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.