Friday, 25 September 2015

Why Scrapbook?

Be ready for a long post …

Susan Tucker – “Katherine Oh, Patricia Buckler, The Scrapbook in American Life”:
“Why scrapbook? To hold on, to narrate, to select and edit self, to construct identity, cultural moment, family history. To witness and to honor. It becomes “hidden history,” unofficial history.
To collect, document, write: becomes “an act against the fluidity, chaos, and dissembled nature of life.” There’s a “comfort” in holding on, documenting, pasting in, and sometimes sharing the scrapbook.”

When my mother died in 2002, I decided it was really important to tell her story. She came from an Italian family and as an only child who moved to Australia when I was 3, I didn’t know my maternal family. My own children asked about her background and I chose to make sure her history was kept alive. Luckily, my father was able to provide me with information about both himself and my mother which I recorded. Firstly I did the writing thing – boring! And then I discovered ‘scrapbooking’.
Shortly after, I began to record my own life through scrapbooks, my father’s life, my children’s lives. And so this has grown over the past 13 years.

The reasons to keep a scrapbook are many, and each person chooses to record their lives through various means – Handcrafted Albums, Smash Books, Digital Scrapbooking, Pocket Pages etc

So let’s look at the main reasons to scrapbook (and in this I also mean all forms of recording with photos, journalling and other embellishments) -

1: Sharing your story through scrapbooking to share with future generations. 
Think back... what do you remember about your grandparents? How amazing would it be to be able to flip through a book to see a day in their lives? Now think forward... wouldn't it mean a lot to your family to be able to ‘experience’ your/their life in 2015? The photos, the journalling, the ephemera and memorabilia (tickets, brochures, programmes and all the mementoes you wish to include) to provide a visual prompt of what life was like. When you scrapbook, you preserve your unique stories for future generations to enjoy long after you're gone.

2: Photos hold no lasting value when words are not attached. 
When my father died, 10 years after my mother, our family found hundreds of photos in old albums and boxes. There were so many to delve through and most of them had nothing written on them so we didn’t know dates, names, places, events. Where are your photos? Albums, boxes, in a drawer somewhere, on your computer, phone, hard drive or even online photo storage. The journalling is such a big feature of scrapbooking, it keeps the photos meaningful for those who view them later on down the track. It presents ‘The Story’ and reminders of a life lived. 

3: Sharing your story through scrapbooking will mean a lot to your life now. 
Because it supports to you take time to record the experiences in your life, scrapbooking is the perfect way for you to see your life as the precious thing it really is. Scrapbooking reinforces the importance of your experiences, milestones, , helping you gain a greater appreciation for the people and events around you. It's impossible to ‘miss’ life because during the process you are actually living and re-living it as you create your photographic keepsakes. 

4: It can help you develop and sustain an attitude of gratitude. 
Scrapbooking is a very positive process. It allows you to be grateful for the wonderful events you share in your lives. As you travel through the fast paced world, it is easy to lose track of the joy you have in your loved ones, pets, travels, events or everyday living. A scrapbook provides the opportunity to reflect with gratefulness. It also allows sharing of the ‘not so wonderful’ times, but with a different perspective on it. It allows us to grieve, rant, laugh, cry, reflect, remember, express whatever emotion comes up. A reflective, healthy outlets as life presents its ups and downs. 

5: Scrapbooking is a fun, creative outlet. 
Studies have shown the physical and emotional health benefits of creativity in our lives. Scrapbooking is a very individual process. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It is a personal journey where the end result is a graphic representation of your life. Whilst on that journey you can ‘play’ with all sorts of creative processes, all sorts of creative ‘mess’ with papers, paints, paste mediums, stamps, embellishments, pens, pencils, crayons, punches – an endless supply of things to ‘get your hands dirty’.
It is also an opportunity to connect with like-minded others who share a common passion, and there is something special about that connection, whether it be at a get-together or through online communication. 

6: It’s a great way to relax. 

Scrapbooking can be a problem solving process where your creativity can blossom but it can also provide an outlet, an escape, an avenue to sit and relax while you explore and play. It provides an opportunity to take yourself into another world when you sit at a table and create a page, an album  - put on some of your favourite music and escape into your paper creations.

So, this is my perspective about why scrapbook. It is a personal, individual and unique journey - and it is a journey as you develop your own style of recording. Trends change, tools change, products change and so will the way that you create.  You will also look back and reflect on how things have changed in relation to how you actually produce your pages and albums and what was going on for you at the time. 

I hope it has helped you reflect on why you scrapbook and also choose to take it up if you have been thinking about it.

I would love to hear your comments on your view of scrapbooking and creating your memories in a visual form!

Till next time ...

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