“A striking monogram, combining the first letters of the full name or the first and last name is an enviable possession,” wrote Jean Wilde Clark in A Desk Book on the Etiquette of Social Stationery.
The book was printed by Eaton, Crane (yes, that Crane) and Pike in 1910. However, the monogram is still a possession envied — one that, in the age of e-communication, is as coveted as ever.
In this edition of “The Making Of” we take a look at our new Signature Collection and how it went from just an idea to an exquisitely crafted piece of stationery. Engraved and paired with envelope liners imported from India, this collection is one that should only find its way into the hands of the most appreciative stationery connoisseur.
The Signature Collection began as inspiration from a far away land. If you have traveled to the Far East, it was our creative team’s hope that the designs would take you back. If you haven’t been, the rich culture they have re-created via correspondence will certainly inspire you to make the trip.
First, the team curated a color palette. Red and gold, the iconic colors of Asia, serve as the core hues while shades of aqua were pulled from nature and Asian artwork.
Next month, graphic designer and engraving expert extraordinaire Nancy Sharon Collins will publish The Complete Engraver, an informative and elegant homage to the classic art. Seeing as how said classic art and our paper go together like Fred and Ginger, we thought Collins a perfect addition to our Post Script Q&A series. Here, the former New Yorker (and current Louisianan) shares stories of her parents’ notes, a New Orleans estate filled with paper and a small stack of treasured love letters.
When did your interest in social stationery engraving begin?
1976 during graduate school at the Hartford Art School. I was introduced to Lehman Brothers in New Haven and I fell in love with commercial engraving: going on press knocks my socks off; I love the smell of ink and paper and the sound of small presses (metal against metal, fly wheels, iron and steel.)
Whether one considers a handwritten note or invitation a nostalgic luxury he or she refuses to give up, or simply a staple of any proper stationery wardrobe, all would agree that engraving is the grande dame of printing processes.
And so, we went on a mission to piece together the history of engraving. There is, we found, quite a bit of information available on the engraving of images, which goes back a long, long time: cavemen did it; so did the Egyptians.
But we were more curious about that point in history when someone thought, My, wouldn’t this piece of paper that I’m sending look so much lovelier engraved?
The Victorians, with their penchant for classifying everything, created a list of symbolic wedding anniversary gifts that is still very much in vogue today.
Here are the traditional anniversary gifts for each year:
That’s Bob Gregory, a native of North Adams, Massachusetts (where our paper magic happens) who works an engraving press like no one’s business. He’s also a Red Sox fan and could never work at a job in which he was “just sitting there.”
That’s good news for us, and whoever has the pleasure of receiving a box of stationery created by Gregory’s skilled hands.
Here, he chats with us about being a “wedding man,” naming his engraving press and his one degree of separation from a certain blue-eyed crooner.
As we excitedly perused our new 2012 stationerycollection, we noticed a trend that the Cleopatras and Usain Bolts in all of us would appreciate. All that glitters is gold, they say, so here are some of our favorite designs that’ll have you positively glowing.
From the desk of Richie Tenenbaum, or so we like to think. Gold engraved racquets for letters home from summer camp & other heartfelt correspondence.