FRAME & DISPATCH
If your card comes with a frame, a perfectly sized border is cut for the frame, to best show off the card once it's been opened. The envelope is then addressed: either with a computer label, or handwritten in Copperplate, again on a built-up border of successive card. All of my cards are dispatched by Royal Mail Recorded Delivery. We don't want anything lost in the post!
PAPER SELECTION & DESIGN PREPARATION
First, I select the finest 100% cotton hot-press paper (I use paper from two mills: from St Cuthbert's Mill in England and Arches in France). Before I start a new card, all previous deposits of ink, gold, size, glue, pencil markings and paint are cleaned from my desk. I then start sketching out a design, and selecting the correct ink colours for your card.
WRITING THE CARD
Because ink has to dry, this process can be lengthy, and needs re-visiting several times a day. Great care must be taken to apply the pencil, ink, paint and gold at the correct stages, to avoid disaster. I often use cotton gloves to protect the paper. Its at this stage that the internal message of the card is prepared, ready for insertion.
MAKING THE ENVELOPE
Envelopes are always the poor relation, designed to be discarded. But not so my envelopes, which are purpose designed for each and every card, pencil-marked for cutting and then shaped by me using a good old-fashioned pair of scissors. I even round the edges by hand.
Using a solid beech lying press (traditionally used in the bookbinding trade) I press the card and envelope for at least 24 hours. This ensures it won't warp, but stays flat after the gluing process. To keep the machinery, card & envelope clean, I carefully wrap the products in cloth.
Once the subject is dry and complete, I use both historic and modern adhesives to begin gluing it to successive layers of paper and card. Gradually, this forms a 3D border around the text, and gives the card a satisyingly heavy weight. Once I attach a matching folding back, it begins to look like a tradional card that can be opened. The internal message is inserted.
INSPECTION & WRAPPING
After a rigourous quality inspection under a magnifying lense, the card is delicately wrapped in tissue paper and bound in ribbon. If the card is being dispatched directly to the recipient, the ribbon is secured with a hot wax seal. Once the card is enveloped, the envelope is sealed with a dab of glue and my company logo. The result is like opening a beautifully wrapped card, twice!