Sealed With Love
Elizabeth Q. [Eddy] Cassetti has her heart in her work.
The Carnegie Mellon University alumna designed this year's edition of the U.S. Postal Service Love Stamp.
It's one of hundreds of valentines she's created. She's even designed one dedicated to CMU's founder, Andrew Carnegie. The design features thistles.
A graphic designer by trade, Cassetti (A'79) uses drawing and illustration as sort of a diary for herself.
"I draw what I love," she said. "And what I love is weird."
She incorporates research and reading into her designs and shares them on her blog.
The blog includes assignments from coursework. Cassetti had returned to the classroom midcareer to earn an MA from Syracuse University and an MFA from the University of Hartford. She said it was the best thing she had done for herself.
One project was her thesis, which comprised hundreds of valentines. Through a serendipitous experience, USPS art director Antonio Alcala found them and commissioned her to submit illustrations for the 2014 Love stamp.
"It was exciting because it was in my wheelhouse," she said. Cassetti proposed about 30 designs.
"I was working with 3x4-inch designs, which are small. But compared to a stamp, it was huge," she said.
She called the opportunity a singular honor. Started in 1973, the Love stamp series has been a special one for collectors. Cassetti's entry into the collection, Cut Paper Heart, was released Jan. 21. It was inspired by the multicultural art of paper cutting.
Along with the USPS, Cassetti's clients include Tiffany and Co., Estee Lauder, Origins Natural Resources and The New Yorker, among others.
Cassetti said she loves working with students and talked to them about balancing work and life. Some of her advice:
- Do not be afraid. If you believe in yourself, others will too.
- Have a bucket list and see if you can knock it down and write another one.
- Draw with your hands. Computers are tools, you are the creator.
- Get your work out there. Take advantage of free media and tools to make your work seen. You never know what will pop up.
Cassetti is from Pittsburgh but now lives near the Finger Lakes in New York. Her first experience with CMU came through taking arts programs during high school. She attended the university to study calligraphy with Arnold Bank.
She met her husband, Robert Cassetti (A'79), at school, and they continue to stay in touch with a number of classmates. The couple also is active in alumni activities. Cassetti said she was always excited to meet other members of the CMU community.
"It's interesting to live in the big, broad world and run across CMU people," Cassetti said. "They're a type. They're very bright and very focused. It's like running into a family member."