arts & entertainment
Letters From The Heart
Michigan-raised graphic designer brings her passion for hand-engraved
social stationery to the Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.
stationery to illustrate how graphic design
evolved and how the technologies in par-
ticular have evolved over the centuries.
ancy Sharon Collins keeps a
"The use of stationery stabilized a cou-
stack of love letters written by
ple of years ago. It was on the downturn
her late husband. The red satin
but has been returning to favor in the past
ribbon joining them together had sur-
decade. The more digital we go, the more
rounded a box of long-stemmed roses he
hungry people become for low-tech, high-
sent while they were dating.
touch pursuits, such as cooking or shop
Collins, who cherishes handwritten
messages in an age when emails, texts
Collins (nee Feldman), who was raised
and tweets seem to have gained the upper
in Oak Park and Bloomfield Village,
hand, will cover print com-
became interested in art
munication history dur-
as a student at Wayne
ing a two-part, hands-on
State University, where
she took a drawing course
Saturday, Aug. 3, at the
after early graduation from
Edsel & Eleanor Ford
Seaholm High School in
House in Grosse Pointe
Birmingham. She espe-
cially liked working with
The guest speaker,
the tools, like triangles and
who grew up in Oakland
County and is returning to
After earning her bach-
Michigan for her first local
elor's from the Kansas City
speaking engagement, will
Art Institute in Missouri
allot time for signing copies
and a master's from the
Nancy Sharon Collins:
of her book, The Complete
Hartford Art School in
"My work with engraved
Connecticut — both
stationery is a microcosm
Crests, Ciphers, Seals and
degrees in graphic design
for my experience in
the Etiquette of Social
— she opened her own
commercial graphic design."
business, Nancy Feldman
"This workshop repre-
Studio, in New York City.
sents everything about my career; says
Her clients included Waterford
Collins, 58, in a phone conversation from
Wedgwood, Clinique, Revlon, Charles of
her home in New Orleans, La. "My work
the Ritz, the Metropolitan Opera Shop and
with engraved stationery is a microcosm
the Museum of Modern Art.
for my experience in commercial graphic
"As the years progressed and digital
media came on the scene, engraving
The morning session, "Exploring
started to fall away:' she explains. "In
Engraved Traditions: A Microcosmic View
1997, I split myself in two. During the
of the History of Graphic Design:' explores day, I worked in my graphic design firm,
the way hand-engraved social stationery
and at night, I worked as a stationer using
reveals the evolution of typography and
"At first, being a stationer was fun with
Participants will be shown how to make
my friends as clients, and then the busi-
new symbols, monograms and letterforms
ness grew. I realized this was my obvious
with digital applications.
calling. When my husband, John, and I
The afternoon session, "Letters, By
moved down South in 2004, I started to
Hand: Etiquette and Typography:' will
cover the usefulness and success of the
In the transitional time, they directly
handwritten note. Participants will receive
experienced the effects of two, far-reach-
a copy of How to Write a Personal Letter
and samples of Crane stationery.
"We lived 1.5 miles from Ground Zero
"I have found that traditional forms
in New York City, and I was home when
of stationery reflect, like a camera lens,
planes one and two hit the Twin Towers:'
everything that has happened in the field
she recalls. "My neighbor saw one strike,
of graphic design since the 1450s," says
and it was agony waiting for my husband
Collins, who teaches graphic design disci-
to walk home. He was one of the lucky
plines at Delgado Community College and
ones in a long, sad, bewildered, seemingly
graphic design history at Loyola University endless stream of humanity coming from
uptown and from downtown.
"I use gorgeous images of engraved
"We relocated into our new house in
the countryside north of New Orleans two
months before Katrina hit. Around our
home, we lost more than 80 mature trees,
blown and twisted down in contorted
shapes like match sticks. We were very
lucky although we had no power, phone or
cell for two months:'
Collins, the daughter of Nathan
Feldman (retired in Maryland) and the
late Charlotte Feldman, anticipates using
her upcoming visit to connect with fam-
ily, including uncle Herb Kaufman (of Ira
Kaufman Chapel in Southfield), and see
art centers around the Detroit Metro area.
Once affiliated with Temple Emanu-El
in Oak Park, she points out that her book
showcases work by a company that pro-
duced engraved images for Jewish events.
The book, published in 2012 by
Princeton Architectural Press and featur-
ing 250 illustrations, traces the history
of engraving and the use of stationery.
Monotype Imaging, a company that spe-
cializes in typeface and typesetting design,
developed two fonts for the book launch,
and they are available for free download.
"The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House fits
my subject because the Fords were big
supporters of design, primarily through
the automotive industry but also with the
design movement in Detroit;' Collins says.
"Also, house administrators contacted
me because of the two [current] exhibits
that have to do with Lewis Carroll, the
writer of Alice in Wonderland: 'Almost
Alice: Illustrations of Wonderland' and
`Alice, Art & Artifact: Lewis Carroll was a
huge letter writer:'
So is Collins.
"I recently wrote six notes after spend-
ing a week in Montane she says about
her correspondence. "I thanked the people
who were there.
"I don't think people get real satisfaction
from drafting texts or emails that just go
off into [cyberspace]. If they write letters,
they can hold them in their hands.
"When letters are received by mail at
the front door, it is like receiving friends.
Handwritten letters exist in real time and
can be kept:"
Mr. and .\ Irs
rel uest the honor ofyour presence
at the Circumcision
of their Son
request the Ilonor of Roar presence
at the Circumcision 1
ri,,n .1"1"1 :L
FOR YOUR BAR-MITZVAH GIFT
WHICH IS GREATLY APPRECIATED
Mr. and Mrs.
request the honor of Your presence
at the Confirmation
You ere cordially invited to attend the
of our Son
Nancy Sharon Collins offers two
presentations/workshops, at 10
a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m., on Saturday,
Aug. 3, at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford
House, 1100 Lake Shore Road, in
Grosse Pointe Shores. $30-$35 per
session, with a $10 discount when
registering for both. (313) 884-
4222; www.fordhouse.org .
Examples of engraved images for
Jewish lifecycle events from Nancy
Sharon Collins' book, The Complete
- Engraver: Monograms, Crests, Ciphers,
Seals and the Etiquette of Social
August 1 • 2013