Letterpress Irish Blessing Greeting Card

This is my first project for the CutCardStock blog, and I am really excited to share how I used Curious Metallic 5×7 Aloe Folded Card Invitations. The cardstock took vegetable-based inks really well, and I created a greeting card for Saint Patrick’s Day, or any occasion when you want to send warm thoughts to a friend or family member.

For the graphic elements of the card, I used a set of 12-point Irish Harp border ornaments, a 36-point version of the same ornament and a magnesium die of a Celtic Knot:

The types I chose are Raleigh Cursive in 14- and 24-point for display and 18-point Caslon Italic for the body. To complement the ever-so-subtle green in the metallic stock, I printed the knot, body text and 36-point harp in green ink. The 12-point harps form a border in gold, and I set the display text in gold as well. Here is what the two forms look like:

Rather than make a traditional rectangular border from the harp ornaments, I used some quads and spacers to create more contemporary-looking corners for the card. The photo below shows how you can get that effect, and it works with any single-piece ornament types.

Replace ornaments with quads to achieve an interesting effect on the corners of your borders. Using em and en quads allows you maintain a strict proportionality, since they are equal to, or half of, a square piece of border type. (Notice how the diagonal part of the harp lines up as you move from the bottom to the top.)

Presswork for this greeting card was a slight challenge since I wanted to use an A7 size card (10″x7″ when flat), and my largest press is a circa 1863 11×7 Gordon Jobber. Normally, the entire piece of stock should fit on the platen surface, with space allowed for gauge pins, but to print this card, I rotated the stock by 90 degrees to keep the image area on the platen and dip-fed each sheet of paper.

Notice the unorthodox way in which the stock hangs over the edge of the platen. While this is not a technique you will read about in printing textbooks, it is one that I learned from my dad, who was a journeyman trade printer and typographer. It works for short runs on hand-fed platen press (take your time when dip-feeding), and looks like this:

And here is the finished card. I would be happy to hear your comments about it or to answer any questions you may have about the techniques I used.

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