Glory Bee! Touch Me, Feel Me, Read Me!

Written by in Profiles

Profile: Nancy Sharon Collins of Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer {With Michelle Taute}

Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you part ways with your iPhone. But here’s the cold, hard truth: A hand-written note is worth a thousand emails. Why? “Digital is high tech, low touch and a lot of people are frustrated by that,” says Nancy Sharon Collins of Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer. Her gorgeous stationery helps fill this tactile void, and it’s caught the eye of everyone from The Martha Stewart Show to Vogue.

If you’re ever lucky enough to have one of her designs land in your mailbox, you might forget you even have a smart phone for a few minutes. {CRANES CREST and CRANES LETTRA (R) Registered Trademarks of Crane & Co. Inc.}


Golden Bee

This beautiful gold bee was hand-drawn by a recent LSU graduate, a double major in painting and graphic design. To that end, she is apprenticing as an engraver with her father, Ed DeLorge, and learning from local master engraver Sam Alfano. While the bee is photo-engraved, says Collins, “Emily DeLorge has painstakingly kept the lines true to what a hand engraved bee would look like.” Traditionally, gold engraving is run through the press twice: once for the metallic ink and once to burnish it. Created on CLASSIC® Linen Paper, Red Pepper 100 lb Cover.


Bright Ideas

This is an extreme close-up of a press proof taken from an old engraving die. It illustrates cross-hatching, sometimes accomplished in real engraving with a mechanical device called a “ruling machine.” More sophisticated and elaborate forms of ruling machines are used to create the fancy bordering work on securities and currency. Created on CRANES CREST® Paper, Pearl White 110 lb. Cover


Country Home

Roxbury is the country house of a New York City executive. He wanted a note card that was photo-engraved in the classic “Bank Note” style. “The image was created from a photograph taken from the road in front of the house. While Adobe Photoshop tools and filters are used to approximate the “Bank Note” engraving style, nothing is a substitute for the real thing. Just take a look at a dollar bill and you will understand.” Created on CLASSIC CREST® Paper.


Eve’s Press Proof

“This is a fascinating press proof of real, hand engraving that was created as a bright cut (jewelry engraving) sample by local master engraver Yvette Rutledge,” says Collins. Bright cutting is right-reading, so this image is flopped. “Eve was kind enough to lend this beautiful copper plate to me to have proofed. However, the copper is very thin, thinner than that conventionally used in commercial engraving printing.” The extreme pressure of the press (@ two tons) ruined the plate. “However, I love the extreme delicacy of the marks and lines.” Created on CRANES CREST® Paper, Fluorescent.


Five Border Note Card

Incredible, five-color bordering by Exclusive Bordering. Worried about your hand-writing? Don’t be. “It does not matter how good or bad your penmanship is,” Collins says. “It’s the fact that you took the time to sit down and slow down and compose your thoughts by hand onto a single sheet of paper or a card. Most people don’t do that anymore.” Think about how a hand-written note might help you stand out after a job interview or when you’re thanking a client for a referral. This card is on Created on CLASSIC Crest® Natural White, Smooth,165# Double Thick Cover.


Family Mourning Card

OK, so how much social stationery do you need exactly? At one time, people stocked elaborate suites with five or six pieces. These days Collins recommends a note card and maybe a half letter size sheet for longer correspondence. But no matter what you choose, make a point to enjoy the act of writing by hand. “It slows you down, it compels you to focus on the message that you want to covey to that one individual,” she says.  “It also reminds us of the conventions we used to have for all of the big passages in life: birth, marriage, death.” Collins created this mourning note card for herself after her husband’s death, and it’s printed on Crane’s Kid Finish, Ecru, 134# card stock.

In New York? Collins is giving a talk on engraving at the Type Directors Club on Thursday, June 16, 6 p.m. Look for details at

All images © 2011 Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer – Collins, LLC.

Nancy Sharon Collins

  1. 06
    kmwaterman said:

    I do not agree
    – Kylie

  2. 06
    Matt Porter said:

    This comment appeared in the comment box the other day. I am happy to approve it but please say something about the issue you are in disagreement. This post appeared more than a year ago. Matt P