Paper Shows up in the Strangest Places—Who Says Our Industry Is Not Creative?

What's in your hometown?

I have adopted nine cities in my career in this industry, but my hometown was and remains to be Memphis, Tenn., USA. My town is blessed to have a lot of well known jewels as well as some, not-so-much in the spotlight. Memphis is no stranger to our great industry with the likes of International Paper, Verso Paper, Buckeye, Buckman, Cascades Tissue Group, and Georgia Pacific to name a few.

Recently, I received some bad news that one of my second cousins was spending some time in Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis. I called and spoke to his dad, my first cousin, to check on them. When I discovered they would be in there for several days, I decided to send a goodie basket to cheer them up a bit and to let them know I was thinking about them.

I went online to search for baskets in the Memphis area. This one store kept popping up, Bella Vita, is located in Collierville, Tenn., a town located right outside of Memphis. Although they had some great choices, I was looking for some snacks, balloons, flowers, and a stuffed animal for this specific occasion.

I did however go on Bella Vita's website and discovered some very unique, creative gifts from several local and regional artists. In addition to all types of products, they also carry many "reclaimed items" that are turned into art. I could not help but notice that several items were made from recycled wood and paper. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to see this place for myself the next time I was in the area. The first thing that caught my eye was the display in the window.

They have Flowers, made from packaging materials contained in the boxes that are shipped to their store, and get this, they are attached to stands made from recycled pallets. For you that know me, I am not a real flowery kind of guy, but this was really cool.

I went inside the store and met the owner, Stephanie Singley, as well as Laurie Losorwith, the artist who made the paper flowers (posing with her creation in the photo at left). They gave their permission for me to take a few photos and tell our readers about this small piece of how our industry touches people's lives in ways we probably never think of.

They also had some "rewind candles" made from old wine bottles that have been cut down to hold candles scented with your favorite wine (not a lot to do with paper but I thought they were cool).

So the next time you think our industry is not creative, just remember that there are those who consider our products a true work of art.

More information about Bella Vita is available online.

More information about TAPPI is also available online.

There are two types of people in this world, TAPPI members and those who should be.

Until next time....................

Larry