You can’t craft anymore, sorry.

Can anyone come up to you and announce that you simply can’t be a creative person anymore? That you may not place photos + words + stickers in a pleasing way onto paper? That you can never again make a card, sew a quilt, or bake a cake?

Is there such a thing as the creative police? Has anyone seen them?

Hopefully crafting will not go into some sort of prohibition where we have to hide in speak-easys to get our creative groove on. That would really cramp my style!

I bring up this subject today because so often I’m asked “is scrapbook dying? Will it become extinct?” and my response is always the same. I roll my eyes. Remind the person that I’ve been doing this since around 1987, and that I have scrapbooks dating back to when my own grandmother got married. In other words – it has been around a very long time and nobody can decide that it has to end. Not only that but I find that saying such a thing is so incredibly negative.

Instead of announcing something is over, why not look at what there is to celebrate, enjoy, and embrace?

While it breaks my heart to see companies close their doors, to see stores go out of business, and to see people out of jobs I don’t think this is because scrapbooking is dying. I think that is a very convenient excuse quite often for bad business, poor choices, and overall over-bloating an industry. Oh I remember the glory days so very well. EK Success used to fly us out (when I was a store manager) as one of their top accounts to a swanky event that lasted two or three days and we all left with huge boxes of product – things that weren’t even in stores yet – as well as bellies full of amazing food and minds inspired by their top notch instructors.

I remember when going to a trade-show meant manufacturers throwing expensive goodie bags, product samples, and treats galore at you as you walked by.

I was there back when we had loads of magazines, stores in every town, and consumer events like CKU that were enormous and sold out in seconds.

Do I think because none of these things exist anymore that scrapbooking is dying?

No, I really don’t. Because what I also remember about that time is that everyone was also very interested in who could scrapbook the most beautiful portrait (head-shot) photos of young children and beautiful people with the most expensive embellishments possible. That everything was pre-made and pricey and cookie cutter. That the focus was on fitting in, and following “the latest style” instead of telling your story or being true to yourself.

What I see now inspires me so much more.

I see creative people who choose to share their stories, projects, and creative talent on-line freely through blogs.

I see companies who are striving to do their very best to provide for not just “Scrapbookers” but people of all kinds of crafting backgrounds. I see card makers and stampers who are checking out what scrapbookers and mixed media artists are doing. I see jewelry artists teaching paper crafters how to use our supplies to make wearable art. I see people embracing their inner geeks and sharing with the world.

In short, I see creative people being more accepting and welcoming than ever.

What I really think, is that as an industry paper crafting has gotten to a more sustainable place. Instead of being divided by what kind of things we make, now everything goes. I believe that those “glory days” were in fact bloated not by sales and greater products, but by buying on credit and people hoping to cash in. Now please don’t get me wrong – we have lost some amazing companies along the way and I am not saying all those who have closed weren’t doing great things – not at all.

I just think that if you look around you can find a lot of good in what is happening right here and now. A lot of beautiful things and many wonderful people still out there, creating away. I also see companies calming down and not releasing 10483802 new items every single month. They’re more focused, more intentional, and higher quality overall.

I look forward to the CHA show this weekend, to celebrating the companies there and highlighting the latest and greatest here on my blog. I intend to continue to show my support for the manufacturers, stores, and other companies in the craft industry that I like. Speaking with my wallet and also by who I chose to feature here on my blog is the best way I know how to really speak up and give my support to good people and companies.

I believe that we all evolve as creative people. It is ok to go away from one kind of crafting or towards another. It is fine to leave one way and try another, or to return to an old favorite years later. There is nothing wrong with that – in fact I think it’s quite natural.

The key to it all, is simply to create and enjoy.

A final note…

A few years back I met a woman named Lorrie while making lewd jokes in line for Indiana Jones at Disneyland (yes, really) and instantly knew she just had to be my friend. She’s very clever and funny and someone I love to spend time with – but she’s also posted a brilliant opinion piece about the closing of Archivers that really is spot on based on my visits and experiences with them in recent years. It inspired my post here today for sure – something I’ve been meaning to write about but never seem to make the time.

18 thoughts on “You can’t craft anymore, sorry.”

  1. Thanks for that May. I hear people saying that all the time too and I find it frustrating. I especially like how you pointed out that people are scrapbooking in all different ways now, each expressing themselves in their own way. So true. The market went crazy for a while and it had to settle down eventually, didn’t it? Darn it all, I still miss Daisy D though! And the overflow of magazines!

  2. Enjoyed your thoughts on this. I am settling into more of the story telling as that is important to me and reminding myself also, as Lain says, “done is better then perfect.” Especially as I was struggling with a photo heavy layout tonight that I felt needed more embellishment to make it right. I finally stopped shuffling papers and realized the story is being told…start adding adhesive.

  3. I LOVED reading this.
    I could echo my opinions on industry poor business practices or the shifting changes of the craft industry in general, but you said it so well that there’s no need. I believe that positive things evolve from positive people and THAT’s the shift that’s exciting. Thank’s for sharing an uplifting and positive perspective.

    …and you met a friend in a line at Disney? You’re an interesting and wonderful woman, May Flaum! 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing my blog post on the Archiver’s closure. When I wrote it, I knew that I couldn’t be the only one who had these thoughts on their problems. While not everyone agrees with my opinion, it at least gets us thinking about our industry.

  5. I enjoyed this article very much! There isn’t much that I can say hat hasn’t already been said except that I hope many more people read this article and realize. Thanks!

  6. I also cringe at the movement calling scrapbooking “uncool”. There will always be the desire to create! To tell our story, to leave a legacy. I think more people are creating their own meaningful papers and backgrounds as well.

  7. RIGHT ON May! I also read earlier Lorrie’s post and I appreciate you both for your insightful thoughts. Well done. One of my greatest treasures is my dad’s scrapbook from his college days. I’m talking early 1920’s! No, paper crafting is not dying out…it is just evolving.

  8. A friend and I had a small store in a small town, and as online stores grew we closed. Shipping was an issue for us, and why beat them when I could join them? My customers were and are my friends, as a person knowing where they could get better prices with less wait times, how could I not share that?!
    But, during our shut down process we heard comments from non-scrapers that it was a dying trend anyhow.
    I believe that to be incredibly untrue.
    There are just more options to be creative with.
    That’s said I’m glad that companies are starting to scale down collections.
    Keep creatively telling your stories, and have fun.

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I have been scrapbooking from before scrapbooking was popular and will continue to scrapbook forever. When I started all you could buy was cardstock and stickers but I still loved every moment of it. The whole world is changing, it’s not just scrapbooking magazines that are struggling but all magazines. Change is a part of life and definitely a part of being creative – us papercrafters can make stuff from anything 🙂

  10. Well, I have to laugh because my husband is the scrapbooking police because he told me in the last year “maybe you need to give up the scrapbooking” because I was a little addicted to challenges and the house was not really looking how he would have preferred.

    But other than that, I hope to see lots more great products being released and places to purchase them so that I can hold them in my hand. I am mourning the loss of Archiver’s because it was a joy to shop there and it was the perfect place for my friend and I to get together and just spend the evening together being creative without putting anyone’s family out.

    Thanks for being a positive force in the crafting world. I appreciate your focus on the good in the world!

  11. I think that another issue is really the way the economy is these days..folks being out of work, spouses out of work, no money for extras, etc. I scrap locally on occasion at a school and one of the ladies there told me her spouse has been unemployed for a year and the only things that she buys are glue tape rolls and she strives to use up her overwhelming stash and swaps with friends when she can. Gone are the days of overabundance for many. Although I don’t live in an area where Archiver’s stores were, it is always sad to see another company drop out of the mix. I am limited to one LSS and many big box stores where I live…I hope my LSS stays in business but you never know. You can only support them and hope for the best.

  12. Hey, I’ve made friends in line at Disney too!! I knew we had a lot in common!!

    Great post, and thanks for linking to Lorrie’s blog. I enjoyed her post too

    I still cross-stitch and that’s far from trendy, but I enjoy it so that’s what matters to me!

  13. Great post and I agree with you. I have been to many CKUs and events in the past and I really enjoy seeing creativity on blogs now where people share their layouts and cards, ideas, etc so everyone can enjoy. The economy is completely different now and I still see companies putting out lots of new product and many lines and there is still plenty to choose from–hopefully something for everyone. Have a great day and enjoy CHA!!

  14. Hi May! What a great essay – I really enjoyed reading your take on what is happening and I agree with you about the evolution of scrapbooking. Just look back at our CM albums from the 90’s LOL! There is room for everyone and everything and I love that. 🙂

  15. Great post–I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I will really miss being able to go to Archiver’s when I visit my family in Ohio, sadly.

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