Posts Tagged ‘nancy sharon collins’

Love Letters: American Commercial Engraving, Monograms and Social Stationery

September 18, 2009


Please join me at University of Texas at Austin for the most recent rendition of this evolving presentation about American commercial engraving.

Tuesday September 22


Art Building, Room ART 1.120

This lecture will include images from recent research and sources of commercial engraving and specifications for engraving types never before shown in public or discussed.


Heavy Metal Ephemera: The Resurrection of Two Social Engraving Presses

August 13, 2009

This is the story of a 5-year journey in search of an engraving proofing press. Once ubiquitous in small print shops throughout the country, these presses were used to impress small engraved monograms, logotypes and other elements into stationary, envelopes, calling cards, folders and the like.

History of Romantic Letters at TypeCon 2009

June 26, 2009

The History of Romantic Letters at TypeCon 2009

2:00 pm-5:30 pm

Presented by Nancy Sharon Collins (Collins LLC/Loyola University/AIGA New Orleans)

Location: Portfolio Center, Atlanta
Cost: $50 + $10 materials fee
Ever wonder about engraving? What is it? Where does it come from? Why does it look that way? What’s a monogram? How does engraving factor into the history and function of type?

The only way to truly appreciate engraving is to try it yourself—come experience the “cut” by which engraved letterforms are made—everyone in this workshop will be encouraged to try their hand with a “graver” (or “burin”), the real tools of this elegant, virtually forgotten trade.

Specimens of vintage monograms, lettering styles and engraving will be displayed. Using simple tools such as graphite pencil and various sorts of erasers, attendees will trace, combine, retrace existing forms and learn to make new symbols, letters and forms with these historic pieces of inspiration.

History in Small Places, Feb 28-March 28

February 12, 2009













Solo exhibition of archival pigment prints by Nancy Sharon Collins at the Hill Memorial Library, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

These images and artifacts were inspired by the Dameron-Pierson collection of commercially engraved copper plates and hand engraved monogram, crest and seal dies salvaged and preserved by Mrs. Collins after the horrific floods of 2005 in New Orleans.

The plates were donated to the Southeastern Louisiana Archival Collections and the dies to the Hill Memorial Library.

For more information

Special Collections Library Receieves Monogram Dies

January 20, 2009

Louisiana State University Special Collections in the Hill Memorial Library, Baton Rouge, took possession of the Dameron-Pierson monogram die collection last month.  Read the story here:


Read more articles on my Typophile blog site as well:


Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer Cited in VOGUE

June 12, 2008

“Vogue Most Wanted: Week of 06.05.2008”

edited by Meredith Melling Burke

Hit item #9 after the Vera Wang perfume.

Also, read the new Typophile posting about engraving and typography:


May 17, 2008

At one point during the four-day-bindery-athon the conversation turned to watermarks. The 9# vintage, 100% cotton rag onion skin we were using in the Japanese bindery project is watermarked, so, I took the opportunity to talk about watermarks and paper making with my LSU graphic design student assistants.

This example is from my collection, the engraved monogram is one of my own, the paper is vintage from the same mill as the onion skin we used in the Japanese bindery project.

A great website containing a collection of 332 watermarks is:

also, the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum has some interesting information about watermarks and paper in general:

Japanes Bindery Work

May 15, 2008

On a project that began last year I had the opportunity to propose something that I had not worked with since undergraduate school more than thirty years ago.  I remembered how pleasant is the activity of hand bindery work in the Japanese accordian style, so tried it as an option for a client.

The original mock-up was with some of the vintage onion skin that we stock, it has acquired a lovely warm patina even thought it is 100% cotton rag.

Each panel of this little booklet was 3″ wide by 7″ tall, bound on the left with silk twist that I had collected in school lo’ that many years ago.  (See below.)

We worked back and forth with the client for months, fine-tuning the text, which would be photo-engraved due to the fact that there was so much of it (the text) and we wanted to maintain flexibility in copy editing up until the very last moment.

When we finally came to a place of agreement, the dimensions had grown a little to accommodate slightly larger text.

Due to the fact that I would still be teaching full-time when production on this would be due, I put the bindery portion of the booklet out to bid.  However, in the end, we decided to do the work here to keep quality control and mounting timing challenges to a minimum. Also, the lovely silk twist that I had archived since about 1973 was no where to be found commercially, so, I had to source it anew. *

(Day one binding, above.)

We alternate between two and three of us working on the project at a time, there are 175 pieces to accomplish and 35 more to go excluding studio samples, artist proof and museum and gallery copies.

(Day three above.)

The project should finish today as long as our power holds.  We are in the middle of a torrential storm and the power went out about 6:30pm yesterday and did not go back on until 3:00 this morning, the electricity is flickering, now.

* Anyone who might be a Beatrix Potter fan, and all those who should be, please not the reference to “silk twist” in Miss Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester, F. Warner & Co., LTD., 1903.

Opening reception for “History in Small Spaces: Solo Exhibition of Large Format Archival Pigment Prints”

April 30, 2008

The opening reception for “History in Small Spaces: Solo Exhibition of Large Format Archival Pigment Prints” was held in the Abingdon 12 gallery at 613 Hudson Street in New York City.  The crowd was thick with patrons, press, designers, design administrators, artists, architects; art collectors, art historians, members of art academia and archivists–it was an eclectic crowd.  Several private art foundations were represented.  Viewing of the exhibit is by-appointment only through May 24, please call 917 392 1417.

Early Symptoms of Type Nerd Syndrome (TNS)

April 20, 2008

Following is from an e-conversation about suffering from Type Nerd Syndrome (TNS).


Herewith please find attached evidence of Type Nerd Syndrome. Last Friday Jen McNight, visiting artist, assistant professor at University of Missouri-Saint Louis, Daniela Marx, tenured professor of graphic design at Loyola University New Orleans and I gamboled and frolicked in this field of type like three kittens playing with a ball of string.

We each found ourselfs nearly prostrate photographing the architectural type being installed in the Loyola library; we photographed each other photographing the type, videoed and laughed, we are hoping to make a presentation with the captures for TypeCon 2009. (I began to wonder if this was some symptom of a serious illness of which we should be aware.)


Type Nerd Syndrome (TNS) is a condition which usually starts with a sharp blow to the head – physical or chemical – during adolescence.

The symptoms are usually mistaken for OCD in non-creative people. In professionals it often earns the afflicted nicknames like ‘Font Police’, ‘Font Cop’, ‘Font Nazi’ or even…. shudder…. ‘Type Director’.


Now this all makes sense. When I was young I used to climb all over the gym sets in our collective back yards, there were three families sharing this strip of land that the dad’s made into a playground replete with sand and a big “jungle gym” made out of that heavy steel piping, as well as some store bought swing sets and various other climb-upon things that I don’t see much anymore (probably because of insurance issues.)

I used to climb up to the top of the big, pipe-metal one and hang upside down from it off of my knees. One day i do recall landing on my head rather than swinging, guess my knees decided to play a funny trick on me resulting in a sharp blow to the head. Guess it all started for me there.


heh – yeah that’d do it for sure. For me it was hearing the phone ring upstairs while practicing my drums. Thinking it could be ‘for me’, and quite possibly an ‘adoring fan’ – I dropped the sticks, jumped over a box, leapt for the 3rd stair only to be stopped cold in my tracks by a low hanging radiator pipe to the head. The phone kept ringing – at least I think it was the phone – as I crumpled to the floor. All the people I’ve asked, who are ‘into type’, have related similar stories…. Even Chuck Bigelow whose experiences were less traumatic and suffered over a period of time in art college