The trends, the issues, and productive business
STAMPERS, SCRAPPERS, AND ALTERED BOOKS
Who does what, and why.
by Anonymous (August, 2003)
(Note: We were working on an article for CLN on the
above topic, and we emailed a few questions to a friend who is a
veteran of stamping and wears many hats for her company. We thought
her answers were so thought-provoking that we are giving up this
space this month for her complete responses -- and we'll be glad to
publish any responses to it.)
Q. What do you think of this altered books/altered style
concept? Will it be/is it popular with stampers?
A. Stampers have been into altered books for some time
(where do you think scrapbookers got the idea?) Actually, it was
mostly the domain of paper artists for years, but there is a huge
crossover between paper art and stamping; those two art forms are
much more closely aligned than stamping and scrapbooking are.
Q. When scrapbooking started, stampers weren't that
interested in it. Now, scrappers seem to be using stamps. Are
stampers doing scrapbooks?
A. For a long time, people have said stamping and scrapping
like it was one sentence, one hobby. It is not. However, there has
long been a phrase in the rubber stamper world where stampers will
scrap but scrappers won't stamp.
I started scrapping long before I ever heard the word scrapbooking.
I used to be a photographer, so hacking up photos (now called
'cropping') was what I did well. I also thought photos were boring
by themselves, so I always wrote stories (now called journaling) and
added stickers or mementos (embellishing) to make the album more
One day somebody invited me to a Creative Memories
"party." I LOVED it; they were doing what I had always
done but they were encouraging people to go further and add colored
paper (acid free, of course) and do other fun stuff.
Then one day I showed a Creative Memories consultant one of my best
album pages and she came TOTALLY unglued. I had (horrors!) STAMPED
on my page. I was told in no uncertain terms that I could NOT use
stamps in my album!
That attitude lasted for years. It didn't matter to CM and their
army of followers that some people were doing albums for fun and
family, not necessarily to preserve the action for the Smithsonian.
Both sides (stampers and scrappers) then seemed to take opposing
views of each other and the cold war began. For the most part, it
hasn't ended. Scrapbook stores don't carry many stamps; however,
since stampers will scrap, stamp stores tend to carry more scrapbook
The embellishment craze (that scrapbookers think they invented) has
caused them to look at stamp companies for ideas. (Now, how could
they think they invented the craze when they had to come to stamp
companies to get their ideas and products?) Both sides still view
each other with suspicion although, like good business owners, we'll
sell to them and they'll sell to us.
There is a fair amount of resentment in the stamp community with
regard to the way scrapbook companies blatantly copy ideas and
products from stamp companies. The difference is obvious in the way
stamp company owners deal with each other.
For instance, if I am working on an idea and see that the XYZ stamp
company has just put out a product that is very close to what I was
working on, I shelve mine and go think up another good idea.
Scrapbook companies see a good idea and take it for their own.
At ACCI, I was approached by another stamp company owner who praised
our ability to come up with cool "stuff." He then said he
would like to license some of those products from us (i.e., PAY us
for having done the initial work). Scrapbook companies, on the other
hand, patrol our websites and catalogs for cool stuff and run out
and have it duplicated, thereby making us unpaid designers for their
companies. As one company owner put it, "Yeah, they all know
what a license is; to them it means a license to steal!"
(Note: The question of rubber stamps and copyrights is
addressed in the Legal Q&A column. Click Here.)
Q. It seems cardmaking is sort of the middle ground for
scrappers and stampers. True?
A. Yes, it's where both groups can shine equally and maybe
where the walls actually come crashing down.
(Note: If you'd like to respond to these comments, please
email your thoughts -- on or off the record -- to firstname.lastname@example.org.