Creative Journey: What I’m not.

I continue telling my creative story, and sharing old scrapbook pages too. If you have questions or perhaps chapter suggestions I’d love to hear them…

As I worked on figuring out what “my style” meant, I found  identifying what I was NOT was far easier. I mean – I like both wild shades of pink and bold paint strokes AND delicate lace. Grungy inked and sanded paper edges and rhinestone encrusted projects. Super girly stuff and more rugged looks. Lots of photos and single photos. I felt like a walking contradiction – and it was frustrating.

Some layouts (like the one below) I felt were close – they were pure “May” creations, if just a bit off in execution. So what wasn’t “May”?

The first thing was to realize that I was bad with really graphic papers and designs. Below is a layout (the I and Y have fallen off title, FYI) that is purely magazine copying/trendy attempt. In no way is it me. There is no journaling outside of the date. It’s truly a worthless page. There’s no heart here, and believe that I made note of it (back in ’05) when I was reviewing what I wasn’t.

I also wasn’t great forcing photos I wasn’t inspired to work with at the time. Weird things (like page below) would result.

I was into more creams and browns (not so much black & white for paper choice), and I was NOT good at preventing trapped white space, or planning for my titles. The example below is a page that I felt like almost made it to great – it was so close to the vision in my head – but not quite.

I also didn’t like when I worked with trendy product just because it was the thing to do. Not only did it feel false, but the pages always seemed a bit off to me. As I found more things I didn’t want in my scrapbooking, I also found things I did. The hardest thing for me had to be breaking free of what was expected.

The only person judging me, or critiquing with heavy expectation, was me!

I still don’t have what I consider a “style” in the traditional sense. I had to embrace that I’d never fit into a neat cubby like “linear” or “clean” or “shabby” all the time. Guess what? That is OK! You don’t have to put a label on your style. Just having it, just being intentional and personal in your choices makes it so. ENJOY.

Other things I accepted I wasn’t was good at layering tons of patterned papers, working with striped papers, titles (I still struggle!), warm colors, keeping things super simple, balance, and so much more. In finding what I wasn’t good at I was also discovering what I did NOT want to be. In doing this, I exposed what I did want in general terms, and found myself with goals and things to shoot for.

I wanted pages with more journaling and stories. Pages that looked pleasing to my eye. More fun stuff. Pretty colors. Trendy stuff only when it spoke to and suited ME. I just wanted to be May.

Turns out, it wasn’t too much to ask…

10 thoughts on “Creative Journey: What I’m not.”

  1. I’m enjoying reading about your journey. As I was reading tonights blog I found myself nodding my head in agreement with so much that you said. I see lots of layouts that I love & think that I would love to be able to have my layouts look like that but then I realize that that’s just not me. I’m learning that if I’m struggling with a page & trying to force myself to do something a certain way then I’m not being true to myself.

  2. May, just want to say again how much I enjoy reading your blog and your scrapbooking journey 🙂
    On a personal level it is very helpful to me. I agree with Tona above; I think I need to just play more.

  3. I know what you mean, I love some of the designs out there, but they are just not me. A fellow design team member(sadly our LSS closed) once told me my designs were quaint. They were me. I love using lots of patterns, lots of layering, & lots of flowers. I sew on almost every page. I became much happier with my pages when I realized I only had myself to please.

  4. Yea! So glad to get the next installation in your craft journey! Interesting, as always. You keep saying you don’t have a “style” in the traditional sense, but your style is distinctive enough that I recognize it when I see it. I think what you don’t have is one word that sums it up. If I had to come up with one word, I’d go with eclectic. Though that falls a little short too.

    I do have a chapter suggestion: I’d like to hear about the scrap celebrities you’ve met, how you felt when you met the first one, and how you feel now that you are a widely known name in the industry.

  5. That’s exactly what I mean Cindy – you don’t have to label “your” style. Just being true to yourself will make you have a style all your own.

    As for celebs, I’ll have to think about this! I’ve got one post planned about a specific person who really helped my journey, but no “celeb” post as of yet. Hmmm. I will think this out and share something for sure! 🙂


  6. I so love that you are sharing all this with us. I wish I knew what my style was. I just kinda go with the flow. I guess I would say I am like you and just go with what I like and fells right!

  7. Love reading about your journey. It did take you time to find your style so I’m feeling OK about where I’m at. I’m starting to discover what I love and do not love and it’s helping me be more selective in my purchases. I love taking classes that give me a chance to explore different approaches. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  8. I was nodding along too … I find it really hard to define my own style (if I even have one). I love your perspective of discovering what you’re not -might have to try that myself! Thanks again for your honesty

  9. This has been one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring articles I have read in a long time. I am so eclectic in my style that I have wondered if something was wrong with me….I so want to go back and reevaluate myself (like you did) and determine what really is me and what is just me trying to be something (or some scrapbooker) that I am not. By the way, I’m subscribing to your blog, so I can follow you on this journey…thanks for sharing!

  10. Very inspirational May! I like what you say about knowing what you are good at and what you don’t want to be… I think these are helpful words… I am always drawn to the big patterned paper, but I now know (after taking your Hybrid class) that the big pp does not work for me… why struggle with something that just doesn’t work. I agree with Cindy D – you definitely have a style and whatever it is it’s just simply gorgeous! Can’t wait to read more!

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