Preserving Memories

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PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED TO THE OPELIKA OBSERVER

By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

Saramia Arenas has always enjoyed being creative and finding ways to express that — photography, filmmaking and now bookbinding.

Arenas took a bookbinding class and said she was immediately hooked. She began making journals in the process since journaling was something she already enjoyed.

“It’s been something that’s just so therapeutic for me and just a fun thing to do,” Arenas said. “I liked the idea of making them for myself.”

That, however, led to her making journals for her friends and eventually — the public at large.

Arenas makes her journals by pressing flowers and leaves into a design she wants. She places them on paper, which is then subjected to a tea bath. The teas, flowers and leaves are also what determine the colors and textures of the journals.

“So, it’s really cool because it leaves this memory, this mark, of something that is really beautiful that gets to be preserved in a way,” she said. “So, for example, I’ve had someone ask me to make a cover from their prom bouquet or a bouquet from something that was special to them.”

Arenas likened saving flowers from special occasions to the whole process of journaling — preserving memories and thoughts.

And each journal includes a blessing on the inside, she said.

“It just says how these pages will hold victories, testimonies of bravery, of growth, of healing, all the things that journals have ended up being for me,” Arenas said.

Arenas began selling her journals at The Well in Opelika in May of this year.

The Well is a new Opelika storefront that incorporates women-run businesses and products into one inclusive experience on Avenue A.

The space opened on March 20 and includes fifteen to twenty businesses, many of which will rotate out to allow for other creators.

When Arenas began considering making her journals, she didn’t know where she would even sell them. But she had been inside The Well.

“I knew of The Well starting just from knowing [one of the owenrs] and it’s so beautiful there,” she said. “You go there and you just feel so inspired.”

She reached out, asking if she might could sell her journals in The Well.

“She was like, absolutely, bring me some, we’ll take a look at them,” Arenas said. “Praise the Lord, she really liked those, she thought they were cool so that’s how I started there.”

She has said the journals have been popular and she needs to restock frequently. Each time she restocks, they sell out within the week.

The future? For Arenas, it might include teaching others how to make these journals.

“It’s an easy thing to learn, it’s just a little time consuming, but if you like it and you would benefit from being able to make a little extra or you’re in a place where you need an easy, transitional job, I would like to be able to employ people to make them,” she said.

The Well is located at 824 Ave. A, Opelika and is open Monday to Sunday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Reservations are required outside of walk-in hours after 8 a.m. up to 8 p.m. The Well requests one hour notices ahead of the reservation time.

This is the 12th in a series of articles on the different businesses that are located inside The Well.

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