Advent 2015: Day One

Preface: Advent 2015 Starts Today!
I try to pick a theme that I stick to, or choose to derivate from and this year's theme is Birds, Bees and Big Green Trees. Some of them are Christmassy (sing the carols please) and others are just birds that I admire or think are funny. You can be the judge. Here we go!

Advent 2015: Day One: Christmas Goose   Q. Cassetti 2015

Advent 2015: Day One:
Christmas Goose

Q. Cassetti 2015

This and that.

Well, it's that Advent time of the year. This year it's going to be french hens, colly birds, geese, robins, cardinals, puffins and more. Its going to be birds and bees to get my head back in that game...and to build up my library of birds. The chickens from the past month made a few nice cards which I ordered yesterday--and I think the holiday advent images will be the deep well for next year's demands for prints and cards and posters. I am making lists and its moving.


Created a little flier (above) over the weekend for Rob and the MANY (Museum Association of NY) friends to generate a little excitement by actually depicting some of the places in the Adirondacks that they are visiting/using during their annual conference next April. This is a little more "loaded" and promotional than my normal work for my clients, but I think it works, and that is why I am sharing with you. We plan to print and also make it a pdf with web links so that folks can click and get more information about the venue oridea. It was helpful to me to see howhuge the Adirondack Park is in comparison to the rest of NY State.

The court of honor, (aka the cats) are triangulating on me as their lead cat. This is new...but missing Shady Grove is new too. We all feel her loss.

teeny note.

So we are now in November. Certain things happen and need to align in the next few weeks like deciding on the direction my advent calendar will take (have had a few ideas....and have seriously changed my  direction twice...but feeling something is clicking with birds). I need to get the Christmas presents wrapped and posted. Of course, there are cards to send, and cards to package to sell. I am optimistic though--as the walking regime is helping slowly, and my energy is coming back gradually Case in point, today I braised a pork roast on the stovetop, made fresh applesauce from Black Diamond Farm with a big splash of cider, cut a half dozen onions and put them in small bags to freeze, and broke down 30 fresh cloves of garlic to freeze for later. A load of laundry and a big edit of the fridge and I am done with those chores. 

No more rabbit hole.

Its going to hot for November. In the low seventies? Can you believe it? I can't, but I will take the promise of grey cold days is disheartening to my lightening spirit. I am not ready to go down that rabbit hole.

I really feel like the time I have spent on the road with Rob has been the ticket to shake things up a little...and I am a little less glum, a little less sad and able to deal with the short time I have with my husband given this tripartite thing he is doing with his time, energy and efforts. He is often gone for well over half the week all day, and all night...travelling, working, and to a large degree, I have been on my own for this time. More often than not, I work until bedtime, go to bed and start up the next day--which is depressing with the long nights in front of us thanks to daylight savings time. This has been my schedule since last year...and it continues despite his new, completed building expansion. As each of his three jobs flare up and need the extra attention he can provide-- the work is skewed towards one to the next to the next. All the baby birds in his nest demanding their piece of the worm.  So his work is herculean. I cannot afford to criticize as this is his choice...but I need to manage my time, my work to not be as low as I had gotten earlier this year. I need to get out and see people I want to see, make some new friends and up the time on the treadmill to get this darned ankle moving the way it should.

Just that is inspiration.

Mid Century Furnace: Stoked

I had the fortune to attend a morning of the Pyrex Seminar at the Corning Museum of Glass as Rob moderated a session with the former Director of Design and some of his team from the old days of Corning Consumer Products. It truly was a climb into my way back machine--seeing and hearing about a time in my own history with Corning Glass Works and the men and women that worked on the same campus as me, creating American design classics, such as the Pyrex measuring cup--that we all take for granted--that those elements that our mother's used to bring us breakfast, lunch and dinner--that became ingrained in the musings we have of that time and place. And through these elements, these hard working mixing bowls and casserole dishes folded into the texture of our childhood--they have a space in our personal palettes and perceptions. For me, there was more. There was a lookback for me from the impatient twenty something designer wanting everything to be just so, and not understanding the culture that this design work happened in. Every product for Corning had to be a "hit"--so the data they gathered from the test kitchens, the consumer testing areas, and the knowledge of the incredibly shifting markets at the time (the advent of Walmart/Kmart/Target and the shrinking Department Store that Corning had built their business around). So the purple tinted glass, the brown tinted glass, the cranberry tinted glass all was founded in data and not necessarily in what we wanted to do...but in the market. Terra and some of the other ideas shown--really portrayed that the team was ready and able to do exceptional work...but were constrained by the conservatism of the corporate culture as well as the marketplace. It was far from "Design First".

Rob sklllfullly directed the team to talk about their work, some of the challenges they had and innovations blending design and the capabilities of the machines. As my friend Tina Oldknow exclaimed to me while all this was in process..."I would love a day of's all so good!". And I agree....beyond the nostalgia--there were key historical moments.

A point I had forgotten was that opal pyrex was the dinnerware that was specified by the military for all of their dining halls, and the thick, thick handleless mugs--that brought comfort and home to many of those fighting or in service--brought this material into so many homes in the boom post war. So, bringing fun patterns and colorways that the Missus would want--only made sense. 

Terra, Decorated Opal Pyrex.

Terra, Decorated Opal Pyrex.

Dennis Younge delighted us about the design of the stacking measuring cup. Herb Dann talked about a line of White "Opal" pyrex called Terra, a matte, decorated pattern inspired by nature--with simple forms that I want in my future split level. Gorgeous. Anna Eide, pattern designer and current Design Director for World Kitchen spoke about the complexity of a world that moved from everyone wanting the same time ("matchy matchy") to the trend now for everyone to be distinct...and how to develop designs, forms and patterns for that complexity (and multiply it by an international market). Jerry Wright, a long time acquaintance spoke about his work, his interest in establishing an archive for Corning of the design and engineering work that became a significant asset in the years to come. Rob kept it all rolling. Amazing as these guys were his seniors and bosses when Rob was a design intern in 1978 in the model shop at Consumer Products. Funny how things work.

Postscript: Can you say Tammis Keefe and the fabulous Carl Tait? This is all coming from the same vein.


Illustration West 54 Accepted

Advent Calendar 2014 Holiday Leap Q. Cassetti, 2014 Adobe Illustrator 2014

Advent Calendar 2014
Holiday Leap
Q. Cassetti, 2014
Adobe Illustrator 2014

Christmas will always
be as long as we stand
heart to heart and
hand in hand.
--Dr. Seuss

Delighted that these deer have been accepted by the judges and jury of Illustration West 54, the annual show/competition sponsored by the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles. Thank you to the judges, board and staff of SOILA for their giving me the opportunity to share my work.

Right now.

Here we are. Right smack dab in the middle of a glorious fall. It just happened. Just. Somehow a few days of dreary cold rain--not the uplifting, humid rain..but the downer rain that freezes you to the bone--and snap, there we are. Color in the trees. Piles of buckeyes on the ground. The same with crazy brain fruit, the Osage orange-- nature's croquet balls--ready for a messy game. It is the beginning of Cider Week here in the Finger Lakes with the poor farmers trying to get their apples in and pressed combined with a monumental marketing push to promote cider, cider drinking and most importantly, cider buying. Kitty was down at the apple festival selling bottles of cider, vinegar, ginger beer and shrubs to her delight yesterday in the rain. Today is a quiet day of work and reflection.

I have a pot of recycled soup (a compilation of all the leftovers, bits and pieces, shards and shavings--all cooked down into a potage flavored with a dollop of swad (Coriander chutney) and a crumble of dried basil. I also made a version of the smashed cucumber salad ( see my entry under Blogs>Treats from the NYTimes) to use up the piles of cucumbers I have been hoarding along with the bit of greek yoghurt I had waiting just for this use (not). I am busy cooking as a form of cleaning out the fridge and prepping for the week...what with Rob being out of town and Kitty prepping to go to NYC to begin her time there. All very exciting.

I am doing a lot of research on First Nation People in Arizona and New Mexico. This is a world I have no handle on--it is all very wonderful and quite like nothing this northern, eastern girl is familiar with--from the locations to the concept of Pueblos, Kivas, artifacts, art, religion, nature and community. And the intersections where these things come together. it is an ancient, American landscape I need to embrace. Why go to other continents when we have an extraordinary one to discover...right here....and miles and miles away.  I think there might be a trip in the offing to see those things I keep circling back on. I will start talking about this...just a heads up that its coming from this need to see more. I think its a need versus a desire....We will see.