Market meanderings.

Toivo at the Trumansburg Farmers Market, Q. Cassetti 2012Trumansburg, 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.

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!

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>

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. 

Melon Foundation

Floral Watermelon Valentine, Q. Cassetti, 2012, vectorIts been a ginger weekend. Ginger and lemon. Ginger and carrot. Ginger and vinegar (3 different ones). I made a lemon ginger marmalade, a ginger and carrot pickle and a pickled ginger (gari). I have plans for a straight up ginger marmalade, a grapefruit/orange and ginger marmalade, and a cranberry/pear/ ginger chutney. Ginger beer is in the works too. I just need to free up a bit of fridge space to try this out. Alex and I were at the local asian grocery store and purchased an interesting asian honey ginger (for tea). Its a big clear jar filled with thick amber honey with big hunks of peeled ginger in it along with some sugar. I bought it inspired by reading about ginger in Wikipedia:

“In China, ginger is included in several traditional preparations. A drink made with sliced ginger cooked in water with brown sugar or a cola is used as a folk medicine for the common cold.[29]

I have discovered by working with this interesting rhyzome that there is a distinct grain to it…and that the way to cut it is to go with the grain…and surprisingly, a potato peel is a great way to shave/prepare the herb. Additionally, the gari recipe had me boiling water and essentially pulling from the fruit a bitterness or spice prior to preparation. Another recipe had me salting the fruit—and rinsing it off prior to final preparation. Thinner the fruit the better. And…not to forget that the ginger is the big flavor that doesnt need the standard mis en place that I usually go to.

This is the new path, this discovery of ginger…which hopefullly will help new friends begin to understand the lovely plants they grow and perhaps how to develop added value yummies to help pay their bills and move their farms forward. I can act as a creative director not only as a designer illustrator/ but also as a cook and foodie.

As you can see, there is a new beginning for this near spring, that of Farmers Market imagery. I did a small body of work on this last year which morphed into a series of rabbit illustrations. My head is in a different place what with the farmers market, the new Local Foods Network and with best of all, my new farmers. So, I am looking at this same topic in a new and more emotional way. The image above has popped up. New for me…and yet so part of what I do. I am excited by where this could go.

Advent Day Thirteen, 2011

Advent Day Thirteen, 2011, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkWriting lists as fast as I can. There is the “go to the postoffice” list. There is the “get at the grocery store” list. There is the “help Alex” list. There is the “plan for the 25th” list. There is the “people/ places/ timing” list. There is the “work” list. And as always, there is the “PAY” list. I used to keep these on little crummy pieces of paper, but now I keep a running tab of lists in a little bound book…so I can keep them current and not as little nasty things that are easily lost. I love my lists. They are my working memory on paper…and though there is slippage, it isn’t as bad as if I had to remember it all. Thank goodness. And, thank goodness for a big fat fuscia sharpie which strikes the done things off the list.

Alex and I are teaming up to get his applications done. Chipping away everyday for a little bit, and we are getting this finalized. I didn’t realize I needed to intervene, but I do. He is significantly happier and has been treading water, waiting for someone to throw him a life preserver. I think this is his way of coping…and we just haven’t seen it. Bad me. But, now that I am more sensitive to him, maybe he can feel we are in his corner for him. As a parent, this whole college process and the computer forms can be highly frustrating as they are not well thought out, intuitive or even clear. They are a close second to the tax form (at least for Alex). We will get this done, done, done before the 25th. Peace on earth, or at least on Camp Street, 2011.

It was great to go to Shur Save and have a chat with my deerhunting friend. I have a friend there that I gab with about deerhunting (bow and gun), fishing and his family. We have talked about his cancer. We have talked about his troublesome children. This friend, after a heart operation and being told he couldn’t hunt, would’t let that keep him down. He padded around his house in pyjamas and bathrobe….and saw out the kitchen window a lovely deer that represented sport and food. He just so happened to have a loaded gun right there. So, he opened up the back door and got his deer never leaving the kitchen. Picked up some milk and a hunk of something to go into the slow cooker for dinner tonight as I have the whole team here with no after school/ or work plans. Tomorrow is the Mrs. Cassetti holiday dinner (I have to be the missus and behave). Thursday is the HS chorus concert. Friday is the Community Chorus concert. Sunday is the Musicians Christmas Party (an amazing line up at Felicias)….so we are scheduled out.

Today begins a brand new sketchbook. I have gone from the normal big Moleskine to the big watercolor Moleskine to now the super jumbo deluxe watercolor Moleskine. Watercolor paper and ink really rock…just a bit toothy for fineness…but worth it for the blackness for me now. I know I will vascillate on the paper as I go…but today its big big black ink….that wins. I have birds and angels on my brain…inspired by the clutch of crows at the bottom of our lot this morning actively shelling kernels of pinecones and chowing down on those savory bits. These crows were not frightened nor deterred from their tasty treats. Patient and focused. Made me think about how these birds are associated with Bran in Norse Mythology and with St. Benedict in Catholic Mythology…whispering in his ear. Early cell phones, right?

Gotta go. Land line is ringing.


Phantom from Friends with You, Miami, FLI went downstairs this morning and found that some furry friend had stolen the turkey breast (cooked and frozen from Thanksgiving) and taken it somewhere. I found the wrappers but the carcass is no where to be seen. Turkey Burgler. You never know where the meat will end up. She hides things like little bags of dried milk behind pillows in the living room or odd groceries in the spare bedrooms. One Christmas she snuggled up with a stick of butter in her black watch plaid fleece dog bed (complete and never even nibbled). No, the bird was not in the standard places. No wonder Shady was so blissfully happy and a tad thirsty this morning when she greeted me. She has more bounce in her step than the double pork roast fest she had earlier in her life with us. She has been slinking around in her guilt…but its pretty funny despite it all. The cats are oblivious but they could be party to these antics once Shady does the big deed of the grab. We will all need to keep our eyes peeled for the bones. I guess we are not having leftovers for dinner.

The inflatable above is part of an adorable installation by Friends With You. Friends With You had a sweet little space covered in polka dots on a white ground, with a big white inflatable, snowman type creature. Alex noticed someone coming out of a hidden door which we went through to see more art, things to buy, and the corporate offices of the Miami Friends With You (complete with their terrific collections of toys and collectables). Check out their work and ideas. They are a bright team with a lot of good ideas and even better methodologies to bring attention to their work, fuse art with commerce and license. Smart and sweet.

Detail Decorated Mini Coopers, Art Miami, Q. Cassetti, 12/03/2011Miami seems to be a great incubator for the fusion of art and advertising. Remember the slew of decorated Mini Coopers in front of Art Miami? What about the decorated trucks promoting Coconut Water (big deal down there) and handing out samples to all that strolled by? There were the girls in pink wigs and matching clothes promoting having your hair blown out “a catwalk quality blowout” with pink buttons and a funny tagline. There were trucks filled with real coconuts to promote some other coconut flavored products. Where art melds with commerce is where interesting things happen. We are not talking the zone Warhol lives in…where art imitates brand…it is more that the brand becomes art. Curious.

Motors running

Vector Messing around, Q. Cassetti.Working away. Sending all sorts of illustration derivative projects out…they come back, I amend, they go out again, I amend, they go out, they come back…you get the idea. And, inch by inch, sketch by sketch, we get closer and closer to finish! Now, to the holday card that is not “holiday”, a portrait and a pile of thises and thats.

Having a little time to be stupid has lasting postitive effects. I am feeling energetic and “can do” unlike the last 3 months. Time off is no longer a “nice” but a necessity. A day or two more would have erased my brain enough that I might be able to think in a fresh manner again. Just when I was so stunned, I thought I would never be jazzed up again, I cracked open this book yesterday…and away we go.

I am looking at the work of David Lance Goines (b.1945) ( David Lance Goines Posters 1970-1994 from Ten Speed Press) and am challenged and excited by his work. I think we graphic designers claim Goines more than the illustration community…so as hybrid to hybrid, I am happy to wallow through his enormous body of posters with his lovely, bibliophile inspired layouts and colorways, and the pile of work that he cranked out on a regular and consistent basis. Goines came to posters through publishing, running his own letterpress shop (waaaay before it was as chic as it is now)—Saint Hieronymus Press (1968) and getting into poster making to showcase his loves and passions in the most exquisite way. My attraction comes from his deep understanding of classic page design, typography and form that is the quiet underpinnings to his elegant work. To see some examples>> I love his link and gifts of image to Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse Restaurant. Goines put a face on that extrordinary enterprise…crafted as finely as her cuisine. Another prompt to keep working with the local food producer community here…it DOES add up.

A great article featuring Mr. Goines: Collectors Weekly, Featured Interview: An Interview with Poster Designer David Lance Goines by Maribeth Keane, Collectors Weekly Staff

People for the Ethical Treatment of Typography (July 29, 2009) surfaces some lovely text and images>

I am working with a big fat pen, a big juicy pentel whiteout pen (Presto!) and seeing how fast, how bold, how graphic I can go…could be fun. Maybe some barley, some grains…Maybe some florals and birds. Little miss fluffybug. That’s me. Line work and flat color…really basic stuff would be cool. Need a little illo vacation..a style change might do the trick.

Rain promises. Rob is in Toledo. Alex will be running. The CSA promises tiny turnips, carrots and lettuce. I think I might cook a bit (and freeze a bit) tonight. I am feeling the energy.


The Cestello Annunciation Sandro Botticelli 1489-90, tempera on panel, 150 x 156 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, FlorencTurbo Junior (one of the grey cats) is perched next to me, a grey gumdrop, surveying the front yard for something to chase and catch. He is so vigilant that I hope a little something comes out from under the house to give him a little thrill. Shady is curled up, a comma, on the floor taking in the breezes while we spend a little time between the drop off and return to Taughannock for Alex to preseason with the team. We are waiting to give the others a little more time to sleep before I shuffle them off to Trumansburg for the day. It is such a beautiful, cool morning—that I am grabbing as much of this as I can before I go to the command central to start directing and doing.

The hostas are in bloom, so Turbo and I are revelling in the cloud of pure scent that is coming our way. I imagine this high lily fragrance is one that might have accompanied the angels in annunciation scenes as a similar flower was presented to the young and naive Mary. Always with a beautiful palette, lots of gold and splash and the winsome, asexual angel—having to deliver the news (might not be the best to an unmarried, young woman) that yes indeedy, Miss Mary was going to have a baby. The lily was kind of the peace offering, the sweetener, the holy FTD arrangement to soften the blow. I hope it did the trick. I know I would not have been charmed. Confused and furious…more like it. I love thinking about an alternative Renaissance Annunication image (maybe in the Botticelli style as it is so stylish and the color so very pretty) of the announcement to Mary and what the real emotions and response was versus little Miss Placid just taking the news. I love the idea of the “what the f*ck!” fury that is more the reality. Mary shaking her fist at the heavens? Mary crying her heart out? Mary rushing the horrified angel—grabbing his arms and shaking him fiercely? No little antiseptic, prissy litttle ” thank you very much” but a full bore Italian response. Declarations of how this is not to be her fate! Calling down pain and injury to the messenger? Hurling herself to the floor to beat it with her fists—raging and fuming? Whoa. Talk about the Renaissance graphic novel. Its this sort of situation that makes me wish I was more comfortable painting than using graphic tools.

I have been honored to be asked to sit on the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market board. I had my first meeting last night which I throughly enjoyed as the women are all very bright, very articulate and represent different facets of local food so the conversation was interesting, educational and much of it actionable. The Market is a young one—but developed and managed by an exceptional manager, Deirdre Cunningham who is stepping down from her position after the season ends so we will need to find a new manager to take this nascent project to the next step. We have a lot to be thankful for. Deirdre (and the Board and Village Board) have really moved the needle on this amazing addition to the community. I mean, within the two years—the community built a market structure and then a charming bandstand in the middle of it. It has gone from a quiet little event to a place that people go to eat, to shop, to meet. There is local music every week and sometimes a performer who juggles and plays the banjo for the littles. All of this change and positive growth needs to be brokered, managed, promoted and organized. This is no small task that I would hope we do not take for granted….but we do as it just magically happens without understanding the sheer brawn and brains it takes to make it seem so seamless. What an amazing place this has become. I hope I can be helpful to maintain and move it forward.

So today I will put up a Farmers Market page on Facebook and create a flier for the new position and get rolling in the doing. I think there is a lot to do, to say, to design, to direct as a member of the board that I can be helpful with—and with the new time that is mine from the Hangar— this should not be an imposition. Should be fun getting to know these new and smart people too.

More soup in the pot for today’s lunch fest. Carrot. The recycled soup from yesterday was devoured with many of the team going back for seconds and thirds. I added some frozen veggies and the whole thing was looking good—so I added a small bag of frozen shrimp to take it to another level. If only I had a bit more fresh corn. Ah well. Cheaper than lunchmeat and chips. So much better. I do not think the carrot soup will delight as much. I can only hope. Bean soup for tomorrow as I have white beans soaking in the pot part of my wonderful pressure cooker as we speak. And I will get a ham hock when I pick up cat food for the cat empire this p.m.

Loving the Green Men pictures. Not ready to give them up. I have got a little mojo going—and so I will ride it out. I want to clip a few leaf clusters from “Professor Wells”, our English Oak here at the Luckystone for reference. I should get some other oak leaves too as acorns are on my mind—and want to see where this could go. This tree is so named as it was planted by the family to recognize the Luckystone’s former owner and it was penned in on a landscape map that came with the house. This curious little diagram drawn in pencil and filled in with watercolor all of the trees, plantings, former gardens and beds that the Fitchen and Wells family contributed to the environment here. We really should take it out of the frame and point out which trees died, which came down in the big storm and how we have reconfigured things to our liking (very little change).

That’s it for now. Things are to our liking with very little change (or at least today). Time to go forth and be productive.

(did I mention that I am loving my Kensington iPad keyboard? I am!)

a snippet of summer

Bees on the Peaches, Silverqueen Farm, Q. CassettiThe bees were adorable yesterday, flying from raspberry to peaches…seeking sweetness and clustering on the peaches that birds had pecked.  Ripe fruit was underfoot in the orchard, with nothing going to waste…with plenty for us too. The ripe, rotting fruit was a heady combination of peach and vinegar—memorable but not bad.

Kitty and I chatted as we gathered the fruit, a very pleasant time just being together. We both agreed on our wonder at bees, their friendly business, industry and diligence. We also exclaimed over the opportunity to grow your own fruit—producing food enough for a big family and then some…and how so much opportunity we have in this fertile area. Maybe my cherry trees will be the beginning of an orchard with peaches, apples, and hazelnuts? Maybe a course on beekeeping at Cornell is in the works.

Oh good! Its raining. We are finally getting some water (yesterday and now today). We need it.

Today is bits and pieces. I ordered my Christmas Cards…and I think having the valentine done by the end of August would be good too. I need to pursue the study abroad thing for my boy and get Kitty prepped to pack. There are projects to start, and projects to finish. I would love to close some out this week. Maybe there is hope?



Summer lull

Green Man 10, Q. Cassetti 2011, pen and ink.Yesterday was a day of shuttling and shopping, cooking and floating, revelations and quiet. Rob went sailing with our friend Peter and our friend John on the prettiest little wooden sailboat on Cayuga Lake.

I took Kitty into her job by noon with a stop at the fabric store to buy fake fur to make  hats out of. We looked and touched pretty much everything in the store, ending up with a yard of tone on tone spotty cheetah type stuff that she was delighted with. I then did a little grocery shopping (for the crowd of 10 for lunch everyday) coming home to marinate chicken, brown a big hunk of beef for spaghetti sauce, and a mamouth pork butt into the crockpot for pulled pork (the crew loves it, its cheap and in the crockpot, not a lot of heat is generate). After all of that, I glanced at Alex and Jacob looking glum and uninspired, so I suggested I take them to Jacob’s favorite music store to see what there was to be seen. I dropped them off, and ran to TJMaxx for wrapping paper and thises and thats. Then, my phone rang and it was time to pickup the boys. With more time to kill prior to picking up Kitty, we went to the new Trader Ks to find some really great things for the boys. We took a long and neighborhoody drive down the hill to gather our girl and go to the lake for swimming. But that changed as Kitty went off to the last Blue Stockings game (one of our rollerderby teams) and Jacob and E. stayed chez camp for music and such.

So, Alex, Shady, Rob and I were lakeside and talked about how maybe Alex would like to spend a year (maybe Rotary) abroad to experience all of that. Bless him! He finally heard me…! How great would that be? and what a great calibration for him out of high school and into a world that loves him and that he can grow and expand in. This is so so great. He would so love it. Now, to  make it happen.

Today, we had a quiet morning with coffee and swimming.  Once Rob started to mow the lawn, Kitty and I went to pick peaches and raspberries. I have about 3 quarts of raspberries in the freeze with many many more planned (seeing the abundance of green berries ready to go in 10 days or so). The peaches were sublime with soft fruit on the ground with tremendously happy bees scavanging for the sweetness to take home to the hive. Maybe some bees and fruit need to become integrated into the greenman project.

Common Threads

The Green Man 2, Q. Cassetti, 2011 pen and inkGrassroots was a different event for me this year. Grassroots was a highly social few days mixed in with a little dancing, a lot of listening, and laughter. normally it has been long days of non-stop listening, hot and furious amongst the hoards of the great unwashed ( true in both counts). There is some charm to that, but oddly, I have discovered that I am not a shirtless “bro” looking for as much cold, cheap, beer (for you bro aficionados , read “natties”). I am not looking for a hookup on the dance floor or to spend the weekend ” in the bushes”(as a mom mentioned that her child spent the festival there). I leave that to my son Alex to fulfill that role.

Grassroots was this year about community and about the musical DNA that Trumansburg and Ithaca have ingrained in it’s culture. We live in a small area where live music on a very high level can be heard nightly for free or a nominal charge. These are professional musicians with conservatory training, and some self taught but in the tradition of the area, decided early that music was central to their being…and started street performing in their teens. Some make their livings being musicians, while many others have day jobs in libraries, schools, moving companies, food concerns bringing that right brain viewpoint to the everyday as well. This is the thread of music, from the people and their ethos to the actual art performed.

I am honored to have gotten to know some of the most vibrant musical brains in the area, and am charged up by their focus and commitment to music as the spine of their lives, the spur to live and continue to grow that I am questing for as are others of our tribe. It is so curious to quiz people about their backgrounds, their training, their lives as musicians and performers. It has made me better understand the artistic “thing” that moves us all forward— the quest for inspiration, the strength of solo work and for some, collaboration; the timing and sequence, the need to get the work out and seek insight and and reception. Regardless of the channel of the arts— whether it be visual or auditory— these are some common threads we share.

Making a Joyful Noise

Rockin’ Steady #3 2011, Q. Cassetti









Rockin Steady: Tribe Stocking Reidy performed last night at the Rongo, part of the pre GrassRoots music scene. It/they were wonderful with daughters, sons, aunts and uncles, all singing and playing fullheartedly. And those of us who were not part of the tribe enjoyed their songs and renditions. Kitty had Hampshire friends that were a delight and fun to get to know. We mixed it up a bit…and then sat outside at the end and tried to take pictures in the dark (to some success).

Waiting on the porch, Q. Cassetti 2011Shady and I did a tour of the house and backyard and were greeted by dragonflies, bees in the thick monarda and the damned deer.  I took a picture of this nice stationery dragonfly on the steps, giving me a chance to push things a bit to see if I could capture him. I love the new point and shoots. What amazing tools.

Our new team member this summer is Tucker. Tucker is a football player and very funny. He chased a pair of baby deer yesterday trying to tackle them.  We had $50 bucks riding on it…and I bet, by the end of the summer, Tucker will win his bet…

I am beginning to move some ink around on my sketchbook pages. Need to get in a new groove. I am feeling a bit betwixt and between with lots of big idea work coming over the desk that the magic moment to ink and think has not arrived. I am eyeballing some czech illustration. Also, am thinking graphic…flat and shapy. Who knows. I will need to think about advertising in the 3x3 Annual Directory. What to run? One page or two? Does it make sense (I seem to think so)…and how to take advantage of this advertising. Plus, the fall is within reach, are there images I need to work on for the up and coming shows? or will the advent and rapture work be a shot? the bunny rabbits?

Clear skies. No humidity. Summer perfection today.

Summer dreams

StarGazing, Q. Cassetti, 2010, vectorHere we are in Sheldrake with the day lilies brilliant by the side of the road. It is the time of ebullient sweet peas in masses, curling and twisting themselves in the greenery and down by the shore. It is breezy and definitely summery— that sweet spot I remember on dark and snowy February days and whisper to myself that  the time would be coming for breezes and the tonic of lake water and blue skies. And, we have sunsets dwindling at 10 p.m. with the sketching of pink reminding us of the slow burn of the sun.

New things on the local front. First and foremost, celeriac. Yup. celeriac! Our Sweet Land Farm often has a tub of it to pick from, so last week to amuse Kitty who adores the mandrake quality of alll the rootiness of this root, I grabbed two, determined to make something, I have discovered that if my friends are at the market, then we have a chance that someone is a champ with daikon, celeriac or kale (not part odd my local mis en place). So after quizzing a few moms who are good cooks, I dove into making a cold soup of celeriac, cucumber, potato and onion. Remarkable and very complex and herb ally  delicious. I fed it to the corporate lunch table to good results. More this week. Bring on the kale and Swiss chard!

 Also, I have been honored to be asked to on the Tburg farmers market board. It should be interesting as it is in it’s infancy and is ready for the next steps of programming and public awareness. The Wednesday market is wonderful and embraced by many with our Tburg musicians, chefs and farmers there to make Wednesday evenings more jolly. I have been charmed to see groups of scouts congregating there for ceremonies. We could have community dish to passes or bring back the summer movie fun of a few years ago. Our new bandstand is perfect for a summer wedding…with tables under the roofs for the reception. Maybe a permanent puppet theatre / child  mini farmers market too? Something new to ideate about. I can see a posters or something illustrative!

Part of this momentary peace comes from drawing and reading. I had to stop drawing a few weeks for a project, however, I am in the warm up phase, looking for my topic again. I have jet downloaded some fiction along with listening to the newest from the author of The Devil and The White City. A miasma of sleep, books, and my imaginary world with my ink pens. Dreamy!


Ball Diamond Road Sour cherries (chintz), Q. Cassetti, 2011Couldn’t resist! Kitty and I took two friends for more cherries today at Ball Diamond Road. The day has been perfect with low humidity, high blue skies, a breeze and cool. Dreamy. The cherries all looked like chintz and wallpaper patterns. The Queen Anne cream and pink cherries were in huge clumps looking like staid collections of bakelite charms ready to pin to my sweater. So, there are new cherries for our lunches if Kitty and Mandy let us share. Kitty and Mandy keep devouring the sweet cherries trying to get the firm ones to give them the pleasure of the “pop” that the skin provides when you bite into them.

Tonight its pitting the sours and sprinkling them with a bit of sugar before freezing them for either jam (later) or baked goodies when there is time.

Working away on some illustrations and learning some new things with the existing tool set. I am trying hard to simplify— Simplification is hard work, but rewarding in its own way.

We visited the Tburg Farmers Market and chatted with Stefan at Wide Awake Bakery (and took his picture) about all things local—food, food initiatives, local doings, harvest dinners and all that is fun to both of us. I was asked to possibly join the local Farmer’s Market board as a non vendor representative. I need to chat it around and see what its about. But, I feel that this is a group I can engage in and be effective.

We then watched the juggler/ musician who had every child enchanted and engaged. Then, off to dinner to hear Toivo play.

Today is more work here. Nigel, Erich, Mandy and Kitty are here—so its a bigger/fuller house than the normal day to day. I should go.


last Tuesday in June.

Andy from the 1 hour portrait project, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Vector illustration using Adobe Illustrator CS5Churning away on portraits. The vector image to the left is a likeness of Andrew Cuomo, champion and Knight errant for New York State. I voted for Mr. Cuomo and am impressed by his approach, his ability to build consensus and the hard work he has to do. Being a politician is thankless work. I think  there was a lot of hard work on the phone and in person to make this vote happen to allow everyone to be married if they want to. For me, there is a feeling of optimism about being a New York State resident, versus down in the dumps over schools, taxes and services.I have never been particularly pround of being a NY Stater—but with the work and style of Mr. Cuomo, I might have to revise my thinking.

Kitty and friend Martha just bounced up here filled with news from contradancing on the Commons, bra shopping and her new job at the second, really fabulous vintage clothing store on the Commons. Kitty is enchanted with the new place, Petrune and the level of making this a really solid business—so that she is learning that its more than just fashion (which she is charmed by). She loves the skus, the book work, their Petrune Etsy shop and hasnt stopped chatting about it. This foray into fashion from book keeping to steaming clothes is a lesson that one chips away to make the frothy moment to happen.

Alex called and was exhausted last night. Guess he is getting “It” thrown at him. So, so much better than vegging in t he living room waiting for BLD (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)…and making dishes dirty. I predict a change.


Audrey, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5The lightning and thunder shook the early morning. Now we have a green lit morning, damp and promising more rain. Summer is here.

Kitty is working with me on a mailing. Alex is done with his tests…and had an interview yesterday for a job. I think I will need to press them into action versus lounging and making dirty dishes all day. Teenagehood is trying…though I love them.

Don and Jason Hair, the treemen to the stars, were here yesterday to take down the really scary dead trees (scary qualifies as “can it kill someone walking down Camp Street?”) and took the enormous piles of brush away. There was lots of talk around the busted chipper shredder which made Jason and Don load up the trailer with all the detrius to take to the dump. More fun is hoped for today (unless the rain scares them away). The Brush Hog, a wonderful tractorlike piece of equipment which is a tool of great destruction and confusion may be pressed into action. Don was itching to go for broke beyond the back forty with all the privet and honeysuckle that are springing up all over.

The portrait of Audrey is the beginning of the summer portraits. I did a summer of portraits two years ago and it was so informative and fun, that I figured I needed to get back to the one hour portrait to work on my chops and get my eye in. I like the calligraphic qualities of this illo that still allows me to have nice eyes and fun hair. We will see what happens with this. I am only burdening this project with time limits only.

Cherry Picking is next week! Baskets of Sour Cherries at 6 a.m.! I cannot wait!


Spring Bouquet

Weekend flowers, Q. Cassetti, 2011Nice weekend. We started the time with  our inaugural fun at Sweet Land CSA’s first pick up. It was so fun, so much more than I expected…from the lovely food you could pick from to the amazing farmers with wit, wisdom and insight…to the offerings from luscious yellow beets, to leeks, to mint and basil along with all you can pick batchlor buttons and 2 pink peonies. There were tons of different greens, mint, oregano and basil by the long stalk. I have seen the summer and I am delighted. Today made pesto, mint lemon syrup, a leek and carrot soup, sauteed kale and prepped the lettuce for salad tomorrow. I will post pictures to inspire you of the CSA barn, with friendly chalk board instructions, clean blue totes holding all he produce offerings, from the limited selections to the “have at it”. There is an egg share (which we are doing) as well as Stefan Senders Wide Awake Bakery share too.

There were all sorts of my favorite Tburgers there with children milling about or in the sandbox/playground. It is the best. I am so psyched.

Friday night and Saturday night Kitty danced. We had friends of Kitty and Alex at the lake—with all sorts of hanging out. Fun and very restful. I read a trashy book and “chilled” with Alex and Kitty. Saturday afternoon after dropping Alex and friend off to practice music, Kitty and I went to Trader K’s to have her try on evening dresses for a formal event. It was tons of fun with Kitty finally picking a bubblegum pink, barbie number complete with a boned corset style bodice. She looks remarkable (pictures to come). Lotsa laughs along with visiting Petrune for glamour and inspiration.

Alex is off singing tonight with the Community Chorus. We had some pretty enlightening conversation about music, jazz, his enjoyment of the singing lessons he is taking, chord progression and the things he is discovering and loving. He is an adorable guy that I cherish spending time with. I am so lucky. His insights and solid grasp on those things he loves never ceases to inspire and please me.

Need to log off. Drawing ahead.


Grate Face, Q. Cassetti, 2011I am always looking and seeing faces surrounding me. I am sure this is something everyone does—but it is such fun. And its always great to see a good one when you have a point and shoot in your hand. I bought a brand new grater at Maines on Saturday and in the great unpacking of the bags, put it down on our stainless prep table…voila. And now you can have him smile at you this morning.

I am inking on trace today. OOOOH. Love it. Thick trace, the really meaty stuff with layers of india ink is pretty much the max. I was working with photoblue and light vermillion prismas on trace last night with the blue being the preliminary sketch and the vermillion being the firm up. Now the inking.  I am cranking out a stack of these babies for a fun sketch project I am working on. Thus, the photo a day program right now.

I am curious about the trendy, color projections. Do you know if they project out one/two years so that the fabric companies and fashion companies can develop product/collections using these predicted colors?

Nidhi Saxena has a blog on color, patterns and designs>>

Fall and Winter 2011-2012 Color Trends in Fashion>>

Pantone View Color Planner Fall/Winter 2012/2013

“Refocus also examines Colour Movements - tones that are becoming more important, less important or shifting in hue and intensity:

- Lighter blues and navy increase in importance.
- Leathery brown becomes more important as a basic.
- Oxblood grows in popularity as browns, in general, adopt a redder hue.
- Olive becomes stronger.
- Purple and purple hues are still evident.
- Brights have a singular status for winter.
- Camel evolves into cappuccino and creamy hues.
- Yellows become softer and less sporty.
- Reds are becoming more orange.
- Traditional winter darks and berry colors are more mid-toned and less blackened.

So, I guess if we have a color magic ball, this may be able to be interpreted a bit. Yay for Olive becoming stronger. And a redder Oxblood is nice too. Is black out? and Navy in? All ideas are welcome!

Rob and Kitty had a great trip to Utica and then to get the doors at Croghan Mills. The millwork is great and David and John are here installing them today!

On the Fringes

Fringe Tree in Bloom, Q. Cassetti, 2011Another beautiful spring summer day. Today we prep for Rob travelling, Alex for a concert and Kitty for Kitty. I am talking to you before getting whisked off to be number one companion. We have shoes to buy, laundry to do, and a community chorus concert at the Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m.

I have a feeling we may have a lot of music in the house this summer with Alex getting all charged up about playing jazz from a very positive music session with a very calm, smart and together friend yesterday. He came home ON FIRE.

LOVED seeing that.

As you can see, the allium is going to seed. Our fragrant Fringe Tree (which is always a second from dying…as the older part of the tree is open and the woodpeckers have started in on it) is renewed, with a new tree springing from the base. Our neighbors all have glorious herbacious peonies. We have none. Guess why! The damned DEER. Target practice starts today. I am having a hard time deciding which weapon we will be practicing with…but lethal is the watchword. The Deerisaurus hate monarda…and that plant is flourishing. Guess that is my choice. All else they eat despite the “deer proof” designation. Stupid us.

We saw the MacGillicuddies who were great with Farmer Thor vocalizing to tunes such as “80 Dead Chickens”, and I think, “Kill the Possum”. Thor was very cute and having fun, spreading the energy to all of us. Rumor has it that the rub board player was his brother who had the same beamishness…loving being up front with the happy crowd. High energy. Lots of dancers. The bar was pleasantly crowded. A good night was had by all (even me!). I actually met some new people (fun!) and had a nice exchange. Did I say I love Trumansburg enough today?

I am busy drawing away, smudging ink all over pages to some success…not a ton. But as you know, I am warming up. Not everything can rock the house as much as I try.


Not necessarily going to seed

Allium Gigantium going to seed by the pumpphouse, Q. Cassetti, 2011We heard the Chicken Tractor at Felicias last night to our delight. So much so, we are going to hear them again tonight at the Rongo. It was a bright and breezy summer night last night with the crowd being at the Ithaca Festival, so the Atomic Lounge was not insanely crushing…and the music was brilliant and fun. Kitty was the dancing princess at the contra dance at the Bethel Grove Community Center. Alex was doing the festival, movies and then more bro time. So all were engaged…albeit not as a tribe. But, everyone is growing up and need their own groups, their own communities to flourish and identify with. I know this…thanks to being a member of my own community of artists, musicians, localvores and the fine IthaTrumansburgers.

I am working on a new body of work that I am not going too public on as it is a warm up for a project that hopefully start soon. Alex was asking my why I needed to do this warm up, this sharpening up— and I likened my process to that of a musician doing the scales, or singers doing trills—I love getting my eye “in” and sharpening my sensitivity to the work through practice works. I guess it comes from the calligraphic work with the esteemed professor, Arnold Bank.

    “Calligraphy is the autographics of alphabetics… . Calligraphy is simply the art of writing,or of sketching and drawing transferred to the use of letter design, on the beautiful blank of a fine sheet of paper… . Now in doing it, it has to be clear and it has to be beautiful.”
    Arnold Bank (1908-1986)

I might have mentioned this before, but Arnold Bank was my first real art/ design teacher. Quite honestly, there have only been two significant teachers in my visual career—those being Arnold Bank and Murray Tinkelman. Arnold Bank was a self taught calligrapher who had studied at the Arts Students League—perfecting his thinking and teaching. His course was a disciplined self study to learn a letterform from drawing the forms with different pens from a pair of flair pens taped together to simulate the thick/thin to ink and pens. From music pens to metal brushes to flat brushes. We worked from big to small producing a poster/placard, a poem and then a small book to explore text sizes. This work to learn a “hand” led the student to fully understand and build fluidity in the letterforms, leading, spacing and design in the most granular way. There were pen warm ups that needed to be done prior to picking up the pen to start the work….and these warmups are the source of inspiration for these pre illustration, illustrations…to get the eye in, to tune the design sensitivity, and think about the black and white, designing the negative and positive as the pen hits the paper. I really havent given it much thought, but I do not think other illustrators do warmups…but for me, it is imperative to do the warmups along with thumbnails as it is the physical and spirit aligning….in preparation for the trance that can happen with the work.

Forgive me for not sharing right now, it just is important that it stays with me. So, I will share photos and other things for while until I am ready. You will get snippets of my concerts, my friends, whats growing…the color, forms and shapes in my world.

Must go. I have Kitty and 4 friends, Bruce, Rob and soon Alex who will be anxious to eat. Now, what to cook?