Queen ensconced, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and inkRobbing the Bees by Holley Bailey introduces the concept of Bees as munitions which is very exciting and thought provoking.  Apparently, in the times of Charlemagne and forward--the soldiers had small vessels (clay, straw etc) filled with colonies of bees. These babies were launched and you can imagine the results. Skeps were catapulted ...swarms of pissed off, stinging insects projected at one's enemy. Simple, and yet so perfect. She does go on to talk about bees (the nice and friendly Italian ones) as only stinging unless provoked (being catapulted might do just that) and that being stung to death or even dying of a bee sting (even with those who need an epipen) is an insignificant number even lower than being struck by lightening. However, with the progression of the Africanized bees, "the killer bee"  (an invasive and very surly breed), they will sting unprovoked as well as swarms will move in to kill.

Bailey also suggests that the bee is very circumspect about the people they live near. It is said that a man who is cheating on his wife, needs to sneak around the beehive as the bees do not cotton well to adultery, uncleanliness or otherwise unseemly behavior. Poor Tiger Woods on the golf course...imagine the bees. And what about Jesse James' antics. No wonder the bees are fleeing...swarming and sensitive.

The turkey vultures are sweeping our sky. They are back in force. The peepers are loud and reminding us that they are there. Shady confronted a rather odd and scary milk snake (dun colored on one side and then when they rise up, they shake their tails, and bend their head in a true serpentine line...with the color expressed as white with dark spot--totally different to the quiet camouflage that they hide in the leaves with). We are looking for spots to dig a take care of the deep wetness in our back forty...which is fun to anticipate. And of course, there is lots of talk of garden follies. If I were the Queen of the World, I would have some delightful Paul Manship sculptures sprinkled about. Most particularly, Paul Manship's Bears (Adore).

Making some good progress with work. Designing and amending like crazy. Seem to be hitting a bunch of base hits, but if I just keep hitting consistently, I will get there. Baked some more bagels and some granola last night on the brand new stove. How elegant to have such a miraculous power tool. What a lucky girl I am.

whirling dervish

Highly productive yesterday. Made an appt. with a friend who is a buyer at the Museum who has her finger on the pulse of what folks are buying and pricepoint at the GlassMarket, a huge glass emporium at the Museum of Glass. Plans are to develop a series of products (illustration based) to be sandblasted on stock blanks (a la Steuben) or on glass hurricane candle enclosures, bottles etc. and do limited run products to start with. Focused, illustration base, potential for breaking even/profit....certainly worth the toe in the water. Also have a few calls out to see who can help me with this on the production side. People are out there looking for stuff to hey, might as well tap the resources.

Also contacted Boxcar Press (Syracuse), Pressed 55 (Philadelphia) and our little Pioneer Printing (in Interlaken) to have them quote some basic jobs in letterpress. I am learning about how this process works (do you want to buy the plate from one company and give to another? or buy the plate and use your own press (not where I want to go), or quote the entire job?)> I am curious about how much black density they can hold (have sent them a valentine in black for reference) and now do we specify depth of the imprint. More today on that. Surprisingly, I found that Briar Press (on my resource list) was a phenomenal source for boutique and not so boutique letterpress shops. More to learn on that front. In the same vein, I need to relink up with the independant engravers that are local (Meaning Buffalo to Albany and points south) as this is another instrument I want to be able to play in the future. Have done engraving jobs for business cards and the like, but how bout a gorgeous spot illustration engraved or embossed with 28kt gold leaf? Ooooooh.

I started a mini business plan for a music project I have been enlisted to help out with and used Google Docs for the writing. Nice! Not only was I working on the document, but so was the other author and Erich all at the same time--a bit disconcerting as it felt and seemed like there were ghosts in the machine as the cursor jumped around unbidden, filling in paragraphs, correcting spelling, adding names--an electronic ouiji board. The plan has become more focused with prices and detail that many piece could be peeled out of the entirety. However, Great tool, easy to use and it lives in the electronic cloud so its accessible everywhere and the aspect of collaborative projects are just that much easier. Kitty has even done slide shows on it to great success.

I am joining the Society of Illustrators LA as it will allow me to save a little dough on the entry fees, allow me some promotional space on their site and to support illustration in another venue. Need to finalize the paperwork and the check for the entry fees and for the membership today.

Also, hopefully Don Hair, the tree man, will arrive for a walk down Camp Street to talk about the dead trees by the side of the road and how he can help us take them down and possibly turn them into firewood. There are three enormous piles of sticks, wood, debris that need to be chipped (thanks to Kitty, Alex and Nigel's huge efforts around clearing miles of privet in various forms of development, tree limbing up, and the picking up of wood in all ranges of sizes). So, Don has a lot of topline work to do before we get into the more indepth stuff that is so worth doing. But, just maintaining the topline is good as it proves the import when we get these torrential downpours with wind shears and in the last snow of the season which is warm enough to really pile on the trees and wires and break them. Now when we have these sorts of natural events, we get a few branches...but not a few trees. All good.

So, moving the needle a bit. We are doing a round trip to a college on Friday and then Mon>Wed another go round of schools. Need to wrap my head around that too.

The fair has opened in Tburg. Last night was the Demolition Derby prelims and Thursday is the local music night which we all have penciled in. Hank Roberts and Hubcap are also playing at the Pourhouse Thursday p.m.. The choices are wide and varied. Trumansburg Farmer's Market tonight--so we'll see if we can cruise by.

More later

cool day

Continuing work on the Utamaro inspired illustrator in SF. Like what's happening. Sent a note off to CF Payne about the portrait project to get some guidance and thought. It dawned on me that the Jean Tuttle/ Nancy Stahl project was boring me to death...not jazzy enough so maybe I will do a portrait of Diana Ross (from Connecticut) and push it a bit a la Risko/ and the South American Pablo Lobato. Feeling better about this. Boredom really sticks you in neutral.

I am fiddling with our little dharma pal. funnzies. Not much to look at yet.

Cooked down a mess of chicken bones from my new favorite from the grocery store, antibiotic free, natural chickens (rotisserie style) without the terrible quicky mart seasoning and stink. Its quite delicious and it is prime for making this great new thai chicken salad that the home team have been loving (even demanding!) in this month's Martha Stewart Good Eats magazine (the small magazine at the grocery store). One of my favorite magazines cause the recipes are dumb, quick and delicious... Back to the bones, I made wonderful stock from these bones before (the best this year), so I am def. in the recycling mode with these small chickens. This robust stock may come from a robust quantity of bones. So, remind me, but next winter I am for certain going to buy the box of backs and bones they sell for $10. at the Regional Access.

The Van Engelen catalog came yesterday. With this cool humid weather, it is obvious to think about piles of bulbs--affordable piles of bulbs, more more and more. They had 250 daffodils for $74, all excellent quality, with a ton of choices from iris, peonies, frittilaria, allium. You hear me talking about these things...This is the place to buy them. Paired with teen labor...1000 daffs are going in this fall. More frittilaria maximus and allium gigantium. Do you see a trend? Maximus and Gigantium.

Its been very cool here. Maybe teen girl squad (my Wednesday teen employees) will fold things for Hartford and then outside to prune more twigs and sticks, and kill all privet. More later

picture above is work in progress...(click to see bigger)


Just got back from the last LPGA 2300˚ event at the Corning Museum of Glass. They must have had 4000 people there...two bands with the big draw being a fab jazz group "Room Full of Blues". The Voices show was open as was retail with people eating, drinking, dancing and shopping. Ran into some friends who had lost their positions and were interested in talking about the new paths they are on. I know this--that when you are walking in the forest, you need to see the sun occasionally to know that there is a world out there with interested people there to support you. I know that these friends are feeling lonely--so I hope I was helpful and encouraging in their new, unplanned trip.

Kitty and I trolled retail--catching up with some of the folks we know that work there. I bought a green beaded necklace. Kitty bought a bejeweled "Hello Kitty" style bauble. There were loads of temptations the foremost being the shoes with toes that turn up totally covered in beads and sequins. Apple green and magenta, gold and ruby, all opal-ie white or tones of black and brown. This sort of glamor for a pittance, $19.95. But somehow we just couldnt rationalize this wonder.

My tree peony burst it's garlic headed sized blossom...thus the picture. We are getting into lilac and peony season. The iris by the house (clear yellow and some that are purple...more the tailored siberian style versus the frill) are opening with their sharp spikes. The hosta have totally doubled in there may be a bit of moving with them. Monarda, otherwise known as Bee Balm, the source of beramot (the zing that makes Earl Grey tea--Earl Grey), is a plant our dear deer detest. They are flourishing. And our fringe tree keeps living despite the woodpeckers who peck away the paint we seal the wood with. I sent some of the teens outside with clippers to start pruning the brown hanging branches/ dead and not additive. So, things are looking cleaner, and more taken care of.

I have my thesis paper out to be edited with a real live editor. Man, Why didnt I learn about this earlier? Peter Hoover is a new friend and a Trumansburg Rennaissance man. He is at this iteration in his career, a retiring editor (from Big Red). He has asked me wonderful, and insightful questions. He has put his eye on the flow and format--and I know that the time spent with him will take my ramblings to a whole other place. Learn about Peter's interest in music>>--Here's an excerpt from John Hoffman's remarkable writing about Peter's field recordings...

It was the summer of 1959 and a young Peter Hoover, having flunked out of Harvard the summer before, was volunteering at the Library of Congress, transcribing inventory information of aluminum disc recordings made in 1937 of Crockett Ward’s Bog Trotters, from Ballard Branch, Virginia (the original Bog Trotters, consisting of Davey Crockett Ward and his neighbor Alec Dunford on fiddles, Fields Ward, Crockett's son, playing guitar and singing, and Crockett's brother Wade Ward often playing the banjo). . Not bad work if you can get it. It seems the young Mr. Hoover had gotten interested in the traditional music of the southern Appalachian Mountain region over the past couple of years and he was driven to immerse himself in all aspects of this musical genre. In between working as a janitor at a local private school to pay the rent, the 20-year old was hanging around the archive listening to numerous field recordings and engaging in conversations about the music with the director, Rae Korson. Peter was spending the summer developing a list of favorite old-time music performers as he hatched a plan that would take him on a journey throughout the southern Appalachia region in search of these old-time musicians. Not long after, in the fall of ’59, Peter drove out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania having borrowed his parents 1955 Rambler sedan, his Revere recorder in tow, heading straight for Hillsville, Virginia and the homes of Glen Smith, Wade Ward, and Charlie Higgins. Over the course of the next five years, Peter would make these summer journeys an annual affair. During this time, Peter recorded musicians in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. After five years, Peter had recorded more than sixty players and singers, all documented on fifty reel-to-reel recordings, copies of which are now deposited in the Library of Congress and the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University in Bloomington.

And this is just the beginning with Peter. I am sure you are going to hear more about him as we go further. He is an inspiration to me...and we have many common interests and old friends (and for me mentors). Lets just say...he has his fingers in many pies...and now he has his big brain, sharp pencil, gentle persona and generous spirit touching my paper. How lucky am I?

Work awaits. We have 50 high schoolers coming for an evening party. Its a purchased party...meaning we are having subs, chips, strawberries, little chocolates and drinks. There will be frisbees and water pistols--music and dancing...and then it will conclude. I have the compostable paper plates and cups and forks/spoons. Alex is making plans for a party for the "distance runners" and others to cook sausages and "hang". Sounds great he is putting this forth because now we can act on it.

Weekend is pretty open. I hope to touch up the thesis drawings. The big output is coming early next week...and I will decide at that point to print them on my printer with 3 centerpiece biggies (and frame them with an off the shelf frame with acrylic from Dick Blick or output stretched in a smaller size). I am looking forward to a bit of peace.


Cold here at the lake. The picture to the left is of the Luckystone at Sheldrake thanks to the satellite imagery found on the web.The wisteria is robust because I cut it within an inch of it's life (hoping maybe to stall it's persistant accumulation and acquisition of real estate--winding it's stems and tendrils through and about any fence, upright, or object that is within it's grasping reach. The trillium have gone from white to pink. The end of the daffodils are in sight with the floridly fragrant narcissus coming on soon. We have multiheaded narcissus chez Camp (purchased from Van Engelen) from the annual "lets put 400 bulbs in" program. These multiheaded ones are extrodinarily fragrant especially paired with these tiny white "doubles"that we have as well. I picked a bunch of them and pinned them to my jacket the other day for a bonus that it is spring. Def. more narcissus when I order the blockbuster mixes this year for fall.

I think I am going to order pencils for graduation favors this summer. Perhaps six pencils with a quote about illustration with a red and black ribbon for each place setting. My treat...but I think it would be nice. I have the one Luckystone Prize in my office, ready to prep. The other is still in fabrication, but coming along. I have my big experimental piece of output coming (36" x 48") on stretchers coming for review this week. And, Busy Beaver say the buttons are shipping as we speak. Peter H. is getting my paper to edit...and then pending the design changes to the few illustrations (and a few more I might do), I will be done. Or maybe I will be done and do the few later to add.

We do have the Tuttle/Stahl prep which is a portrait of a Connecticut person (historical or otherwise). Initially, Travis, the wine drinking, Xantac taking chimp was my first "go to"--but instead of going rogue on this project--I will keep tight. So, its going to be on Olivia Langdon Clemens, wife of Mark Twain and local figure at Hartford and here in Elmira. Mark Twain said about his beloved Livy:

"I never wrote a serious word until after I married Mrs. Clemens. She is solely responsible - to her should go the credit - for any influence my subsequent work should exert. After my marriage, she edited everything I wrote"

Elmira College has a center for Mark Twain Studies. I plan on calling this week to see if there is any good primary source material to work with. If not, I like the picture to the left as it shows Olivia simply...not all glam that other pictures capture. This is the girl that Samuel Clemens fell in love with. I plan on integrating a profile/silhouette of Clemens into the image (something I have wanted to fiddle with) to say that she lives behind or within this profile despite her being the engine behind Mark Twain's work.

Look what I found, a note from Twain to Thomas Nast, premiere caricaturist and recognized illustrator of the time:

To Th. Nast, in Morristown, N. J.:
Hartford, Nov. 1872.

Nast, you more than any other man have won a prodigious victory for Grant--I mean, rather, for civilization and progress. Those pictures were simply marvelous, and if any man in the land has a right to hold his head up and be honestly proud of his share in this year's vast events that man is unquestionably yourself. We all do sincerely honor you, and are proud of you.

This note has currency today with the work of Barry Blitt and the witty Mr. Brodner. Nice that people were so courteous in sending notes to each other....recognizing those moments that change people and the world.

More on Livy. Hope to find some elicidating quotes or ideas. My work is going to be a poster about a fictitious play or reading of letters to and from Mark Twain and his depict their relationship and partnership...and how she is the one who is highlighted, not the larger than life celebrity she was married to.

Rob is measuring. Kitty is doing puzzles and I am going to order pencils and ribbons.
More later!

Natural History pranks.

Look at the scrollie ribbons on this thing...with the details interspersed from coffin to scythe. Flipped image/detail... And the hourglass (from the tombstones) winged (which some are) along with the more realistic skull, but gynormous shinbones that cross beneath/behind it. Ohhh, look at the skeletal hand holding something in the right and left corners. Sensational.

Up at the lake for the night and today. Rob is hoeing out Professor Wells' tool shed separating old chemicals and poisons from newer ones, metal and wood parts. Professor Wells was a professor of paleogeology at Cornell. He was a great collector of crap, a great maker of do-dads out of iron, and had a certain aesthetic which we lovingly refer to as "Wellsian". More of his touch gone....A- M E N. 

Rob discovered a nest of little robins which he showed us. These babies were quite remarkable as it was almost cartoonish where there was absolutely no visible bodies to these birds-- just these golden radiant suns (five of them) that were their beaks that if anything moved, they would immediately open--with a view down their throats. These yellow circles with views down their necks look like targets to drop the food into. No question what was going on there. If we didnt move it all, the little suns went away, and we saw tiny little brown and black heads, with eensy black beaks...all seemingly unrelated to the radiant suns. Freakish.

The trillium have opened as have the daffodils. We have forsythia with the lilacs being hard buds. Kitty filled all five bird feeders and two suet boxes so we should have wonderful birds flocking for our amusement and their pleasure. Just sited--3 male goldfinches, a female goldfinch and a thrush. Kitty found a skeleton and is bleaching it--wondering and watching, proclaiming its for her nascent Natural History collection. We have a single raccoon tail in the driveway independent of a pile of fur puffs under the trumpet vine. And I found two tiny bright blue crab claws (lake crabs>?) that are added to this collection. Kitty figured if RISD could have a natural history collection, why couldnt she? I am on board with this as it will give me permission to purchase moth earred taxidermy and know it has a welcome home. A Jackalope? What next?

Maria Sibylla Merian & Daughters at the Getty

Merian's Crocodile from the Princeton Digital Library
I was clicking around and found this croc and art by this artist and was floored. Today I was nosing around to see if red or black ware was Greek or Roman at the Getty siteto find out that there is a show currently there of Maria Sibylla Merian (1641-1717) and her daughters Johanna Helena and Dorothea Maria. Check it out. Whoa.