Thursday, 26 April 2012

Some Controversial Thoughts on the latest trends in Scrapbooking {and What type of Scrapbooker are YOU?}

It all started when my BlackBerry broke this morning.
It will no longer accept my password even though I have
checked online & I have the correct one.  Hubby is away
& the cell phone company will not speak to anyone 
except the account holder.  So I am offline to all intents
& purposes, unless I am in my office sitting in front of 
my computer screen - no longer MOBILE.

This depressing change of circumstance caused me to
feel demotivated so I started browsing Facebook (as one
does) - from my cheap laptop that isn't good for much
else.  I came across someone ('via via' - as one does) & I
decided to check out her blog, which I used to frequent
often.  She is a really GREAT & talented scrapbooker
but I started visiting her blog less & less as the 
inspiration waned.

Over the years her style got less and less layered, &
cleaner & cleaner, until the "soul" in it had left almost
 entirely, in my opinion.  She started working for a magazine 
& my guess is that this is what they were requiring of her,
and she was delivering, killing her individuality in the process.

 Today almost all vestiges of journaling are gone.  Hardly a mist,
 no gesso, etc  = no fun (again - just my opinion).  Hardly a
 technique to be found, bar slick cuts and over-processed 
photographs.  It got me wondering...does she enjoy what
she's doing?  Is it still  really scrapbooking?  Is it therapeutic
 for her??  I don't think so.  Perhaps the trade-off is worth
the money.  So why does it worry me so much...???

She will certainly be getting a lot of free product, plus a 
publication fee per layout featured, and surely some
 additional perks for being part of the magazine's regular
 contributing team.  Not to mention all the kudos &
 accolades involved.  Tempting indeed....Sounds great
 hey?!  Used to be my grandest ambition...not any more...

Now I don't even submit my layouts {put a lot of that
 down to just not getting down to it though as it's a
 time-consuming process}but that particular publication
 is no longer on my radar & I don't know of a magazine
{apart from Scrapbooking Memories in Australia}
that should be on my radar to be honest.  They are
not available here so it's difficult to know...and the
disheartening thing for me is that I am never a "national",
always an "international" which either obliterates my
chances altogether or certainly makes them slimmer...
Anyway, I digress...

I then went & had a look at the magazine online.
They have a sneak peek function that is relatively 
new I think.  Funny how they never needed that
before... My e mail is regularly bombarded with giant
"special offer" promotional information from them,
even though I have been a subscriber for years. I
can't help but wonder why the apparent desperation?
Or maybe that is just marketing today??

I paged through the highlights of their latest issue.
I don't want it.  Is it just me?  Have I outgrown them?
Is that a good or a bad sign?  I found everything so
boring and basic.  All the ideas so elementary.  Seems
like their target market is very much newbie & "clean
& simple" scrapbookers with 15 minutes to spare to
create a layout.   Honestly?  My thoughts??  If you 
don't have time to scrapbook then maybe it's just not
for you.  I want to learn French, go canoeing, get into
great shape, but the honest truth is I don't have the time!

Which brings me to the other very popular concept
in scrapbooking right now.  You know the one I mean.
Where you record your memories in a simple format
and keep up with it regularly with a pre-bought kit
with everything you need.  Why does the idea always
make me shudder slightly? 

 It's a good one for sure - and a highly profitable 
one too  I would imagine...BUT I have some
 reservations about it's place within the scrapbooking
 world.  For non scrapbookers - amen!  It's the answer
 for sure!!  For "hardly ever" scrapbookers too, I can also
 see the benefits.  But for scrapbookers, surely there is
 no-one out there with the time to do both?

I don't scrapbook "only for the memories" anymore.
If I did I would simply print out all my photos 4 x 6"
- slide them into an album and journal the details on the
back wouldn't I?!  This new concept I mentioned above 
doesn't appeal to me because I find it restrictive.  There 
must be others out there who feel the same BUT what
 gets me is...

Almost every "high-flying" scrapbooker out there
suddenly LOVES the idea.  Have you noticed that?
They are ALL doing it, and we have all seen a feature
on it on their blogs...It makes me wonder if there was
a fee involved.  Same with the new fangled die-cutting
machine EVERYONE is using now - all the high-flyers
have almost every title cut out of it - sure, it's a trend,
and I LOVE trends.  But it's almost like you just aren't
"up there" unless you  spend hundreds of US$ (which
equates to THOUSANDS of South African rands),
on "one of them", especially for any serious consideration
in this particular magazine (and perhaps similar ones too).

You know how pro-athletes are paid to wear all the 
right gear?  You know what I'm saying?!?  And I'm
not going to say it.  This is my opinion only.  It may
be entirely fictional.  Just the workings of my
 {hopefully intelligent} mind.  If you've got this far &
do leave a comment please don't mention names. 
 I'd hate to have to delete this post.  

I think that "scrapbooking" is now "so much more"
and means (and IS) different things to different people,
so much so that subcategories are now developing.

1)  There's the "buy the kit and have your fun" 
scrapbookers.  (nothing wrong with it if  it appeals!)

2)  There's the "I've got 15 minutes to spare"
variety of scrapbooker, that I presume is obviously
benefitting from the magazine I used to benefit from.

3)  There's the online scrapbookers, the world I
live in and happen to love.  Where people are
 passionate about their art, and have the integrity
 to persue it without compromise.  The artists.
The avant-garde scrapbookers

Definition of Avant-Garde

Web definitions:
any creative group active in the innovation and application of
 new concepts and techniques in a given field (especially in the arts).

Well I feel a lot better now that I've just worked out that
I'm an avante-garde scrapbooker!!  
It's like being part of an "alternative" band, doing what you
really believe in and making very little money as a result!
Then the clever ones sell-out to fame & fortune (via 
watered down versions of your work - that are much
more commercially viable!!!)
Despite (and in spite of!) all that it's an AMAZING
 group to be a part of don't you think?


Desire Fourie said...

Sjoe, now this was a great deal to work through for you and get off your chest. I do agree with one thing you said for sure i.e. being part of the trend i.e. living up to the Jones'. I hardly have any scrapbooking tools apart from punches and templates I design. No machines and gadgets at all as I always create double page layouts which are inspired by the combination of templates and of course use a minimum of 10 photos on a double page layout. For me the photos should tell the story and the journaling the finer details and facts (just my personal style which I have been following for more than 12 years now). I have seen tens of scores of trends come and go, but still prefer my own personal creative style - in the end I am doing it for my personal therapy.

Kathryn Caldwell said...

Honestly, as another international scrapper, I am happy to be far from the hype all the time. Granted it is more expensive getting stuff over here or I have to wait until someone comes or I go, but the pros to be away are so much more. I don't get into the "fads". I do what I like. I don't feel like I NEED that new collection or embellishment, etc. I make do with what I have. I can honestly (and I think I have ALOT) fit all my scrapping stuff into two chest drawers. I use the paper I have, I make my own embellies or use the ones I have before I go buy more, etc. My pages aren't as beautiful as your (trying to make them so) but they are "me", you know? And for sure no one has the time to do both scrapping and Pages of Life. If they do I need to learn their time organizational skills! But again, POL (is that what it is called?) requires and nifty printer, good photo paper, the kits, etc. Thanks but no thanks for me!

Kerryn said...

Lots of food for thought there Helen. I think you're right, if you aren't enjoying this hobby, because for most of us it is just a hobby, then that would be a real shame.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Awesome post Helen!! Really gets people thinking! LOVE IT!

Sandi Smith said...

Great post Helen and I feel like I wrote this myself. Love how you put it out there exactly like it is!

Cathy said...

I definitely have noticed trends all over that come and go... and when the latest one is around EVERYONE seems to be doing it... like the hexagon and chevron thing at the moment. The PL trend is also big but for me just so not "how" I scrap... I have found a style that works for me and how I scrap and I am happy with that... I so don't feel that I need to conform with any current trends.

Definitely find that the promotion of some mags and tools gets lots of hype and it's then that I'm thankful that we live this side of the world with no access to these things.... or I would definitely be bankrupt!!! I think it has made us a lot more resourceful in SA with our scrapping.

Keep at it the way you do and you will find what works for you.

Bernadine said...

I have never really followed trends and what is in or out.

I loooooooove scrapping and I scrap for myself and I am not sure I really care either what people think about my layouts.

I think maybe and this is just my opinion maybe some people have lost their passion for scrap booking and what they do now is just a "job" and they go through the motions.

I to am glad I live in South Africa as I would be bunkrupt if I had access to all the lastest and greatest.

Nadia Cannizzo said...

I just want to scrap LOL! I try not to look into it too much because if I over analyse things, I kill it for my self.

I started all this because I enjoyed sticking paper to other pieces of paper while at the same time decorating photos of my children and saying stories about them.

It then evolved into something totally different when I entered the blog world. Competitions, Design Teams, galleries, and yes..trends came along and suddenly you realise you need to make a decision..Do I want to take this further or do I stay as is ?

For me, after a while my Gemini self kicked in and I got pretty bored with sharing pages with just hubby and a 3 yo. LOL I decided I wanted to do something more with this and thus...I have now realised that a lot of the time I scrap "beautiful" pages, with zero meaning behind them just so that i can use the latest product. And thats OK. Because I do like the creative side to all this too. To just scrap because I want to create something. But almost always, this leaves me empty. Like I just wasted $20 on a layout just to get my scarp on!

So in saying all that, I like to be influenced by trends, or peoples styles or ideas. And I will try anything when I am bored. But I dont deal well with people or a "community" telling me how to think or how to do things, so the bottom line is ..trend or not, if I dont like it I dont do it. So while there is a place for trends etc, my personal opinion is "if it makes you happy just do it" . As you know I quit about 8 DT's in a month a year ago because of this! just figure out who you are talking about..LOL!

Bellaidea said...

I like your thinking, I like your ideas.
I started making pages not so long time ago and I want to think I developd a lot in last several months. But I still remember first time I suscribed several magazines...
Now I don`t see much what I like there. There are some new ones, I just was reading 2 of them tomorrow and was happy to see layers of paper, gesso etc b/c I don`t want to waist time to look at pages 2-6 photos and couple of cutted papers. Not even talking about C&S...
I have several pages accepted this year and my first just was published in printed magazine/after over 20 in online versions/ and it`s makes me happy and proud.But the most fun I had when...making them. I can not make a page when I don`t enjoy it since I don`t benefit in any way:).
I don`t know who are you taling about but I wonder - das she still loves what she is doing?
About tools and machines...I have BS and never took it out from the box...Just don`t feel like spending so much many for all stuff for it. Why did I buy it? I was thinking I should... Now I think I love what I do, I cutt down my DT teams so I can still enjoy the process and make , not produce my layouts:).I still have dreams what I would love to work for but...I`m fine where I am right now.Another thing, I really love my scrappy friends from all over the world and our chatts, emails, contacts, I wish I can meet some of them!You too, my Friend!

Dale Tiernan said...

Interesting post. A lot of different ways to approach what you have said. I have zero insider info so can't speak to that part of the post. For me, I just love to share what I do. I tend not to copy other people's work at all but I am inspired by it so that's why I follow blogs I like. I've been scrapping for 10 years. I still love it. Without the journalling it is a lot more meaningless so all of my pages have it. I don't have any special machines. I could spend that on product. At the end of the day, you've got be try to be happy. So I say, do what makes you happy.

Heather Jacob said...

wow Helen great post and full of passion .... I always scrap how I want to and I do enjoy belonging to design teams .. but only the ones I choose !!! I have never liked being TOLD !!!! so if somebody tells me to do something they think is in fashion and It does not appeal to me I give it a miss .... the joys of choice , and there always is a choice ... scrapbooking is fun and arty for me and I love a creative outlet .... I really was fascinated by your post and it is always interesting to hear somebodies point of view ... I do agree about the mags ... I find them a little boring .. well some of them that is ... hope you are well Helen ... love Heather x

MARILYN said...

Wow, very interesting my friend! Ok. when I started in this hobby a few years ago, there were selling machines that were the 'last', they made wonderful thing(according to the marketing) and I bought it but for that moment I was newbie...I really didn't found my style, yet. and today I almost don't use them. I think this work for new scrappers if they have money to spend it because it really expenses.
I always scrap because I love it, for me it's a therapy and I couldn't change my style to be in a magazine or a group, my pages was published in a national magazine but I don't expect to be in some magazines because I can't be clean & simple scrapper and I fell happy with the way I work my pages and this is the most important for me..."be happy with I do" ...YES!! I'm a Avante-Garde scrapbooker, lol!!! :)
About trend or fashion things, I always tells my clients that we don't need to use it just because is last trend..may be it don't fit for our body shape, well, the same principle for my hobby, if I like it I use it but not because the magazine or a person says it. And my muse works better when I'm making something that I really like it, that something that I've been ask for.
Love the theme but I'm going to cook now...I'll send you an e-mail later. Take care my friend!
Hugs!!!! :)

Marjie Kemper said...

Interesting post, Helen! I too have noticed a widespread promotion of that certain type of scrapping. I knew I wouldn't want to do it religiously but I did buy a set of the segmented inserts to give it a try at some point. I do like trying new things but if they end up not working for my style, I won't use them. As for the cutter, I have to admit, I love mine.

I think your use of the word 'outgrow' is probably spot on. I don't know which mag you're referring to, but I do know in recent years many of the ones I get here aren't calling to me anymore.

Katherine B said...

agreed on so many if not all points...I pretty much do my own thing-cause I like a lot of stuff on my pages AND I am a paper addict so...I just do what makes me happy and just have gotten lucky to be published along the way. I do submit things here and there for publication but maybe only once or twice a year when I get the energy to "fit" into their guidelines and (no offense inteneded here) because I get tired of seeing some of the same names/projects in publications; we need mroe diversity for sure and more "eclecticness (I made that word up)...and ps-I do NOT own any of those electronic machines!!! LOL

Alison said...

Great post Helen- and I hear what you're saying! I enjoy some trends, but others(like misting, as you know!)just don't grab me, so I just let them go. I don't know if people who take part in PL et al,actually look at it as scrapbooking...maybe more an extension to journalling?
Alison xx

Vicki said...

Now you know I do both types of scrapping and yes, I'm lucky to have time enough to do it. I think they work well together and whilst it may not be everyones cup of tea, for me it works. I am still churning out my scrappy pages which gives me my creative arty self an outlet, as well as documenting the everyday. I have no interest in submitting for magazines or DT's. I have noticed that a lot of "celebrity" scrappers this year have got on the bandwagon with doing it the everyday way. Good luck to them. I think you do what works for you and if you are enjoying it then who cares what everyone else thinks. Interesting post.

Jasmine S said...

You write so well and yes, food for thought, lots of thought.
I agree with a lot of what you say. I find more inspiration from blog land but find that a mag is good just to have a looksee whilst having a cuppa or when you are not at the computer.
I try to limit the $$ spent on a page. Unless I was given free product to run with (and even then I could not use it all) I watch what I use. Unless it is on a wall it wont be seen everday so i cannot justify the costs.
I love to scrap for memory's sake but I think I do it more for art's sake. I love pushing myself, trying something new and yep, just to get creative. Bonus is, there is usually a photo of my kids or family and that means the world to me. I have slowed down a lot because I want to scrap what I want to scrap now, not be restricted or scrap just because I have a deadline.
In saying all of that, I am off to a retreat this weekend and cannot wait to stick bits of paper onto other bits of
Have a great weekend.
Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Mitra Pratt said...

Dude! Great post!

Diana said...

Well we've talked about many of these issues, so you know how I feel. That said, I've done my own home-made version of PL and I'm really loving it, mainly because I don't have time for anything else right now. So I'm glad for the concept and the ideas I get from all of those people who are doing it.
But at the end of the day it all comes down to marketing and selling product. Those with something to sell are going to market their product the best they can, and in this industry it means getting the "big names" to promote their product through their blogs. It's as simple as that.
Where it gets tricky is that scrapbooking is so intertwined with a person's life, that the lines get blurred and... well we get what you have described so well in your post.
I could go on and on! Lots of food for thought.

Jona Panesa said...

beautifully said. I don't go with the trends. I dream to be published too before but since I am also international, and the shipping is quite high, no need for me. I am simply happy when friends and family admire my work.

Blossom inch said...

what a great post and totally agreed with you. Me on the other side of the world, happily scrapping without any date lines and restrictions.

topkatnz said...

I think there is room for all the different types of scrapping you describe. You are right to say that scrap booking trends at the moment are leaning towards a more simplistic approach, and following on from the very technique heavy trends of the past I think this is a natural response which is echoed time and time again in many fashion Styles. A lot of people are very time poor at the moment but still want to record and preserve memories. I have always been very eclectic in my styles and scrappy preferences. I love the artistic element. But we are not all great artists. I think a mixture of all styles can be very complimentary when seen as a whole. In fact in true art we need space for our eyes to 'rest' in order for other parts to shine. There is no right or wrong. At the moment I am preferring a more simple style myself:)

Lynnda Hosni said...

Great Post Helen... i'm totally with you... sometimes I do find them over-rated... Initially I do feel pressurized... i feel like I'm left behind...I feel like my projects are not SEEN....not GOOD enough... But I'm lucky enough darling Hubby supported me..and said... it supposed to be a hobby... so you should embrace... not competing... and truly it made total sense... So ...I just play along.... within my own boundaries...and liking... I'm comforable enough within my own pace and what I've have... so I'm kinda go with the flow...I'm own style... which I think I love colors...other than that... I get really inspired looking at other of them is YOU... great inspirational for me... I do feel disappointed ..when none of submission has been published... so I STOP submitting... at least I'm a happy scrapper...

This post is really an eye-opener my friend... Thanks I truly enjoy... expressing myself here!!! hugs..xoxo

Mitra Pratt said...

I like words and used too many to write back to your post on a comment!

sandi said...

Lots of food for thought here Helen. Yup, there is a lot of promoting out there with the magazines...I like allows me to see if I want something new. You're right about the cost....I limit myself...I am simply not going to buy everything that comes out....but I like choices. I agree, if your not enjoying the scrapping process then why do it? And the simple and clean cut is pure heaven for some that just don't want a lot of fluff on their lo's, or what to scrap without a huge cost. I guess, it's like everything else in life...everyone has a diffferent style...a different like...and over time these change. A very sad thought is to be the person that is getting free kits to create with and then it becomes a job...taking all your creativity out of you....yeah to all of us that don't fall into that category! Happy scrapping my friend!

Lizzy Hill said...

Errrrr. Dunno. Too deep, but fun to read:):) I like scrappy stuff, mags, stuff, hands getting into stuff, blog land, hands getting into more stuff,, creating something COMPLETELY new, looking at others stuff & wishing I was as good a scrapper. Take longer than 15 mins, that's for sure. Like your sassy style [not just talking scrapping:):)] & now I'm following you:):):) Wooh hooh! And, Helen, anyone that follows Mitra can't be toooo crazy???!!!!!!!

Eila Sandberg said...

Now this is a juicy post Helen, lots of food for thought! Like you, I live on the other side of the map, in an obscure part of the world. I haven't been scrapping for more than 2 years and it's only this last year that I've come to terms with how I want things to work for me. I tried so hard to conform, to follow trends and the only thing I got was palpitations and angst that I was not good enough, not right enough and totally ridiculous. today I don't give a sh...t about any of that any longer. I would never sell my soul for profit or do what I'm told stylewise, no thanks very much! Admittedly sometimes I do create pages just because I love the beauty of the products and because creating makes me so very happy. However, it's impossible for me to create anything that I haven't put my heart into. Let's peruse the subject over email shall we! :)))

Nolene Burnett said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You certainly gave me a lot to think about. While I'm not into the ready made idea of scrapbooking either, the brand I have in mind certainly has some lovely designs and I buy them to use with my regular scrapbooking.
I have a die cut machine, the one that doesn't require dies or cartridges and I absolutely love it. Bought it second hand at a great price too. We all have our favourites, things we tend to reach for first when we sit down to create something. Even with all the tools and gadgets at my dispense, I tend to reach for the more traditional items first. That is where my inspiration usually comes from.

yyam said...

Except for projects made as gifts for others, I don't do the pretty up a photo without journaling anymore. My layouts are always about telling a story. I love trends but only buy what works for me. Judging by the massive amount of rejections I've endured recently, I'm quite sure my personal style isn't what the mainstream scrapbooking community is looking Except for my ego being bruised a little, I'm okay. I'm not going to sell out. I'll stick to being true to myself. Just like you.

Carol Deal said...

I know that this is an old post but I was intrigued enough to read it in its entirety and all the responding posts. I am very new to the world of scrapbooking starting with a home party plan company in 2012. This was my first intro into this world. Then I moved onto classes in a shop and dabbling at home and yes I subscribed to every mag and watched everything I could on the net. I was one of those people that the manufacturers target and now I have a room in my home that people would die for. I don't have every machine on the market but my inks, sprays,paints,punches,stencils,flowers and chipboard are extensive. I flick through the mags now as they are boring. I very very occasionally submit a layout that I feel " is my best" to have it rejected because it does not conform with the clean lines and the straight edges that you see on every page, pages that I and I would guess a lot of other people find boring.
In June 2014 I decided that I would play in the world of online challenges and have been blown away how well I have done. I am very thankful for the wonderful recognition that my work has gained. However I must add that I have had to pick and choose which sites I have entered. Yes I will pick a challenge that takes my eye but I also look at the DT too. My style is lots of everything and my motto is " more is better " Just like the mags if a DT only likes the clean line look then my page is never going to get recognised.
For the longest time I tried to scrap my pages like all the very talented names whose pages were like nothing else I had ever seen but I could never get them to look that good.
I finally realise it doesn't matter what your style is as long as you do it from your heart it will always be beautiful.