Destination Dempsey: Labor Day

Labor Day is coming up and some of us are planning on taking advantage of the long weekend to enjoy the final days of summer. We asked the team about where they plan on heading, a fun fact or anecdote about their destination, and what piece of Dempsey & Carroll stationery they plan on bringing with them. Bon voyage!

 

Umara: I’m traveling to good old sunny California!

 

Emma: I’m going to Block Island to spend the week (and long weekend) with my family

  • There are too many reasons to love Block Island, especially because it’s been a family tradition since my dad was 11. I love the moment on the ferry ride over when I can see the first glimpse of the bluffs and then the town comes into view. Nothing beats spending the day at the beach and wandering through town or taking a hike on one of the many trails.
  • I’m bringing pieces from our collaboration with The Maryn because it’s perfect for spending time by the sea!

 

Jaimie: I’ll be at Yankee Stadium for the Yankees/Red Sox game! What better way to spend Labor Day weekend than watching the National Pastime and cheering on your favorite team (The Yankees, of course) while they play their #1 rival?Jaimie- Yankee Stadium

  • My favorite part of the stadium is Monument Park. I love seeing the history and all the retired numbers (#7 forever)! It’s also absolutely necessary to get a hot dog and a beer (and maybe some cotton candy). It’s a baseball game after all!
  • The Dempsey & Carroll Game On Handsome Tablet is perfect for keeping scorecards. Play ball!

 

Carolyn: I’m traveling to Newport Beach, California for a wedding206360_MW_ColiseumPool_378_r11

  • I’ve actually never been to Newport Beach before, but The Resort at Pelican Hill looks incredible! What’s not to love?
  • I’m definitely bringing some Jet Set: LA for my trip to the West Coast

 

Austin: This Labor Day, my partner and I will spend the long weekend as guests of a dear college friend at her house on Lake Pocono in Pennsylvania.IMG_0234.JPG

  • The lake sits in the middle of a vast preserve and, when the houses that surround it were built, there was a requirement that they not be visible from the lake. Eagles soar above as your canoe glides across the surface. No speedboats here.
  • Our host loves Dempsey & Carroll paper so what to bring her is a no-brainer. This year, a Schumacher Journal for her sketching habit, and Jet Set: Los Angeles note cards because she loves to travel and that classic airliner engraved in blue is a complete charmer! Stationery makes the smartest gift because the recipient will be reminded of you each time they treat a friend to a special handwritten note.

 

Spotlight on Marcardin Calligraphy

We sat down with Heather Brock of Marcardin Calligraphy to talk about her beginnings as a calligrapher and how she became inspired to start her own company. 

Q: “Marcardin” is such a unique name. Can you please tell us the significance of why you chose that name for your company?

HB: The name Marcardin is very dear to me because it is the name of an old family estate located in Shelbyville, Kentucky that belonged to us for over 150 years. Much like other homes and farms of that era, the estate was named by its builder, Mark Hardin. Fast forward to the early 1990s and my family was faced with the tough decision to sell it [Marcardin Farms] once my Great Aunt passed away. Most of the family memorabilia was kept in the attic; old letters and notes penned by ancestors, including those from my great uncle Mark Hardin, dated back to around 1856. All of the letters feature beautiful pen and ink calligraphy, and as an adult, the penmanship is my favorite thing to exist from that attic. I’m very fortunate to have such richly documented family history to reflect on. Marcardin, which was once known as Marcardin Farms, is now calligraphy for me.

Q: When did you first learn calligraphy and how did you know that you wanted to do it as a career?

HB: I was probably 10 or 11 when I picked up any sort of calligraphy pen for the very first time. I remember mastering (or so I thought I did) any instructional books I could get my hands on, but I moved on with other art mediums as I grew up. In my 20s I decided to pick up a pen again to learn the refined skill of pointed pen calligraphy in hopes to address my own wedding envelopes some day. When I realized how therapeutic it was to put pen to paper, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue for a long time to come.

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An envelope addressed to Marcardin Estate 

Q: How long have you been based in Kentucky? Do you have a wide client base in your area, or does most of your clientele hail from elsewhere? 

HB: I was born and raised (and still reside) in Louisville, Kentucky, so I’ve always stayed put. I am very fortunate to work with some of the absolute best wedding planners and designers in the city and state, so I do get a lot of referrals through them. I also serve nationwide, working with some stationers out of New York City and Los Angeles.

Q: We see that you offer a variety of calligraphy styles for your services. Do you think that there is an even split between interest in more traditional styles versus a more modern look? img_5198

HB: I would say nine times out of ten, my clients choose my Signature style. It’s definitely more modern, but it still gives that flourished feel that can be found in some traditional styles. I’m definitely more of a modern calligrapher; traditional calligraphy, such as Spencerian and Copperplate, can take decades to master. I certainly envy my calligraphy colleagues across the world who have the patience and skill set to achieve those writing principles.

Q: You have done beautiful work on everything from outer and inner envelopes, to escort cards and menus. How do you ensure that your pieces reflect overall aesthetic of the event?
img_0083HB: I love when I’m able to help design an entire invitation suite, so it can be printed or pressed in every which way. I like to start with my bride’s ideas of what she is thinking by getting inspiration photos from her. I’ll go through my series of questions which can turn into a few different pencil sketches before I put ink to paper. I then send my work to my go-to designer to do all the digitizing for me. From there, we meet to make sure everything is set perfectly for print.

 

 

Q: We were thrilled to work with you on pieces for a Dempsey & Carroll wedding recently. How did you first hear about Dempsey & Carroll? 

HB: I was so excited to finally get my chance to calligraph the beautiful paper from Dempsey & Carroll. I’ve seen it [Dempsey & Carroll’s paper] in many areas of the wedding industry, and have always heard great reviews from other calligraphers. The paper is exquisite and I am in love with everything from the texture to the watermark logo– It’s hands down my favorite to write on.

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Heather’s work for a recent Dempsey & Carroll wedding 

A Spotlight on Joan Straus

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness  Month, a disease that affects millions of people and families worldwide. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with Joan Straus, after reading her book The Alzheimer’s Diary: One Woman’s Experience from Caregiver to Widow.

AA: In your new book, The Alzheimer’s Diary, there is the invaluable chapter: Eight Steps to a Healthy Brain. I’m pleased to say, here at Dempsey & Carroll, our Madeleine leads meditation twice a week. Later, there is a chapter about the importance of early detection. Given that there is no treatment, why would someone want jsto know? What would be the benefits of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease?

JS: It is only in the last few years that we have been able to make an early diagnosis and the earlier Alzheimer’s  is discovered, the better.  The patient can then make lifestyle changes – give up alcohol, check vitamin B and D levels, for example (that might slow the progress of the disease).  Early diagnosis also would make it possible for many to take part in clinical trials – a necessary step to finding better treatment and/or a cure.  Knowing, one can put one’s life in order, not just make out a living will, but say the things to loved ones that need to be said.  When I moved to New York, 34 years ago, my husband introduced me to Dempsey & Carroll, where he, and his mother were customers.  In German, straus means Ostrich, so the Straus family have an ostrich as their signature.  If I was diagnosed with AD, I would write to all my grandchildren on that beautiful stationery, to tell them how much I loved them and to remind them that long before the internet, there was a graceful elegant way to correspond with each other.IMG_1680

AA: Do you have any words of advice for families and caregivers with loved ones recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?

JS:  There is a sharp learning curve for family members and caregivers, as they must take over all the responsibilities of the patient’s life, as well as learn about the stages of the disease and how to meet the challenges that come with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Nancy Reagan described caring for someone with Alzheimer’s as “the long goodbye”.  It is that, but there can also be great beauty in the duty.

To purchase Joan’s book please click here. 100% of proceeds from the sales of this book go to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. 

Write Away Right Now

The annual rite of passage for college freshman is well underway. I would argue 99.9% of freshman are happily immersed in their new surroundings, and for many, they are enjoying the first taste of a (somewhat) sovereign life.  I would also argue with equal confidence that the parents of these happy and newly-freed baby birds are experiencing hints of sadness knowing that their children are growing up—and fast. I imagine that this is a similar sentiment to what I felt when I put my little kindergartner on the bus for the first day of school last week.

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I was not surprised when a conversation took place between some new empty-nesters this weekend regarding the emotional roller coaster they’ve experienced over the past several weeks. They offered advice to each other squarely focused on writing letters to their kids. It was incredible – a group of ladies in their forties waxing poetic about writing handwritten notes to their kids. Each woman had a smart phone in hand – obviously, they are equipped with the latest and greatest technology. With her device in hand – “My daughter loves little surprises in the mail.” “The letters are cathartic for me,” said another. “I get to tell him how proud I am without embarrassing him or getting shift-deleted. He loves my letters.”

 

$.49 does not buy much today. It does buy these moms peace of mind, smiles, and the assurance that they are remembered for a moment. My bet is every one of those letters makes its home in a little box where they can be read again and again. I don’t think there are any emails, tweets or IMs in those boxes. It’s fitting they call them Forever Stamps, don’t you think?

 

Jennifer-Pool

Why do we save letters?

I often question why I save letters. I have little notes my husband wrote to me when we first started dating, cards my father sent to me while I was in boarding school (my favorite one says “I picked this one just for you” with a little girl picking her nose on the cover), letters from camp, and letters from my grandfather tucked away in the cookbooks he left to me when he passed. Little did he know I’d grow up to be incapable of making tuna fish. I digress – after reading Vanessa Manko’s piece in New York Times Magazine titled “Forgotten Postcards From Mexico City,” I remembered why. The letters and notes are threads from the past to the future – like breadcrumbs on a website. You cannot get lost if you look back from whence you came every now and then.

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An excerpt from “Forgotten Postcards from Mexico City”:

 

“…The letters from my grandfather give voice to the man I’d long imagined; they reveal a man haunted by memories of his family…”

Jennifer-Pool

An Invitation that Speaks a Thousand Words

Sometimes the key to unlocking our own history is found in the unlikeliest of ways. For California resident Mark Harrison, a beautiful discovery led him to a deeper understanding of his heritage and how it contributes to the person he is today.

A few years ago, Harrison discovered an invitation created by Dempsey & Carroll in 1888 at his aunt’s home for a party hosted by Harrison’s great-great grandfather. The party was held at Russell’s barn for the sole purpose of entertaining his close friends in his social circle.

The original engraved invitation for Russell's  celebration at his barn.

The original engraved invitation for Russell’s celebration at his barn.

Harrison’s interest in his genealogy led him to read his great-great grandfather’s autobiography, The Romance and Tragedy of a Widely Known Business Man of New York at his grandmother’s home in New Jersey. With the turn of each page, Harrison dove deeper into the world of his great-great grandfather, William Ingraham Russell, a successful metals broker in the late 19th century.

Russell, a beloved member of his community and a self-made man, wrote of his hard work, his devotion to his wife, and his life in the Millburn and Short Hills community located in New Jersey. He owned a large property on Knollwood, where he built a lovely home and barn designed by the architectural firm Lamb & Rich. Harrison was always fascinated by his great-great grandfather’s barn, which housed Russell’s horses and carriages and was later transformed into an inn in the 1920s.

Drawing of William Ingraham Russell’s home and barn in Millburn

Drawing of William Ingraham Russell’s home and barn in Millburn

 

The invitation to Russell’s barn dance is referenced in The Romance and Tragedy of a Widely Known Business Man of New York:

Excerpt: “My combination carriage-house and stable was architecturally a very handsome building, and in its interior every detail, useful and ornamental, had received careful attention. The building cost me about seven thousand dollars, but judging from its appearance and size my neighbors thought that my investment was larger. As it approached completion I suggested to my wife the idea of giving a barn-dance, something unique in the annals of Knollwood. We immediately went into a committee of two on plans and scope and as a result evolved an evening of surprise and delight for our friends. The invitations, engraved in usual note-sheet form, had on the upper half of the page a fine engraving of the front of the stable, and beneath in old English, “Come and dance in the barn.” We received our guests in the hall and drawing-room, fragrant with blooming plants. From a rear piazza a carpeted and canvas-enclosed platform extended across the lawn to the carriage-house. The floor had been covered with canvas for the dancers. Brilliantly illuminated, in addition to the permanent decorations, a life-sized jockey in bronze bas-relief and numerous coaching pictures, was the work of the florist. The large orchestra was upstairs surrounding the open carriage trap, which was concealed from below by masses of smilax.”

Harrison, whose middle name is Russell, believes that his given middle name is symbolic of his great-great grandfather’s work ethic and his commitment to being a contributing member of society. Russell’s invitation is a reflection of the responsible, thoughtful, and sociable man he was and who Mark Harrison is today.

 

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