Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Allow me a moment to vent my opinion

I really love scrapbooking and, since I discovered it, I’ve loved every aspect of it. Recently, though, I’ve noticed that there are a few things are bothering me about this hobby. Remember as you read: this is only my opinion and I have a right to it! (ie, don’t flame me for having an opinion...)

1. The message from the media that one must be constantly buying things in order to do this hobby “well”. Much like fashion, papers are in one minute, out the next and if anyone even thinks of using their “old” papers they are sometimes made to feel inadequate. “Spend, spend, spend!” is the constant mantra and I don’t think this is right. Some people create beautiful albums with few supplies or with (gasp!) older papers.

2. Magazines that dictate styles. I know that magazines speak of “find your own style” but in reality they perpetuate the one-photo, tons of embellishments look that is not easy or desirable for everyone to achieve. Where are the layouts with lots of photos? Where are the layouts with few embellishments? Granted, these kinds of layouts sometimes feature but they are few and far between. The pressure to conform is sometimes too great for comfort.

3. The technique glut. Sure, we all like to try new and wonderful things but sometimes these techniques require the purchase of specialist equipment (more shopping) not to mention an entire evening spent making an embellishment. Simply not realistic and, while I do agree that some people out there love doing arty work like this, I would guess that many of us don’t scrap full-time so need to keep things simple.

4. The continuous competition among scrappers. YES, this is a sad truth to face: more and more scrappers are drawn to this hobby because they want to be the best at it, not simply because they want to preserve memories. This is all fine but they don’t have to enter EVERY competition and be on EVERY design team to prove it! This leaves us mere mortals with a very limited gallery to be inspired by and brings us back to point 2. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition but this can sometimes go too far (you know what I mean!). A message for those very talented people: it would be very big of you to occasionally step back and let others win the competitions and share in their happiness.

5. There is too much to choose from. I may just be a grumpy old woman about this but I really don’t know how newbies manage to get started in scrapbooking – there is too much around! When I started all we had were the basics and stickers so it made things easy and I’ve picked up new things as they have appeared. But now, those new to the hobby must feel so overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of papers, embellishments, techniques and tools - it’s too much. Add to that the pressure of making sure they choose the “right” papers (see point 1), then to get their pages looking “just right” (see point 2), using all the latest techniques (point 3) and all the time trying to make their pages stand out so that they can be picked as design team members (point 4) and I wonder why they don’t quit in the first few months!

Call me grumpy or grouchy or whatever you like but these are my pet hates in scrapbooking. I love the hobby too much and it makes me sad that it sometimes seems to have been overtaken by commercial interests and the whole point is forgotten! Why do I scrapbook? Because it’s an artistic way to record my family’s memories and I love it.

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