Behind the Scenes: Oblation Papers & Press

Oblation Papers & Press was founded in 1989 by Ron and Jennifer Rich.  In 1998 they opened the retail space for which they are well known within the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon.  The reach of their business is really quite impressive – not only do they offer a well curated retail shop in the front of the space, they also house an urban paper mill, letterpress print shop, custom invitation gallery and design and produce their own line of wholesale goods that are warehoused and shipped from this very same location.

| Storefront |

Storefront with signs

Bike in windowBike Close-up

Love the current window display – nothing says Portland quite like a cute bicycle and a few raindrops.

| Retail Space |

Retail counter

Retail viewRetail - Gift Wrap

Retail View 2

Oblation stocks a selection of the finest stationery and gift items. They also offer an impressive selection of European accouterments to add an extra special touch to your correspondence.

| Custom Invitation Gallery |

Customs invitation

Custom invitations 2

Custom invitations 3

Their custom letterpress offerings include: Classic Wedding, Baby, Correspondence and Black & White Wedding portfolios.

| Wholesale Line |

Oblation wholesale

Oblation wholesale 2

Oblation wholesale 3

Oblation also offers a comprehensive wholesale letterpress card and gift line. The collection is stocked in stores worldwide and is also available in their online shop.

| Urban Paper Mill |

 Urban Paper Mill

Urban Paper Mill 2

Papermaking is where Ron and Jennifer got their start in the business. Oblation continues this tradition by producing their own cotton paper using recycled remnants from the garment industry. Their handmade paper is perfectly suited for letterpress printing.

| Letterpress Print Shop |


Printshop 2


Oblation has six platen presses in their studio. At this time, the print shop is entirely operated by women. Oblation’s printing practices include the use of wind power, soy inks and recycled cotton.

Thanks again to Oblation Papers & Press for opening their doors to me and allowing me to share their story and space.

Photo Credit: Carina Murray

“Behind the Scenes: Oblation Papers & Press” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary

The Printing Process: Digital Printing

In addition to awesome guest posts over the next two weeks, I’ll be running a series of special posts on the various printing processes while I’m away.  I’ve asked some designers and printers to share their expertise and lots of photos to fill you in on what you need to know about different printing methods, along with a few tips and advice if you’re considering a particular printing method for your wedding invitations or other personal stationery projects.  Today we start the series off with a guest post about the most familiar printing method – digital printing – from Ellie at Mint and Hello Tenfold!

Hello, OSBP!  I’m Ellie from Mint and Hello Tenfold.  I’m excited to be guest blogging today to help clear up the sometimes confusing world of printing methods, starting with digital printing!


What is Digital Printing?

Although I design letterpress and screen printed invitations, I also do a lot of digitally printed invitations and “day-of” wedding stationery, like ceremony programs, menus, escort cards, and more.  I’m sure you have a good idea of what digital printing is; most of us have home or office printers, and the digital printing I use on invitations is similar, but with a fancier and bigger printer.


Unlike offset or letterpress where printing plates are involved, digitally printed invitations are printed directly from a digital file on a computer.  Digital printers transfer four colors of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to paper simultaneously, producing a full-color print after only one pass through the printer – meaning that each invitation takes less time to print and is less expensive to produce than other printing methods.  Unlike letterpress, which leaves a relief impression, and engraving, which produces raised text, digital printing produces a flat image without any texture.


Digital printing is the most commonly used printing method because it’s fast and inexpensive.  Since printing plates aren’t required, it’s a cost effective way to print a low number of pieces (like 50 invitations, for example), and you aren’t limited to the number of colors you can use in one piece.  That means it’s a great way to reproduce scanned imagery (think collages, hand drawn illustrations, or paintings).


The Printing Process

There are two common digital printer types: laser and inkjet.  Laser printers use laser beams, electrical particles, heat, and a plastic particle called toner to create an image, whereas inkjet printers spray ink from cartridges directly onto the paper.


Typically, laser printers handle type and graphics better than inkjets, and inkjets are better for printing photographs. If you’re purchasing a home printer, inkjets are less expensive up front but the ink cartridges can make them more expensive in the long term.


Speaking of home printers, there is a big variety in the quality of printers, as you’ve no doubt noticed!  The printer you have at home probably isn’t as good as the on-demand printing company down the street, and that printing company may not have as high quality machines as a larger, professional printing company.


Tips and Advice

Fortunately, getting proofs of digitally printed work is inexpensive or even free, so if you’re going the DIY route it pays to try different companies to find one that works.  You’ll also want to make sure the company you work with can print on the exact paper you choose, and will pay attention to details like perfectly centered invitation borders if they’re doing the cutting and folding for you.


I often suggest digital printing to brides who don’t have the budget for something like letterpress, but still want modern, well-designed and/or completely custom invitations.  However, digital printing does have limits: papers must be able to withstand heat and to go through a curved or straight path in the printer, which means you are limited in paper weight and thickness.


Also, the lighter paper weight can give a more casual feel than other printing methods, like engraving or letterpress.  But saving money on the printing process can mean extra room in the budget for things like belly bands, envelope liners, and envelope printing (which are also great ways to up the formality of your invitation).  And if you’re reproducing handmade images, it’s often the best (or only!) route to take.

Thanks Ellie!  You can check out more of Ellie’s fabulous invitations and day-of wedding stationery over on Hello Tenfold!

Photo Credits: Nina’s invitation photo by naturally nina, all others by Ellie Snow for Hello Tenfold

*Hello Tenfold is a spon­sor of Oh So Beau­ti­ful Paper; for more on my edi­to­r­ial poli­cies please click here.

A Glimpse at the Life of a Stationery Rep

Well, hello there!  Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Carina with Crow and Canary.  I’m an independent stationery rep and all-around champion of modern, indie designers.  I’m simply delighted to have the honor of guest posting on Oh So Beautiful Paper.  Being immersed in the stationery world, OSBP really is the go-to blog for paper lovers.  Below is a little glimpse into my business.

My day typically starts like many small business owners, trying to tame my email in-box and striving to strike a balance between the things I need to accomplish on my appointment calendar/to-do list and my enthusiasm for social networking – namely Twitter, but I also Blog and Facebook when time allows.

NSS badge and name tag

Blog Calling Cards

Badge from the 2010 National Stationery Show and custom name tag by Moth and Squirrel (top) Blog calling cards (bottom).

This is my fifth year in business, so I have the pleasure and fortune of being approached by a multitude of designers about repping new lines on a near daily basis.  Going to my mailbox is particularly fun, on a good day I’ll be laden with boxes containing new samples, catalogs and random line submissions.  It’s quite inspiring to see what’s new and I never tire of pouring over the latest and greatest from the awesome designers I represent.

Birddog Press Kit

Two Trick Pony Rep Kit

Enticing press/rep kit from BirdDog Press (above) and Two Trick Pony (below).

I frequently meet with retailers to show them new samples and seasonal cards and gift items that will soon line their shelves.  I am incredibly lucky to work with a wonderful bunch of buyers and shop owners including Perch in San Francisco, Yolk in Los Angeles and Tilde in Portland, the list really goes on and on.  One of the biggest challenges of my job is not spending my entire budget at the awesome boutiques and bookstores that I call on – I really think of it as an occupational hazard.

Yellow Owl Workshop Cards

Austin Press Cards

Cards by Yellow Owl Workshop (above) and Austin Press (below) at Prize in Ashland, Oregon.

Another excellent perk of my job is the amount of traveling I do in the name of my business.  I’ve been to all of the major wholesale gift shows on the West Coast and make the journey to New York at least once a year for the National Stationery Show or NYIGF.  Occasionally, I’m able to time my trips with other fun events such as the Renegade Craft Fairs or Unique LA.  In 2009, I was lucky enough to be in San Francisco during the SFCB annual event: The Road­works Steam­roller Print­ing Street Fair.  It was a blast and I loved chatting with some of the printers that participated.


Roadworks Prints

Large linoleum cuts at The Road­works Steam­roller Print­ing Street Fair.

At the end of the day, I count myself as quite lucky to have a job that I love so much.  Perpetuating the act of sending real mail in a digital era is not as challenging as it sounds.  Because, really… Who doesn’t love to receive a Birthday or Thank You card in their mailbox?  I’ve yet to meet a person that can say that a lovely card doesn’t bring a sense of joy to their day.

“A Glimpse at the Life of a Stationery Rep” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary

{happy weekend!}

Happy happy Friday everyone!  I’m getting a teensy bit dizzy as I write this, because in a couple of days I will leave for a two-week vacation with my husband in Italy!  As you may remember, my husband has been working in Iraq for the last three months – and we’re meeting up for a nice little break in the middle of his deployment.  It’s the first real vacation for either of us in nearly three years and I simply can. not. wait.  So!  For the next two weeks I have a couple of awesome guest bloggers filling in while I’m away, along with some special guest posts giving you an inside look into the printing process.  Please be sure to show all of the fabulous guest bloggers some love while I’m away!  But in the meantime…


…a few links for your weekend!

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

That’s all for me this week!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  xoxo

Photo Credit: Jenny Van Sommers via Feature Shoot via Joy

Mother’s Day Cards from Spring Olive

With the way time is flying by these days, Mother’s Day is going to be here before I know it!  If you’re looking to get a head start on your Mother’s Day cards, I absolutely adore these hand lettered cards from Spring Olive – letterpress printed in one of my latest favorite color palettes (coral and turquoise)!



So pretty!  Check them out over in the Spring Olive shop!

Photo Credits: Spring Olive