Mohawk Blog

An Illustrated and Engraved Holiday Greeting to Cherish Year Round

Words
Rebecca Gatto
Photography
Rebecca Gatto
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May the spirit of the season, and Mohawk's holiday card, uplift you.

As 2019 comes to an end, there is no better way to thank customers, colleagues, and friends than with a warm, holiday greeting. This year we asked Craig Frazier to illustrate our holiday card and give people a moving reminder in the spirit of the season.

Frazier is an illustrating designer with an internationally-recognized body of work. He contributes art to several well-known publications, including the New York Times, and has seven United States postage stamps to his name. He is known for his visual language of simplicity, optimism, and wit.

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Two Views
The card's back is digitally printed with an inclusive holiday message that reads, "May the spirit of the season uplift you."

For our 2019 Holiday card, we asked Frazier to design a holiday card that people would want to keep all year. The outcome is a frameable, engraved illustration using metallic gold ink that challenges its recipients to look closer. An intricate tree and a small bird fill the front of the piece—but instead of resting among the branches, the bird is balancing the tree’s bulk on its head.

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Unexpected Details
Frazier's delicate, but mighty bird occupies a surprising spot in the illustration.

“This delicate, lovely bird is incredibly mighty, and is in fact part and parcel of the tree itself. It’s this fragile bird that’s responsible for holding up this beautiful, organic tree,” Frazier said. He placed the bird in an unexpected spot to challenge everyday perceptions; his drawings often tweak an otherwise familiar scene.

 “I hope that the card just makes people smile and gives people something to think about,” Frazier said.

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In Progress
Frazier begins every illustration with a Micron pen.
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Ink Drawing
The illustrator entrusted his pen-and-ink drawing to the artisans at Crane, who then translated the image for engraving.
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Engraving Plate
To engrave Frazier's illustration, Crane artisans first created a set of copper plates based on his original drawing.

“It certainly surpassed my expectation. The three-dimensional quality of the engraving gives it a luminescence that I just didn’t imagine. The leaves shimmer as you move the card in your hand—it’s just truly alive.”
Craig Frazier
Illustrator

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Organic Shapes
This intricate tree is a motif Frazier likes to revisit often, tweaking and shifting it to tell new stories.

Engraving at Crane was an interplay between pressure, strength, and delicate details. Once Frazier's final design arrived in the Berkshires, it was carefully cut into a set of copper plates. When it was time to print, the artisans there flooded the plates' wells with shimmering ink, then transferred the image to Crane's Lettra cotton paper using pressure. The final result could only be produced by engraving: rich and touchable, it's easy to imagine that the raised ink is actually gold.

Finally, the holiday greeting was digitally printed on a second sheet of Crane’s Lettra Pearl White, then duplexing the two sides together for a weighty, duplexed card that’s sure to stand the test of time. Each card was tucked inside an A7 Curious Collection Metallics Gold Leaf envelope, selected to match the ink color used in the engraving. 

Frazier said the collaboration has inspired him to continue to use traditional printing processes in the New Year.

“I want to do more work that’s printed this way,” he said. “It just makes you stop. It’s just so much an analog product; you can touch it and feel it. And that’s really wonderful when the most we’re usually touching is our cell phones.”

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Holiday Cards
In addition to sending warm holiday wishes, the cards were designed to be kept and framed, which is why the engraving on the front is free from text.

Production Notes

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Print Process
Digital Printing
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Engraving
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Designer
Craig Frazier

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