wineries etc. where our summer visitors might be. Then there is the local distribution that I think we can, as board members, put out the cards. I am ordering PET recycled tote bags from Bulletin Bag (and, she says proudly, got a community/ non profit price on them) with our summertime slogan (yes, created by M. E….”Omnivore, Herbivore, Carnivore, Localvore! More for ‘Vors at the Trumansburg Farmers Market” Big/brassy and bold. We plan on selling the price with a bit of a markup, but also giving a bunch away (a drawing every farmers market, a drawing at the local foods lectures at the Library etc.). I am looking into small banners for Main Street. And then, we might be having a few Saturday Markets (to test the concept and maybe switch out the rules a bit to give the smaller/newer farmers a shot at selling some stuff). We are going to have a pumpkin event in October, maybe a Thanksgiving market as well as a Holiday market. So…lots to plan and promote.

Then there are my farmers. Love them. Love their independence and spirit. Love how their work, growing food delights them. I am within eyeshot of two of these new logotypes being completed. Another has a few more turns. And the cidery is having the work approved by the TTB. So…a few things on the horizon for now. I would love to share the process but I can only do that after their marks have been approved by them.

I am still making Farmers Market images of fruit and vegetables…making stand alone images and then wreaths and tiles from those elements…creating little collections of things.  I modified my asparagas image to show to Good Life Farm for their asparaganza (an event in May celebrating their enormous aparagas crop)—and I blundered by putting a grasshopper in the picture (fyi. as adorable as grasshoppers are, the Farmers can’t like t hem…at all…think the Bible and swarms of locusts). However, I picked up a few more tricks with warping text (never did that before) and using all the path offset, and path options in my new fave, the “appearance” panel. I am becoming a pretty good intermediate user….

There will be a set of 8 prints auctioned tomorrow at the Great Local Foods Network event at Regional Access in addition to those same 8 auctioned (probably silent) as separate images, and some Q. goody bags of stickers, tattoos, postcards and the like. Should be a fun event with music, raffles, and tons of great people.

The whirring has stopped. The disk is being ejected. Time to get back to the paying work.

Happy Dance

I am still alive. Really. But it has been the dance jam, meeting with the cutest little future cidery, meeting with one farmer and then another and then work work work. However, great work is happening. Not to sound too proud, but I am loving what is coming out of the pen. The new Tree Gate Farm is to the left.

What has been interesting in the development of the Tree Gate mark is that it isn’t about the pork and eggs they produce (along with flowers and soap and) but about the spirit and happiness of the animals and their farmers. It is about the positive spirit, the joy in the farm, in the land, and the aesthetic that stems from this profession and lifestyle. This is a big new idea for me. I need to find something that people can link to emotionally, and create a brand for these wonderful producers that distinguish them from each other, while at the same time, generate a connection between the consumer and the farm. This happy pig and his passenger suggest the happy blog entries that one of the farmers cheers us with, speaking to the delight his pigs have in the wonderful summer mornings sunning in the field, chasing luscious apples and living the life on Tree Gate Farm.

I have also discovered that taking a more lyrical, folkloric approach to the illustrations in these logotypes—creating logos that are driven out of illustration versus graphic design (pictures versus typography) shifts the feeling of my my logo designs—really speak to my desire to create farm signatures which emotionally connects people with these farms and farmers. Exciting—which is driving me forward to get these complete for myself as well as for my farmers as this is the season for seed starting and planning for planting. Wouldn’t a new logotype and brand be doing the same?

As you know, I engage in Illustration Friday occasionally as it gets the work out there, and I want to support the good work of Penelope Dullaghan. Illustration Friday posts a topic each week and encourages artists/illustrators to submit images that speak to the topic. The artist posts the image to their personal site, and IF then links the images to  their page…building traffic and exposure for the artist. There is a nice exchange and sometimes comments left about the artwork.

In the same spirit of Illustration Friday, I discovered a page called Illustration Rally. I believe that Illustartion Rally is out of the UK— and that they create these rallies where folks submit work on a topic, and they will post it with links to website/blog etc. Seems like I got the last entry for Valentines day>> which is very nice. Plus, they do some nice tweeting too. Get the work out, get the work out.

Time for a double study hall at the HS for Yearbook.


Snip snip

Papercutting, Christian Schwitzgebel (1914-1993), SwitzerlandBack from Brattleboro and Northampton. We went to Landmark College spending the night in adorable Brattleboro and having dinner at a very chic pizza place “Fireworks”. It was perfect and all of our spirits lifted with the hope that maybe we would be pleased with Landmark. We went to an open house on Saturday to get the lay of the land, feel out the  types of students there and see if this is/was an option. Yes, it is an option but probably not our first choice given the feeling of the program relative to Alex. But, I am going to call and get some clarification on my thinking and really better understand what the options are  for someone with language based issues as it is a small population compared to the larger percentage of ADHD students that Landmark admits. I am thinking that we will need this sort of organized help to move Alex to the point that he can keep up with reading and learning at the college level.  I want him to have the tools to succeed…and need to come up with a few options to really analyze what is best for him. I am not optimistic about what the school here can offer in the next six months.

We visited the amazing Brattleboro Food Co-op which was hands down, the best coop I have ever visited with it all organic and or natural with a wealth of things to choose from and not so crunchy and groovy that it didn’t have a reality to it. The Food Co-op is as sensible and organized as any great grocery would be with prepared food, beautiful meats (affordable) and produce for everyone. Gorgeous (my italian grandmother (even though I do not have an italian grandmother) is channelling). We went to the great outdoor store (equally as remarkable and bought socks and scarves for Alex (his gumdrop for being a good boy) and then down to visit Kitty in Northampton.

It was great to see our girl. She is in fine feather—filled with stories and opinions on her new world at the costume shop which she adores and is finding herself camped out in. She is involving herself in all aspects of costuming and costume development and is poking into new projects for next semester along with taking a costume class at Smith (which she was anxious to be a part of). She is bubbly, talky and a bit tired but sparkling like the gem she is…and we are so proud of. We will see her on Wednesday.

Johann Jakob Hauswirth, paperDuring the little bit of downtime in the hotel room while Rob slept and Alex made mashups, I got rebitten by Scherenschitte, swiss papercutting. I found a wonderful fabric source that had the work of three remarkable swiss artists, Louis Saugy(1871-1953), Christian Schwizgeben(1914-1993) and Johann Jakob Hauswirth (1809-1871) . And so I googled away. I am struck by how much there is to learn between the three of these fine artists from the way they subdivide their page, the use of black, the use of tiger toothing (my phrase) and how much the work is prime for vectors. There are aspects that morph from artist to artist from technique and style to the actual iconography they use—I  plan to develop my own pseudo swiss illustrations to mimic to learn what they are doing. My hands down favorite is above. Wow. The floral frame is as right and embracing as the story inside. And the use of the central celebration of the flower basket in an almost heraldic way is such a kick. Deer and cattle. Houses and flowers (psycho flowers like I do), birds and squirrels, trees upon trees, rabbits and people, farmers and floral arrangements—all together regardless of scale, of story or of anything but black and white boldness.

Katie Rose Barnes from Manchester UK, a student of interactive arts wrote some wonderful short blog entries at her blog “Drawing a Blank, Art & That” on these fellows that I will link to as her writing and storytelling is lyrical and lovely. Thank you Katie. On Johann-Jakob Hauswirth, Louis- David Saugy.

I am loving this.