Not Pine, nor Birch… the order was for Walnut!
We were recently commissioned to design an exquisite invitation suite for a very special man for his 60th birthday. His wife and business partner wanted us to capture his passion for life, his hometown and country of Italy, his love of family and friends, and appreciation of wine and gathering. Afterall, a 60th birthday with full family of multiple generations is a very important milestone — especially for a family that embraces celebration.
Although we can’t give away the entire project here, let us take you through the journey of crafting the main piece, which was presented in a stunning navy blue handcrafted paper box. Each stroke of illustration and every inch of the box and components were all lovingly crafted by hand. What an incredible creative journey for a very special family celebration!
The process was quite remarkable. From giant slabs of 8″ x 60″ walnut wood, our team had to cut and sand the wood into the working size for the design. This was not an easy feat, and the surface had to be perfectly flat. The first piece that came out… well, let’s just say that it remains a souvenir! Coats of oil were applied each piece using a brush, before we had to let it air out for several days.
Here, we can see that the wood is drying slowly, and cannot be rushed. Each cut of the wood is unique, and so each guest invited gets a one-of-a-kind piece. No two pieces are the same — this is the beauty of working with wood and naturally occurring material.
Once we completed the preparation stage, we engaged in the most exciting and irreversible stage: searing the design into the wood, which permanently ingrains the design. The studio filled with the most incredible scent of fresh wood and organic oils. And of course, the piece of wood would be incomplete on its own. We put our final touches on each piece, such as a slight hint of gilding in gold, and a bold finishing colour. When dry, these would be carefully wrapped, boxed and sealed with a stunning letterpress printed label, like that of a well-designed wine bottle.
How nature is “designed” is so humbling. The natural colouring of the walnut wood is so beautiful: it has lighter and darker areas depending on how the tree grew. To bring out the most beautiful side of not only our illustration and typography, but also that of the wood, we lovingly inspected each piece to make sure that our design worked WITH the wood’s natural state. This is our gesture of respect towards the materials we extract from our environment, and also a commitment of excellence in our work.
And sometimes, we are rewarded with some of the most breath taking visuals that take us to wondrous places, as beautiful as the sunset along the rolling hills of Sicily…