Guest Post : Scrapbooking Comes Of Age by Stacy Julian


Is it time for a personal revolution?

We all know that our world’s economy and more particularly the world of work have progressed through eras that have defined the way we live.

As a global economy, we are in the midst of the change from knowledge-based work to emotional work—work that comes from our very core and leverages our passion, caring and generosity.

I’m totally intrigued by the idea that our scrapbooking industry has followed a similar pattern of progression. Please know that this comparison is given in the spirit of fun (I totally made this up.) I had a blast thinking about this and writing it. I hope it will be a FUN read for you –I’d love to hear your thoughts!


We use film in our cameras, develop what we take and scrapbook what we develop. All pictures (because they represent a measurable investment) are valuable. Waste is abhorred. Creative decisions are based largely on the archival quality of available products. Resources are limited, so everything is new.


An industry grows up around our need for better products and more choice. We are introduced to tools that generate something usable from something ready available (think die cut machines.) The goal is to get pages done so we can catch up with our backlog of prints. Magazines help us manufacture “creative” memories by propagating ideas and promoting techniques and products.


The digital camera and the Internet change everything.

We can capture an image and immediately see how to make it better. Without the limitations of film and developing, we quickly become photojournalists, drastically increasing the number of pictures we need to manage. As we gain access to unlimited information and online sharing we become more aware of skillful, complex and aesthetic scrapbooking. Products and services explode in response to a seemingly insatiable consumer.


Surrounded by surplus (pictures + products) and faced with advancing technologies that seem to challenge old paradigms, we discover that value is found in unique perspective and that the cure for excess is authentic expression. Scrapbookers who do the emotional work of bringing themselves fully to the creative process are able to sustain their passion, excavate the stories that matter and find gratitude and clarity for daily living.

ABOUT STACY : As founder of education at Big Picture Scrapbooking and Ali’s friend, I’m eager to promote a scrapbooking philosophy that is inclusive of everyone, supportive of those just starting out and story-based. You can read more of my views at

One more thing … if you haven’t read Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, I highly recommend it. Ideas for this post came pouring in, as I was reading!

47 thoughts

  1. Heather Wartenburg

    2010-03-25 09:58:44 -0400

    Believe it or not this article made me cry. I guess I'm just more emotional right now with recently losing my father. However, I am LOM alumni and have been a fan for years, but this is exactly where I am right now I just didn't know how to put it into words. Thanks Stacy for writing this article and helping define this new age. Huge Hugs!

  2. PattiP

    2010-03-25 10:31:28 -0400

    Wow, Stacy, interesting progression!

  3. Sally Paxton

    2010-03-25 10:42:02 -0400

    I love the comparisons. As with everything else we do, the photos greatly enhanced the words. Well done. And adorable!

  4. Marilyn

    2010-03-25 12:28:19 -0400

    Ali - I am enjoying the guest posts each day. What a great way to keep me coming back each day to read what your guests have to say.
    Stacy - You are a remarkable writer! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your written words and it made me take a moment to reflect on my life, how I scrapbook, and what is important to me that I feel is inecessary to document. I have evolved as a scrapbooker but more importantly I have learned that I am an artist.

  5. dawn

    2010-03-25 13:49:12 -0400

    This is a brilliant analogy!

  6. Alison

    2010-03-25 14:08:51 -0400

    This is a brilliant post, and so thought provoking. An interesting read for sure. Thanks for sharing Ali and Stacy.

  7. Jing-Jing

    2010-03-25 14:19:46 -0400

    What does it mean to "bring oneself fully to the creative process?"

  8. Bev

    2010-03-25 14:59:30 -0400

    I am a History buff and old enough 73 to have "been there" through some of the above. I know what you have said makes clearer the thought processes are from all of the above including me. We are going through, with your honest interpretation of the process of emotional scrapping and technology, and growing. Change happens, is good, and we need it in our lives to help us grow into who we were born to be. Thank you because your philosphy is so freeing and mind clearing. Thank you Stacy. Keep searching and telling us where you are, please :-). We appreciate you!

  9. stacyj

    2010-03-25 15:05:13 -0400

    This can mean something different depending on the page or project you are working on, but with scrapbooking, this essentially means you are willing to dig deep and tell the story you most need to tell and to make that story the driving force behind your decisions -- you're story doesn't need to be some earth-shattering revelation. It can be light-hearted and fun. When story is your motivation then you will experience an intrinsic satisfaction with the creative process and you will need less outside validation or recognition for what you do.
    These are my thoughts (tonight anyway!)
    Thanks for your comment.

  10. Lenea

    2010-03-25 17:39:30 -0400

    how fun, great job on your post Stacey

  11. Bea Medwecky

    2010-03-25 18:26:25 -0400

    inspirational as always.

  12. ommu

    2010-03-25 19:16:43 -0400

    You just described my path at scrapbooking! Wow!

  13. stacyj

    2010-03-25 19:38:43 -0400

    I'm sorry about your father. That's a tough one. But it is at crossroads such as this that we are often poised to shift into emotional work.
    Thank you for your comment.

  14. stacyj

    2010-03-25 19:40:09 -0400

    thank you for your thoughtful comment. photos are no longer scare, but as you suggest, thoughtful personal perspective still is!

  15. stacyj

    2010-03-25 19:41:34 -0400

    Thank you Jana -- your favorite pages are the kind I love the most too!

  16. kathy jo camacho

    2010-03-25 23:13:03 -0400

    Love it! I love the evolution that you described. It's so true.

  17. Leora

    2010-03-26 00:47:42 -0400

    Thanks Stacy. What great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  18. TracyBzz

    2010-03-26 05:29:25 -0400

    Great post Stacy! It is an evolution and we have to change our thoughts and perspective as the technology evolves.

  19. Cynthia H

    2010-03-26 06:26:43 -0400

    I think it is interesting to think about how art changes in the face of excess. Are we able to do more because of the sheer volume of product available to us? Or are we stagnated because there is so much choice?
    I took a quilting class last fall with Paula Nadelstern who is someone who has created amazing art under the premise of excess. She does not quilt with scraps (as was the tradition and necessity in a time of scarcity), but rather takes large pieces of fabric and cuts out the elements that are repeated to make a kaleidoscope effect. Her quilts (and art) would not have been possible in a time of scarcity.
    How does this apply to scrapbooking, a craft whose very name implies the use of scraps and therefore scarcity? Do we seek out something that is still scarce - the emotional component - as you suggest in your post? Or do we create something that wasn't possible in a time of scarcity? What would that be?
    I don't have the answers, but just wanted to throw the idea out there as something to ponder.

  20. Jill D

    2010-03-26 09:04:19 -0400

    I've been thinking about this post all day and the paper I wrote for graduate school (or maybe undergrad?) about women's craft and how it was both utilitarian but also a form of art. Interesting.

  21. sue

    2010-03-26 11:08:10 -0400

    Interesting theory Stacy! I think there have been many progressive movements in the industry and like most of them. I do have to admit that most of those old 'film' photos are very cherished memories as we didn't have a digital camera when our kids were growing up. Now we have one to capture our grandchildren!

  22. iUma

    2010-03-26 16:10:55 -0400

    Stacy, I love your notes and wild mind!! Just order the book to use in a college class I'll be teaching this spring term. The whole concept of emotional work is the basis for the new blog posting I am doing at Digital Designers. It's called PageKraft:WriteTrue + Click. We focus on deep story and truth telling. Katrina Kennedy does the Click part about photos that get to the depth of the memory. Thank you for all you do for our art, Kraft, process and memories. You are a true original and definitely at LinchPIN!!

  23. Margaret McGarry

    2010-03-27 03:17:41 -0400

    "The cure for excess is authentic expression." SO TRUE! I love all of this. Thank you for writing it, Stacy. Thanks for posting it, Ali.

  24. RScrapIT

    2010-03-27 09:59:37 -0400

    "....sustain their passion, excavate the stories that matter and find gratitude and clarity for daily living." This is why I keep scrapping even though lots of my friends have quit. It is good for me, it helps me count my blessings and see the bigger picture in life instead of drowning in the mundane tasks of life.

  25. Susanne

    2010-03-27 10:05:50 -0400

    Dear Stacy,
    I love the idea of "emotional scrapbooking" and "that the cure for excess is authentic expression".
    When reading your book of "photo freedom" I found my own way of storing and presenting photos and the my scrapbooking approach.
    Thanks so much for all your good inspirations at any time!

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