The Botanical Collection - from sketchbook to rubber stamp

We're often asked where we get our inspiration, so here's a little insight into our new Botanical Collection which originated in the greenhouses of Kew Gardens. I spent a fabulous day there back in July gathering ideas about shapes and form.

Here I am looking slightly gormless (but really I'm just deep in concentration).

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As you can see from my sketchbook pages I recordered a lot of colour. This is partly to the benefit of my other illustration projects, but also, the act of looking that is necessary for a long colour drawing really imprints the shapes I'm looking at on my memory. Once I was back in the studio I barely need to look back at my sketchbooks to get ideas for making personalised rubber stamp designs....

... although the sketches do crop up when it came to taking photographs of the sample stamps.

You can see the whole Botanical Collection and order your own personalised stamps by clicking here.

Jenny has been doing a drawing a day since 1st September 2014. You can see them all at www.instagram.com/jennybloomfield/ or follow @jennybloomfield

NEW! BESPOKE MONOGRAM STAMPS

We get a lot of requests for something like our Bespoke Bookplates  (or Bespoke Wedding Stamps), but smaller. And so we're really pleased with our new Bespoke Monogram Stamps which, just like their bigger counterparts, are designed from scratch for each recipient, incorporating a range of imagery that reflects a person's (or couple's) life and interests.

The sample above (JHB) was done by Jenny for herself. It incorporates and Autumnal tree (favourite season and generally a big fan of trees); a fox (born in Leicester); an owl (lives in Leeds); two owlets (two children) and a pencil (illustrator!). 

Measuring about 4x5cm these stamps are incredibly versatile. They make a thoughtful and useful gift and can be used to mark ownership of books or papers; make your own stationery, create seals for envelopes; or to accessorise your wedding day.

When you place an order for a stamp the order form has several prompts including places, animals, trees and flowers, profession(s), hobbies and interests. We won't necessarily include everything, but if anything is essential you can indicate when you order. Natural imagery works particularly well with these stamps.

Below is a sample we did for Nic & Will.
Listeners to BBC Radio 4's The Archers will know that they live in rural Borsetshire (countryside) where Will is a gamekeeper (pheasants); they got married at new year (winter wedding) and have a daughter called Poppy (!). I've also included 'cake' because Ambridge is a place of the WI, Fetes and the Flower and Produce show.

Stamps are £52.50 each and come gift boxed with a black ink pad. An explanatory card is also included. Allow 2-3 weeks for dispatch, although we try and process them as fast as possible.

Case Study: Vickie & Rob's Wedding - 'building a life together'

Vickie & Rob approached us last year to design their wedding invitiation. They weren't really sure what they wanted at first, but knew they wanted an invite with a black line drawing, a style that they both liked.

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After talking for a while on the phone, the idea of 'building a life together' emerged as important, and, taking on board Vickie's passion for baking, I came up with a tiered wedding cake design, which incorporated important places (the church they were to get married in, their reception venue, and Edinburgh where they have set up home); Peonies - a favourite flower; Vickie's beautiful engagement ring; barrels to signify Rob's love of whiskey and craft ale;  trees to represent Kew Gardens; all topped off with a pair of 'matroyska' dolls, to represent that they met studying Central and Eastern European History.

The invite was letterpress printed on Gmund Cotton 300gsm with a lovely deep impression. They used  bright fuschia envelopes and we digitally printed a bright RSVP card too.

In addition we had the pleasure of designing lots of extras for their big day, taking elements from the original invitation. This included an eight-page Order of Service,  Menus (which doubled as place names), a table plan, and, my favourite item, a 'guest book' poster with room for the guests to add their names/messages on pink stickers.

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If you'd like to commission something for your wedding, whether just a simple rubber stamp, or a whole set of stuff for your big day, contact us by email on orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com.

 

DIY Wedding Projects using new Calligraphy Stamps

We love our new Calligraphy Collection which includes everything you need for a wedding – Address Stamp, Wedding stamp, Initials and even a Hashtag stamp to keep all your guests on the same social media page.

Each design starts with traditional dip-pen and ink, before being turned into a rubber stamp – we don't use fonts, everything is handwritten to order!

While we think the flowing script looks fabulous on it's own, the text can also form the basis of some creative contemporary DIY projects. Here are some of our favourite ideas:

NEON NEON

Weddings don't have to mean pastels and florals. Channel your inner raver and go day-glo with flourenscent paper, inks, envelopes and labels.

WATERCOLOUR WHIMSY

You don't have to be Picasso. Some simple floral shapes laid down underneath your text add real pop to cards (just make sure the paint is dry before you stamp). This is a great way of quickly making a set of invites which are all unique.

SPLATTER!

This is easy-peasy and we think really effective. Use spray paint, or alternatively we discovered 'Blo-Pens' which are meant as a child's toy but do the job cheaply and fume-free.

CHALKBOARD

Don't restrict yourself to white paper. Here we mimicked a chalkboard by stamping with white VersaMagic chalk ink on Colorplan Racing Green card.

(We added some WOW with a simple watercolour wash on the envelope – just spodge on wait to dry for some beautifully random results.)

RAID THE STATIONERY CUPBOARD

Think outside the box a bit and don't restrict yourself to 'wedding' supplies. The geometric grid of bog standard graph paper looks fab with calligraphic flourishes; or bring utilitarian office labels into the limelight.

AND FINALLY.... 

It doesn't have to be serious, or grown up – crack open the googly eyes and have fun!

 

 

Case Study: BLING! Deco inspired wedding suite with a B&R twist.

Robi and Daniel came to us with a gold foiled Art Deco design they'd seen elsewhere on the web. They liked it, but also liked the idea of creating something personal to them. Working with the Art Deco theme, the distictive square shape of Robi's engagement ring, and peacocks we got down to work designing their hand-drawn invite.

When they asked us to include their beloved 'baby', Juanita, it caused us to pause, but we think, with the addition of a smart bow tie, she fits in rather well with the design and their request for black tie attire.

The couple wanted some 'bling' on their invitations and by foil blocking the design on heavyweight 700gsm Colorplan Imperial Blue card, we think the results are rather spectacular!

To complement the invitiation we designed and digitally printed RSVPs and cards with additional information, and made an initials and 'Juanita' stamp for personalising envelopes and all those other wedding extras.

As the wedding day drew closer, we helped to provide finishing touches for their wedding reception with menus and hand-made table numbers.

The table numbers had hand-applied gold leaf on the front, and movie quotations on the back and look rather stunning en masse - ripe to be framed after the big day.

If you're interested in commissioning Bloomfield & Rolfe to create your wedding stationery, or for any other occasion, just get in touch at orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com and we'll be happy to help.

Case Study: Cats and Street Food

A sneaky peek of a recent wedding commission.

Mary and Paul's shared interests were pinned down to street food, festivals and their cats! Their wedding would be informal with no 'girlie stuff'. So we came up with a vintage food van - and I'm glad to say Mary didn't veto the hanging baskets! Archie and Stella take pride of place and the 'GMW' on the number plate is an in joke  for their friends.

The main invite was letterpress printed in dark grey, with the pink/yellow/blue fairy lights applied by hand to create a pop of colour. We used Artoz 1001 lined envelopes from Bureau Direct.

In addition we created an RSVP card and an additional information card (both digitally printed, a personalised address stamp, and also a stamp featuring the van, to be used to personalise place names and other details on their big day.

If you'd like to commission us to create something for your big day - girlie or not - we'd love to help. Email us at orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com

Case Study : Wedding Venue Portraits

Whether it’s letterpress or foiled, rubber-stamped or painted, from digitally designed to hand-written on hessian, there’s been a flurry of bespoke wedding projects running through the Bloomfield & Rolfe studios of late. 

We'll begin to share more of them here – including bigger pieces such as table plans, menus and other marvellous printed extras, many of which demonstrate our wedding venue portrait and bespoke wedding stamp options.

We’ve done all sorts of different designs and projects so if you see something you like, or have any other ideas you want to discuss with us please send us an email – we love new challenges as well as old favourites....

Here’s one of Holly’s from early summer....a table plan featuring a bespoke wedding venue portrait in black ink of Kenwood House. The swans at the top of each table were hand-drawn and based on swans from a vintage poster of Kenwood from the 1930s and the lettering was drawn by hand.

Kenwood_House_Wedding_Venue_Portrait_BloomfieldandRolfe
   The drawing in progress...

 

The drawing in progress...

Case Study: A Lovebirds Wedding - from off the peg to totally bespoke

How we created a bespoke wedding stationery suite by adapting one of our bestselling wedding designs.

Back in October 2013 Martha ordered several of our personalised stamps, including a Lovebirds Wedding Stamp  to make save-the-date cards for her upcoming marriage to Nicolas.

Later, in early 2014, she emailed to ask whether we could create a personalised wedding invite design using the Lovebirds motif, but incorporating  things special to her and her fiance. We came up with the following bespoke design using their favourite place 'One Tree Hill' and the London skyline as inspiration.

The invites were letterpress printed on Colorplan Harvest 700gsm using a magnesium plate to create a deep impression, creating a beautifully tactile finish.

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As the wedding day approached we adapted the design to include the wedding venue, for the order of service, and the reception venue, Longford Hall, for the table numbers. For both of these we simply provided a JPEG image of the design so Martha and Nicolas could print out at home.

We're always happy to adapt our existing designs for your big day (or any other occasion!). If you'd like to discuss this, or commission something entirely unique, don't hesitate to contact us at orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com.

 

An Arts & Crafts Wedding: how a commission works in practice

Here I am pleased to show off one of my favourite commissions and have included information about the process to show how we work on a project like this.

Sophie sent me an email last year which began: "You made a book stamp for me to give to my boyfriend for Christmas last year. It must have impressed him, as we're now engaged and are getting married...."

While we can't seriously take responsibility for initiating their happy day, it was lovely to hear that Tim liked the stamp and that they would like us to create their wedding stationery.  They wanted a Save the Date to start with, and then invites and extra bits and bobs further down the line.

They provided some great images as inspiration (see below) - they liked the Arts and Crafts reference to William de Morgan in the Birds in Branches Ex Libris design, and also wanted to use the work of Henry Wilson (a remarkably under-appreciated Arts and Crafts architect, metalworker and jeweller) on whom Sophie happened to be writing her Masters thesis, and who was the creator of her spectacular engagement ring and the other images below.

I then did some preliminary sketches to check we were thinking on the same lines and to provide a starting point. I'm playing with ideas and compositions here to see what will work (and what the customer likes).

A small stamp for all those extra wedding details

A small stamp for all those extra wedding details

Following feedback we created the following:

- a Save the Date stamp (large enough to fit nicely on a standard postcard),

- a small tree stamp for extra details

- the main wedding invites which were letterpress printed with a deep emboss

- RSVP cards which were digitally printed

- An address stamp (that will be used long after the wedding)  

The main invite (letterpress printed), envelope stamped with address stamp, RSVP card (digitally printed) and the  Save the Date design which was the first design we did.

The main invite (letterpress printed), envelope stamped with address stamp, RSVP card (digitally printed) and the  Save the Date design which was the first design we did.

Detail of the main invite showing the luxurious deep emboss

Detail of the main invite showing the luxurious deep emboss

Text inside the main invite

Text inside the main invite

The text style was taken from the Henry Wilson bronze plaque image provided by Sophie - if the lettering looks familiar it's because I liked it so much I have used a modified version on our Filigree range.

The very same bronze plaque is echoed in the magnesium plate used to create the invites and that wonderful deep emboss. As these plates are one-offs we lacquered them and Tim & Sophie now have them as a wonderfully tactile memento of their day.

This project was a two-way process with many many emails pinging back and forward, and was completed in stages over a period of months. Hopefully it shows how a single idea can be expanded and modified for a variety of purposes and to create something totally unique.

If you're inspired and would be interested in commissioning something for your own wedding, please don't hesitate to get in touch via orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com - we can help with anything from a single small stamp to a whole suite of stationery.

Case Study: A wedding at Bluebird, Chelsea - invites and stamps

The Art Deco elegance, infamous clientèle, gorgeous original details and super-smart dining room make Bluebird Chelsea one of the most sought-after spaces to get wed urban-style - and our lucky client Anne had all that to look forward to, but first....the invite!

Anne wanted the building to shine in the design so we created an original watercolour-wash sketch of the building and worked with the 1920s look she loved to design A6 postcards using an original deco font and border in a stunning deep bluebird blue.

Bluebird Chelsea Wedding Invite

The double-bluebird motif was added as a nod to the union of the two lovebirds (...sorry) and was repeated in a roundel stamp with date for use on the backs of envelopes and for serviettes and bunting on the day.

Bluebird Wedding Stamp

Even Ralph the dog (star of our personalised dog stamps) made an appearance on the front of the envelopes – the perfect finishing touch.

Personalised dog stamp

Case Study: A Foodie Wedding

Here's a delicious wedding commission for us to share with you.....

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Katherine and Ben were having a foodie wedding, and they came to us with a selection of images they liked as a starting point. The theme of cutlery emerged and after discussing their big day and getting to know them a bit, we came up with a design that incorporated a pig (hog roast), rabbit (for veggie Katherine, definitely not a bunny-roast), spring daffodils and a yurt (feature of their big day). The result is bold, yet subtly personal.

To make the stamp more versatile we decided to split the main design and the text into two separate stamps so the cutlery motif and the text could be used separately elsewhere on the big day.

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Following the theme we made them a little 'Mr & Mrs' salt and pepper stamp for the backs of envelopes and other wedding accents.

If you like the idea of creating something totally unique for your big day, don't hesitate to get in touch at orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com.

Case Study: Chiara & Andrew's Wedding day

After creating Chiara & Andrew's wedding invitations earlier this year, they came back asking us to create accessories for the big day itself (which I had the pleasure in attending, in Umbria, at the beginning of this week).

See below for a run down of everything we designed and made for them, including place names and menus, table numbers, a bespoke guest book, and flip flops!

If you'd be interested in commissioning us to design something for your wedding day, whether it is a simple stamp or the full works, don't hesitate to get in touch at orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com, we love a wedding!

Table plan

Following on from the invite design, we liked the idea of something hanging from a tree, and chose a birch plywood so each 'postcard' would hang nicely. The design, recalling the original invites, was Gocco printed and then handfinished with acrylic paint, while the names were handwritten (at the last minute!).

Andrew & Chiara table plan

They looked quite stunning against the Umbrian backdrop and proved quite a talking point as people gathered to find their names (and catch them as they spun in the breeze!).

Andrew & Chiara table plan
Andrew & Chiara table plan

Table numbers

Living in sunny Sydney and marrying in scorching Umbria, both the bride and groom clearly love the sun, hence the the table numbers. These were handmade and painted using foam board and oak supports (actually rather amazing giant plant labels!).  Unknowingly, they perfectly matched the bride's shoes and bouquet (although I'm sure Chiara was more than aware)!

Andrew & Chiara table numbers (in the studio)
Andrew & Chiara table numbers (in situ)

Place names and menus

We liked the idea of something the guests would wear (rather than immediately discard) so figured that the place names should be tactile and three dimensional. The result, 130 individual wired canvas leaves attached to (Yorkshire) twigs. I was thrilled that guests recognised that this referred back to the invitations, and was more thrilled to see an addition to the bride's dress!  The menus used elements from the original invites.

Andrew & Chiara menu front
Andrew & Chiara menu back
Andrew & Chiara place name leaves
Andrew & Chiara place names and menu
Andrew & Chiara place name leaves (on the bride!)

Bespoke guest book

Because the newlyweds are doing a lot of travelling after the wedding - honeymoon and then eventually back to Australia - they asked from something small that they could take and read on the plane.  The resulting book is A5 in size and bound in dyed green leather. I took the fastening used on the invites as a closure and included the image of the Castello di Montignano (by Holly) on the front page. 

Andrew & Chiara guest book
Andrew & Chiara guest book
  Andrew & Chiara guest book

However, my favourite bit  is the endpapers which I designed especially using the suns from the tables (and from the Italian summer sky!) and the leaf motif and lime green from the invitations and menus.

 

And finally....Flip flops (or thongs, for the Aussie guests) 

I can't take any credit for the idea, which was all the bride and groom's own, but I did knock up a design for them. No excuse not to dance!

Andrew & Chiara flip flops!   

Bloomfield: Adventures in Laser Cutting

I've recently discovered the laser cutter at my local screen-printing/wood working workshop (Inc Workshop in Leeds).  I'm in love and want one all of my own so I can make endless paper cuts. All in good time.
Here are my first few efforts. I soon discovered that hand drawn designs (like those we make stamps from) take an age to cut because the lines aren't straight and smooth - spending time tidying them up in illustrator is well worth it.

 

Birthday card

My first effort.  I was rather chuffed with it. I found a use for some double sided card I'd picked up in Paperchase ages ago (white/green, blue/pink) which provides great contrast and was a heavy weight that held up well to being cut within an inch of its life (or a mm).

40th Birthday card

Carrying on a theme, this was for a 40th birthday.  As there is nowhere much to write on the inside without ruining the effect, I decided to put the text as part of the image. It also meant she knew it had been cut especially for her.

laser cut wedding card

And finally, this was for a friend's wedding. The happy couple, their daughter and cat feature at the bottom, admiring the fireworks above.   Ooo. Ahhhh.

(I knew they'd like the whole family to be involved as I did their invite design a few months back - see here).

Case Study: Wedding table numbers reinvented

Rolfe has been prodding me into sharing some of the creations from my own wedding. There was a general art nouveau theme with am emphasis on peacocks and the colour green. The table numbers were hand painted and finished with real gold leaf...

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.... they are now framed and leading a second life on my daughter's nursery wall. There is something lovely about this souvenir of our big day decorating her room, a more decorative twist on saving the top layer of the wedding cake for the Christening (as our wedding cake was made of cheese, I wouldn't have fancied that).

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We're always pleased to take on commissions. If you would like use to create some bespoke table numbers - or anything else for your big day - just contact orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com with any ideas you may have.

Case Study: Nicola & Tom's Wedding

Nicola's brief was simple: 'Art Deco' and 'Us' (including daughter Erica, and cat Geoffrey).

I came up with this design, based on a 1930 Harpers Bazaar cover by Erté. No stamping involved this time, but the colours are just delicious!

We're always happy to take on commissions - email orders@bloomfieldandrolfe.com and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Erté - Bain Du Soleil
Nicola & Tom's wedding invite

Rolfe: Save the Date stamp show off

OK, ok, no earbashing about exploiting my forthcoming nuptials for commercial gain please! Today I wanted to share my Save The Date cards which were made with what else but a stamp - who knew??

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STD_BloomfieldandRolfefinal2

I used one of my favourite techniques when it comes to stamping - painting over the top in inks - here a bright flash of hot pink merges with a sweep of tropical sea blue watercolour to almost iridescent effect!

STD_BloomfieldandRolfe_final

STD_BloomfieldandRolfe_final

Obviously we here at B&R can help you with any custom made stamp requirements you might have for your Big Day - or any other equally important days! We've been doing our wedding stamps (featuring a drawing of the venue plus names/dates) via Holly's Houses for a couple of years now but have also done loads of bespoke designs too. Watch this space for the initials stamps we are working on as we speak!

I ordered all my beautifully coloured stationery from Bureau Direct who have a great choice of colours and sizes and import from Switzerland.

P.S - don't you just love it when overseas stamps go so well with your colour scheme?(#weddingoverload)