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The WHY of Deckled Edges

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Corporate Stationery, Letterpress, Weddings and Social

I made a promise to myself that I’d only do it once.

I felt a little uneasy the entire time, but I powered through it.

It hurt like hell – both my hands and my heart (a little) – but I powered through.

I tore the edges of a piece I was making and

I faked a deckled edge paper.

The term “deckle” describes one of my favorite things in the world – the “point” cut of a beef brisket. It also describes one of my second-favorite things:

A deckle is the frame used to define the size of a sheet of handmade paper.

It’s paired with a mould (screen on a frame) to arrange the fibers floating in a slurry into a usable sheet of paper.

Well, it comes out soaking wet and needs some serious drying (and shrinking) first, but you get the point.

So that’s why it’s called “Deckled Edge?”


Ashley Holstein’s Deckled-Edge Business Cards

The edges of a sheet of handmade paper betray the papermaking process, as the fibers of the sheet form a soft edge in the general area of where the deckle’s edges met the paper on the mold.

You can see the process here:

So, Why All the Drama?

You may have noticed, I’m not quite like other stationers you’d encounter. I’m pretty lax on etiquette, but very dogged about meaning.

WHY do you choose one paper over another? One color over another? One process over another?

In an age where no one truly needs printed goods, it’s imperative that your stationery have real meaning. Otherwise, why invest the money at all?

Authenticity Matters

So, that means making choices using deeper criteria than “I like it” or “because it’s pretty.”

Your stationery is a proxy for you, representing you when you’re not there.

So the decisions you make about it should reflect you.

And a part of that relates to what you value. If you value process and intention and craft, a deckled edge sheet might be for you.

But, in my mind, choosing the look of a deckled edge paper, faked by tearing the edges of a machine-made sheet, is a throwaway. It says you value “pretty,” but not the process.

It lacks honesty or authenticity.

I know, I know – it’s heady and idealistic.

I’ll cop to that.




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