Farewell teacher and friend.

Floral Tribute, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

Radio silence. A whole week of radio silence…and I apologize.

I have been trying to sort our where the chaos has come from and why I cannot find the glimmers of interest in all the wonderful things out there. Its been like a stall with loads of work but no zing to connect with you and my world. I guess it is because of a text Alex Cassetti got.

Last Friday afternoon, Alex got a text from a friend saying that his dad had died of a heart attack. Alex came home stunned, silent, shocked. He was wooden and worried. Alex told me about this important man’s passing..and we both shook our heads and wiped our eyes in amazement and shock. We worried about the family and most particularly my Alex’s friend Alec.  What to do? How to respond? Give the family space or dole out hugs. Alex opted for hugs. He also suggested that he should pay a visit and take some candy (which he did after we went to the store and filled a huge shopping bag with corn syrup in every shape and unnatural color imaginable). How could he show he cared about this wonderful man

This man, Paul Bartishevich (1956-2012) was a vital member of the school community, particularly sports where we got to know him. He was an inspiration to me to be a better parent, to love each other,to build community whether it was a larger community or just cooking breakfast for a team his child was in. 

Paul taught me to be a coach and advocate for everyone—impressing on what is good, what is valid, what is right while quietly pointing up what could use some work in a friendly, collaborative way. He had amazing energy, a force to be reckoned with—blended with a sharp wit and intelligence, humor and laughter. It was always a party to be with Paul as he was such mensch— bringing you into his circle with stories of his family, his wife, his extended family from events to the traditional games of football (referred to as BartBall) on Thanksgiving. Paul exuded enthusiasm, and happiness—living in the moment and making me want to be swept into the current he was making in this little pool we call home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this loss to Alec and his family. The vortex of silence….the sudden whoosh and then life changes. The why now? the why? and the hole that will be in the fabric of his wonderful family he loved so much. And so many more holes left in different groups who had anticipated their moment in the Paul sunshine.  

But, his light still shines in all of us. You can palpably feel it. And in his children, you can see that flame, the energy and spirit of this man. Hopefully, I learned from Paul, to reach out, spread the love, and live in the moment we are granted every day. And know, that time is to be cherished. It slips away and is gone….sometimes before you even know it.

Blessings on Paul and the gifts he so generously shared. He will be missed but will live on through the carefully planted seeds he gave to each of us.

Farewell teacher and friend.

IthacaJournal.com’s Obituary>>


Peach, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Winter is back with us…after the faux spring forced our forsythia, all our daffodils and the big fat magnolia blossoms to pop. Now we have window shaking winds with wool tee shirts and extra sweaters which would have been ridiculous last week at the same time.

I met with a bunch of local foods people yesterday—our market manager at the Tburg Market, and wonderful Melissa from Good Life Farm. I also had a interesting meeting with members of the Chamber of Commerce—to figure out how the Tburg Farmers Market could figure into the Community Yard Sale (05.12). Thankfully, we got a little thinking about it earlier in the morning so I could be a bit more responsive than my normal dead wood between the ears self. I also had a nice chat with Mary Ellen Salmon, Salmon Pottery about her work, her marketing etc. Mary Ellen does beautifully textured work on simple and elegant forms….with all sorts of texture on texture/ color on color things.  The image below is a detail of a piece she did using buttons to press into the ceramics and then highlighting them with glaze. Pretty! Like little gems, little candies, little magical dreams. So I am charged up.

Detail of a pot from Mary Ellen Salmon, Trumansburg, NYDon’t mind me. I am just feeling a little cranky given all the noodgy people I have given information and direction to more than once who today, requested the same information and duplication of all the stuff I gave em before. I am not chilling on this and frankly wish sometimes, people could hold on, and be a bit more mature than what I am seeing. I am bored with redoing others work and nipping at others heels to get the stuff done I asked for once twice, three times. Tedium times ten. Okay. That’s off my chest. Sorry for that station break.

Today’s illustration breaks some of my rules…and am using gradients for my peach illustration, part of the Farmers market illustrations. There are more in the hopper…some beets, and a fennel illo.


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!

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.


Awake and bitters

Racing Bunny, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkBeautiful, budding day. Green carpets, blue sky…and the magnolia are on the downside of their glory. Cherry buds, apple buds and the red fingered peonies are unfurling. The deer continue to eat anything in their path. Next person in their path is me with a frying pan and something sharp.

Moving more work…today its tradeshow graphics, a masthead, something for an intranet site, and I hope amending some illos etc. Finished up the reconfiguration of a brochure for an event opening next week as well as a complementary sandwich board. Will be going on the road with a new client to do a little competititve research and talk. Should be fun. This project is something I can get my teeth into.

Interesting discovery. I love aromatic bitters. How would you know that? I love how they can change the flavors of things along with just a dash in selzer water makes a tasty, astringent drink…brisk and delicious. Big kids’ sodie pop. No sugar, no junk and yet a bit of a move off of just plain water. So back to bitters.  I was talking to a friend who makes her own (!) and I remembered something from one of those esoteric sites I get notices from. They had a collection of artisan bitters which tempted me to no end…So I searched last night thinking I would find it. No soap, however…I discovered something equally as interesting. There is a company in Rochester (yes! Rochester, NY!), The Fee Brothers>>

“Fee Brothers is a four generation old manufacturer of top quality Cocktail Mixes, Bitters, Flavoring Syrups, Iced Cappuccino Mix and other beverage ingredients. Some of the products we manufacture are very hard to find anywhere else. We are sure you will find our old family recipes second to none.”

They have orange, cherry, grapefruit, peach, mint, lemon, rhubarb, and whiskey aged bitters. More than the regular angostura. And, they have a collection of bitters (12 of them “the spice rack for your bar) which include chocolate,  celery, cranberrry, and plum). From that, I learned bout this amazing site called “KegWorks” which showcased floral waters from Fee Brothers too (lavender, orange water, rose flower, hibiscus waters)

It seems the Bitters Business is an interesting one. There is The Bitter End Company (Jamaican Jerk, Mexican Mole, Thai, Memphis Barbecue to name a few). There is Bittermens ( hopped Grapefruit, Xocolatl Mole, Elemakule Tiki, Boston Bittahs, Burlesque). Dr Adam Elmegirab has a “Boker” bitter, a spanish cocktail bitter and a dandilion and burdock bitter. Bittercube (with a $48. gift pakc with all sorts of exotica).

Seems like there is a small batch bitters revolution and we didnt know it was happening! Check out Cocktail Kingdom who touts their business as Barware, Books, Bitters.

That is now something to ponder!

Moving Forward

Double Bunny, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkWow. The Mothers Day for Peace event at the Rongo was amazing. Heather Hallagan transformed the space with cherry boughs and flowers, a big table of baked goods for sale and lots of touches that took the event to another level.The music lineup and performances were outstanding…with each group hitting the mark incredibly. The music alone was worth going…but then there was the tribe! Wonderful group of people were there with lots to talk about, learn, encourage and cheer on. I met the wonderful Greg Kops principal of Mouselink Media , who from a pretty quick sketch of a web page created the great MamasforPeace.com. Greg and his partners are moving into a new space so as to be able to do more, teach, expand their thinking around the internet, social media etc. Greg is a total inspiration and force to be reckoned with in our little town. I cannot wait to see what’s next. There were a slew of others I had a chance to really talk with and catch up. It was great.

I caught up (kinda sorta) Saturday! and feel like a rock has rolled off my back. There is more ahead, but it all feels significantly more manageable. Amazing. As an aside, I rediscovered my wonderful rotring sketch pen…and cleaned it up…and now I am back pushing luscious puddles of black ink around into shapes. How meditative and delightful. (Jerrysartarma.com has a good price)

Hopefully, the tuxedo delivers today. What with the crush of tests Alex has had (SAT and today an AP) this is something he is happily anxious about. I am so into men’s formal clothing that I have been focused (what with the royal wedding) on the royals and their dress. I was delighted to see Prince Charles in a cut away with a boutonniere being a single hellebore (Lenten Rose). No crass big rosebud…but a lovely outdoor flower…no hybrid…just perfect. So, I was tromping around the backyard with Shady Grove this morning looking for the two hellebore I put in last year (and there they were) so that my stylish boy can have a boutonniere like the Duke of Windsor. I think the plants might need a bit of manure as they seem a tad scrawny….but they survived the winter (just like another bane, the GARLIC MUSTARD—which I was ripping out by the handfuls). If only the damned deer ate garlic mustard…..hmmmmm.

Onward! The week awaits!


No rest for the wicked

These dollies need new eyes, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink, digitalNeed to fire up the computer to get going on the yearbook scanning and more of the needlepoint, stitchery style patience of noodling in words of text, and improvements. I am making slow work of it, but it is progressing. A few hours this morning and all day tomorrow will help.

Rob is off with the fire company to see a volunteered house burned for the experience. What fun! We have the pleasure of the annual fire company dinner tonight where I must be Madam Commissioner….trying to hide under the tablecloths. I welcome the event and the opportunity to mingle with the pride of Trumansburg. I admire these people so much. They take on so much with life, emergencies and some, jobs as well.

These silly beestung ladies are for the Mother’s Day for Peace poster. Though I like their stunned look, I dont think it communicates a friendly event…and will probably alter the eyes for a better expression. I had a lot fo fun with this easter-y palette of gold and purple, blue and green which seems to be poking up out of the winter leavings. A crocus palette.

More later. Just wanted to say hi.

New Week

Fruit of the Field, Q. Cassetti, 2011, vector, Adobe Illustrator CS5Got the big pub work last evening—to be on the Art Directors desk first thing this morning. I took the image through the paces re composition and crop and looked at color or black and white. I hope its okay….and if its not, I will certainly find out (soon!). Plugging away on all the other stuff on our roster. Tons. Phone calls to make, people to talk to, projects to complete. If I just keep chipping, chipping….maybe I will at least keep the pile from growing too high.

We went off to Felicia’s last night to hear Amy and Ward Puryear in Double E. The music was great! and there were people dancing, chatting and drinking the delectibles that the Felicia Tribe dreams up and delivers. Nice crowd—particularly for a Sunday night. Then off to hear a swing band at Maxis with Alex and Rob. So, despite there was work yesterday, we had a little outing to at least suggest we were weekending.

The phone is about to ring with a scheduled call…so I need to go.

tick tock

Inspired by a Massachusetts Headstone 2, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink, digitalMust make this quick. Have a two hour stint at the HS to work with wonderful Marc on the Yearbook and the software we have decided to use. So I will have to make tracks.

Got the cow picture squared away along with some doodads requested by the amazing art director I am working with . I got the cow picture (with a farmer) reduced down to black and three greys which is pretty good getting another color to hand back to the designer to weave back into the package graphic. Hangar is coming along…maybe by end of this week. A girl can hope. Some big pubs (brand new) are coming on the horizon…so cleaning up the little stuff will be key.

Mr. White is still suffering although he is walking better and eating like the good old days of robusto. Kitty is a bit topsy turvy…that back from college, trying to make sense of the at home thing and the college thing. She is tired and feeling stressed, but we see tremendous growth. Change can hurt…and I think she is feeling it a bit.

“Lurking on the Railroad” is the play Alex is in at the High School. They are working late each night with opening night being Thursday (through Saturday) and we will have hot dogs and the cast party here. No biggie since the last extravaganza (Pourhouse).

Need to go…the clocks are all chiming to say “get going!”.


churning away

Q. Cassetti, 2011, vectorMaking a bunch of vector pix—one after the next…churning away and away. The squirrel to the left is one of the critters coming off the vector pen. I like the way this guy is looking.

Valentines day is on us. I have the envelopes stuffed. Mandy will help sealing them today and I will label and stamp tonight. Joe Sepi did a great job and now that I have lived with the sweetness, I am liking the way these are looking.

Shady is outside celebrating the snow with her friend, the border collie, Elsa. They are romping and rolling…just absorbing the cold, the crispiness, and the sheer wonder of it being morning. Just watching her taking in the moment, makes my heart leap a bit…as she is just happy, genuinely happy taking it all in. So, grey skies go away….and bring Shady more fluffy whiteness to roll and delight in.

I had a wonderful surprise meeting yesterday with a new best friend, Joe  Myer to hear about this new enterprise that is going to happen on our lake. Joe is a member of a family that has been farming the same place for seven generations and who have roots back to the land grant time.  There may be a logo, some packaging and image making with this entity which fits with my love of the localvore, supporting the businesses here, and projecting a world vision on a local level. And Joe is the rennaissance person who paints, is a musician, a cow milker dairyman, and interested in everything who can make this happen. Isn’t it great when you meet someone who shimmers with possibilities? Joe is one of those people. I hope there will be more here for us to share.

Alex is working until 6 on the play. Rob has civic duties until 9. So, I have an evening to get stuff done….and maybe watch a bit of tube. What a treat.


Pennsylvania Pizza

Peter at Keystone Cider, Q. Cassetti, 2010It was running from pillar to post this weekend. No time for blogs, naps in the car from one place to the next. Friday found us meeting up with some family members from Rob’s family—a treat, a sparkling gem. Things have been hard for them, but time has not visibly aged them…but the wisdom, kindness and joy peek out from the words and ideas and we are sad with them and embrace them in their joy. It was wonderful. We left them to have dinner with Ron and Mary to go have dinner at the Pourhouse—meeting up with people we do not have a chance to chat with…to much happiness and laughter. Then, we dropped into the Rongo for the driving, happy music of Billy Eli and Eric Aceto. Lots of energy, nice crowd dancing and mixing…and not too loud to talk. We had a chance to catch up with Todd on news around town and things that interest him. Local food being a lead. We had to get home as apples awaited the next day.

We got up early and met Peter and the apple crew at the Little Camp House on Searsburg Road. Peter believes in free apples —so he collects, like a mushroom hunter, old apple trees, and where they are. He calls the owners and asks if he can pick up the excess which they grant him. It was a brilliant day—just warm enough, clear blue skies and if I were the determiner of the “colors” we were on the shoulder of the peak colors. So dazzling yellows, gold, orange, purple and red.  So, there are bags and bags of apples ( coal bags) (85 we finally had), of old and new varieties, quince, and other yummies that are piled into trucks after the picking and sorting on Saturday Morning to go to Keystone Cider in Sayre, PA. I raved about it last year and could rave again this year about the belts and chutes and ladders, the hoppers and the tractor drive. I could rave about the filters and goldenPennsylvania Pizza, Q. Cassetti, 2010 juice being forced out of layers and layers of apple which, when its scraped off the filter is lovingly referred to as” Pennsylvania Pizza”—a dried mash of apples, core, and fiber that the ciderists feed to chickens (or so the young boy who I befriended, told me). Smaller group this year ( I am thinking maybe because it was a rough weather day last year)—but all of us knew the drill…so it went smoothly. We had a nice dinner with the same group hosted by Peter and Peggy—with delicious dinner, of course cider and all sorts of ideas, thoughts and sharing going on. We are so grateful to be included in this wonderful progression from fruit to table—and all the exotics, the ingredients, the community and network that spin and overlap with this group I find amazing. Amazing to understand. Amazing to find that I am in some of those circles that keep overlapping. Amazing to find out how many communities are out there…each as interesting as the next…all locally driven and inclusive. So different from living in a big city or corporate town…as these communities just spin like catherine wheels, overlapping mandalas…that grow and morph. I think living in this small environment makes these groups so much more apparent. Curiouser and curiouser.

Amy, Q. Cassetti, 2010Sunday was up and at em with Rob meeting with a really wonderful new friend to talk architecture, stones, masonry, projects, “who do you know”, “what do you know”, “how do you do it”. High energy, high ideas. Ponds and hot tubs, stones and quarries, steps and projects. While all that was going on, I made beet soup, beet salad and a huge beef (not beet) stew for later during the day. It was processing a ton of stuff in the fridge, so there is more room in the top of the refrigerator and tons more to eat. Thankfully, a bit of cooking keeps my Alex happy…and as its been so wild, it makes me happy to know that we have something for the boy to eat (at least for today).

Then I went off to Amy Brill’s Open House.What a shot in the arm! OMG. It was color, fiber, energy, gorgeous display, Amy “doing her thing” and showing us all the things her clothes do when you turn things upsidedown and backwards…the nineteen things to do with her sweaters. I, of course, couldnt resist and found things I have always lusted after in black and or charcoal (my faves)…along with some beautiful shawls and scarves for the holidays. It was great watching a pair of friends taking picture of each other and sending them to “mom” to approve or direct. Their use of the phone was sublime and quite effective as they managed to pick out sweaters and shawls for all of the daughters for the holidays this year. Amy spun magic and energy dressed in this adorable dress with great legs and cute shoes…constantly fluffing and trying on new scarves and accessories to let us see how great they look. Friends offered up that this was their second time to the sale….with full arms and happy hearts. I hope that this was successful enough for Amy to do it again. I know there are ladies I didnt have the sense to call (as not everyone is a Facebooker) who would faint at all the glory of Amy’s clothes, her accessories, and fibers. The riot of color, buttons,, and details invites a welcome step into Amy’s happy world and vision. And, I want to be in that world with Amy…spinning in joy in the fashion stories she tells us. What an absolute treat.

The small group spent the evening at the lake. Late dinner. Late sleeping and now we are back in the cogs of the machine. More later.

Here and now.

Lots of work hitting the desk. Redos of a client’s international work with very immediate turn-around (my stomach is still churning) along with long discussions of design and imagery that could affect so many future instances that its important we are talking and better understand what is important. And its fast and furious.

The two books for Cornell’s Vet School I am powering through—looking for images, lots of retouching and editing. I did a few layouts for one and need to make the second one more real. I am working a lot in Century Schoolbook (need to reconsider the drawing I am using) and really loving the way it looks. Marries well with the wood inspired type (Knockout, Acropolis for instance). We will be printing on uncoated paper for both pubs using (like the year before) UV inks which do not fade but give you much brighter and bolder ink coverage on the sheet.

Running parallel with this work, Farmer Ground Flour is coming alive. I posted a page via Squarespace which is really working between my pal and me…editing, designing, refining all in tandem. Once again, Squarespace pulls through easily. It has given me something to tinker with in the slivers of time (not a lot into this) to get a site up and posted as Farmer Ground and Cayuga Pure Organics will be in an article in The New York Times Magazine (10/17). We need to have some presence before it hits.

Additionally, there are some terrific new products using Farmer Ground which are being shown next week that we need to get labels resolved for comps that they need. As we keep talking, the need for a rack card, or output is surfacing. This logo is in the works but I really want to rework it this weekend as it needs to be tweaked. The uber cool thing (speaking as a vector geek) was that the wheat are brushes that created these strokes that were then rotated off a central spine. Still looks friendly and handmade but just a bit clunky to this designer. The messaging and image of the flour will flow into the messaging and image for the Bakery we are working on and is derivative of the messaging and the image of the grain and grain farmer. So it feels like there is a lot to think about, but as we begin to parse this information, it suggests or overlaps other aspect of this grain related community which is really cool. I am enjoying trying to put these pieces together.

I have been really going, so having that peaceful moment to think about pictures hasn’t happened in a few weeks. I would really like to get back to it. For now, a double order of granola and a tray of cookies need to happen on top of what is going to be presented for dinner.

Thinking sideways

Love Dove, Q. Cassetti, 2010, digitalJust had a great meeting with a knitter, designer and amazing woman, Laura Nelkin. Laura lives in a greek revival house (with a mini version of our handrail that she exclaimed over!) here in scenic Tburg and runs a very cool business with knitting patterns and  an amazing knitting network and engaging in the national/international knitting scene. She is a real shot in the arm. Laura was full of all sorts of cool information along with referencing Knitty (an old favorite of mine) and now Ravelry (an amazing new website filled with tools, patterns, and community). I hope we will have a chance to work together. She is someone I can learn from and help.  I am enchanted.

Last night was filled with music after a bit of driving around to take Bruce to drop off his car at Shadetree and pick up AllieBob at a friends place. Then it was Jim Reidy/Dee Specker/ Silas Reidy at the Rongo and then the Grady Girls at the Pourhouse. We had a wonderful dinner (!) with a chance to visit with all sorts of people. It was a fun night out. Kitty met us at the Pourhouse after an afternoon with friends and swimming along with new clothes (cast offs from a friend) and a sparkle in her eye. She settled in for the last part of our visit along with Alex showing up after expiditing at the Rongo. Alex is working like a nut these days along with playing the base, reading books and trying to do a little training too.

As an aside, I ran into Alex’s music teacher who was so positive about Alex’s work and involvement in his music composition class he took last year. She was talking about his skills, his music, and his ability. She also spoke about his quiet leadership and how he is there for his peers and they look ahead to him. It was wonderful to see him through her eyes. Confirms my thinking…which is always tentative, but having it repeated to me was illuminating and comforting.

As you can see, I am still fiddling with Girard inspired work. I am working in hardline in my notebook and am scanning them into my computer and using them as an underlay on illustrator. Simple is elegant…and I am striving to strip stuff out to work within the solids and shapes that Girard worked in. Who knows if its a look/ or approach, but with a body of work,we will see. Need to continue with critters with wing— which includes bees!

Goodness knows where this will go

Three's the charm

Angel, Q. Cassetti, 2010, digitalI wrote two entries yesterday. I lost two entries yesterday…so I am trying again and hoping that this entry will not get lost or go down the digital black hole that yesterday’s efforts so happily did. Sorry for the grousing.

Sunday’s trip to Cheryl Shaefer’s yarn sale was better than I could have even anticipated. It was totally in the Central New York experience of fruit stands and vegetable tables in the front yard. The garage and a side bay of the garage were open on Cheryl’s property, with a little “canning room” sized niche starting the grand tour of skeins upon skeins of colored, hand dyed fibers suspended from nails, and often 6-8 skeins deep. There was every gleaming color—some brights, some drabs—painted in gradients and blends, some complementary colors, some not—all the promise of scarves and jackets, socks and baby sweaters. There were two bays of all these fibers, all this future. Kitty and I frolicked in the wool, in the color, in the wonderful hand of the silk mixes, the mohair, the lovely washable superwash merino—trying to pick the skeins we wanted to do projects with. Kitty quickly settled on a bright bundle which when knit (as its almost halfway done) becomes a red fabric with colored flecks. I picked a range of sock wools (which is a wonderful thing I love) and a hank of “Elaine” in olive and khaki for a scarf that I may stripe with another, cooler green. When we went to check out, Cheryl, her husband and her design director were there with happy patter and editorial on the colors and skeins we had selected. There was a little basket filled with little folded pieces of paper. We were instructed to take one…which we did, unveiling our discount (55%) which made the shopping even more exciting. A younger member of the Schaefer clan was selling lemonade and brownies which the boys happily bought and devoured while we girls frittered away the time.

There is a possibility of doing a little branding work with Schaefer (which is something I have been thinking about for quite some time) as a trade, which could be very cool. I am meeting with them Thursday to see what happens. Interesting how things just sort of happen.

The hosta here at the lake are huge and full and fragrant. We have the front of the house planted (original plantings) solid with these yellow green plants which around this time of the year, pop open these enormous flowers, white easter lily sized blooms, which emit the most glorious, waxy scent in the spirit of lilies and gardenias. At dinner, in the cool humidity of the day, we are gifted this lovely smell, which only comes at this time, in this place for which I am always delighted and amazed. It is that time of the season.

Alex has started Cross Country training. He is all over it and able, this year, to articulate why it is he loves this. It is the running against oneself, but also it is the comraderie of his teammates…the spirit of individual by himself and individual as part of the larger group. Kitty is winding down. We get her to Hampshire by the first of September. She just got her classes and dorm assignments—so we will call with questions today to see if we are missing anything. Kitty is interestingly putting a lot of her people issues to rest in anticipation of the new future. I do not know if this is conscious, but it is fascinating to see her preparing for the next chapter in such a mature way. She is resolving old conflicts, talking to folks that have made her nuts, and setting her old relationships on new paths for the future. Now, (this is her mother speaking) if only she could focus on packing. But she will…just not much in advance of the move.

I am working as Alexander Girard these days. I made an angel yesterday in the spirit of the Nativity poster—but it became mine as I gave it a fraktur face and changed the hands/body a bit. I am fascinated with his approach and how he is very decorative but deliberate in his placement of frivolity. He lives in the world of negative and positive which is comfortable for me too…so I really need to let that go a bit. Girard also worked in a “making icons” way of work where each image was more of a single “potato” and not so much a storytelling process. It is more “here’s an angel, here’s a series of sunfaces, here’s aheart” driven by his love of type and folk art. Interestingly, his three dimensional work (his people, his nativity) is more narrative, but personally, I think he treated each figure the same iconic way—but allowing for the viewer/owner of these figures to make narratives by the placement and use of these forms. Girard got down to the basic design elements of color, type, form. He revelled in them that the simplest use was often his final resolution (ie the colored planes for Braniff). And in that pure use of these design elements, the sheer confidence in saying that it was okay for a plane to be lavender, it was an entirely appropriate and successful solution. So Girard’s charge to me today, is to go forth, be simple and bold, and love what you do and what you depict.  And so it goes.

Today is clean up and make plans. Alex works. Kitty doesnt. Radio the Ape, a band comprised of Kitty and Alex’s friends play at the Rongo as a farewell concert. Rob has a village board meeting. And I have time for me….I think Alexander Girard and I have a date.

Through the Looking Glass

Amy Brill by Sheryl Sinkow from www.totallybrill.comI had a lovely, inspired afternoon yesterday with Amy Brill. Do you know her? If you don’t, you should. And because of that, being the mom I am, I am going to introduce you to her and do all the talking. If you want to hear Amy, you can hear her at her lovely blog: Totally Brill, Amy Brill’s Blog.

Amy is cute, smart, funny, amazing, talented, creative (with an exclamation point) and an inspiration to me. She lives in Jacksonville (just down the road from Trumansburg) in an amazing big house on an impressive property with lily pads and lovely trees. She has two beautiful black Briard boys who keep her company along with the zillions of cool things she surrounds herself with from blue willow china, to stacks of boxes  buttons from the last pearl button factory in the U.S. to the sample cards from a button factory with the instructions on how to blend the dyes to get that exact blueberry grey color perfectly. She has posters of clowns (her mentors in a former life as a clown) along with photos of herself as a clown. She’s been a mime, a puppeteer and I am sure she held those audiences in her hands as deftly as she did me. She has boxes upon boxes of fiber she has designed and had spun in North Carolina which then is hand loomed (or machine knit) into these lovely, creative, versatile sweaters that can work one way for one look, and then in the world of flip up dolls, you turn it counterclockwise, button a neck and turn a collar and you have something else. The jacket becomes the pants, the pants become a hat and so on…and it really truly works. She is actively engaged in her sweaters and vests and throws and fibers as she puts them on, adding a button, putting a chopstick through the texture of the stitch and making another fastening…trying a new look. She loves her fashions, she loves the process, she loves the people who make her fashions and those that wear her fashions the to make themselves look the best they can regardless of shape and size.Wiggletto Vest by Amy Brill, photographed by Sheryl Sinkow

I am helping Amy get a new look to her company going. I am hoping that this, and perhaps a push with the social media and maybe some local trunk sales might build some awareness in this local treasure and the work she does. Who would know? Right? She needs to have the support to then drive more to the cash register to allow Amy to be as creative and prolific as she is able to be. I hope this is the beginning of my getting to know Amy, her work, her ideas and her influences. She has def. gotten me (and Kitty too) to sit up and take notice. Plus, I gotta get some of those great things she designs. So cool.

To learn more about Amy, here is her website>

Here is Amy’s fan page on Facebook>

Viva Swag on “NY Stylist Sandy Cohen’s Top 5 Underground Designers” citing Amy Brill>

“Okay, we know it’s Summer, but take a look at these and gear up for Fall or for those cold air conditioned offices.  Brill spins, twists, and dyes her own, mostly cotton yarns.  The sweaters are then knit using a knitting machine.   Nine ounces of yarn are spun at a time, a very time consuming process, but one that allows Amy Brill yarns to be unique.

Further, in addition to the incredible sweaters, she also does these cool “Be The Change” necklaces.

to a "T"

Redraw of the Farmers Market Weathervane, inspired by Durand Van Doren’s workBeautiful weather here. The Farmers Market Building moved yesterday from the fairgrounds to the Market Site. We got shots of Durand’s weathervane, and I asked him if I could generate a flat illustration from his work to make a shirt/graphic from. Here is my shot of the thing from his metal illustration. It was kind of cool as I took Rob’s photo of the weathervane against the sky, translated it via photoshop to a high contrast black and white image. I selected the darks and created a workpath that I imported to illustrator to work on. Cool. I think this will be converted into white on black for a teeshirt to give to the guys that worked on the creation of the bandstand during Grassroots. Need to price that one out. Alex’s shirts turned out nicely and inexpensively.

I was given next year’s Hangar’s productions (shhhh) and need to start mulling over what the images need to be for the posters/advertising etc. I would love to have this all in hand by the end of October/first of November. It would really give us the jump on getting in front of this for next year. I also committed to doing the graphics for next year’s Ithaca Triathlon. I didnt do this year as it was getting a bit tedious, so the break gives me a bit fresher look at the design/illustration problem. We will see. That too, has a near and dear expectation too.

Speaking of local projects, look what just arrived today! A tee for the Pourhouse! So, get yourself down toTburg’s very own funspot and get a shirt (guys or gals) to show your civic support. Limited edition.

Someone has posted a request for a Hangar Poster to frame. I am thinking that there might be something in having this stuff early to send out for prints. Also, the new thinking is the $2. gumball art thought. Which is, that people have no problem plunking down a buck or two for a button, a sticker, or a tattoo. They do not even need to think about it. NO problem whatsoever. So, what if I were to create a cool point of purchase, hippie display that gives the person a choice of buttons, stickers, postcards, tattoos…at a good price with the price getting better and better as one nears $10. and $20 a shot. This would be put in places that Q. has relationships with (Grassroots, The Hangar, a gallery, chez Camp, or any of the restaurants etc that I do gratis work for). Build the local brand in a very local way. Adding value  and allowing the individual to take a little bit (bitte ein bit) of Q home with them…priming the pump (?) for an incremental build of sales. That’s today’s thinking.

Just started reading The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. Delicious summer readling! 

One more

from 07/25/2010Phew. Its over. Grassroots was wonderful this year with music and friends, and new friends, and music, and dance and delicious food, and big ideas to keep this small head whirring. But too much of a good thing is too much.

I walked over yesterday a bit after noon to find that the clouds and drizzle had cleared and we were to have a perfect blue sky afternoon. Heard the Chokers. Perfect show. A lot of nice new twists to the music, and happier band members made for good music and happy karma for those of us who know a few. We heard Hee Haw Nightmare, didnt love, but the crowd did. Toivo, as Rob said “went electric” with children running in circles and people waltzing and dancing happily in the afternoon. Preston and Keith Frank played the Dance Tent for the Tea Dance segment with the crowd happily dancing and not totally overwhelmed by the heat (like Friday when many of us wanted to lie down and faint from the humidity).

We got home on the early side after just enough and I surfaced that I wanted a scooter, a vespa to be specific. Rob surprisingly perked up about that (and Indian one please as the design was frozen mid seventies with the ferring and design I love). Now the question is which color and could I get vinyl cut to put bumble bees all over it?

I also am going to make a piece of art starting with the new weathervane on our new Tburg bandstand as reference. I think something solid and one color might be a nice thing to have to output on canvas and donate to the events I donate things to, and to create some tees (from my new cheap resource) to give to the men and women who built the bandstand as a thank you for their hard work, determination and wit to make something so outstanding for our little town. We are so so lucky to have such a committed group of people give and give and give to us, to Grassroots, to the general wonder and quality of life I hope none of us take this spirit of giving for granted. My belief in everyone giving a little bit (an hour a week at least) to your closest in community will yield in the Catherine Wheel tradition of bringing back energy to not only yourself but others is constantly proven in this small place of perfection we call home. And the wheel keeps turning and turning and turning.

The puzzle, challenge and amazing opportunity is thinking about the possibilities of what’s next?

Must go now to pick up my stuff at the art barn. Sold buttons and postcards with low expections. Lets see if I am happily delighted?

Link to Sunday’s pix on Flickr>>

Pictures to the left include (at top): Charlotte Senders, actress extrodinaire and cool Tburger, (next row left to right) Peter H., Meryl Young, Rob Cassetti, (Third Row down) The Chicken Chokers performing, (Fourth Row Down) Timmie Dietrich talking to me, (Bottom photo) camping in the center of the racetrack.


Snippets from Grassroots: 07.23.2010, Q. Cassetti, 2010It was wet in the air and hot, and still. Nothing moved except the papers to curl into themselves. None of the puddles dried up. And even in the tents, my glasses fogged up. It was a humidifier all day combined with the amazing Preston Frank and thousands of steaming topless bodies, the sights and heightened smells added to the flavor of Grassroots. Heat was also in the music. So, worth it all the way.

Preston Frank in a big tent with a very appreciative audience was a shot in the arm. Hypercharged Zydeco. We danced a bit until my face was streaming and we needed water. It was great hearing Preston do some of my favorite Boozoo Chavis songs…albeit he did not sing my favorite, “You will look like a Monkey when you get old” (a loving tune about his WIFE).

After that, we heard Mountainheart, an amazing string band that segued into rock and roll covers and back out again, seamlessly. The crowd was electric—so as you can see from the top picture, the band had a throughly good time as well. They have tremendous presence and worked very much as an organic group, one instrument, with all the various musicians handing off to the other either instrumentally or vocally. They also loved the audience, and the audience loved them right back.

We hung out with some old friends and then heard the end of the Sim Redmond Band at the Grandstand. G oodness, the level of production is really up, with the lighting and stage dressing at a far higher, far less shaggy approach that  it was a tremendous show with Sim and group as tight and good as ever.

On the way out, we stopped at the dance tent and were delighted with Jsan and the Analog Sons. High energy, driving reggae, great show, great horns and an amazing keyboardist who we see pop up locally.

We got home around midnight. Alex around 3 a.m. and Kitty spent the night. Another day starts. We will swim the vast Cayuga and feed the cats before going back for more music. The buttons are selling at the Art Barn. I have found my price point. Ideas are hatching as we speak.

Friday: Grassroots week

Zydeco Trail Riders, Main Street, Trumansburg, Q. Cassetti, 2010To the left are the Zydeco Trail Riders. They wanted their picture snapped after their fun performance Wednesday night at the Rongo. So obliged. To see more of the Trail Rider photos>> There is a workable one in there. They were very cute and chatty (as you can see) with Sally laughing and making the boys laugh along with her. They were great, high spirited and fun. Wednesday night was fun with dining and dancing with Kitty and Laura shaking their wild thing like the Drama Club regulars they are.. Rob and Bruce saw Keith Frank on the Commons and the All American Hell Drivers late at Barangus.

Friday at Grassroots (an edited collection of images from yesterday’s fun at Flickr)>>

Grassroots opened to a bluesky wonderful day. I went to the festival around two with Rob and Alex and was presented to our tent, chairs and little encampment surrounded by lots of people I already knew. I wandered over to the Art Barn to take my little things to sell (buttons, stickers, tattoos). I made up two little cigar boxes with nice labels on them for the stuff and put the buttons (as groups) on ribbons.

Then, Rob and I wandered over to see what was happening in the dance tent to find Mac Benford and crew playing stellar old time music. Mac is sort of the gran ddaddy  to the local old time music scene and he and they were def. on their game. Peter was there (designating that this was the place to be) complete with his brand new antique electric tricycle complete with cooler and a yellow fringed awning, prominently visual and the making, for me, of what Grassroots is. Small Town, Community, and the Church of Whats Happening Now. The cloggers were there along with our wonderful Professor Margery, Zydeco dancer to the stars. We wandered over to the new Cabaret Hall to hear Pat Burke, and then back to the  Mac and company.

Top: The Grady Girls, Bottom left, Harley Campbell and Mac Benford, Bottom right top: art barn sign, bottom right bottom, Eric AcetoI volunteered to work at the Art Barn as they needed extra coverage and am happy I did. The people loved the work and it was interesting to take money for my stuff and hear what they said about why that button or sticker. Instant feedback. I am seriously thinking of seeing if I can do a tent and do a “Hodge Podge Lodge” or “Q Brand” for the event. I think it would go…shirts etc. This is different than the Art Trail and for the same investment of time and effort, along with an understanding of what the local market wants to pay for stuff, seems doable. I want to sell penny candy too. There is too much easy stuff out there to do.  It is fascinating because there is a ton of interest in how I do my work along with a different respect for the work being printed on canvas versus framed with glass and mats. Seems more real/more accessible I think. My brain is whirring.

I was enchanted with the Grady Girls, sisters and cousins playing traditional Irish reels, jigs and waltzes along with family members from parents and aunts to little step dancing girls leaping and kicking to their hearts delight. The Girls are lovely in fresh cotton sundresses and the requisite cowboy boots, tight in their music and openly loving being part of this whirl they create. Rob is hopeful to get them for the Saint Patrick’s Day 2300˚—which would be terrific.

Djug Django was sublime with the poetic Eric Aceto leading the music with his violin sound bringing pathos and sweetness to a really amazing group of musicians. I have to say, each of the performances from Hip Hop (GunPoets), to Irish (Grady Girls), to Old Time (Mac Benford) to County/Rockabilly Swing (Kelley and the Cowboys)—everything we heard was top shelf excellent. The smaller groups put the “Big Name” (Merle Haggard) to shame in their ernest professionalism and high quality performances. What an honor to have these artists come to our little Tburg….(and many hail from here!).

It promises thunder today. I do not know how I feel about that and the mud. Time will tell.