The second collection is a curated selection of circular floral woodblock prints of the Japanese artist Itō Jakuchū taken from the Jakuchū gafu (Album of Jakuchū) and reproduced in the Meiji era of the 1890s. A common approach to high-fidelity printing was employed here as with the Twelve Kimonos, using common inks and paper in order to print them both on the same press run.
Full Set > Click for larger view
Our press strategy being somewhat experimental, a full 10-color press test was conducted to identify any unforseen problems or opportunities for improvement. The artwork was reproduced at sizes from small posters to notecards. Among other things, the test run confirmed that the metallic inks perform better on uncoated paper when first underprinted on the UV press with solid black ink.
Paper and Presentation Boxes
Each twelve-card boxed set would be packaged along with custom envelopes in a special presentation box fabricated from 600g/sm Gmund Les Naturals, a French-milled paperboard pulped from recovered paper fibers. The cover features a single ink-brush motif embossed in black matt foil. In keeping with our dedication to local industry, all of the premium stock specified for the paper line would be sourced from the century-old Gmund paper mill in Tegernsee, Germany. All papers are FSC certified and bleach-free.
With the core business of tea in mind, a special edition stapled box would be produced from 600 g/sm Gmund Bio-Cycle Chlorophyll, a paperboard pulped from reclaimed leaf fibers. This uniquely environmental paper is milled at the Gmund mill in Tegersee, Germany.
Earnst Heackel Collection
A third collection presents three original ink renderings from the prolific zoological illustrator Earnst Haeckel. These monochrome works are characterized by deep blacks and subtle greys washes. To achieve the highest tonal fidelity, we chose to reproduce these as quadtones comprised of four inks: a match black, a blue shade, a light grey and a very light neutral pastel. The blue shade would reinterpret the works by adding a noticeable tonal hue. The pastel would replace the aged paper tone that we removed in pre-press. This allowed us to reproduce very light tone without any halftone screen, giving the highest impression of continuous tone artwork.
The Paper & Tea print line will encompass a full range of offerings: expressions (cards), posters, journals and notebooks, planners and organizers, gifting, stationery and writing accessories and a small publishing label. We mapped out the categories and began explorations to establish the qualities that will tie them to the brand and distinguish them in an already crowded market. Exceptional production values and artisanal methods were a central value, but a pronounced orientation to the curatorial lifestyle, to tea culture, 20th-century publishing and the visual arts would also be bedrock anchors for the creative inspiration of the P & T in-house studio.
Following a decade of steady but modest growth, Paper & Tea has entered into a period of rapid expansion in Europe. For now, the focus has shifted back to new store openings and the core business of tea, once again sidelining development of the bespoke paper line. With the foundations laid and key partners recruited, the hope is to soon resume work with the added resources of a larger enterprise.