D’Arconte Engraved Holiday Cards
Several weeks ago Sheila and I paid a visit to Bob D’Arconte at his studio in DUMBO: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in Brooklyn, NYC. A visit with Bob is always both entertaining and educational since we are both so very opinionated. As Sheila frequently remarks, “Rick is often wrong, but never in doubt.”
While D’Arconte’s fine engraved stationery and holiday cards may not be as well known as Crane or William Arthur, he is a living legend in the stationery industry. His holiday cards and stationery are unmistakable in their design simplicity and elegance. His use of white-space and blind-embossing to frame his engraved designs create a three-dimensional feel that, in my opinion, elevates his work to an entirely different level.
I am hesitant to categorize D’Arconte’s style since under his skilled hand almost any object or landscape can easily be transformed into a work of art. During our visit, D’Arconte was in the process of engraving a two-colored peach motif onto a fold-over note. Bob pointed out that the application of one color before the other created a hue that was quite different when the application of the ink colors was reversed. Certainly, the close registration printing and color-match required to create desired outcome: an engraved peach that looks almost eatable, is a tribute to Bob’s fine eye and mastery of his craft.
Bob will probably slap my hand for including a sample of his new holiday card line because, quite frankly, the low-resolution internet images do not do them justice. Bob and I had a long discussion on how the internet is destroying the public’s perception of fine stationery. Neither Bob nor I can understand how anyone would ever consider buying stationery or a custom invitation online without the benefit of touching various papers and seeing how ink colors change depending on the paper stock and printing process.
While this sample image of D’Arconte’s holiday line give you a hint of Bob’s talent, you should make an effort to see these exceptional examples of contemporary engraving in person. For instance, a snow globe in the “Snowman in a Snow Globe” is blind-embossed and the outline of the globe is barely perceptible in a low-resolution internet image. I have purposely not reproduced the image because I felt it would detract from the elegance of the card. In one of Bob’s vintage holiday cards, he has the New York skyline engraved in gold strategically placed inside a blind-embossed apple. The “Big Apple has never looked so beautiful.
The D’Arconte line is not widely available owing to Bob’s desire to work only with experienced stationers who understand and appreciate his product and have the same attention to detail and customer service that he does.
It is indeed a pleasure to spend a few hours with a master craftsman. Sheila and I were enriched by the experience.
Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair