Real Scrapbookers.

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 Who are “real” scrapbookers? What does that term mean to you, and what should it mean?

 To me the person who takes clips of family videos and strings them together, the person who lovingly arranges photos from vacation into a picture album, the girl who scrapbooks (and is lucky enough to work within industry), the person who goes to crops a few times a year, the teenager who is putting pictures + stories into a journal, or the digital scrapbooker are all real. There are 1000 other “real” ways to scrapbook, each of them equally wonderful.

I know bloggers who combine words + photos so well that I consider them blog-scrapbookers… and some don’t even consider themselves to be crafters. An interesting thought.

If you’re preserving memories in some way, whether it’s through use of ephemera, photos, video, making CD’s with photo slide shows, or anything else – you’re doing something wonderful and telling your stories. In your own way, you create priceless treasures and peeks into your world and life experience. Digital or paper, camcorder or camera, fancy or plain – if you’re telling part of your life story, that’s real enough for me.

With this thought so strongly in my mind, I’ve decided to do something positive with the “real scrapbooker” term that is sometimes I have heard used to exclude people who don’t fit into what is mainstream or majority. I am making a commitment to seek out, praise (privately and here on this blog) people who keep it real. To spread positive feedback and praise, and to take a term that has a thorn in my side for so long and turn it around into something that includes all those who want it.

I already have some individuals in mind, but if you have some suggestions or favorite people (preferably someone with a blog I can check out) that you find to be really honest and doing something cool please do share. I’m always looking for new people to watch and be inspired by.

Have a happy Monday-

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21 responses »

  1. This is what I like so much about you, May. You’re honest and real. I’ve taken 4 of your BPS classes and I always enjoy when you say at the beginning of the lessons that these are your real photos that will go into your family albums. It’s refreshing!

    • Thank you so much Andrea – that’s a HUGE compliment!!

      I know what is “real” for me, and I follow that code best I can. My blog post kind of goes along with the ‘creative journey’ series I’ve been doing, and is something I’ve been thinking about. To each her own, and to respect each other I think is very important. 🙂

      May

  2. ohhhh…I feel like such a lame-o for saying this…but I am just dying to raise my hand and say “me! me!!! I keep it real!!!” Lame, right?

    For me being honest means including the hard stuff. And maybe that stuff doesn’t necessarily go in the big family scrapbooks…but maybe it does. It depends on which hard stuff I’m working on.

    Last fall my son started preschool and was immediately evaluated by a team of professionals to begin special needs services. And, I did not see that coming. It was a rough time…and an important one. I felt more and more certain that I needed to record the hard things. That he’ll want to know what happened…and he might even want to know my reaction to it. So I recorded that too. It became an extremely important part of my processing of what was going on.

    Anyway, I’m all for it. I can’t wait to see who you find that in your perspective keeps it real.

    And I really hope other people self-nominate! Please! Please! I’d be embarrassed if I was the only one…

    • In no way are you lame!! I hope we each think of ourselves as real, and if you’ve got a blog of course I want to know about it. 🙂

      May

  3. Unreal:
    • lacking in reality or substance or genuineness; not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria; “ghosts and other unreal entities”; “unreal …
    • not actually such; being or seeming fanciful or imaginary; “this conversation is getting more and more unreal”; “the fantastically unreal world of government bureaucracy”; “the unreal world of advertising art”
    • artificial: contrived by art rather than nature; “artificial flowers”; “artificial flavoring”; “an artificial diamond”; “artificial fibers”; “artificial sweeteners”
    • insubstantial: lacking material form or substance; unreal; “as insubstantial as a dream”; “an insubstantial mirage on the horizon”
    Had to look up “unreal” to get a feeling for the “difference” between real and unreal scrapbookers. I guess, I’m always thought that all scrapbooking is real.
    We certainly use fantasy and artificiality in our pages. Disney, fairies, etc. so I’m sure the protestors against “unreal” scrapbooking do not mean that. I think they do not object to embellishment or art. Perhaps digital bothers some?
    What they may really be complaining about, I suppose, is the lack of genuiness. Some work for a magazine or product line might require use of a stock photo and an imaginary story. Nonetheless, it does not lack substance. It does not mean that some artists may have great photos and do their own personal pages in a similar way to their professional work. Even if their own photos are not pro quality, I think that most do personal pages and many are similar to their published work. Only a rare artist sees scrapbooking as “just a job”.
    You know I’m a fan of Kinsey Wilson, who is always doing wonderful things. Her work is graphic, lots of hand-stitched details, and very non-May Flaum in her “OCD” approach – but, so true to her personality! Her blog is http://www.kinseygirl.typepad.com/
    I do a lot of scraplifting but almost always “make it my own”. I do not duplicate all the papers, embellishments, title, etc. but do use the design and/or techniques in my pages. Even if someone does follow a LO exactly, it still has their own photos and must be something they identify with or they would not have chosen to duplicate the work. It’s still “real”.
    Boy, did I ever have a lot to say on this topic! Thought provoking blog post, May. Always look forward to your blog. So glad you are a daily poster. Reading your blog is like a daily phone call with a good friend. I am getting better with posting but not sure I’ll ever get to every day on my blog!

    • Really interesting Karen, and a lot of good points in here. Personally I don’t want someone judging how ‘real’ I am or not, if I make the cut and so I don’t like to judge others either. It’s totally my belief that if more of us are accepting (in scrapbooking and in general) vs cutting people out it’d be a happier place.

      Thanks for the blog suggestion too – I don’t yet follow her but I am now!

      May

  4. I’m not sure what you mean so I look forward to seeing the people you are talking about! I’d say anybody who does anything with pictures and/or words and/or memorabilia is a scrapbooker!

  5. Very thought-provoking. I totally agree about being inclusive… who am I to judge what is “real scrapbooking” or not? I have my own personal definitions for me, but I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to apply them to someone else’s work.

  6. This is an interesting discussion! I guess real to me is that all the pages don’t sound like some of the Christmas letters I used to get where ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE in a family is wonderful, talented, beautiful, and has no problems whatsoever. I know some of the real pages will not be easy to do. Taking care of the grand kids while my daughter was getting off drugs at rehab twice is one of them. She tells it now as part of her testimony about turning her life around.

    • Interesting take – and I know exactly what you mean. For me, pretending to be perfect happy family wouldn’t be any fun in my scrapbook! I like the mess and drama of life to be played out somewhat, though truly dark or sad things often get put in a (private) special journal vs the “out on the coffee table” book because for me my scrapbook layouts are more about celebration of life and what I love vs what’s sad/makes me angry/drama/etc.

      I love that your daughter is scrapbooking as a sort of art therapy and to share her message. AWESOME.

  7. As far as scrapbookers who don’t fit into the ‘mainstream’ then I love Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Dina Wakely (they’re obvious and awesome choices). But my latest scrappy crush is on Kara Haupt – http://karahaupt.typepad.com/my-blog/ who designs for Hambley amongst others. She is awesome! Go and visit her blog and Flikr stream if you haven’t already. Well worth it I promise.

  8. Glad the posts are continuing. I think those who scrapbook about not just the good in their life, but the hard stuff are definately praise worthy, that has got to be tough {and truthfully, something I have never done so food for thought for me}.

    I thought you meant those that comment on others’ work, saying their scrapbooks aren’t designed properly or not made with the latest products or color coordinated etc. aren’t real scrapbookers. And that’s just terrible.

    • Nancy I’ve seen that happen too – and that’s just terrible. Whether it’s design or product or subject – if it’s real to you, it’s REAL. Shouldn’t matter how someone else does it, and we definitely shouldn’t be judging what is/isn’t right for other people.

      Thanks for contributing to this train of thought I’ve been having – I hope to share some links to people I enjoy/find refreshing in future. 🙂

      May

  9. I’ve re-read this several times trying to figure out if or how my fav fits and I’m not sure she does. She’s on lots of design teams and I love her “happy” style. But it is her blogging that moves and touches me. She puts it all out there and it can be heart wrenching. I am frequently moved to tears. So check her out-Katie Watson http://katiebeecreative.com/blog/?p=1951. Read this entry and than the one after where she shows all her banners. Maybe it is the juxtaposition of such open heartbreak with the sheer delight of her creations that awes and inspires me.

    • For me, part of the point is that you don’t have to fit in – whatever you do/however it’s done is wonderful. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing Katie’s blog with everyone – I think I subscribe to her on google reader but I’m off to make sure!! It’s an amazing blog indeed as is her work.

      May

  10. I think that the term scrapbooking/scrapbooker should be redefined. 1)scrapbooking is not what it used to be 2)it scares ‘non crafty’ people away 3)it should include any thing that invloves photos and words: blogs/Flickr, photo albums, journals, photos frames (paper or digital) – I like to do all of these. Maybe memory keeper would be better.

    I’m intrigued to see what you are doing.

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