There’s this interesting phenomenom I’ve noticed in the craft world that really surprises me. Actually, a couple.
The one I noticed first is the really bizarre desire out there to replicate. Now I find this really odd and noticed it mostly when I was into scrapbooking. When people scrapbooked something, they made sure to list every single thing they used and quite specifically too. Such and such brad from such and such company from such and such line in such and such color and style. And I remember that it got to the point where if you were interested in having your work published, this could really make or break your entry. Totally crazy, right? And then I saw it at work. I have never been a fan of Local Scrapbook Stores (LSS). Their selection simply pales to what I can get online and the ones I go to down here have an intense cliquey feeling to them. SO weird. But I’ve been in there a couple of times and once the owner was chatting with me because there was no one else in the store and I surprised her by asking about some very new line of merchandise. She basically told me that she has clients who would come into her store with a magazine and point at a layout and say, “I want this layout. What do I need?” She would then use the list of supplies at the bottom of the layout and try her best to match everything. Cardstock, patterned papers, brads, ribbons, etc. This struck me as completely and totally bizarre. I would think that someone going through the trouble of constructing something would want to also create something. Construct and create are different. And it’s not the same as “scraplifting” where one is inspired by a layout done by another and perhaps uses the same layout but with a completely different design to it- different color scheme, different subject matter, different supplies, essentially a different layout altogether but with similar placement ideas. Does this make sense?
Anyways, I got really tired and annoyed with the scrapbooking industry. Everything was boring to me. If there was a “new” idea out there, it was instantly replicated and “interpreted” everywhere! Stores, vendors, publishers, etc all use the exact same scrapbookers over and over and over again. I think the pinnacle of my frustration was when one of my FAVORITE stores hosted its own contest for design team members to add to its team. It was the most disappointing thing ever. Entries looked so similar and everything I found unique or different was pretty much a mark of doom- it would not proceed to the next round. I’ll give you an example of how tedious this became. In one of the later rounds of the contest when supposedly really talented and orginal girls are all that’s left, there were about six or seven layouts submitted that ALL featured a photo cut in a circle and outlined in flowers. What made it sadder? About half proceeded to the next round.
The immediate reaction seems to be “Well get out there and make something different. Show them!” But there is such complete resistance to new things in that industry that really, “new” ideas only emerge when new products are released. There is also this really bizarre panic in the industry about acid and such things. Which, ok I get it. You want things to be preserved. But really now. Don’t you just LOVE opening old albums and books? Inhaling that scent of old? Of history? And really, we’re just buying into some claims of these things preserving better because of whatever material they have or don’t have. In the end, nothing lasts a thousand years. Things are precious because they are delicate, fleeting, fragile. That’s when they are treasured.
Anyways, I really veered off topic there. The funny thing is this. I have picked up a couple of new hobbies lately to keep my brain fresh and supple unlike me 😉 ATC’s are great because really they help me realize that they are what i need to do with my scrapbooking. Just make art. Forget the rest. But there’s also knitting. Now, with knitting it’s been interesting. First of all, there is this delicious sense of newness all of the time. New patterns are everywhere every freaking day. And yet imagine my shock the other day to find the same craving for exact replication. I have read some reviews recently of knitting books and patterns and such where the authors complain that they can no longer find the yarn the book mentions and so they will not be able to make the same thing. Or people complain the yarn is too expensive that they would NEVER purchase such yarn. Ok is there something wrong with me here? Does it really, truly matter that much to use the same yarn? To exactly duplicate what the author has presented as what really is nothing more than, a sample? Ironically enough, growing up the only “craft” around me is the one that eludes me today- sewing. My grandmother was/is an AMAZING seamstress. And part of the thing was yes you bought a pattern but you had to see BEYOND the pattern. This halloween witch dress would make a fantastic angel robe. We just need to find different colors and patterns and maybe change the sleeves to something more romantic. The patterns told you what TYPE of fabric and how many but they didn’t say, “Buy this fabric from this maker in this color.” It was kind of a given, you know? Just do your own thing. I guess then what confuses me is that I tend to think crafts attract creative people. And I guess that I seem to think, apparently wrongly, that creative people have a built-in need to create something unique. Even when it applies to something practical. I see it all the time with socks. Those ladies who knit sock after sock. They still have fun with it and improvise and change this or that. There is no real frustration that it doesn’t look JUST LIKE THE ONE IN THE PATTERN.
This is long. Very long. Excuse my complete ramblings. I’m just confused by what I think is this interesting other type of crafter. There was another topic I meant to dive into but no way. Not now. This mind is tired. 😉