Rossi 1931: The Gift of Christmas

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 

 Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

For many of us–whether we choose to admit it or not–Christmas is about presents. Children eagerly wait in anticipation of Christmas morning. Far-sighted adults start stockpiling on-sale gifts early in the summer. The procrastinating multitudes flock to the mall in the week or days before Christmas. However, gift-giving did not become the central Christmas tradition it is today until the late 18th century. Stores began placing Christmas-themed ads in newspapers in 1820. Santa Claus, once and still known in some cultures as St. Nicholas, the increasingly popular bearer of gifts, started popping up in ads and stores 20 years later. . But despite the Christian roots of gift-giving, the practice ultimately steered Christmas closer to the somewhat secularized holiday it is today. By 1867, the Macy’s department store in New York City stayed open until midnight on Christmas Eve, allowing last-minute shoppers to make their purchases. Today, Christmas is the ultimate gift-giving bonanza.

Holiday gift giving began long before Christmas. The Romans would give gifts to one another on pagan festivals like Saturnalia, the winter solstice, and the Roman New Year. The tradition of gift giving became associated with Christmas because of the Three Kings’ offerings to the infant Jesus. The magi traveled to Bethlehem to present the gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.  Early on the Church discouraged the practice of gift giving because of its pagan associations. But by the Middle Ages the tradition had become so popular that it became a mainstay of the holiday season. It was during that time that St. Nicholas, a Christian Bishop in Turkey, known for his generosity, was giving to those less fortunate than he. He also gave to children of all backgrounds, simply because he felt they needed to savor their childhood, and have joyous times to remember. The most common gift given were homemade foods and sweets, oranges, a rare treat. It moved throughout the world very quickly, and before the 10th century it is known that nearly every country was participating in this exchange on St. Nicolas’ Eve.

Although the tradition of gift giving has a long Christmas history, those gifts being presented in colorful paper and tied up in curls of ribbon is a relatively new practice. While Christmas cards began to be sent in the mid-nineteenth century it wasn’t until many years later thatdressing up presents in Christmas finery caught on.

Early on gifts were wrapped in simple tissue paper or more sturdy brown paper. In the nineteenth century, gifts were sometimes presented in decorated cornucopias or paper baskets. The technology did not exist to mass produce a decorated, foldable, paper until the 1890’s, when developments in printing presses allowed colored ink to be printed fluidly on stiffer papers. Before the introduction of scotch tape in the 1930’s gifts were tied up with string and sealing wax.

Over the years the look of wrapping paper changed as well. The first wrapping paper was decorated in the ornate style of the Victorian era. Gilded flourishes of cherubs, birds, and flowers draped across sheets of popular wrapping papers. 

In the 30’s and 40’s, patterns became more stylized due to the popularity of Art Deco.

Decorations moved away from nature to symbols we commonly associate with Christmas today

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Popular patterns included ice skaters, snowflakes, Christmas trees, and candles. It was during these decades that Rossi’s decorative paper was born, inspired by traditional Florentine designs of the Renaissance. Later on they included contemporary alternatives

featuring little details that add up to big impact: small hits of brilliant gold and silver metallic ink, finely detailed and multi-layered illustrations, delicate flourishes and stunning patterns and colors.

Aficionados rejoice! Next year’s Christmas papers are a combination of two techniques; letterpress and a heated application of gold, producing a very special outcome. 

 

We here at Rossi are truly blessed to be able to do what we love and share our products with you. Thank you. Have a joyous Holiday season.

 

“We wish you light snows and twinkling lights. A home alive with cookie smells. A child to play with, a dog to pet and the hope of answered prayers.”

 

Featured Designer: Juliette Goggin

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Crafting is enjoying tremendous growth at the moment thanks in part to a strong DIY movement. Websites like Etsy have sprung up, fair trade retail is surging, and the green movement is fueling the recycle, repurpose, and reuse trend.

Designer and UK resident, Juliette Goggin, co-author of Junk Genius, is at the forefront of this trend, expertly blending her marketing and crafting skills to createbook several successful product lines.  And she uses Rossi stationery products for many of her artisan ideas. Here Juliette explains how it all came about:

“I first discovered the amazing range and quality of the Rossi collection at the Top Drawer Show in London. I incorporated some of their beautiful botanical papers in a small selection of soaps for my Juliette at Home gift line, and they quickly became our very best sellers.”

She explains: “Locally made rectangular soaps were first wrapped in glassine paper to protect them. Next I wrapped them in a variety of Rossi paper designs. From a range of six shown at our first trade show, the collection grew rapidly to around 20 and to our delight, the sales kept going up as well. This idea is a simple project which anyone could copy to transform a plain soap into the perfect gift. The hardest part is deciding which paper to choose!”

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Juliette claims: “It’s a well known saying that people buy with their eyes, but occasionally the quality of the product disappoints. However with Rossi one discovers that the quality of the papers matches the beauty of the designs, and this lifts any project way above the ordinary.”

Since those early beginnings Juliette has used Rossi papers to wrap many a gift and cover many boxes. “I also included Rossi papers in my craft book “Junk Genius” where they were used to embellish envelopes and decorate gift tags and labels. My latest discovery is the Letterpress collection with which I have only just begun to experiment. I am sure this journey will be as much fun as my very first Rossi experiments, ” she said.

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Juliette concludes with these quick tips for wrapping soaps:

“Wrapping soap is just like wrapping a parcel. The important thing is to remember to cut the paper to the right size, so that it wraps around the width of the soap and overlaps at the back, but at the sides there is just enough to make a neat envelope closure. Too much paper will mean that the corners won’t be sharp and the soap will have a bulky look.”

“I always prefer to use opaque scotch type tape rather than clear sticky tape as it’s virtually invisible and looks so much more professional. Before wrapping with decorative paper, it’s a good idea to use baking parchment first, or other barrier type paper to prevent the soap discolouring the wrap.”

For more information about Juliette Goggin and her product line, please visit: http://www.juliettegoggin.co.uk/

For more information about Rossi1931, please visit http://rossi1931.com/

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Letterpress: Italian Style

 

As usual, Rossi put their own spin on the collection, producing patterns with a bold contemporary flavor.
Rossi put their own spin on letterpress, producing patterns with a bold contemporary flavor.

As you might have heard, letterpress has been enjoying a renaissance in the last decade or so. Beautifully tactile and simply exquisite, letterpress printing has a rich elegance that one can’t help but appreciate.

Last year, Rossi introduced a letterpress collection featuring 16 classic designs.  That collection, which included Italian designs dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, surpassed expectations and now in 2013, has been expanded, this time with a more contemporary and modern feel.  MG_0201[1]

Letterpress is both an art and a science. It’s just the type of printing that Rossi excels at because it requires a high level of craftsmanship and great patience to produce. To create the collection, Rossi’s own vintage printing presses were brought out of retirement and put to work.

Prints are made one-at-a-time with each print having its own unique variations of ink coverage and depth of impression. Registering the color on press is critical, especially when the motifs are tight and complex, as they are with the Rossi patterns.

key closeupA high quality and heavier weight paper that will not tear or collapse when pressed is generally used for letterpress.  Rossi 1931 uses a perfect type of paper containing fibers that are soft and readily accept an impression.  Needless to say, the prints are luxurious and the telltale impression the press leaves on the paper is sought after by stationery fans everywhere.

These distinctive prints are available in a large size of 20 x 28 (50 x 70 cm) making them ideal for invitations, book covers and albums, greeting cards, and personal stationery, even framed prints.  Here’s a sneak peek of the new collection:

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A large selection of Rossi papers are now stocked stateside in Florida, making shipping and delivery a breeze throughout the US. For a list of retailers carrying Rossi papers, please click here.

For more information, visit http://rossi1931.com

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