Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Earth Day Message from 1801

The advertisement submitted by three papermakers in the Pittsfield Sun implored: "Ladies, Save Your Rags."

This was way back in 1801, long before they figured out how to make paper from trees.

Message: A waste product is a raw material

"As the subscribers have it in contemplation to erect a papermill in Dalton the ensuing spring; and the business being very beneficial to the community at large, they flatter themselves that they shall meet with due encouragement."

Message: Buy local to supprt your community.

"And that every woman who has the good of her country and the interest of her own family at heart, will patronize them, by saving her rags and sending them to their manufactory, or to the nearest shopkeeper, for which the Subscribers will give a generous price."

On top of this being a really great piece of ad copy, these same messages resonate more than 200 years later.

We recognize that waste products can be valuable raw materials through recycling.

We recognize that spending our money wisely close to home can enhance the viability of our communities.

We recognize our individual actions have local, national and global implications.

Zenas Crane and his two partners had no clue about recycling, waste minimization and Earth Day, but they clearly understood what must happen for a business to succeed.

Zenas and his partners understood that without "encouragement" their manufactory would have no future.

The same is true today. Where and how we spend our "encouragement" has a direct impact on which manufactories we wish to improve.

So, as we approach Earth Day once again, it's time for all of us to contemplate that when we reach into our pockets, we're not just spending our money, we are giving encouragement. We're saying:

"I like what you're doing so much, I'm going to pay you to keep doing it."

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Time to Lick a Stamp!

Okay gang. It's time to:

Bury the blackberry.
Get your face out of Facebook.
Make someone's day.
Write more and spend less.

Just wanted to give you a heads-up that Crane is kicking off a really attractive sale today.

Through June 1, Crane will be offering customers who purchase 75 or more personalized invitations, announcements, or stationery, 25 additional pieces free of charge.

This promotion is good on all personalized purchases from any Crane album. From stationery to weddings to social occasions, customers will receive an additional 25 pieces with their order of 75 or more. It is also an ideal time for gift-giving for Graduations, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

You can browse, buy or find a participating stationer here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Light, Camera, Design, Paper, Letterpress Convergence

Today was just one of those days. Nothing going wrong, just working away at the normal stuff, sort of feeling sorry for myself because I had to be indoors on an outdoors kind of day here in Vermont.

As I walked past my photo "studio," that sunshine that I was bemoaning was reflecting just so off a piece of letterpressed paper. I tore open a box of samples from the field that I had been putting off for a few days, in hopes that there might be some beautifully-designed and beautifully printed letterpress work while the light was still good. What were the chances? As it turned out...pretty good.

So a day that was dragging along all of a sudden flew by as those five elements converged: Light, Camera, Design, Paper and Letterpress. Some day I hope to add a sixth element - talent - but that will have to wait.

Have a look.

Above are elements of a wedding invitation designed by Elizabeth Peters of Arzberger Buening Stationers in Charlotte, N.C. Arzberger also provided the letterpress printing on 179# Crane's Lettra Pearl White paper.

Elements of a wedding invitation designed by Natalie Eason Wommack of Sicily Eason Design in Houston. The same firm provided the letterpress printing on 110# Crane's Lettra Fluorescent White paper.

And finally, Michael Osborne and One Heart Press in San Francisco.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Truffles - Lake Champlain Chocolates!

A few days ago, a box arrived from a friend in New York. The box came from Burlington, VT, and had the word "chocolate" on the outside. Already I knew it was going to be a good day.

Inside was another box - this time beautiful in addition to being functional - and already the aroma demanded that I get this thing open.

I knew there were chocolate truffles inside. It said so on the box. I really wanted to dive in and savor the first of these delightful morsels, but one must read the enclosed guide to decide which is to be first: Amaretto Praline, Grande Valencia, White Raspberry or Legendary Dark, among others.

I decided to throw caution to the wind and have a Vanilla Malt - excellent choice!

You get lots of literature with Lake Chaplain Chocolates, and upon perusing the materials, I learned that these things don't keep forever:


Monday, April 6, 2009

Igor Kopelnitsky: From Press Room to Letterpress

I received an e-mail recently from Geoffry Gertz at Sparked.biz in Brooklyn, passing along a letterpress card project with artwork by Igor Kopelnitsky. Gorgeous stuff at first glance, with depth of meaning that brings your eye and mind back to the images seeking greater understanding.

Now, I have been told I’m not the brightest knife in the drawer, and this casual diagnosis of my intellectual prowess was once again proven correct as I pored over the images on the cards: I know this guy. I should know this guy. Who the heck is this guy?

Ding! Well, not actually Ding, but Google.

Igor Kopelnitsky is, of course, illustrator for the Op Ed Page of the New York Times. His whimsical style satirizes societal themes both political and global. In addition to the Times, his work has graced the pages of The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, among others. Born in Kiev, he originally studied physics; but upon the publication of his first cartoon, Igor left the sciences for cartooning and illustration.

Geoffry said the art card series offers eight humorous original designs printed by Peter Fraderdeus of Exquisite Letterpress on Crane’s Lettra paper. “Each design is a unique and amusing commentary on issues ranging from energy independence to the evolution debate,” said Geoffry. Themes and titles include Play Date with the Devil, Bright Idea, Heavy Thoughts, Don’t be Shy, Balancing Act, Peace Out, Drill Baby Drill, and So Evolved.

Geoffry is the director of Sparked.biz, a new art and design collective, collaborating with artists and illustrators to infuse their unique concepts and visions into well-crafted art products. Geoffry’s work has spanned diverse design markets from international design such as Perry Ellis, Issey Miyake and JOOP!; to large-scale fast fashion for Limited Brands; and most recently, the celebrity influence as the Creative Director for Hillary Duff. His designs have been featured in numerous influential style magazines. He is also a design consultant in the fashion industry and an Adjunct Faculty member at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Make sure you visit Geoffry’s beautiful Sparked.biz website here.

You’ll be glad you read this far. Geoffry has offered to give away four sets of Igor’s art notes to readers of The Crane Insider. To enter for a random drawing, send an e-mail to Geoffry at contest[at]sparked.biz. We’ll let you know who the lucky winners are on April 13.

Good Luck!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Food to Fortify the Busy Blogger

By The Insider's Food Blogger: Paper Cake Scissors

I Food

There is nary a moment when I’m not thinking about my last meal, my next meal, or a recent snack. For me, this is a completely normal way to live.

My grandmother was descended from the hardy stock of Pennyslvania Dutch, passing along a long tradition of making and pressing food onto people whether they were hungry or not. At my parent’s house, it is entirely natural to discuss dinner for the night over breakfast that morning…or even the morning before. It took a little time for my husband to adjust to this vigorous schedule of food. To him, it bordered on disgusting and gluttonous to be talking about the next meal while still eating the current one.

Luckily, I have a job that encourages and even celebrates my obsessive interest in food. Now it’s work to be reading Gourmet as I drift off to sleep, visions of peanut butter cookies dancing in my head. Now it’s an asset to agonize over every detail of a four-course meal and pair with the perfect wines.

I have finally found my calling; one I'm happy to share with you.

Peanut Butter Cookies

4 oz. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar (I prefer dark brown)
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract (only use the real stuff, please!)
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. peanuts, coarsely chopped and/or bittersweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars. Add peanut butter and incorporate into creamed mixture.

Add egg and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients, taking care not to overmix. Add peanuts or chocolate chips.

Scoop with a tablespoon, and leave some space between each to bake.

Bake at 350 for 14 – 16 minutes, rotating the sheets at 7 minutes. They burn quickly on the bottoms, so keep an eye on them!

Paper Cake Scissors lives at the top of a hill in Vermont with her husband and cat. From acquainting herself with the lentil at the age of three, she has developed into a consummate foodie. After all, cake is her middle name. She has recently discovered the wide world of wine and spirits and is studiously drinking her way from AlbariƱo to Whiskey. Check out her blog and join her on her tasting journeys somewhere around Burgundy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Smashing New Design Tool for Creative Types

As you know, I start each day with an internet keyword search which includes, of course, "Crane Paper." Overnight, there was an unusual level of activity in that sector, and I just found out why.

This could change your life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Free Thank-You Notes: No April Fools!

I really hesitated to put this up today because you might think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

Crane just announced that they will be giving away 10 boxes of thank-you notes in a random drawing each month from among those who subscribe to their e-mail newsletter.

You can sign up here.