Lions, Tigers and Bears – Oh My!

These birthday party invitations from Rise and Shine are beyond adorable – a modern take on lions, tigers, and bears all befitting a first birthday celebration!

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Lion First Birthday Party Invitations 500x332 Lions, Tigers and Bears   Oh My!

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Lions Tigers Bears Birthday Party Invitations 500x332 Lions, Tigers and Bears   Oh My!

Oh my indeed – check out more from Rise and Shine right here!

{image credits: rise and shine}

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 4

As I mentioned in my first post, Crane & Co. was founded in 1801 and has been producing paper and stationery in western Massachusetts ever since.  As you can imagine, the company has quite a history.  So it’s only fitting that Crane would have a public museum to help tell its story – and I’m sharing a few photos from the museum for the final installment in our tour.

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{a portrait of founder Zenas Crane}

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{a short explanation and model of the paper making process}

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{I thought these watermark portraits were amazing}

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{all of the Crane social occasions albums}

In addition to making paper for personal stationery, Crane supplies the United States and other countries with currency paper.  Crane has supplied U.S. currency paper since 1879.  If you ever visit the Crane museum, make sure to ask about how to identify counterfeit bills – there’s a neat little demo.

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{entries in the Crane ledger book date back to the American Revolution and Civil War}

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{an old scale}

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{a model of a paper mill}

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A Crane museum wouldn’t be complete without examples of the various stationery, invitations, and announcements the company has printed over the years.  The invitation below features a 7-color engraved monogram at the top.  Seven colors!

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Did you know that Crane does all the printing for Tiffany & Co.?  In addition to the collections with Kate Spade and Martha Stewart Weddings, Crane also prints all the stationery and invitations for Cartier  (check out a few photos from our stop at Cartier last year right here)

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That just about does it for the tour!  I hope you enjoyed the photos – and a big thanks to Crane for the opportunity to visit their facilities!

{all photos by me}

*Dis­claimer – Crane & Co. pro­vided my accom­mo­da­tions dur­ing this visit; but this is not a spon­sored post.  For more on my edi­to­r­ial poli­cies, please click here.

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 3

As promised, I’m back with a third installment of our tour of Crane & Co stationery.  After visiting the platemaking and printing facilities at Crane Personalized Design Services, we moved over to the Crane Stationery Division, located in a separate building in Dalton.  This is where all of the non-custom stationery orders are filled, from boxed stationery sets to holiday cards to designs in the Crane Studio Collection, as well as where envelopes and packaging materials are assembled.

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{I love that so many of these buildings date back to the 1800s – the building architecture alone is completely fascinating}

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Our first stop in this building was a large warehouse room, where Crane keeps all of the different sheets of paper used as envelope liners for stationery and wedding invitations:

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{so many lovely envelope liner sheets!}

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From there, we went to the envelope room – with the biggest paper cutting machine I’ve ever seen!

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{stacks of paper waiting to be cut down to size}

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{if you look closely, you should be able to see the outline of the envelope template above}

In the next room, another huge machine – this one takes the envelope-size paper and folds it into actual envelopes.  The envelope machines are truly enormous, I think each one was about 25-30 feet in length!

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{finished envelopes coming out of the machine and being counted}

From there, we went into a larger room, similar to the printing floor at Crane Personalized Design Services.  In this room, all of Crane’s boxed stationery sets and stationery collections are assembled and packaged for delivery.

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{a cool installation and painting on the wall as you enter the main room}

Most of us probably don’t think much about the actual stationery packaging, but Crane makes all of its own boxes.  The box machine (I’m sure the machine has a formal name, but I didn’t catch it) is probably the biggest machine that we encountered during the entire tour!

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{that’s all glue above!}

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I tried to capture the entire process, but static images just can’t really give you the full effect – luckily the folks at Crane have captured the process on video!

After gawking at the box machine for a few minutes, we moved on to another room where hand borderers create the colorful borders on personalized stationery and writing notes.  I took photos of a hand bordering demonstration at the National Stationery Show, which you can see here – it’s truly an amazing skill.  Again, Crane has helpfully provided a video of the process:

Up next, the final stop on our Crane & Co. tour – the museum!

{all photos by me | video courtesy of Crane & Co.}

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 2

After the introduction to engraving, we moved out onto the Crane printing floor.  Most of the presses, including engraving presses, letterpresses, and thermography printers, are all located in a large common area – it was difficult to get the full perspective in a single image, but hopefully these two photos will give you a sense of the general size and scale:

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Engraving!  The printing presses are huge – I’m always amazed that these heavy machines are able to produce such delicate and beautiful stationery.

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{going through the press}

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{a quick run under the heater to make sure the ink is dry}

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{and then coming off the press}

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{ink fountain behind the press}

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{so much ink!}

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I couldn’t help but take a photo of each project that we passed during the tour.  This little dragonfly makes four total passes through the press – one for each blue color, then one for the gold ink, then one final burnishing run that gives the gold its shine – and it all has to line up perfectly.  It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the blue inks also have a bit of shimmer:

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Custom gold stationery – most likely for a newlywed couple:

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These sailboats were also a custom order – the printers were working on aligning the little red flags so that they lined up perfectly with the thin blue sailboat mast:

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Traditional invitations for a debutante ball, with black script text and a beautiful blind emboss monogram at the top:

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Engraved business cards with white text on black paper:

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With the holiday season approaching, we came upon a few Kluge presses putting some gold foil on Christmas cards and gift wrap.  I’d never seen foil stamping in person before, but the printers were kind enough to walk me through the process:

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{gold foil on Kate Spade gift wrap sheets}

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{that’s the gold foil above}

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{a negative image on the gold foil after it passes through the press}

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{the final product!}

I hope you’re all enjoying the tour as much as I am!  I’ll be back a bit later with a bit more from the trip!

{all photos by me}

*Disclaimer – Crane & Co. provided my accommodations during this visit; but this is not a sponsored post.  For more on my editorial policies, please click here.

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 1

Remember the blog field trip that I took a couple of weeks ago?  Well, I’m finally ready to share photos from the trip!  A couple months ago, Crane & Co. stationery invited me to visit and tour their facilities up in western Massachusetts (near the Berkshire mountains).  In case you’re not familiar with Crane’s history, the company was founded in 1801 and has been producing cotton paper and stationery ever since – making Crane one of the oldest companies in the United States!

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We started the tour off with lunch and a discussion at the Crane Model Farm in Dalton, Massachusetts.  The Model Farm was originally the home of founder Zenas Crane and is now used for social and business functions.

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Of course, a Crane facility wouldn’t be complete without a display of beautiful stationery…

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Crane is known for its engraved stationery and invitations (I was particularly excited to see the engraving process in person during this visit), but also offers letterpress, flat printing, and thermography.  Fun fact: Crane also makes the currency paper for the United States and several other countries.  More on that a bit later on…

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Crane Stationery 500x357 Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 1

Later, we moved over to the Crane Personalized Design Services center, where all custom orders – from wedding invitations to business cards to personalized holiday and greeting cards – are processed and printed.  Now we get to some of the action shots!  First up, the pre-production process – where the custom text is etched onto a copper plate in preparation for printing.

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{the red solution is a blocking material that prevents the chemicals from etching anything other than the actual text}

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After the blocking material is applied, the plates go into a separate room to go through the etching solution…

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{printing can get very dirty – no matter how elegant the result!}

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{once the copper plate has spent enough time in the etching solution, it gets washed down to remove any residual chemicals}

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{the photo above shows what the plate looks like after it comes out from the etching solution}

Crane tries to fit as much text onto each sheet of copper, often from multiple projects.  Once the plate is fully etched, the copper sheet is cut down to the appropriate size for each individual project.

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Engraving21 500x374 Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 1

Up next, the Crane printing floor – with engraving and foil stamping in action!

{all photos by me}

*Disclaimer – Crane & Co. provided my accommodations during this visit; but this is not a sponsored post.  For more on my editorial policies, please click here.