First Workday: 2011

When Cats Fly, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies from the second sketchbook project, Long day yesterday. In the car most of it… We got Kitty tricked out with food and drugstore stuff with productive trips to Target and Whole Foods. Wow. If only we had one here in Itown (Whole Foods that is). Sure is the Museum of the Organic Lifestyle. Pricey but inspired buying, inspired display, and a complete grasp of what their customer is looking for. I was intrigued by the packaging we saw in the babyfood aisle—foil packets and these flat packages with sealable spouts (which really makes trash to go in the landfill…so environmentally, maybe not the message they are trying to get across. Yes, there is less, but it doesnt reduce to zero).

Kitty and Alex schlepped the whole contents of the back of the wonderbus to her room (skiis and more) and got her settled. We took back far less than we delivered so that the May pickup will be a crunch. Kitty seemed so happy to be back in her new digs, new friends, new opportunities, new things to share and try. Rob and I were comparing our first semester of freshman year to that of Kitty’s and yes, thank you, she is doing just fine. We forget how time is the big ingredient for change.

Rob had to work on a presentation in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express until 1:30 when we picked him up to take Kitty back and say good bye. And then, we were off with sandwiches from Whole Foods and my lovely teabags from Harneys. I have been driving Rob crazy by carrying a shortie steel thermos with me when I travel. However, this trip, he saw how good it was. Everytime we stop for a bio break, I get hot water from the venue of choice (free) and then plop an elegant Harney teabag into it…and we have tea to sip between stops. For those of us coughing, sneezing and throaty, it has been a lifesaver. And, if you dont know about Harney Tea, you should>> I recommend the Hot Cinnamon Spice (reg and decaf), their bulk Earl Grey Supreme, the Holiday Tea (drank a box of the sachets in less than a week with Kitty) which are the basics around here. And the perfume of these teas are rich and amazing which goes right into the flavor of the tea. It makes the Liptons/Red Rose stuff seem like sawdust. More expensive but a transcendent experience.

First workday of the new year. Need to make it count.

IF: Resolutions

The Cholmondeley Ladies ( cats), Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, the second sketchbook projectI am resolved to be true to myself. Whatever I see in the mirror, the reflection in a dark window, the glance in a glass, is true and something I should be happy with. I will embrace my wicked side along with the one that suffers to be good. There is something in parallels that disturb and challenge. This is my resolution, to better understand that paradigm.

Day after Advent #1: Phew.

Swanheart, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpie, from the second sketch book project

Phew! Another year done! Wrapping and boxing, list making and shopping, cooking and sorting. All done. Phew.

The amazing “feast in a box” (icebox) is the total way to go. I had the stock, gravy, stuffing mix (not the cornbread part), the cake layers, the bread all done. Turkey went in around 9 a.m. I iced the cake, tossed the stuffing and threw a salad and a veggie together so the holiday went without a hitch and the nightmare of carving and creating a mediocre gravy didn’t happen. Yay for me! Yay for kitchen schmarts. Yay for a freezer (if you dont have one, get one..but be clever about how you use it). A freezer is a not forever thing, but a hold until next week, next month thing. And you can have plates and plates of different food that you made yourself (just not concurrently). So, dinner went without a hitch. The glorious pure turkey (freerange, no antibiotics, organobird) did all the things it did to my delight at Thanksgiving. All the food happened at one time as was hot. And, we seated everyone for dinner around 4:45 p.m. to make it an early evening for all of us. It was a nice party. Quiet, but nice.

Then, after the dishes were swept away, I got right into the great boneyard roasting with leeks and onions, celery and onions (with the skins). So, this morning that whole pile of vegetables and brownness got popped into the cauldron on top of the stove to cook away all day into the next round of turkey stock. I just need to click into processing the rest of the food (soups, stews, pies) so we have a weeks worth of dinners on hand (a real vacation). Kitty is ice skating with her friends on their pond. Alex is off making music or trouble with his new friends….

I need to download “Pencil” as my Christmas present from Kitty was a tutorial in this software to make simple little animations. I had a beginner this afternoon around lunchtime, so I need to show good faith and give it a try before she gets home. I recieved some great books on soupmaking and breadmaking, a piece of glass enamelled by Emilio Santini’s wife (a spur by my hubby to get to enameling on glass), some cocktail napkins with my name on them(!), and books on illustrative topics. It was a good Christmas. Not over the top or anything. Pretty simple, but satisfying to all, I hope.

Interior of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA froToday I can also be retrospective. Tomorrow, December 27, Rob and I celebrate our 30th anniversary! Who would have guessed! In my case, I am proud of this accomplishment and cannot imagine having a better partnership with anyone other than his wonderful man. We have grown up together. We have gone over quite a few speed bumps in our journey, but bounced along problem solving and pushing each other to be the best we have the ability to be. These are things that when standing in the gold tessellated nave of my church, I could not have imagined…I just knew this was right and good and it has been. Marriage is a toss up, and really for me, it is a test of faith in that gut knowledge that the journey will be enriched and bettered by the other person on the trail with you. It is faith in yourself, your partner and trust that you will continue to have faith, trust and abide by the contract that marriage puts on your relationship. For me, the contract is the piece many do not value. If the contract is broken (the stuff about love and obey, as translated by the partners..)then the whole of the marriage cannot survive completely. Also, I believe that this contract is truly between the partners and the Greater One and if broken, then difficult to get back to a place of trust, of faith, of love. I have been blessed by so much and one of the greatest is my marriage to Rob.

On that note, I am sounding a bit preachy and I apologize. I need to go and get the pencil..and make some lines wiggle for Kitty. More later>>

Dark Already.

Demons rising from the Maw, Q. Cassetti, sharpies and prismas inspired by Lubok illustratioinIts that season…that happy season that girls can dream of Krampus and Ziet Piet. They can dream of Erzegebirge folk art and Russian dolls. They can think of all the lovely saints and santas. And so, the beginning of advent is almost upon us…and the drawing season for Advent Pictures almost is here.

I have been cooking pretty much full time since Thursday. We had 11 for dinner on Thanksgiving and 13 last night. In betweeen, I processed the amazing bird into lunch with sandwiches, three casseroles and a monster pot of stock for yes, Christmas’ bird which I will make all in advance like this time. I made a pair of quiche (using the leftover stuff to go into the stuffing that I couldn’t use up), a pan of toffee bars and three little ladylike loaves of nutbread. It is so critical to deconstruct and rebuild new feasts while the bird is front of mind…and the leftovers abound. Makes a lot of dishes, but I now have five whole dinners for the freezer which should help over the course of the next few weeks. Kitty has food to take back to school for her friends’ own Thanksgiving (nutbread, cheese, toffee bars, crackers, cranberries).

We went to the Corning Museum of Glass to their blowout holiday sale. They had all sorts of deals…the best to my thinking was 40% all Bodum and 80% off all Waterford (including some really beautiful Marc Jacobs designed pieces). Bruce came too, and we filled up the car with things to keep, to give away and to admire. Spangly bracelets and tea cups. All sorts of things.

I am serious about this NYFA grant. New York Foundation for the Arts presents over 100 grants to artists ($7,000) to work on projects in certain disciplines. I am going to propose a body of work  in the Drawing area around the concept of People, Personalities, Events, Occasions and Symbols in the New York State Burned Out Zone from 1700-1880. That would cover the Mormons and Joseph Smith, The Fox Sisters, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Oneida Community, The Universal Friend and more. The Masons, the Shakers and all sorts of religious and political fervor reigned supreme….with all sorts of interesting things being stirred up here in Central and Upstate NY. I would pursue it in a folk style (inspired by the people of the time along with the American Puritian Gravestones, Fraktur, and Lubok styles…all within the hand). So, I have an idea. I have reference and I can map out what the images would be. So, though it is no strings other than a presentation (I would like to do it at Sagamore or here Chez Camp open to the public or the Library)…it would give me a year to work on an interesting body of work.

That is the thinking for now, at least…its something.

Before the Sunrises

Purple nooodle, Sketchbook2 project, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies.Got some wrapping done. Not all finished but groupings are boxed and all they need are tags. Those that need to be fleshed out, are still on shelves. However, I am not feeling lost or disheartened about all of this…so I am feeling like goals could be met.

Now, for Holiday Decorating. I am going to need swags. Big question with that is to be a big girl and buy the real deal, or go for fauxpine, and have it around for later and not to worry about shedding etc? Other question, should I buy a few little lit trees for the front porch and that would be that? They would be sweet. I am also thinking luminaria for the Chorus event might be sweet too. Hmm. The shelf of nutcrackers need to come out. Big visual strokes. Not the usual “how bitty is bitty” thinking. And silver ornaments? How many zillion do I have. More zillions might be good. First, though, the Thanksgiving events need to happen. That is this week….

Finished Sketchbook 2 yesterday. Need to scan in and see what evolves. Had a nice hour last night making lines and loving my pen and paper. The last few images were valentines (only halfsies) so I cannot wait to see what happens when I flip them. I could cheat with a mirror, but the real fun is doing it in photoshop and seeing if what I hope/think will happen, does. Or, even better, a happy surprise! I am grooving on Sirin wings…and am putting them on all sorts of stuff. You will see as soon as they are scanned.

Rob is off to Albany early this a.m. for an interesting meeting. I have yearbook before 9…and then a quick drive to deliver cards to my pals at Cornell. There are the following things on the boards: work for the big client, Brochure and logotype for the Museum, Calendar to come for the Museum, a brochure for IC., and the two annuals for divisions of the Vet School. I need to nip at my printers as things are  not moving fast enough for me on the cards that are printing etc. I am using a small press that bumped my work for a job that their client screwed up and they needed to go of press for the second time. I am not thrilled about that. I have personal cards being printed and plan on sending out a business card and rack card for the Bakery as that need is there and the prices are good.

Alex has three days of school. Bruce is off on his holiday today. So, activity abounds and its not quite 6:30 in the morning.

Rob found my work here:  Crazy Chinese channels/ sites. I wish I could see what they like about the stuff. I find it fascinating. This Anina group literally lifted the entire bulk of work form  Chinese Padmag. Hmm. I also need to look into the address (web) that someone just plunked on one of my pieces. What does this mean?

To Make, To Create

To Make/ To Create, Q. Cassetti, from the second sketchbook project , 2010, sharpies.Little birds worked into the corners and odd shapes inspired by my friends the Fraktur painters, the meditators and visual poets from the 1700s in Pennsylvania. Seems almost from the same headspace as the Book of Kells birds… Fun. I just think if I keep moving the pen, a new body of work will evolve and happen. And, this stuff, this personal, unconscious  work stems from another place for me…and it is not unworthy. You just never know. That is part of the magic of this illustration gig. You never know if the stuff is legit or not…It is just plain important to keep it coming.

I am creeping up on the end of the second sketchbook (more cats, wings, winged cats and a few valentines). I am going to continue with these speedy sharpie pix..and roll into the holidays with a small green book in hand. Looking forward to more Krampus and Christmas pix. As they are small books, the pix will be smaller and quicker. Who knows…maybe a few santies? frosties?

I am happily listening to some great gospel music. Love it. Just makes you want to jump up and say “Hallelujah!”. If only the dour Presbyterians could shake their booty to celebrate the life and living we all have, the church might be a place we all would want to attend —if anything, just for the music. “Calling on the Name of the Lord!”. I stopped listening to gospel for a while, and its nice to be back…Don’t know why I stopped…but now I am stomping and singing along like a crazy lady with earphones on.

Speaking of singing! We are hosting the annual holiday presentation and sing along of the  Trumansburg Community Chorus at the Camp House on December 17th at 7:00. My pal Alice asked, and we agreed. So, the piano is getting tuned, the cookies placed on platters and we will need to roll into the decoration on Thanksgiving weekend (nutcrackers galore) so we can have a music filled house on that Friday night. It is free, and open to all. So join us to hear and participate in some wonderful music. Need to think about electric candles and the like. Silver Ornaments and swagging for the banister on the stairs… Could be very pretty and happy. Kitty will be here. So will Gloria. Along with all sorts of tremendous people from Trumansburg who want to raise their voices together in harmony!  So how festive is that?

We are having some of the dead trees in the swampy area of the house cut down and stacked as firewood (at least the little ones). The bigger dead walnut trees will be cut by a sawyer and turned into boards for  projects or for flooring. These dead trees have been killed as the water has moved from an area south of us that was farmland and now is new houses in a development (or as development as anything in Tburg is)…and the water (according to Ford’s Third Law “Water is smarter than you are”), being smart, moved to our backyard. Killed some of the walnuts, but has shown us where we will dig a pond…a deep pond…for fish! The slow removal of all this wood is painting the future, which will be wonderful.

Just made two carrot layers for cake (Thanksgiving) to freeze. Also, just finished all the saute and chopping work for the stuffing (also to freeze). I have bread, a pie, and the gravy all done. I am feeling very savvy and smart… I just hope its not ill founded (my fear is that nothing defrosts and we have to eat oatmeal)…Nightmare.



Windy Wednesday

Twin Cats, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, prismacolor pencils, digital.So, what can I do with the digital files of these sharpie pix? are there new lives, new colorations? new approaches I can pull out of them? I twiddled with the cat I posted yesterday to make them more delft-y and add some tome to just juice up the images. Maybe in the spirit of decorative illustration, I can layer more happy patterns in amongst these pictures…to make them more nutty. Still looks hand-drawn…and though tone is added, the hand is still there. I think I am going to go back into this picture to add a bit more depth, and highlights.  Maybe this illo can go to the Feline Health Center (they always have need of new art for their thank you/ acknowledgement cards). Would be cool to print the yellow and light blue, but to foil stamp the dark blue. Could be sweet and dimensional.

I discovered a cache of Moleskine Volant (paper bound) notebooks I bought through earlier this year (large size/set of two for $5.99). So, I can keep with this sharpie approach just to keep the images rolling. I am also going to be running two books at one time (a big one and a little one) going into the holidays. Remember the fun I had last winter with the advent calendar? I think there is another body of holiday pictures in the works in the sharpie mode just to see what I can do. Fun.

Yesterday, swept a bunch of small stuff off the desk in prep for the next month. My big client has a big meeting on Thursday so either the phone will be ringing off the hook today or quiet for the next two days or so. We are selling on Etsy (believe it or not) with the dog stuff moving. I am excited by that opportunity. The Bakery is rolling on a logotype (I think). So work will evolve with this.

Kitty will be with us in a week. I think we are appropriately thrilled to have her.

Tuesday progress

Blue Lubok Cat, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies and prismacolorsSetting stuff up. Knocking em down. Got the holiday lists taken care of. The holiday cards are selling(!) on Etsy so much so that I am a thinking about valentines and how do I do a few more for February on GotPrint. Its too late for holiday cards (so hopefully we will clear out our inventory). Next year we wil be offering laborador cards and laborador holiday cards along with that of cats. I think a buffalo card might be great too…? But, this is very interesting and I will be buying promotional space on Etsy to take it further.

Have posted more of my moleskine images on My Moleskine and gotten some nice commentary from folks (particularly Russians who like my Lubki inspired work!). Evgenia suggested my Lubok Cat reminded her of Koschey Bessmertny. Koschey the Deathless is the male counterpoint of Baba Yaga in Russian tales. Wikipedia says:

 “Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. Hissoul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest (sometimes the chest is crystal and/or gold), which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away. If it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Koschei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the egg or needle is broken (in some tales this must be done by specifically breaking it against Koschei’s forehead), Koschei will die.”

There are more images from sketchbook project #2 for this month here>>. There are new Lubki inspired cats, demons, maw, and a winged woman/bird (Sirin) inspired by my Lubok book. I am still prisma and sharpie gal…but am feeling a bit constrained by the small size…but maybe “its good for me”.

Rumor has it that the new operation on Main Street in the old Pourhouse space is opening this week? No rumor on this one, Good to Go is open—our new small grocery and prepared foods store. Very exciting.

I love the templates on MSK for folks to customize their content and construction of their moleskine books from calendar formats to flow your calendar into, to address books to even cool pockets to build into the book. They are on MyMoleskine and can be a good resource if you are a Moleskinner.

We are putting family projects behind us (with the back porch in the finalizing stages), dead wood being cut and turned into firewood for the winter, and plans are being made for the next steps. I am going to run a few errands this p.m which is very exciting as it gets me away from my desk for a minute or two.

Midweek fun

Lubok Cat from Sketchbook 2 2010, Q. Cassetti, sharpies.Making a slide show and decided during the image search to just start “riffing” like an illustrator and put things together that go together that communicate speed, internet, movement, connection, biology, micro biology, data, words….and its beginning to flow a bit better. The minute I stopped focusing on this and actually thinking versus feeling, this show starting moving and happening. Its just hard to let your brain go limp and go with the gut…but when it does, Wow. Am up to 80 slides and counting. I am at least feeling like I am not swimming in cement. So I have a flow, color, images, shapes. The next question is sound…Alex recommended LCD Soundsystem’s Beat Connection. I have a few alternatives (including the old Art of Noise Daft Album).

Nice meeting with the cuties in Yearbook. I am always surprised to see who is going to do something interesting, say something engaging or have an original idea. Our foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic is a sleeper as his mom is a  book designer and he already knows how to thumbnail a publication. Imagine!

Tomorrow, the boys have off. Rob may look for another dishwasher (ours cleans but everything is chalky and cakey when done…leaving the plates etc all kind of gross). Alex needs to do some planning around SATs and his tutorials. There is Christmas for me to finalize. And beds to make…and all that domestic stuff that is piling up. I feel so inadequate. So a little time this weekend to tape and tuck, box and bag, list and respond would be great. I am missing help on the house side of things along with my backstop here in the office. I need to do something as I am getting into a tailspin on all that is falling behind….

I need to get half of Thanksgiving in the freezer soon. This weekend, I think I will do some baking and buying. I am not going to be super proud but will rely on some frozen veggies and pre-prepping in advance…so Thursday doesn’t become horrific.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Pourhouse here in Tburg. As you know, we are great supporters and are so sad that this valuable institution will close but management needs to get her life at home in order (and as a mom, it’s really a non-returnable serve). The Pourhouse has provided us numerous wonderful evenings as the town center to meet friends, make new friends and connections, hear some wonderful music and be able to walk to and from home. How great is that? We will see the Pourhouse Team after the physical place has gone, but the conviviality of the moment will be gone…a sparkling moment in time and an inspiration to us all. A gift of community, a place for us to share, connect and meet up. The generosity of the owner and all that she has given us cannot be fully appreciated…the gift of time, people and a place where magic happens.

Moving stuff off the top of the pile.

sketch in process for Hangar season, Q,Cassetti, 2010Working, as you can see on putting some work out there for the next season of the Hangar posters. I have a new point of view on these babies given the fall imagery that was generated for their Cabaretc programming. To be honest, it was a bit shocking to go from my work which I spent a lot of time on to elevate the imagery of the institution to something that was sophomoric, less than excellent and frankly suboptimal. It really put me right in my place and made me realize that the difference between excellent and less so was not really understood. So, I figure before I wrack my brain for perfection, I will cull from existing work and only do new when I don’t have anything in the files. This is the first go at some of the work that exists prior to designing the other 3 images.

Nice phone call with a possible new client from NYC. Might be another local foods products company (needing a chicken, a cow, a map and a few hand-drawn landscapes). Illustrations will be essentially the brand… and not a big rush. So, despite the fact that the money isn’t great, there is cash there and it will hopefully give me a nice new contact. I loved my contact….a smart sweetheart of a guy. We will see.

Got the go ahead on what a happy cat looks like. Sent my client four cats and asked them which cat was happy. The one to the right was the cat selected. The editorial from the big Vet was very cute and funny giving editorial on the cats I picked.

Have been whaling away with the sharpies in the new green notebook. Today is purple…a red purple from a few days of blue pens. Am loving these colors on the cream paper. Hand of God prevails. I am using the word FACET in the images to speak to making and creating. To me, The Hand of God is FACET or CREO (to create) or FACIO (to make). Love these odd mystery words plunked in the images. My sheer mistake, I made a fairly odd border of birds..(assymetrical) and have added type. All new for this cat right now.

Thursday morning

Creatures, Q. Cassetti, sharpies, 2010Finished up the sketchbook yesterday. All the scans are done. I output a cover with a typographic identifier and double spraymented the cover on the book. So, its done and ready to ship. Exciting. Once The Brooklyn Art Library has the book, then my link on their page actives and I can see the traffic. I hope there can be input too? In 2011, the books go on tour. Fun.

I am so taken with the sharpies and this nice cream paper—that I have started another book now with rules and regulations. No tear outs. Only sharpies and prismas. Deal with the showthrough. Date the work. Work Fast. That’s it. So, you will  see more of this sort of thing for a while. Nothing too finished but quantity may explode a bit. Working in a faux woodcut mode…fun.

Finished up a bunch of small stuff yesterday so I can work on the Feline and Baker today to keep them up to speed. The holidays are breathing down our necks…and I am a bit nervous…so need to get this done. Client isnt worked up about this…but I am. So, I need to get another cat going along with a shot list for the two annuals. I hope the picture I have picked is a happier cat than the grumpmeister I submitted before. The dog is good to go. Gotta call Pioneer today to take the production idea further. The idea is either to go letterpress overall or do a litho job and go in with the black (as an alternative printer) as a matte foil stamp…to give us a bit of umph with the cotton stock. Sweetness.

Also have a new job coming up with Ithaca College for their summer program. Poster…and postcard. Need to start honchoing this as it will need to be in the mail over the December break to show up in the students’ homes so that mom and dad can talk about summer programs with junior.

Am picking up a case of freerange chicken (bone in breasts) along with that of basil pesto I ordered last week. Will need to break out the bags and make little collections of 4-6 breasts per bag for the freezer. I was wondering what was for dinner. Sounds like chicken!

Bus tickets for Kitty’s return over Thanksgiving is on the schedule. Done and done. Need to call Kitty this go through the plans.

Gotta go.




Sketchbook Project 10/23.2010, Q. Cassetti, pale blue sharpie.I dont know if Denver can happen. There is too much going on with my big client.. premeetings for pre meetings before a big meeting. What to present? What is the point of the meeting? What wants to be represented? What’s the takeaway? And I find that I am having some value during those meetings being a bit harsh…a nice counter to my nice client. But, after doing some research, Denver is so appealing just to eat barbeque and mexican and shop for snap shirts (want to do that with Alex Cassetti)…and maybe see a rodeo or something along that line. Love it.

The blue skull on cream is pretty. Love the color. Love doing single color work on cream as it changes the black and white dynamic. Sweetens it. Anyway…two more drawings and the notebook is done….all I will need to do is paint the cover…pentel black on beige with maybe the new coconut beige to deepen some of the line work.

Just spoke to Pioneer Printing about letterpress vs. stamping the Cornell holiday cards. They could be way sweet. Joe Seppi and i are in love with the same printing stuff…so the production of these babies could be beautiful. Will need to redo the cat card…to make it less grumpy. He just delivered a nice clean job on Kraft paper card for Ithaca College…Service is excellent. Price is excellent. I am thrilled to pieces.

Today is a brilliant day on the plateau. Seems that we are on the edge of the massive storm coming east…I hope we are holding tight on the tree front. These big storms are a worry for me as it tests the success of how we have been maintaining our trees, our big old trees…and if we have missed ones that may have seemingly been healthy, but turned out to have structural flaws. Remember this storm? It literally uprooted this enormous pine tree on the lake three years ago. Looked like a bomb went off. These beautiful big trees…you never know.