Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scrapbooking and writing

Over a decade ago, when my daughter was in Girl Scouts, her troop held a scrapbooking party. Parents were invited to attend and we each were to bring a few photos. It was hosted by Creative Memories, one of the first companies to produce not only scrapbooking materials, but to hire artistic people to help you do something prettier with your pictures than slap them on a page and write the names of the people underneath.

Kate (my daughter) and I had so much fun we got hooked. I prefer regular-sized notebooks and plastic sleeves, however, not the larger scrapbooks that many choose to use. I document all the important events in our lives, clipping articles out of the newspaper (my husband is not only an artist, but also a theatre director, so his name is often in the paper), saving documents (awards, hospital wristbands, ticket stubs), as well as photos of places we've been and people we love.

With all this, comes journaling. Did you know "journal" has become a verb? It's the act of making a written record of each item. Of telling the story behind it. Sometimes its a line or two, other times its a full page story. This non-fiction writing is an important part of the scrapbooking concept. Not only the artistic placement of photos on a page (which I'm not very good at), but the telling of the story (which I can do quite well) is important. The two forms work together to give the complete picture because, let's face it, not all our pictures are worth a thousand words.

When telling these stories, it's important to keep the future in mind. Someday someone will pick up this scrapbook, open it and look at pictures of people who are strangers to them. They will wonder, "Why keep this piece of ribbon in this book? What is it's significance? Who would care about this?"

And your stories will answer that question. Through your words, you make those future viewers/readers understand you and your times. The details you add, the point of view that is uniquely yours, the style with which you write -- all these add up to give them insights into your life and times.

(The picture is of a page I did from out trip to Alaska. The trip took 13 days and the initial plan was for one 1.5" notebook for land and one for the sea portion of our trip. I'm still scrapbooking this trip; the first notebook was big enough for the first four days. Oops!)

Ready to give it a whirl?


Choose a small set of photos. If they're digital, think about printing them out, or you can use one of several online programs that allow you to keep them in the cloud (I'm old-fashioned. All my scrapbooks are hardcopy).

Mount the pictures - be artistic or not as you choose. Believe me, I'm not the one to teach photo placement or design of the page. That's my daughter's area (she now works at Michael's as a scrapbook consultant - see where that one-day workshop led?). Arrange them as you would illustrations of a story.

Then write that story. Remember, you still want to show the event, not tell it. Make the future viewers feel what you felt. Help them to smell the smells, hear the sounds -- they can see the sights in the pictures, so concentrate on the other senses.

Above all, have fun. This is your chance to write history!



Lynn LaFleur said...

I started scrapbooking in 2005. Love it! I've recently started making cards and love that too.


Diana Hunter said...

My daughter just gave a class in cardmaking...wish you were closer, we could take her next one!