The Deckled Edge

The Deckled Edge

I was recently asked about my packaging. While some soapers use a pre printed "belly band" with sharp clean edges I instead choose to have a rough edge that to some may look "messy" or unprofessional. 

But that's only because they don't know the history of the "deckle!" (nor that I actually have a degree in traditional printmaking, more on that in a second)

Once upon a time paper used to be made by hand by pressing wet vegetable pulp, typically wood, in-between mesh screens held by frames called deckles.  Invariably some of this pulp would get stuck in between the deckles creating an irregular edge to the paper. For obvious reasons this became known as a deckled edge and over time came to be associated with handmade paper and (more lucratively) and handmade paper handbound books.  

It was viewed as a mark of authenticity of a sort: this paper has this delicate edge, therefore it was made by an artisan's hand rather than a machine press. 

Printmakers, who seriously value a well made paper (I used to be able to talk upon the subject for hours)  also view a deckled edge as a mark of authenticity though when we aren't using a perfectly sized handmade sheet we create our own deckle by tearing the paper against an edge.  It's our way of saying that this work came from my hand, not a printer.  

So my soap packaging is a combination and continuation of my personal and artistic traditions. The bottom edge of the wrapper is clean to show that I can be refined while the top is deckled to say that this product was made by my hand. After cutting and deckling each wrapper is also hand stamped and embossed. 

It doesn't hurt that its a cool aesthetic too!

(Bonus points to anyone who knows why I use brown Kraft paper)


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