“In the middle of the darkest night
In the glowing of the tiniest ember
We will remember”
Tribute came about after the tragic events of 11th September. As I sat at my desk, contemplating the horrors of the events, drifting in and out of the surreal haze weaving in and out of my thoughts, wondering what I could do, how I could help, the phone rang. It was my buddy Ernie, calling from Massachusetts, who said something like, "Have you thought about putting out a special blend to raise money for a suitable charity? Sort of a tribute blend?"
Not only had he spawned a great idea, he had named the blend.
It was clear that Tribute should be a blend of American tobaccos. Fortunately, I'd been working on something along these lines, and it was showing a lot of promise. A couple days of intensive fine-tuning, and the blend was ready. I called Craig Tarler (Cornell & Diehl), who tins and distributes all the GLPease tobaccos. (Craig and Patty are more than my distributors. They are dear friends. They are my family.) Not surprisingly, Craig and his crew were 110% behind the idea, ready to do whatever it took to get this going.
Creating the blend is only part of the process, though. I still had to do the label art, write the copy...
Ernie had emailed me some thoughts for the artwork. Two graduated obelisks reaching into the sky, fading, disappearing - a sobering image of the now devistated twin towers of the WTC. As I worked with the image, I began to realize that it was too sad, too depressing. I wanted to create an image of hope. I threw the two towers idea away, choosing, instead, a dove and olive branch, rendered softly, symbolic of peace, that would become the focal point for the label. The process was cathartic for me, helping me focus a little and emerge from my own haze. I spent hours on it, until I was satisfied, both aesthetically and emotionally. But, something was missing. Revisiting the idea of the towers, I incorporated a more etherial, almost enigmatic version into the final illustration. Done.
I was having a very difficult time with the text, so, again, I called on Ernie for some help.
"I'm having trouble with the copy for the back of the label. The blend is red, lemon and stoved red Virginias, perique, and unflavored black toasted cavendish. All of these are American tobaccos. It seems only right. I want the text to be short, sweet, to the point, but also to let people know that every wisp of smoke from this tobacco will be a tribute to those who suffered as a result of this tragedy. I don't want it too teary, but to be filled with hope that the people of the world can, one day, live in peace. But, I don't want to come right out and say that. I want it to acknowledge the pipe smokers who buy the blend for their contribution. I don't want it sappy.
He was great - as always, very supportive. That night, I received email with the final copy from him, reproduced above.
I finished up the illustration, got the label together, incorporating Ernie's wonderful words, and emailed the finished artwork to the printer (Table Rock Printing in Morganton, NC) who had offered to donate their labor for the project.
Craig went to work searching out an appropriate charity for the profits. The immediate needs were being handled. We wanted to do something that would serve in a more lasting way. The fund we chose will provide scholarships for post-secondary education for families of the victims. This will truly be a legacy that pipe smokers from all over the world can participate in.
Craig and I started calling retailers. Would they be willing to sell this tobacco with no profit? The positive response was unanimous and heart warming. What a wonderful bunch of folks. I set the price higher than my regular blends, to generate as much money for the fund as possible. I told a few friends about this. One responded by pre-ordering 100 tins. (Thank you!) Before a single tin of Tribute had been produced, over 1000 had been pre-ordered.
So, in less than two weeks, Tribute was born. The response has been exceptional. The tobacco is being blended, tinned and shipped as fast as we can do it. It's young and fresh. It smokes wonderfully now, but like any quality blend, it will age beautifully, developing more depth and complexity as time passes.
Tribute is a special blend of red, lemon and stoved red Virginias, perique and toasted cavendish tobaccos. The blend was created by Gregory L. Pease. Production and distribution by Craig and Patty Tarler, Cornell & Diehl, Inc.. The tribute was written by Ernest A. Carabillo III. Special thanks to Table Rock Printing, BrownCor Corp., Altadis, and Tobacco Services, Inc., for their generous donations.
All profits from the sale of
this tobacco were donated to the
"Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund."
Thanks and Acknowledgment
My heartfelt thanks go out to all who have helped to make this project happen - to Table Rock Printing for their service, Altadis for their donation of leaf, Craig, Patty and everyone at C&D for rallying behind this, and to the good people at the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund for providing such a noble charity.
My thanks, especially, to all who have purchased Tribute in support of this worthy cause. Pipe smokers really are a great bunch of folks.
The image was first done in pencil, and scanned. It was then rendered and made ready for print in Photoshop using a Wacom digital tablet and a variety of brush and airbrush tools. You can download the full size (about 8x8 at 250dpi) jpeg file to print by clicking on the smaller image above.