I love to scrapbook. Many middle aged women make that proclamation, but most of us are not quite telling the truth.
Under the guise of preserving precious family memories (and we do finish a few pages here and there-just in case anyone starts to get suspicious) we are getting together to laugh and enjoy ourselves.
We go to “crops”-Scrapbooking events that can have middle aged women into the hundreds gathered to hang out together in our pajamas and giggle about anything and everything. We look at each other’s “stash” with envy, get misty-eyed over learning new techniques, or swapping some type of organizational tidbit with each other. We all pack too much, get too little done, and worry about how we are going to sneak it all back into the house without our husbands knowing how much we have.
Scrapbooking isn’t cheap. To those who aren’t hooked yet, it looks like cheap pieces of construction paper, scissors and glue, but that is far, far from reality. Most of us have hundreds, more likely thousands of dollars invested in our fake hobby. You “need” beautiful high-quality paper, and it is adhesive roller guns now, not glue. Embellishments, machines to make embellishments, cartridges to go in the machines to make embellishments, special carrying cases for said machines and cartridges….and as soon as you think you have all that…they come out with a machine that doesn’t take cartridges, requires a monthly membership to get the cut files, or maybe you decide you don’t have time to mess with all that right now (you need it to look like you got a lot done) so you buy some kits.
That’s right, kits. Someone else, for anywhere from $20-$50 designs a page (usually themed to match the crop, so you just “have” to have it. They design the page, put all of the embellishments in a bag with a picture and some instructions, and viola…they are making money off of their hobby (and their insider knowledge of the lust of the must-have latest thing).
It is so hard to not get caught up into it. I can remember telling Arick a few years ago that I just did not understand those pages that people obviously spent so much time on. So many embellishments that there was barely room for one picture on the page. I just did not understand it. Wasn’t the point of scrapbooking to preserve the memories of your family? A glorified photo albums that you put together while visiting friends? Boy was I a novice, lol. That was two craft rooms ago. Those are my FAVORITE layouts and I consider my pages to be art. I paint on them, sew on them, use inks, stamps, flowers, embellishments of every sort.
I started out as the girl who could finish 100 pages at a crop when the girl next to me would finish 5. I fixated my work ethic, my Type A “need” to get the job done into my scrapbooking. I wasn’t having near as much fun as everyone else. My introversion was shining, but I could turn out pages like Lucille Ball working at the chocolate factory. Then I turned 50.
i am not sure what turning 50 has to do with anything, but a shift began to happen within my psyche. I didn’t really give a crap if I finished a bunch of pages or not. I wanted to “feel” what I was doing. I did not want to do kits (never was a fan, almost always made my own). I wanted to look at that beautiful piece of paper and just “know” whose picture the finished project would showcase. I wanted to just sense which embellishments to choose, to intuitively just be inspired by all of the beautiful things that I had around me.
And I wanted to collect things, lol, I still wanted to get that rush of having to have something new. Going to scrapbooking conventions, crops, Expos, going home with bags of papers and glitters and stickers just knowing that now I would be able to create my masterpiece! It is an addiction. My name is Terri, and I am a Tim Holtz ink addict. There, I said it.
Oh my gosh, the inks, the sprays, the heat guns and presses. I fell in love again. I had always secretly loved the mixed media pieces. The ones I mentioned earlier that left your page with barely enough room for a picture, but even more so, the dark lonesome ones. The punk art, the collage, the steam punk. I LOVE it. I just cannot get enough of vintage buttons and watch parts, old lace and beautiful crystals. The black splattered with neon pink. The juxtaposition of it all speaks to my soul.
That’s when I started art journaling. I joined a year-long quest called Everything Art Wanderlust 2017, and have already paid for 2018. This quest introduced me to artists like Finnabair. OMG Ibwant to be her when I grow up! I just love everything about it.
The thing that has most intrigued me and drew me in deeper and deeper into the world of art journaling is the layers. At first the sensible me argued with the process. Why bother to paint the bottom layer pink, if you are going to completely cover that with floral paper, and then completely cover that floral paper with decopaged lace and buttons before adding another coat of another color of paint? What could possibly be the purpose of that? Why waste your time and paint?
I have tried explaining my take on this to a couple of friends who just stare at me, silent and doe-eyed. I don’t know if my communication skills are lacking, or if they simply are not ready yet. We are not peeling back layers to reveal something shiney and new, unless you want to, of course, but using the layers therapeutically. At least that is how I do it.
Good or bad, I express my feelings in my art journal for me, and it really does not matter to me at all if anyone ever understands, because I do it for me. I express inner turmoil and happiness and leave it all on that page. What you see may have nothing to do with what I am first expressing, but it is there, deep within the layers.
An example I recently used with a friend went as follows:
Her husband was being a butt. She wanted to craft to get her mind off her troubles. I suggested art journaling. In her shoes, I would have proceeded in the following fashion.
Draw the biggest, ugliest butt you can imagine on your journal page. A big old hairy, ugly butt. Now name it. Your husband’s name will do, if you see it as fitting. Now take your marker or paintbrush and write a message to that big old ugly butt and tell him whatever in the world you secretly wish you could say. Now look at it, relish in it, cry if you need to, then laugh at it. Laugh because soon, only you will know that it is there.
The next step I suggested was to decide on a color. Any color that made her smile, or cry, or have any other type of emotion that she was ready to feel. Now, set a timer for 5 minutes and run. Find old magazines, scrapbook paper, coloring books, fabric, paint, ink, grab as many things you can find in that color family before your alarm goes off. When it does, go back to your journal. Cut, glue, paste, tear, mix, match, paint, do whatever it takes to give your page a new life. This is a background, it will probably never be seen anyway. Do whatever your hands lead you to do. It does not have to make any sense or have any rhyme or reason. Cover that butt up. It is gone, it is over, and it is covered with craziness that you like, not craziness that you can’t control. It should feel good at this point. Maybe draining, maybe emotional, but there should be a tiny sense of satisfaction and closure.
Sit back a minute, let the glue dry. Leave it for the day, or get started turning it into something that feels happy and beautiful to you. Like flowers? Draw or paint, or decoupage some flowers on it. Use a marker to write a beautiful quote on it. Tear your favorite passage out of a book and glue it down. It is yours now. Make it express your feelings in a way that you wanted them to feel for the day, if it wasn’t for the existence of said butt…then frame it, show it off, brag on it to the butt…tell him he inspired it…only you will ever know about the big ugly butt and what you said to it in layer one…everyone else just sees the beauty that you choose to share.
At least in theory…maybe I am losing my communicative touch…that all sounded kinda weird, and I’m sticking to it…
anywho, I thought I would share a few of my scrapbook pages, art journal pages, mixed media canvases and drawings here, after all, that’s what this site is for, right? (Thank you, Mandi for creating a place for me to share my art and ramblings!)
Also, my art journal was not fat enough to hold my pages, so I cut it apart, added a larger cardboard spine and taped it back together, then made a cover from some leftover fabric I had from upholstering my chairs and made a tie with a piece of ribbon…pictorial of that is included here, in case you need to do the same…all that butt hiding takes up a lot of space, lol-Terri