November 2006 Issue
Scrapbooking for the Soul
Get acquinted with the hobby and discover new ways to preserve your memories.
Whether we realize it or not, many of us have been scrapbooking for years. Any time we write in a photo album, embellish a gift with special wrapping or decorate a bulletin board, we're using the same ideas and techniques that go into a scrapbooking project.
The growing phenomenon of "scrapping" isn't hard to understand. It appeals to our inner child - the one who looked forward to art class every day, where the tables covered in colorful paper, glue, scissors and crayons held endless possibilities for assembling the masterpieces to be displayed on the refrigerator at home. Now that the hobby has emerged as a popular way to keep our memories, we have an excuse to conduct our very own grown-up art class on a regular basis.
Stores dedicated solely to the craft are popping up everywhere, making it more accessible to even the creatively challenged. For a novice, the aisles filled with paper, unfamiliar cutting tools, stamps and stickers can be intimidating - which is where the experts come in.
"The local store is going to be the best resource for learning," says Deb Schmidt, director of Columbus Scrappers, a nonprofit group that donates funds raised at scrapbooking events to local charities. "They will come out from behind the counter and hold your hand and walk you through and say, 'Okay, here's what you do.'"
The communities that form around scrapbooking offer more than tips and advice - they can also provide social opportunities and a way to get involved. Columbus Scrappers formed out of a small Internet chat group that decided to raise money for the Red Cross after September 11th. "As needs came along we would do these benefit crops," says Schmidt, referring to the gatherings that bring scrappers together to work on projects and share ideas. In 2003, they officially became a 501c3 charitable organization; these days, they have about 300 members in central Ohio and beyond.
Columbus Scrappers' benefit crops can last up to 12 hours, and include goodie bags or T-shirts for their fee and donation. "We do retreats twice a year where we go away to a camp in Amish Country," says Schmidt. "Our next one is going to be a pirate theme - 'Scraps Ahoy.' So we do some fun stuff."
The group's Web site (www.columbusscrappers.com) is one of many out there to offer ideas and introduce visitors to new tools and techniques. Schmidt and her staff also post events in the region that might make for good scrapbook subjects. While most scrapbooks tend to revolve around close family and friends, it's not against the rules to put an album together that reflects your own unique interests.
Schmidt's love of art glass brought her to the Chihuly exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory several times last summer. "I made an album for myself so I could look back and appreciate those trips. It's something that's close to my heart." As a stay-at-home mom, she sees scrapbooking as a great creative outlet, and points out that the process doesn't have to be confined to an album. Pages of photos and memorabilia can be tacked to a canvas or framed and hung on the wall. There are scrapbooks made of Rolodexes and ones so tiny they could fit into a purse or even on a key chain.
"There's a lot of what's called 'cross-crafting,'" explains Brenda Jackson, manager of Archiver's in North Olmsted. "We have a clipboard that you can decorate and use to house photos, and papier-mache boxes that you can decorate."
There are 32 Archiver's locations around the Midwest, including stores in Columbus, Cincinnati and Fairlawn. The North Olmsted store opened in July to hundreds of customers lined up outside to get the first pick of supplies. Like many other scrapbooking stores, Archiver's offers classes for all levels of scrapbookers, and also welcomes anyone who wants to use the workroom.
"The workroom is available all day, every day, except Friday and Saturday nights when we do our Scrap Manias," says Jackson. "Customers come in and bring all their stuff from home and they scrap their little hearts out from 5 to 11 o'clock at night." Much like a theme party, the evenings include demonstrations, goody bags and prizes.
Jackson and her staff love the creativity involved in their jobs, and say that they often learn from customers. She mentions that even if you're not into the artistic side of scrapbooking, a scrapbook store is a great resource for learning the right way to store, organize and preserve photos.
The technologically inclined might be interested in using digital photo book software, which can be found in many stores, and on the Archiver's Web site (www.archiversonline.com). This way, you can put digital photos into a layout, and the album is printed and bound on high-quality pages and delivered. "There's a cloth cover and it looks like a real book that you would purchase somewhere," says Jackson. "But it's all about whatever you put in there." Obviously, the gifting potential here is unlimited.
For those who prefer to get hands-on with their scrapbooks - which is key when using memorabilia, such as programs, tickets or clippings - it always helps to have a theme in mind, and even sketches of pages before diving into a new project. Also, as writer Christina Dotson of Norwalk learned the hard way, don't wait until the last minute.
For Mother's Day in 1998, Dotson wanted to fill an album with family photos for her mom. She had all the supplies, but waited until the night before to begin putting them together, and stayed up all night to finish the gift.
"After I made that scrapbook for Mother's Day, I swore that I was never going to do a scrapbook again," she says. Her story is documented in the new book, Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker's Soul, and is entitled "Never Again." (Yes, there's even a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book dedicated to the love of scrapbooking.) Fortunately, Christina has ventured into the hobby again, making new pages for her mother's album every Mother's Day.
"I gave it to her and she loved it so much. I realized that scrapbooking isn't about making it as fancy as you possibly can or about having all the expensive tools and embellishments. It's about the love that goes into it and the memories it captures."
acid free: A term referring to materials with a pH of 7.0 or above. The aging process of the paper and photos are slowed when acid is removed from the paper during the manufacturing process.
adhesive: A substance that adheres two or more surfaces to one another. Many beginners start with glue sticks; other adhesives include sprays, glue pens and adhesive tape.
album extender: Posts that extend the binding of a album, enabling you to add more pages.
crop: Originally from "to crop"-as in trimming one's photos. Also used to describe an activity for scrapbookers to gather and spend time scrapbooking.
dimensional/mixed media: Anything on the page that gives dimension, such as eyelets, ribbon or embossing.
journaling: The process of writing and recording historical facts, memories, thoughts and feelings in a scrapbook.
From Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Magazine, www.creatingkeepsakes.com/service/press and
BellaOnline: The Voice of Women, www.bellaonline.com