Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Losing the Focus?

A couple of my scrapping buddies and I had an interesting conversation last night on msn about the direction that scrapbooking appears to be taking. It seems anymore, that in order to be published or to design for a manufacturer, you have to have graphic art training and be an expert on the puter to generate the journaling that so often gets layouts choosen. I understand why a manufacturer or a magazine would want to have the very best and most known working for them or being published in their magazine. I have nothing but respect, admiration and yes, jealousy for these talented women.

The thing that bothers me is the movenent toward all layouts having to meet these stringent criteria to be said to be "good enough". Scrapbooking originated as a safe way to "store" pictures, memories and information. The evolution to creative presentation followed quickly, thank heavens ,but the focus was stilll on the photos, the visual capturing of moments, memories, people, places and yes, even things. I am not sure that is true anymore and this wonderful hobby has become pressure packed to achieve what most of us do not have the training or time to obtain the training to do.

My point in fact is a beautiful layout I saw in a recent publication. It was done with a mix of lovely papers, doused liberally with chipboard letters painted to match, typepography (spelling?) that drew the eye and brought instant envy, and for a topping, some flowers and ribbons. WOW! I was drooling. Then I stopped, "Where is the picture?", "What is this layout about?". There, in the lower right corner, was a wallet sized picture of a child...hmmmmmmm.

My friends and I discussed the difference and while two of us would love to be published more often, I think our age and our style of scrapbooking (and yes, we do try to focus on the photos) is a deterant to this. I am not an artist. My friend, Maya, is an artist....she creates amazing watercolors and earns a decent living at it. I am a scrapbooker and I want to put the fun back into it! I need to take a long look at exactly why I do scrap and remember what fun it use to be.

Scrap on my friends, scrap on.


Pam in Moncton said...

You have it exactly right! While I may admire the artistry in many of the published works, I have no desire to scrap this way. For me it's all about the pictures and the stories I want to tell. I love picking just the right colour of cardstock and patterned paper and I'm a chipboard fan with the best of them, but it's the stories and the memories that are the most important to me. Journalling I do mainly by hand except when there is a lot to say and then I'll type it. Keep it simple, make it pretty, get it done! The layouts that I am most drawn to in the magazines aren't the ones that used 25 techniques and took hours to make. They are the ones that call out to me, "Look how these pictures are arranged. Look how the focal point has been highlighted. Look at the neat story that has been told here. Look, you could make a sketch of this and use it for your own layouts." Oh well, trends come and go, but your own albums hopefully will remain with you for a long time and bring joy to your family. They want to see the pictures and read the story, not count how many prima flowers and chipboard letters there are!

katie said...

I understand your frustrations. I get tired of seeing the same names over and over and over......
Another frustration is when they stick so many on the page and there is no way possible, EVEN with the MAGNIFYING glass that you can read the journaling. I like to know the story behind the pictures too.
Jules, don't be dicouraged. Your work it so awesome and imaginative and professional that the mags and web sites don't know what they are missing.
Continue to follow your heart and keep putting out your beautiful projects and layouts and keep teaching your classes and traveling.

Rhonda said...

Very well put and although I know I won't ever be "good enough" to be published, I agree wholeheartedly that it is about the picture and your memories and not about how much extras that you can get on a page.


mae said...

DITTO. You took the words right out of my mouth.


crazydarla said...

Boy did you take the words from my mouth... it is hard bc I think each scrapper DOES have a deep seeded inner wish/dream of being published and/or hangin' with the big time gals of the sb world. LOL Honestly though, I think so many HAVE lost focus on our photos and the whole reason for scrapping. On the other hand, we always emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to scrap, so that is there in our faces too! I just have come to the conclusion that my scrapbooks are for ME and my family and no one else and IF I do get some recognition or praise I will just take it all with a smile that someone noticed it! I give up on submissions and contests, they stress me out and make sbing work and as far as I am concerned I do not want to WORK on my craft/hobby, I want to have fun, create and enjoy what I do just as I have for nearly 10 years. :O>

:Jayne said...

You are so right Jules! I feel like sometimes I am supposed to spend, spend, spend to make my LOs look good enough.
It is about the pictures and journaling. I love the look of alot of LOs I see everywhere. But sometimes I feel like the layouts were done just to sell product and not to preserve a story for our future generations.

jan said...

Hey Jules
You have stated the facts why I have never bothered to even try and get published. Its never ever EVER been a contest to me. I scrap how I want and scraplift who I want in any magazine I want. Yea your right, when everyone gets to worried about what is accepable doesnt make it fun anymore.
DONT give up what you LOVE!!! Maybe a metafore.......Back when I was working full time as a bakery manager (before Mary) I LOVED LOVED this one store I was at. I was at the top of my to speak, I brought the sales up in the bakery after the manager got rid of the other bakery manager, I loved working, I loved being there. Well a SUPER GIANT A&P opened, their new flagship store for all their up coming remodles, well 'They' wanted me to run that bakery!! Going from an $11,000 a week bakery to $25,000 a week bakery with like 20 employees below me!! Well I did it for almost 2 years and it BROKE ME!! Seriously!! Mary couldnt have come quick enough, she saved me. Talk about presure to be the best!! I continued to be the #1 bakery until I left. But I left extrememly unhappy and hated my job when I woalked out the doors 6 1/2 years ago!!
YUP, now I'm back at the A&P part time and really enjoying my job again, took me a long time to get over my anger.
Soooo, why struggle to always be the best and be published, I know its a high, but dont give up what you truly love. One more thing. YOU should NOT let ANYONE 'push' you away from the early bird post in the morning. Thats our thing, dont let the rest of people on the board that dont like you do that to you! ANyway Jules, I luv ya!!

OH YEA, I just ordered the same large scanner you did!! I can hardly wait to get it, I put layouts on my blog and two peas!! TTYL!! BIG HUGS Janet

jan said...

BTW...... I REALLY appreciated seeing my Blog link at your site, it means a lot to me!!! XOXOX janet

Ruth said...

Hey Jules, I have to say that this is not the case with Australian Mags. To be published here you need to have some original ways to use the same products but at least 90% are about the photos and those that aren't are about the journalling. There has been a bit of ongoing debate about spelling in journalling and how, if you get it wrong or right in the spelling and grammer, then that tells more about the scrapper and is not an issue. The main Australian mag is Scrapbooking Memories and it has about five galleries in each addition showcasing either a technique, theme or product line (usually all three in each magazine). Therefore you submit under those categories. That is what Clare did and her work was put in the sister magazine Reflections. I stopped by CK because I was not overly happy with the amount of advertising in comparison to LOs and techniques. I am so pleased to say that in Australia your work would be picked up in a heart beat because it is unique and would offer the 'reader' a great deal of inspiration. I wonder if you could submit work here? I personally would hate to send my work overseas, bad enough the state next door. This month the my mag displayed hand written journalling as the technique of choice and the focus was very much on the photos, the point was bring back and dont be ashamed of handwritten on LOs.

Doug Bagley said...

I'm not expert on scrapbooking, and I know y'all out there are saying, "Naaaaaw!" But it seems to me the whole reason for it is to preserve memories that mean something to yourself and/or others. Then again, I just found my way back from an alien abduction so my word might not count for anything, LOL.

Kellee said...

I hardly scrapbook any more. One day I will, I think...I do a layout every now and then. I have stopped buying most magazines...let my CK subscription lapse last year, won't renew my MM script either. I have a few mags here I've bought and not even looked at yet. Idea books? don't need any more...the ones I have will serve me well when I scrap again. For me it's about pictures and memories...not at all about being published or being an artist...Although, I can admit I love posting my layouts for other scrappers to see and comment on...I say do it for you, and for your family...

Pat said...

Jules, I agree, it appears that many are losing focus on why we sb, I do it to preserve my memories, not to be published in the newest magazine.

I rarely do a layout with just one picture, most of mine have several pictures about an event or piece of our life.

I too admire the works that are published, but that is not my style.

Thank you for posting this.


Shar said...

Here, here, Jules. With so many comments already posted, I will just say ditto...with one minor addition.

In the publications' quest for the perfect layout, i.e., artistic design, embellishment, and heartfelt journaling, they have somehow forgotten a little thing known as "spelling"! The biggest issue to me is how many of these "perfect" layouts are published with INCORRECT SPELLING! Of all the many layouts I've submitted for publication (I finally gave up having never been accepted), it really bugs me to see glaringly obviously misspellings in scrapbooking magazines on what would otherwise really be a Perfect Layout.