This is probably the most interesting endeavor I've ever embarked on as a printer. The project is basically a Wedding Announcement, but Chris, the Groom, decided to take it one step further. Together with Josh Rustin, one of our local DeLand, Florida artists, the pair did a bit of research, and built a pulp beater (paper maker) which is designed after the Japanese traditional beaters. The basin that holds the beaten pulp is half of an old Jack Daniels whiskey barrel. At this point, no photos of the beater and process is available, but they are forthcoming. But what I do have are the first offerings, which I test printed with a die that I made for a prior client last year, which was designed by calligrapher Angela Welch.
For a little fill on what sort of pulp the paper shown contains: burlap, grass, charcoal bits that came from the barrel itself, and shredded encyclopedia pages.
We needed to see how this paper would respond to the pressures of Letterpress Printing. Since the deckle and mould are generally 5x7" in size (A7), I chose to use a die that I already made which approximated the size and lettering style, a rich cursive. This particular piece is part of a suite designed by Angela Welch. You can see and read about the actual suite here.
You can see the various fibers quite plainly, giving a very rustic look.
There is no trimming involved, which is part of the challenge: how do we place the paper on the press for acceptable register with so irregular an edge? Answer: make sure you have lots of margin!
Here is what the stock looks like before printing. Thickness is roughly 300gsm, but has thicker and thinner areas. Remember, the point is "rusticity". There is, of course, no sizing in this first batch. Josh informs that they may opt to press out the paper differently and add calcium sizing in the next batch.
I love this. Some of the recycle papers were added late in the mix, to add a bit of interest. Here is an example of the occasional word or word-part that turned up.
All in all, Chris will have a very unique and interesting set of wedding invites! Each one will be an individual work of art, and a sample of what Artisan Crafting is all about! Thanks, Chris Rupp and Josh Rustin!