Intaglio stationery is created by a highly skilled method of die-stamping. It uses great pressure to stamp paper into an engraved plate, which is simultaneously squeezed by a handcrafted counterforce. This process presses the paper into a sunken area holding ink to produce the raised print. Each coloured ink involved in a design requires its own separate printing plate, so it is a slow and expensive technique.
The precision and fine surface detail of intaglio creates glorious results. It is the finest printing technique with many special features that can only be created in this way. Die-stamping is exclusive to luxury stationery, banknotes and secure documents.
Our intaglio stationery is printed on a hand-fed Waite & Saville die-stamping press using special inks and papers that are exclusively for intaglio designs.
Intaglio Art Prints
Creating Intaglio Art prints requires great skill at every stage. The day before printing, the chosen artist paper is bathed in water and left in a special wrapping, ready for printing the next day. The ink is made by hand in our workshop. Artist’s pigment and special oils are mixed to create inks with the finest colour and viscosity for the chosen artwork. Come printing day, the ink is spread onto a block of glass and the engraved plate is warmed on a hotplate to make it receptive to the ink. The ink is then applied to the surface of the plate. Next, the surplus ink is wiped from the plate with a muslin cloth, leaving only the ink in the incised lines. The plate is finally laid onto the prepared (dampened) paper between blankets to cushion the pressure and help the paper to mould itself into the incisions. Then it is rolled through the press under great pressure to pick out the ink. Finally the print is lifted from the press bed with paper shields to prevent inky fingers marking it, and the impression is peeled off. The print is then checked over before being left to dry in prepared racks.
Our intaglio prints are created on our star wheel etching press. Highly collectable, they are printed on the best quality cotton-rag papers, which include Fabriano and Somerset.
Blind embossing is printing to create a raised three-dimensional image across the surface of paper without ink to produce an image that is revealed only by light and shadow.
Letterpress originated in the 1400s and was the primary form of printing and communication for more than 500 years. As the name suggests, raised letters or images on printing blocks are inked and pressed against paper. Letterpress is used to produce fine, handmade, limited-edition books, artists’ books, and high-end stationery like greeting cards and wedding stationery.
Originally, printers aimed to achieve a flat surface. Over time, however, letterpress printing has evolved into an art form with the indented effect becoming a cherished and sought-after effect. Artwork and stationery is now created with an appealing tactile quality best achieved on expensive soft papers made from cotton on heavy 300gsm.
Other, cheaper forms of print such as lithography and digital create flat print, are fast to produce and can use cheaper standard and thin wood pulp papers.
The luxury feel and finish of letterpress stationery takes printing back to an era of quality and craftsmanship which excels in typography and graphic design
Curio letterpress stationery is printed on a vintage windmill Heidelberg press with letterpress inks and a specially selected range of papers including handmade, organic, and tree-free cotton.
Letterpress stationery is expensive because of the time and skills needed to make letterpress plates and then prepare the press for varying thicknesses of type, engravings, plates and make-ready. Letterpress equipment prints only one color at a time. Designs with multiple colours require a separate press run in register with each preceding color.
A high degree of craftsmanship is required to understand both the limitations and gifts of this artisan printing process.
We use our Albion letterpress press for hand printed work on cotton-rag papers. Our inks are made from ground artist pigments together with specially chosen oils to create our own signature colours.
Blind debossing is printing to create a sunken three-dimensional image across the surface of paper without ink to produce an image that is revealed only by light and shadow.
Gold, bronze, silver, matt, gloss, pearlescent, holographic, and fluorescent. Foil blocking passes a foil pigment between a heated die and the paper or card whilst applying pressure. This effect has become a much loved printing technique.
Screen printing is used for art and stationery, as well as many other products including conductors and resistors in multi-layer circuits.
This technique requires skill and great craftsmanship at each stage: from the generation of the design through to making the screens and printing.
First a screen is made from a piece of silk or mesh stretched over a frame. Before printing occurs, the frame and screen are pre-prepared. An emulsion is treated on the screen so that the ink can be transferred through the mesh onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink. Then ink is forced into the mesh openings by a squeegee and transferred onto the printing surface. As the screen rebounds from the substrate, the ink remains on the substrate. Only one color can be printed at a time. To produce a multi-coloured design, several screens are used and re-aligned on the press.
Plate sinking is used for art prints and stationery, by creating a frame around the artwork. It is a recessed area that can both add interest and emphasize the importance of the print.
Hand-Colouring – our prints are hand-coloured using the finest artist watercolour pigments.
Colour Edging – stationery can have a final flourish of detail with the specialist technique of colour edging.
Gilding – stationery can have a final touch of luxury. The specialist technique of gilding applies gold or silver foil to the edges of the card.
Ribbons – Our luxury stationery is finished with beautiful hand-tied ribbons.