Thursday, April 3, 2008

mmm...yummy paper!

Today I want to share one of my favorite Seattle vendors with you; Michelle Loretta and her company, mmm...paper! When I first met her at a wedding show in Seattle, she was surrounded by samples of her work, all mounted an a wildly vibrant red background. I love that there is someone else out there that thinks of red as a neutral color!

Michelle's work is simply beautiful. In the interview that follows, she talks about how she sees paper in the same way that the fashion world sees fabric. This philosophy is so evident in the work she does; each is a little masterpiece of combined textures and patterns. I also love that she carefully sources all of her papers from very earth-friendly mills.

Read on and enjoy!

Hi Michelle, and welcome to Fiore fresco! Will you start by telling us a little about yourself and your company?

I have a degree in accounting... and never studied a lick of art. After working for a large accounting firm, I worked in the fashion industry which piqued my curiosity in color and design. I founded mmm... paper in 2004 after deciding that my life was not going to be confined to spreadsheets and ticking-n-tying. I love paper and decided my career was going to be about playing with paper.

What is the style/design focus of mmmpaper? With so many invitation designers out there, what is it that sets you apart?

What we do is "tactile design", the melding of papers to create a beautiful image (as opposed to graphic design, where images are created by computer.) I see paper in the way fashion designers see fabric and we combine paper the way fashion designers use textiles.

Tell me about the ecological aspects involved in invitation design at mmm...paper.

mmm… paper has always been green – not because it’s trendy but because of the papers we work with are inherently good for the environment. We source papers from all over the world, many of which have long histories of making only small ecological footprints. While working with recycled paper is beneficial to the environment, we also look for papers that are tree-free and come from mills that conserve their use of energy. Many of our papers are from highly renewable plants rather than forests of trees. A large assortment of our papers is made by hand, eschewing the electricity-intensive paper machines.

We make all of our invitations the old fashioned way: by hand. Other than laying out text on the computer and printing a portion of your invite, all of the labor is done by hand in our Seattle headquarters. We don’t rely on a great deal of technology or machinery; thus, consuming less power.

Have you noticed any exciting wedding trends for this year? What is hot right now in invitation design?

Color, color, color! After the past several years of more muted color combinations, largely involving chocolate, this year we are seeing much more use of vibrant hues in wedding invitations: oranges, yellows, limes, turquoises. The blending of these shades is what we LOVE. Japanese and Indian papers combine these vibrant colors in a fun yet elegant way.

I love the new product line you are launching-yumminess! It’s such a great idea that I think brides will love. Tell us a little about it.

Yumminess is our brand of do-it-yourself invitations. Yumminess gives people the opportunity to SUCCEED in crafting their own wedding invitations. Your invitations should look top-notch, and we want them to be high quality, regardless of who assembles them. We also want this to be easy for the client so we provide her (or him) with all the materials: pre-cut paper, adhesive, and so on. We also provide the option to do the printing for the client.
We have selected a distinct collection of papers and colors – different from our custom brand, mmm… paper but with the same quality and unique paper combinations. Clients can go to the website, download the catalog and place an order. It is very easy to do and we have had an overwhelming response!

Any other great wedding ideas, green tips, or inspiration for brides?

People often ask me about reception items (programs, seating cards, menus, table numbers) for the wedding and how to keep them within budget. First thing to keep in mind is that the flower arrangements and centerpieces should be the focus of any table. You do not want your seating cards and menus to dominate the design; they should be subtle accents. This emphasizes the need to keep anything on the table simple.

Keeping this in mind, it is easy for us to design something to keep within your budget, but carry thru the colors of your invitations. Some tips are:
  • Do a simple program with a small detail that shows simplified elements of your wedding invite. This can also double as a seating card by having the guest’s name at the top of the program with a seating assignment.

  • Table cards can be a little more flashy. Because you are typically purchasing fewer table cards (10 cards for a 100 person wedding), incorporating more decorative elements will not break the bank.
  • Menus can be purchased so that every other plate has one. Alternatively, you can purchase 2 menus per table and have them placed in 2 stands on the table. This also limits the amount of paper at people’s seats (guests can sometimes feel overwhelmed).
  • Seating cards can also be simple, but done in a range of your color palette. When placed on the entry table they are beautiful range of your shades.

Thank you so much for sharing your work with us Michelle!

mmm...paper can be reached at:
phone: (206) 774-1689
fax: (206) 299-3479

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