Monday, October 9, 2017

Celebrating [redacted] Day 2017

How I'm celebrating this controversial day: instead of debating this holiday and the good that was done [more trade routes! the world is large and definitely round!] versus the horrors inflicted [you people are now slaves! search for gold or you’ll lose a limb or worse!], I prefer to celebrate my heritage. Like most people, my great grandparents were immigrants. They were Italians who left their beloved homeland to find a better, more sustainable life. Roseto, my hometown, was named for Roseto Valfortore, and that first generation proceeded to build a life on the wooded foothills of the Poconos. The founding generation battled a lot, including the racist taunts and violence of the Welsh and English who were already settled there, fearful the strong Italians would steal away their jobs, and—let’s be honest—probably their women, too.

So today I keep my ancestors in mind and close to my heart. I revere the memory of the women and men who worked in the blouse mills, the slate quarries, the construction jobs, the auto and tailor and shoe shops, the markets and farms, the schools and churches. I’m mindful of their sacrifice and unshakeable love of their God and family and adopted land. They are a solid part of the foundation of this country—they fought and died in its wars, they raised it up.

And how am I celebrating? By going to work today. Yes, I’m going to work in a profession I love because my ancestors made sure that I’d have that better life they sought when they sailed to this country.

Viva l’Italiano. Viva la famiglia.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I was asked a question today.

This was a line item in my email box today.

Who knew the universe would take the voice of spam?

I'm checking in and I am happy to report that indeed, I am alive.

Perhaps this blog should be alive as well.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I fought it.
Oh yes, I did.

Everyone seemed to be doing it and this idea exhausted me.

Shut up, internet!

So I fought it by starting an account but completely ignoring it, hoping the whole thing would just go away. [O hai, Plurk.]

And then one day I investigated a little more, started a few boards and BLAM! Hooked.

You see, I thought it was mostly bridesmaid dresses and cupcakes and kittens and inspirational quotes. Or cats in dresses eating cupcakes as inspiration. Not that there's anything wrong with that, certainly.

I forget what the turning point was but there was a moment when I realized that I could see works by Arshile Gorky and Egon Schiele's notebook sketches and Franz Kline's liquor store receipt and the Sex Pistols' hand-written, I mean, scrawled lyrics to Pretty Vacant,

How about this: Eero Saarinen's completely charming list of Aline Bernstein's good qualities. And this extraordinary bit of history: Kate Warne. From the page: "Private detective and Master of disguise during the Civil War. She helped save President-Elect Abraham Lincoln by uncovering a plot to assassinate him on the way to Washington D.C. to take office. She disguised herself as a Union soldier, a Southern belle and a harmless grandmother."

When I begin my day in the studio, one of the first things I do is check the Pinterest stream of the boards I follow. [Some of the people I follow are quite astonishing. Victoria | Outerbridge, for example, provides themed pins every day, like a long and mesmerizing visual tone poem.] The amount of unexpected information is astounding. And some of it's quite useful. In fact, it's been a great source for my Mad Art Lab Quickies scavenging. I even started a few boards to save design ideas and color palettes. However, I have to say that I've also fallen for Evernote [finally, as in "the last person on the planet" to have fallen] to the extent that I could justify the premium version. And this replaced the inspo boards. Still, Pinterest- always offering up some fresh ideas.

But here's the thing. No matter how useful and informative a tool Pinterest has been, the main reason I spend time there is a little surprising. I've made it a place of meditative power. I had started a board called beautiful things which is not the kind of collection you'd guess. And the board evolved as I added pins and it kind of became its own thing. As I curated the board, I realized that when I scroll through the page, I feel a balance and calm from this collective beauty. The ugliness that lives in the world, frequently reported by the activist newsletters in my morning email, falls away for a few moments. For the space of a cup of coffee, I am reminded about the higher order of human achievement and thought and creativity. It takes me to a higher place—one where I can look out over my day and resolve to keep calm and carry on.

Quite literally, it has become my morning moment of zen.

Do you have a Pinterest story?
I'd love to hear it.


Featured image is an "I want" list by Louise Bourgeois, originally featured in this post.

And finally, thanks to Kiki Leigh. Our conversation helped me put this into words.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Design Seminar

To the fabulous Design Seminar Attendees

Hello Everyone—

Here are a few things you might be interested in.

First up—here are the items I used.

1. A PDF of the first slideshow: download here. [sorry, no longer available]

2. A PDF of the second slideshow: download here. [sorry, no longer available]

3. A PDF of the creativity exercises and doodle pages: download here. [sorry, no longer available]


 Secondly, here are some links you might like.

Ellen Lupton wrote an excellent book on typography. In fact, she also talked about grids. I recommend this book to designers and part-time desingers alike.

This is Lupton's take on grids.

Thinking with Type is her book and you can buy it here.

This seems to be a decent book:  
Graphic Design for Nondesigners: Essential Knowledge, Tips, and Tricks, Plus 20 Step-by-Step Projects for the Design Novice. 


Interesting sites I like very much. And you might, too.

I Love Typography

Design Observer

Design Taxi

Under Consideration


If you have anything you'd like to share, please do so in the comments.

Cheers and best of luck!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Viva von Koshka!

The most beautiful green eyes I've ever seen have gone dark today.
Count Linkovitch von Koshka
died peacefully in my arms at 11 am.

Thank you to Dr. John Yaswinski and all the people at Nazareth Veterinary Center—an extraordinarily compassionate group of people.

Please be advised that the Count gave one last order: that you must give your pets a hug in his honor today.

Viva von Koshka! Long live His Lordship in our memory!

Photos from top to bottom: Bruce Press; Sharon Hill.

Friday, September 30, 2011

An observation

Isn’t Scientology one

of those things where

you really like someone

and then once you hear

they’re a Scientologist,

you’re like, hmmm, ...

I’m out.

—Kathy Griffin

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs, from a commencement address at Stanford, 2005

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride ... all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Thanks, Mr. Jobs. This was some comfort reading this on the day you resigned as CEO. We love you.

As for you, Mr. Cook- I'm keeping my eye on you.