The trends, the issues, and productive business
Anger, misunderstanding, and thought-provoking
Compiled by Mike Hartnett (November 19 22, 2007)
(Note: The Sept. 17 edition of CLN included
"Stop Worrying about
(Note: Some consumers, who had read the CLN
Commentary, "Are Some Scrapbookers 'Crazy'?" emailed CLN
their comments. To read the Commentary, click on CLN
Archives in the right-hand column, then 2007, then 11/5/07. To
read reaction from the industry, click on Business-Wise in the
Comparing Sports and Scrapbooking.
OK, if someone cheats in baseball by taking steroids and Congress
gets involved who's crazy? It is just a game, not life and
death. It isn't a war. Personally I find that RIDICULOUS.
If someone fixed the Super Bowl, imagine the outcry. But we're
crazy to be upset when the one of the most prestigious contests in
scrapbooking looks fixed? I just LOVE people's logic. It's OK to
cheat or not follow the rules, if it isn't important to some one
else? Scrapbooking is big business just like baseball or football,
but because it is predominately a "female" hobby, we get
label crazy. NICE.
Lots of people make their living or supplement their living from
this hobby. Some people aren't playing at it. The HOF contest can be
a HUGE benefit to the winners in cold hard cash from teaching deals,
product line development, etc.
People call Barry Bonds a cheater and attack his character, not
knowing anything about him except he may or may not have taken
steroids knowingly or unknowingly. Same with the people who cheated
on the HOF contest. They read the rules, or had the opportunity to
read the rules like everyone else. Yes, people get upset. People get
called names. They may or may not deserve it.
Saying it is just a hobby doesn't hold water! Kate
Childers (Note: Kate's company, D&K Productions,
which one sponsored the Simply Scrapbook and Stamp show, is now
Love, not Competition.
I know that you were just doing your job, but the tone of your
piece totally rubbed me the wrong way. The thing is, I don't think
it has anything to do with you or what you wrote; it's just that so
much has happened within the last month or so that many scrapbookers
are feeling very misused and feeling that the industry is not
listening to them. We just want an industry to be ethical. And I
don't think that it is too much to ask, or that we are
"crazy" or "vile" or "dowdy" or any
other number of condescending names that we have been called in
recent months. What's worse, that name calling is coming from
I can honestly say that right now, I am so fed up with such a
large segment of the scrapbooking industry that I feel like leaving
it, finding some other way to enjoy this hobby that I deeply and
truly love. At the end of the day, my scrapbooks are for my family.
I want them to know their story, my story, our story. Where we were,
what we did, how we felt. What we survived, where we triumphed,
where we failed and most of all, how much I deeply loved them. I
want somebody looking at my scrapbooks a hundred years from now not
to comment on the thrilling design, the fantastic patterned paper,
whatever, but comment on how much I loved the people in those books.
Two Types of Scrappers.
I got to thinking after reading the thread and your response that
there is a difference in definition here (particularly after talking
to my neighbor this morning, who is a knitter). I know that I don't
think of scrapbooking as "just a craft."
I think of it as a way to preserve memories. Now each craft, in
and of itself, can be a memory experience: Grandma's quilt, my
aunt's cross-stitch, the sweater my mom knit, but only scrapping is
about actually "marking down" the memory.
I see the industry splitting in two because there are many who
are "memory first": they are more concerned about the
pictures, the who what where why when, sometimes the story and
the art and design of it are one of the last things they approach.
And then there is the "art first" side of scrapping,
more concerned about the color, design, latest patterned
paper/stamp/embellishment with one very artistic photograph. So
there's this huge disconnect. And I get the feeling that the
industry doesn't know who to "talk to" and ends up
offending both sides. There's got to be a balance some where. But I
for one am tired of a few ladies without manners making a bad name
for the rest of us who love the craft, and scaring everyone else
off! Name Withheld
Are YOU Crazy?
Wow, way to kick a scrapbooker when she's down. Are we crazy?
What a question to ask! How'd you feel if we turned it around on the
other foot. Are you crazy? I mean, really, what does that kind of
question accomplish? Your "article" is extremely
unprofessional considering that you're the face of CLN. I
would think that you would not want to alienate your readers, who
probably are a part of the scrapbooking industry and/or community.
Reading your article made me feel small, and I have to admit, it
takes a lot to invoke such emotions. Do I feel validated by my
scrapbooks? No, not at all. But I do feel a sense of pride and
pleasure regarding their existence and my myriad reasons of why I
scrapbook. And selective scrapbooking? Absolutely not! I scrapbook
everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, and while I agree there
are some who prefer to scrap only the good times, there are many
more who do scrap the others but choose not to share them with the
world because they are intensely personal and not really meant for
As for your parallel with miniature dollhouses, I find it absurd
that you're comparing the two based solely on consumers spending
large amounts of money. Anyone solidly immersed in a hobby, whether
it be scrapbooking, dollhouses, or even golfing, spend big dollars,
most often in the beginning of their newfound hobby when the itch is
More to the point, I think you're coming a little late to the
table with saying that scrapbookers are spending large amounts of
money, considering that the scrapbooking industry is on the decline,
that many consumers are choosing not to spend as much of their
discretionary income as years past, and that many scrapbookers are
no longer able to enjoy their once plentiful scrapbooking budgets
due to the lagging economy and less-than-stellar product choices.
So really, I'd love to know what the heck was your point
regarding your article because I personally found it offensive and
degrading and feel that you owe your audience, whomever they may be
(I happened to read it as it was posted on a scrapbooking site) a
great big apology for being so shallow, so narrow-minded and for
using such a limiting approach to viewing such "crazy"
scrapbookers. Katie Scarlett, Scrapbook News & Review
I Will Never Apologize.
My life certainly isn't "I scrap-therefore I am." I
started scrapbooking for a number of reasons. I have always been
creative. I've done the knitting, painting, tin punch, flower
arranging, etc. I have never stuck with any craft as long as I have
scrapbooked. Do I scrap a lot? Yes. Have I made many books as gifts
where the receiver is in tears upon looking through it? Yes. Have I
made books that will last generations for my children,
grandchildren, etc., to know who we are, where we've been, and how
much we love one another? Yes. I could only wish I had books about
my grandparents and great-grandparents depicting their lives and how
they lived them. Also. if you looked online at the Creating
Keepsakes and Two Peas galleries you will see many many layouts
about surviving cancer; going on after losing a child, parent, or
spouse; and/or just having a plain bad day.
I will never apologize for making scrapbooks for my children to
have for many, many years to come. The layouts they look at bring
back great memories of vacations, everyday life, school and family.
I've even made scrapbooks giving them everyday advice.
I find it interesting that you are bashing the people (yes, not
just women; men do scrapbook) who are involved in a hobby that you
should be supporting.
Here's what validates my life: Giving birth to three children;
making sure my children are healthy and happy; having my children
see how much their parents love each other, taking care of my
parents when they need me, being their for my brother when his
daughter died, and much much more.
Just because someone scrapbooks doesn't mean they have no other
life. Do you have no validity just because you write small articles
for the hobby industry? Julie Begeron
Ethics and Fair Play.
I read your commentary and I have to say that I think you are off
base. I don't scrapbook anymore; not because I think it's dumb or
that I'm too cool to scrapbook, but I just don't have much time
When I did scrapbook, I was both a "Suzy Scrapbooker"
and a "Debbie Designer" (to use the current derogatory
terms). I was published (once) and I was on a design team for a kit
club for about eight months. I enjoyed. it, but I didn't think I was
all that special.
The CK HoF mess caught my attention because it was about
ethics and fair play. I didn't even know who Kristina Contes was
until this whole thing blew up, but the way she handled herself
(with what seemed to me to be demeaning superiority and an extreme
sense of entitlement) rubbed me the wrong way. Kind of like your
When I did scrapbook, I most certainly did scrap the unpleasant
things along with the happy times, although I admit that in the
beginning I only made the sunshine-and-daisies type of layouts. But
after about a year of that I realized that it was an incomplete
picture, so I began to scrap other things that were going on in my
life: I scrapped my two-year-old daughter throwing a tantrum for
what seemed like the millionth time; I scrapped about my
brother-in-law's fight with cancer and his subsequent death; I
scrapped about parenting mistakes; I scrapped about loss and
depression. I scrapped about all of it because my life isn't
"Selective Memories"? Very clever, but in my experience
it's inaccurate. And also very insulting.
Your article spent more time in exasperation with the
"Suzy's" who demand fairness and accountability of the
industry that feeds their hobby (as though it was a quaint but
antiquated notion) than it did with the problems of the contest. No,
it's not Iraq. But I don't see people minimizing other mundane
pastimes because "It's not Iraq."
Why is it ok to trivialize this? Why isn't the real story
cheating to win at all costs? Or the uneven playing field when it
comes to these contests? Or better still, why the industry continues
to brush aside legitimate customer complaints?
It's a pity that the waters are muddied by blaming the current
mess on those who expect that when rules are set, they should be
followed. It would be nice to see the media sharply focused on what
went wrong, rather than on who to blame. Erin Olander
(Note: We exchanged emails and Erin added the following.)
I will grant that some people took this thing way too far. I
think the "Internet detective" thing is freaky in the
extreme but that kind of behavior seems to be here to stay, and not
just in the scrapbooking community. Recently I've heard about
college graduates being Googled by potential employers to see if
anything negative comes up, and that seems to be similar to the
"detecting" that people hate so much in scrapbooking
and/or on Two Peas.
As for the feeding frenzy that went on over the HoF, I don't know
why anyone would spend that much time trying to find out about
someone they don't know and most likely never will know. At the same
time I think this behavior has its roots in the perceived lack of
concern with customer satisfaction.
I'm not sure where the line between enthusiasm and obsession
lies. I've never run across anyone I would consider obsessed. I've
heard stories, but I always figured that if, for instance, someone
chose to attend every single CK event for three years
running, then they must be able to afford it. I know I went a little
crazy when I scrapbooked and bought every new thing that came on the
market, but I could afford it.
Now though, it does seem like wasted money, because it's all
sitting in my craft room collecting dust, waiting for the day I have
the time to scrap again. So does that make me an enthusiastic supply
collector? Yeah, I think so. But that doesn't make me bitter or
jealous over a contest that I didn't even enter.
Scrapping Every Emotion.
I am an avid scrapbooker and photographer. I won an honorable
mention in a Tamron contest sponsored by Creating Keepsakes,
one of my favorite scrapbook magazines. If you view this press
the photo of the crying baby on the far left side of the header is
my darling child. You can read more about it if you scroll down to
the "crying baby" paragraph in the press release.
And yes, I will absolutely use that photo on a scrapbook layout.
Because, I, like many other scrapbookers, display every kind of
emotion on my pages, as part of my "happy life." A REAL,
In regard to your article, though some of it may be true, I found
the article to be very brief, lacking actual facts, and written
through the warped tunnel-vision of whoever provided you with the
initial idea to write your commentary. Kind of like this email: I
dont have a lot of time to waste responding to you because I
would rather be spending time with my kids. Joanna Bolick
The Good and the Bad.
We are NOT only scrapbooking the happy things. Please go to Two
Peas (or any other message board) and look in people's galleries.
You will notice that it's about documenting your life, the good and
My number one goal is to leave something behind for my children.
I want my children (and grandchildren) to know what kind of a life I
lived and what my thoughts are. I keep scrapbooking about how much I
love them. Maybe I will never get the chance to tell them in person.
Does this really makes me crazy? No, I don't think so. I wish my
grandparents scrapbooked, so I could know who they were. Emine
May I assume that you are a hermit who has no need for human
contact? If you live with a family (or visit them), belong to a
church, play on a sports team, root for a sports team, are a member
of any club, book group, or if you have any friends, then you have a
need for community. Jenny Adams Powers
Two Types of Women.
Many scrapbookers, myself included, DO in fact scrapbook the hard
moments fights, accidents, crying kids, life-altering events,
etc. as a way of processing their emotions and thoughts about those
experiences, as a way of remembering those moments because they,
too, shape who we are and who we are becoming. That's something you
need to recognize.
In fact, I often bring my more intense scrapbook pages in for my
therapist to see; she and I both see my art-making as a positive way
to begin to understand my own experiences and what they mean in the
context of the person I am becoming.
The other distinction your words made me want to articulate is
that there are women who are obsessed with scrapbooking, and then
there are women who are obsessed with the scrapbooking industry and
scrapbooking websites. These are two very different types of women.
I and many of my friends create every day. I make cards, layouts,
art-journals, collages, and anything else that suits my fancy. I use
my scrapbook supplies and also all kinds of found objects in these
endeavors. I am obsessive about my need to create. I do enjoy
sharing my work with other scrappers (my website of choice is www.scrapinstyletv.com)
and receiving feedback.
However, my involvement with this website's community is not
paramount to my daily life. I do not sit on message boards and talk
about what trendy new supplies I'm hoarding these days, or how I
really should be scrapping but I'm gonna sit here and chat instead.
To be perfectly honest, I found a lot of those types of comments on www.twopeasinabucket.com
that's why I stopped participating over there. It seemed to me
that many of the folks involved in that website's community were
more involved with the website and the scrap-celebrity gossip than
they were with ACTUAL scrapbooking.
And therein lies the rub: those women have lots of power in this
industry because, while they may not scrapbook very often or very
well, they DO buy a lot of magazines, tools, and supplies. They DO
spend a lot of time on the websites. They DO feed the celeb-machine
of the scrapbooking industry. They are the bread-and-butter of the
industry. So when they all sit back and howl, the industry listens,
or at least CK did.
The other thing is this: the scrapbooking industry, for the most
part, caters to a predominantly white, straight, upper-middle-class,
Christian community. There are many narrow minds out there who do
not tolerate difference very well. As a single, gay New Yorker with
radical leftist politics, my Self was only welcomed in the
mainstream scrapbooking community as much as it was whitewashed.
This characteristic of the industry is something that Kristina
Contes has always contested, just by her very being. She's not a
soccer mom. She may go to church almost every Sunday, but she also
drinks beer, uses the f-word, has lots of queer friends, and
scrapbooks introspectively. These things about her started the
let's-hate-kc club long before the HOF fiasco took place.
Anyway, thanks for asking for the words of scrappers out there,
and thanks for trying to understand the issues at hand. Name
Scrap It All.
I would like to explain to you that I scrap many things in my
life that are far from happy, the death of my infant was scrapped,
my teenage son and his challenging behavior, my feelings from a
pretty cruddy childhood, the desertion of my 8 year old by her
father, the war in Iraq, 911, so please get a better understanding
of the "average scrapbooker" before you paint us all as
crazy and obsessed. I have had pages published that were of my
daughter and her first day of kindergarten, I have submitted other
pages that weren't published I didn't slit my wrist. The HoF fiasco
is just that, a fiasco, but please look at the entire hobby and not
just a snap shot. Thank you. Michelle Chasteen
Love Art and Photography.
I am a 30 year old woman. I have a son. I am happily married. I
am a teacher. We travel often. I have other hobbies. I love
photography. I love art. I put the two together and love to create
scrapbooks for my family, for me. I do write about and take pictures
of the "hard stuff." I want my albums to reflect real
life, and they do.
The Hall of Fame drama? Not my thing. But scrapbooking?
Photography? My creative outlet. I have attached a page for you to
look at. One with simple thoughts that were in my head when I
created it. Something I would LOVE to have of my mom or grandmother.
I also take lots of pictures of the happy moments. Birthday parties,
Riding a bike with no training wheels for the first time, vacations,
playing in the grass and I do go back and look and it does make
me happy, but it doesn't define my happy life any more than
remembering that moment does.
Unlike golf where you play your game, have your fun with friends,
and go home. I can keep these memories forever. I am not trying to
change your mind. You have your opinion and I have mine. And That is
OK. But my opinion happens to be that you are wrong. Not about
everyone. But about me. Holly A. Terra
Anyway... to answer this question "Does a scrapbook full of
smiling relatives validate your life?" Ok, let's leave the
smiling relatives out of it because they aren't always smiling.
Actually, there are some pictures of me looking pissed off. And I'm
the kind of scrapper that uses all her photos I'm not selective.
choosing only the best. (Shh. Don't tell some of the others, but I
call that REAL scrapbooking.)
Yes, it does. Actually it does two things (besides giving some
people a creative outlet. For some, it's all about the art. IMO,
there's scrapbooking and there's artbooking, but I digress...) 1. It
helps you to remember, at least in part, the lives of you and/or
people you know. Don't most people like to think back on the past?
As time marches on, that gets harder. It's a way to bring back some
of those memories. Especially things you miss that are passed, like
when your kids were little. You can't go back, but a scrapbook is
better than nothing. 2. And this is the answer to your question:
yes, it does validate your life. It says "Look at me. I was
here. I existed. I was real. And this is just a tiny glimpse of