Work in progress

Making honey from past mistakes, work in progress, Q. Cassetti, 2010Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt a marvelous error;
That I had a beehive here inside my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs
And sweet honey from my past mistakes.

-Antonio Machado

<<Illustration is a work in progress...not completed. I just wanted to see it/ share with you albeit incomplete.

I havent writting in a while as I have had a backlog of work to do...and finally, just finally I have crashed through all of that and I can sit back for a second before launching into the new pile of paying work and personal projects.

The Yearbook has gone to press. I love it when I can learn new things about software, design tricks to make more silk purses out of sows ears, and the figuring it out and surprising oneself when you use the tools and DO Figure it out. It turned out to be 135 pages of images out the ears (all submitted to me as RGB files that needed to be converted). I raided my own picture archive as well as hopping from facebook page to facebook page asking my new HS friends If I could use their images of prom, hanging out etc.and they all to a one were lovely and approved my request. This little exercise really pointed up how good cropping can make a photograph (even a bad one) and how the energy behind a school happens with photography, but not with the yearbook staff. This integration of resources (excited photographers, new media, photoshop and the Lulu book company) is where the real zing happens. And, with a bit of trepidation from former experiences, I was expecting to spend a ton of time futzing with the pdfs to make them right. Lulu got in front of that since my last big publishing, and created an add to InDesign and Acrobat with all their presets easy to access for the final pdf. So that was a snap. And despite my files being huge and having to learn how to use their recommended ftp all went without a hitch. And...I saved the color pdf 3 times and saved one out entirely as a decolored pdf for the black and white (figured that one out) as well as enlarged the book for the softbound black and white (all within Adobe Acrobat in the advanced features!). I ordered 155 color hardbound books, 55 hardbound  black and white books and 35 black and white softbound books. And if we want to order more, no problem. I placed the order around 3 on Thursday and by 3 on Friday, the softbound black and white was finished and shipping. Where is the problem here? !

Kitty and Alex are on the Delaware River on a paddling trip. The weather has been like summer so I hope even if they take a splash, it will remain a fun trip for them. Rob and I had a fun night visiting at the Pourhouse. Bruce comes in today for two weeks. We are having some fun folks over to talk about their projects and ideas. Tomorrow we have Preston Frank and Zydeco dancing in the afternoon. Maybe some cooking. The bone processing has reached another level. Maybe make soup to take a chunk out of inventory.

Need to go. Projects to do, people to see.


Rush Around the Clock

Cutwork (Trees and Birds),ca. 1825, Anonymous, From the collection of Free Library of PhiladelphiaToday I need to tie up loose ends for two rush jobs. One goes to a printer (with files for the varnish plates etc--which, in 30 years of work, I have never, ever had to do....maybe verbal direction or a tissue, but never cutting the plates....I may resist). The other we need to output for an uber rush presentation which will be a handcut job for the first one, and subsequently, a small pile of Lulu books.

Pricing this quicky on Lulu made me think about doing another little handout book with the Fraktur work (maybe the silhouette work folded in as its derivative of Scherenschnitte, or Fraktur derivative cut paper work ("cutwork"). I pulled up a series of rectangular shapes based on the pages for Lulu, and one of the A sizes fit the best. They can bind 32 pps and more as a perfect bound piece. So....theres a thought.

Am prepping for my bus trip tomorrow afternoon. Getting things charged, projects tied up, underwear washed, lists for the kids (outdoor camping trip gear), and more. Should be a fast time, but a little oasis on the bus should be fun. It will be nice to see Jackie Decker (who has a lovely new website of her extrordinary work. Ron Cala, Martha Rich, and Alan Witschonke will be on my panel. There are four groups of five people to judge the work. I am a big fan of Ron's from Facebook and have always been an admirer of Martha Rich's work. Alan Witschonke is someone new whose work from the googling is a real inspiration. A quick adventure I might say!

Good news. Kitty was accepted into Hampshire College with a small grant of money to help. We will be going to Amherst in early March for a sleepover for her. I think we have the college she wants to go to. Now, should she accept immediately or wait until March? No one ever said this was simple, did they?

Time is flying..hey, theres an illo there!

Overcast, feels like rain. David Burke and Tim Reep are in the side yard rebuilding the pump house. The floors are being finished in the back room and in the new powder room we are putting into the apartment by Mr. Ungleich who is doing a remarkable job of matching colors and microsanding (I am sure he would not call what is doing as microsanding-- but he is very precise and accurate). Chet, the Lawnmower man is here doing the once over. And, I have 22 Ithaca College architectural history students coming for less than an hour for a first floor walk through and a exterior tour of the house.

Had a great meeting with my Cornell client who is up to her eyeballs in work, new aspects of her job and aspects of her personal life expanding. We are working on an annual report which we are deliberately making less expensive in price and to some degree looks...moving from a glossy presesntation in full color to uncoated paper with two color inking (combined inks to create a range of colors from black to mahogany, to warm grey to pink combining screens to pull the most color out of the two. This is almost "depression era" production--the whole "I dont care how much it costs, just make it look cheap" headset of the early to mid eighties. That was the rage then...and since then, between four color getting cheaper and expectations that most jobs print 4 color, this whole high quality cheap job approach has slipped off of most designers radar screens. So, we gotta roll on this one...Its going to be about a 50 pp book.

We also had a bit of an issue here in our little Hamlet with the HS Yearbook last year. There were some major logistical screwups that resulted in some of the students who had paid and gotten their forms in, not getting their books. So I got my back up and complained...about the loss of the books (Kitty was one such student), the big price of the piece (cancelling out a large portion of the student body) and relevancy of the preexisting process and method for production. Guess who is helping with the yearbook this year? You got it.... But, the hope is to produce a book that more folks can access by producing both hard and softbound copies via Lulu--using real live computer programs (InDesign) versus some cobbled up Yearbook magic, and even if need be, for those students who really do not want to buy a hard book; they can download a pdf and burn on a cd. So, everyone can have one (more democratic); we dont have to place orders for them (you can order online); lead times go from 2 months to 3 weeks (shorter lead times so more opportunity to cover the spring); and you can have a choice of binding etc. Plus, as it's print on demand and will not need printing plates, the cost per book goes down dramatically from $50. per book to (based on b+w) to less than $20.

Will tell you all about the non Christmas Holiday card. My client had a genius idea that might turn out to be fun. I am struggling with learning live paint to pull this off as the approach is perfect for this work. Additionally, I will be bringing work into painter to render in pastel/chalks as an option. Gotta go work.

The students are right around the corner (1/2 hr away!) Yikes!

grey Monday

Got my Lulu books back. I think I have gotten the whole pdf, bleed, live and inactive space thing figured out. The 7.5"x 7.5" square book does have the cream paper with the matte black, dense ink. Looking good. I ordered another 20 Memento Mori #1 with perfect bleeds etc. and need to get the belly bands readied for my ready hands that come on Thursday (that is, my dear high school helper). Christmas is coming. My mother wants five books albeit before her friends started raving about the piece thought the book was wierd and pretty much untouchable. Now, they are holiday gifts. My mother-in-law has piped up about more that she wants to buy. Imagine. A little ho ho ho, whoa.

Also have all the holiday cards coming in--samples from one client, proofs from the printer for the other.

Was trolling the web to look at victorian death photography which I used to think was fascinating. Now, I don't know what to think. The whole maudlin focus on the physical--victorian window dressing with the corpse posed in some "natural" position, dressed in their finery with candles and a flowery bower just seems strange and separate from that of the Puritans who viewed death as a marriage with God the spiritual union from which a marriage in life is a mirror of. The physical was left behind with the Puritians--and a celebration of this spiritual marriage transcended the body. The victorians seemed to dwell with the physical--pure and never decaying. Seeing these little children in their buttoned shoes with little plaid dresses with big white collars posed with their toys or propped against a pile of pillows framed by flowers and fabric.

... All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.--Take the wings
Of morning--and the Barcan desert pierce,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregan, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings--yet--the dead are there;
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep--the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest--and what if thou withdraw
Unheeded by the living--and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny....

Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant, published in 1817, and the progenitor for countless later examples of gloomy verse

What a comfort it is to possess the image of those who are removed from our sight. We may raise an image of them in our minds but that has not the tangibility of one we can see with our bodily eyes.”
Flora A. Windeyer, in a letter to Rev. John Blomfield, November 1870

Here are some images from a show: Haunted when it Rains>>
From the Kircher Society website>
During the 19th century, the newly invented technology of photography allowed people to permanently capture images of their recently deceased loved ones. From the Australian Museum:

Photographs of a deceased loved one served as substitutes and reminders of the loss. Families who could not afford to commission painted portraits could arrange for a photograph to be taken cheaply and quickly after a death. This was especially important where no photograph already existed. The invention of the Carte de Visite, which enabled multiple prints to be made from a single negative, meant that images could be sent to distant relatives. The deceased was commonly represented as though they were peacefully sleeping rather than dead, although at other times the body was posed to look alive.

Thought bubble

I woke up early, very early this morning and let the stream of images and ideas amuse me until it was time to crawl out and drink coffee at a more "civilized" time. Lots of good ideas I want to capture:

Memento Mori:

>Consider the gravestone shapes. Some of them are absolutely puritanical (just a rectangle of tremendous proportions), some are slightly embellished rectangles and others go for baroque. Instead of putting borders on an image, consider the image shape...and how does it go someplace from there.
>Note that when drawn with a point, a picture goes from nice to mean and scary. Good point. Stick with the points...unless its a cherub.
> Yesterday's fun with cut paper silhouettes manifested some cool stuff with drawn images. Work on that more. Do a spread of urns and a spread of either cherubs or winged skulls and see what happens. Could put the slash style on a better footing. More designed. Also, looks like some of the early Warhol advertising art. Look at that.
>Work on more hand lettering. This is the stuff that can be integrated into the drawings. Type for the copy.
> Excerpt blog for copy. Edit the crap out of it.
> Write a nice acknowledgment to the two people who were the impetus to this work. Write a nice dedication to the home team. Design it as a sticker to print on the epson and can be applied to the book.
>Work on line drawings of the willow. Marblehead cemetary had some nice references. Consider a willow spread with an urn knocked out of the pattern for copy. Could be pretty.
>Consider using the mighty epson for a book jacket cover (that folds all the way into the spine of the paperback book). Consider drawing some intense sharp shapes to make a pointy/scary pattern. Remember the ribbon idea (thread it through 2 slits made in the book jacket cover (as the paper folds into the book) on both covers, and run the loose ribbon between the book jacket cover and the cover. The ribbon is only to be seen at the side of the book. Keep the ribbon either black (grograin) or a metallic pewter to maintain the one color job-bed ness of the piece.

Valentine's day piece:

> Consider the square Lulu book.
> Consider a folded piece of output from the mighty epson inspired by the quicky done at SU for Whitney
>Consider selling it via Why wouldn't people be interested in custom valentines ($20-$25)/ Goes beyond flowers, shows some intelligence and an ability to use the web?
>Consider selling it on Esty.
>Send to customers.
>Consider the folded "ice cream cone" shape that then could be a japanese accordion book type of thing. Gluing a piece of duplex board to the top and bottom single "ice cream cone" shape...could be cute. Maybe overly cutsy.
> If its a book, what's the packaging? Can Lulu perfect bind a 24 pp. book? (they seem to work in signatures of 8 and 16).
Could I do a 32pp piece? (16 spreads?)
> Or do the book and repurpose the illustrations into a series of folding cards that are printed chez studio.

Other thoughts:

> These projects are going to generate a lot of art.
>Consider other uses for the art in addition to packaging the whole thing as a show (and having the pubs for sale along with giclees of the images (selected) from the show.
> What else?

Good thing this is a part time enterprise.

That's the dump. Gotta get to Tburg early cause I have a meeting exactly at nine. Looks like a beautiful day. School is a week away. Yipes!

Note: Willow Tree - Grief, death, earthly sorrow. Often carried at Masonic funerals, the willow is the tree of human sadness.
Interesting that the willow tree shown in the picture commemorates someone named Felix, which in latin means happy. If you didnt know it was a person, the juxaposition is good.

To Dude

As someone's mom, to be "dude-ed" has been rather unsettling. First off,I am no dude--I am someone's mom. Second, in the informal --dropping dude into sentences much the way "uh" is--slurred into whatever content being communicated--what does that mean? Or the ecstatic, cheery opener to a conversation that sings "Dude!!" (in a LOL spirit) with a musicality...that can be translated as perhaps "Hey! You!". I have not liked being a dude until I have put it into the italian context which it is the furthest from. I think that dude pretty much morphs into use the way the italians use Regazzi.

Regazzo is a boy. Regazza is a girl. More than one boy is Regazzi. More than one girl is Regazze. Mixed group, Regazzi--informally, kids--Ciao Regazzi (guys, gang?). So, the word Regazzi is used often, fast and furiously. To that, I can dig dude. Dude is sexless and really ageless. It can be used as a place holder like "uh"--but you can draw it out to make yourself sound pretty dumb/stoned without much trying. Dude is also a good swap for "guy" which also is pretty generic.

Okay, dudes?

Cool day today due to the rain and front that came through last night. Am working away on urns, swirls and thinking about hourglasses. Have thumbnailed the lulu pub...and am on track. Planning on 32 pp +4 cover. Black and white throughout.
Need to check on that. Might have to be 48 to get it bound. No problem on that. If I make Oct.1. my cut off for the images, there will be plenty of time to do the final layout, copywriting etc. for a November 5 delivery. The Lulu folks said it takes 2-3 days to do the printing. And, if I send one out just as a dummy...and then do a mini production after that...I will still hve the time. Maybe a little virtual chat online get some guidance.

Just made a blueberry cake and a keylime mango pie for guests tomorrow along with a denudification of the veggie stand a block away. If the clouds move a little, it will be perfection.