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What Is Scrapbooking ?
Submitted : August 2005 by Alison McGregor

A number of years ago, scrapbooks were usually little more than clippings from newspapers, snippets of hair and baby announcements. There were "wedding albums" and "baby books" and some family treasures stowed in albums. To some, that will always be the definition of a scrapbook. A scrapbook, you see, means different things to different people. And they are all right.

In our Digital Scrapbooking Neighbourhood we won't define what a scrapbook should be for you. But we will show you what it is to others, hoping to help you develop your own purpose and style and we will inform you of products, tools, stores, and services.

As you come to know our members and study their work, you'll see unique and varied styles: some have lots of journaling, some have none, some use a simplified style, others a complex approach. Some scrapbookers keep their layouts in neat, catalogued binders, while others showcase their work on living room walls. Some people just keep beautiful pages in their brains (and as a good Neighbour, we want to help them get those out where the rest of us can see them).

In the weeks and months to come, you'll see there is room for everyone here in the Neighbourhood.

There is, however, one thing that all good scrapbook pages do: they tell a story. And for us, that is the heart of scrapbooking. It is storytelling at a precious, personal level. It is organizing moments of the past so they have meaning for future generations. It is a recognition that events make up lives, and it is a celebration of living. Embodied in every scrapbook page is a celebration of life, a moment or moments captured that are especially unique to a person or family. Scrapbookers today are preserving yesterday for tomorrow.

A scrapbook is also a ticket to a special community. Go into any scrapbook store any day nearly anywhere, and you'll find friends and neighbours in workshops, searching aisles of specialty papers and cardstock, and examining new pens, stickers and scissors. And if you want to observe this community electrified, attend a scrapbook convention.

Observe for a moment and you will see that this whole scrapbooking phenomenon is remarkably social. Chatty or thoughtful, the scrapbookers are looking for ways and tools to tell their stories better. They actively help, teach and suggest to each other unique ideas and new methods, tips and tricks for improving scrapbooks and the experience. Whether the layouts spring to life in quiet basements or erupt at raucous cropping parties, they are a product of this community.

So, though scrapbooks are all about storytelling, they are also about being a part of a community.

We believe that it's no accident that most scrapbookers are women. Sensitive to relationships, women connect readily with the past and the present - hence the desire to preserve the past for the future, to weave webs of memories through time to hearts 5, 10, or 20 years from now. Memories, they intuitively understand, shape our family's and our individual perceptions of the present.


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