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.

Spinning Plates.

Scherenschnitte 3, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkWild wrapping and drawing. All the plates are spinning. And, just as things start whomping up, my computer decides to go finicky in the email department. Jeez.

There are pubs to be corrected. Pubs to be laid out. I love the work these days—because production methods drive the design. So many publications I am working on these days are output to pdf or even (god forbid) word docs that are sent to individuals to output to their little pokey desk printers. Will our local offset printers become rarer and rarer with this type of work just being printed locally—and the idea of bleeds and delicate tints thrown out the window with the blunt tool of the cheap desk printer. Will excellent printing go the way of jobbing out typesetting (with all the kerning and proofing that the old typesetters used to do)? Is the graphic designer now just going to be the technology arbetor?

As you can see, I am bitten by the land of scherenschnitte…only my ink version of it. There are many miles in these pix, and they will evolve as my advent project in black and white—with maybe a half dozen of them in color. I like taking this up again as the images are a bit better designed…and I can bring animals and flora into the images to make it more mine. However, I love these Swiss trees, and want to imprint it on my brain and hand. Squirrels, raccoons, bear and deer. Leaping cats and daffodils. The little Swiss cottages need to change to Greek Revival farm houses with fences and chimneys. Someone commented on the Home Sweet Home images wanted to know why the windows were light versus dark… worth looking into. Maybe some musical instruments too?

I got 4 boxes out yesterday with another 3 filled, wrapped and addressed (ready to go). I dawdled with this stuff until around nine last night. I only need brown paper to get the other significant things out. And then, cards…and chez Camp presents. Need to get going. December is two and a half quick weeks. Yikes.

Cyber Monday with my Etsy stuff (we knocked 25% off everything) yielded someone buying a stack of tattoos. Jeez. I did mine with Etsy (something for Kitty and something for a resident of Camp Camp this summer). The dachshund card, however, is blowing out this year. We are selling multiple packs of cards at a clip. Also, big Cyber news, Fat quarters on Spoonflower is a great price (twofers) this week. Could be cool if I had a minute to spare. I want to make some Qillos pillows.

Rosemary, Lemon, Garlic

Wycinanki wrapping paper from The Polish American Cultural CenterOne day and counting. I got the feast out of the freezer and its all thawing. I made a pumpkin pie last night so its ready to go. I just made up a rosemary, lemon and garlic brine (its cooling) that I am going to soak my two little turkeys in. I have the big turkey from Good Life that I am going to just plain roast…so we will have a choice. Tonight is the great potato making along with pumpkin bread and chopping all the salad makings (outside of the greens). Maybe some puff pastry/pesto coils? I should thaw some stock to make our little Kitty some soup when she gets home.

Kitty is on the bus! Yay. We will have all the children here to my delight!

Look at this happiness. Wycinanki (Polish papercutting). Inspired, happy, and love the wild color selections. Certainly not as morose and serious as Scherenschnitte, but inspired by the same countryside, Drzewko Kurpiowskie rural life, animals. Instead of our Swiss cutters who were postmen or in other postitions, wycinanki comes from sheepherders who originally started cutting designs out of bark and leather. But as paper became more available, then that became the medium. Madalyn Joyce in her online article “Wycinanki: The A.B.C.s of Polish Papercutting” gets into this polish style cutting, a bit of history and good links. Instead of happy cows with swiss cowbells traversing the countryside, the polish art embraces the chicken/ rooster in their cut work. A couple of current artists I keep finding are  Drzewo Kurpiowskie and  Leluja Myszyniecka. Kurpiowskie’s simple papercuts remind me of the happy, folk inspired work by Alexander Girard—and the graphic scenes, patterns and frames he created. I need to keep looking and soaking this in. I have been moving some ink around on paper and if something emerges, it will be popped up here for you to see.

Gotta go.



Snip snip

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

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

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

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

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

I am loving this.