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When I started the Inspiring Women Project I wanted to make every aspect of it super special for the winners who receive the jewelry award.
In addition to the silver bloom necklace, winners get a custom letterpress printed You Inspire card, including a personal message from the nominator.
These handmade gifts surprise women in the mail and hopefully bring a bit of joy to their day.
And since the necklace is so unique, I wanted a card to match. I couldn’t just use any old card, so I had one made.
In choosing an artist to work with, Carol Clifford with Orange House Press was an obvious choice. I own many of her beautiful prints and love her style.
She was a delight to work with, showing infinite patience and kindness for my compulsively detail oriented ways. (or as one friend puts it, my “jeweler’s eye”)
Carol has perfected her craft with this ancient technique on historic equipment. She let me pop by during the process to take pictures. It was such fun to see how the card came together from beginning to end. (I should add this was pre-pandemic, so no masks!)
The cards were first printed using her mid century Vandercook 4 press. Carol used this workhorse to apply the various layers of color.
And while we were at it, I also had a version of this card made for my Thank you notes included with custom orders.
From fine tuning every aspect of the design, to mixing custom ink colors, to envelope choices, Ms Clifford nailed it!
The process is not dissimilar from making custom jewelry - there’s a design phase, testing, making, and finishing details. Interesting for me to be on the flip side of this exchange.
I had several loose ideas about how I wanted the card to look, but Carol made the design truly sing with her keen attention to detail, wonderful sense of color, and fantastic design sensibility.
I loved seeing the growing stacks of cards as they transformed from white paper to printed imagery and text. Each layer builds upon the next, creating a lovely feeling of depth and sophisticated complexity.
The second Orange House Press beauty in use on this project is a Chandler and Price Platen Press from 1898. Carol used this press to score and fold the finished cards.
No card was complete without hand finish work, ensuring they had a crisp seam. In the world of digital and mass production, seeing the amount of care and thought and hand work go into each one made them all works of art.
If you’re ever looking for a custom letterpress artist, I highly recommend Carol Clifford and Orange House Press.
And, if there is a woman in your life who’s a particularly astounding force for good, nominate her for the Inspiring Women Project jewelry award so she can get one of these cards!
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