2013 Scrapbook Expo and the Commercialization of Crafting

Over the weekend I attended the 2013 Scrapbook Expo held in Santa Clara.  It was my first time attending.  Now to be honest, I am not a scrapbooker, but I am a cardmaker, and I was eager to learn new things and see some new gadgets and tools.  I had registered for four workshops over the two days.  I had wanted to take even more classes, but time and money would not permit.

The first class was how to make a napkin fold card by the Rubber Cafe.  Making the card involved a lot of scoring and folding.  It was like an origami class as Melissa, the instructor, walked us through each step.  We each ended up with an impressive-looking card, but if you look closely, I need to bone up on my scoring skills, as I pressed too hard on some of the fold lines.

handmade napkin fold card 1

handmade napkin fold card 2

handmade napkin fold card 3

We also made a gift card holder.

handmade gift card holder

The second class was taught by Mon Ami Gabby, and we learned how to make a variety of scrapbook embellishments using the company’s materials.  We made flowers and bows.

Mon Ami Gabby handmade scrapbooking embellishments

(There was an extra bow that I attempted to make, but totally botched it).

The third class was for making a Dream On mini album using a Button Farm Club kit.  Even though I am not a scrapbooker, I’ve always admired those elaborately decorated mini scrapbook albums that appear in magazines and wanted to try my hand at creating one.  We worked on only two pages of the album in class and had to finish the rest at home. Here’s my completed album, ready for photos:

Button Farm Club Dream On mini album

The fourth workshop was a how-to on getting organized by the ScrapRack.  The class was very interesting, but a lot of it didn’t apply to me, as it was geared mostly towards scrapbookers.  But the instructor, Tiffany, did a great job teaching, incorporating scientific findings on how our brain works to come up with an organizational system that our brains can follow, which can be adapted and applied to other situations.

I also attended the vendor show.  One booth that really caught my eye was the Heartfelt Creations one.  There were cards displayed that were made using their stamps and dies.  Most of them had three dimensional floral designs, which looked life-like.  A young lady from the company demonstrated how the flowers were made.

Heartfelt Creations floral card 1

Heartfelt Creations hydrangea card

Heartfelt Creations floral card 2

Heartfelt Creations floral and vellum card

The photos don’t really do the cards justice, as you need to see the cards in person to see all the details.  I’ve seen a lot of handmade cards over the years, so a lot of them are ho-hum to me, but these cards really jumped out.

My overall feelings about Scrapbook Expo?  I enjoyed my time there, especially participating in the workshops, so I plan to be back next year.  I have a much better idea of what types of classes to register for in the future.  The whole expo experience, however, did make me pause and think about the commercialization of the crafting industry.

While I love to craft and make cards and love the ease with which today’s crafters can create with an arsenal of tools and supplies only once dreamed about, seeing all the latest tools and gadgets can be overwhelming, especially for someone whose basic craft supplies are paper, scissors, and glue.  There’s something so elemental about creating with these basic supplies that are available to everyone, that somehow all the gadgets and pre-made doodads available to today’s crafter seems like cheating a bit.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for using tools to take shortcuts for making our lives easier, especially given today’s busy lifestyles where crafting is often times done on the fly.  I use them myself.  But with the commercialization of the crafting industry, with new supplies and materials coming out everyday, crafting has become another excuse to spend, spend, spend.  People are encouraged to buy the latest and greatest, and are made to feel as if the only way to create is with all the latest gadgets.  It’s gotten so out of hand, and people have gotten so overwhelmed with product, that there are now classes on how to get rid of the clutter and get organized (see above).  People craft because it’s fun and relaxing, not because they want to clutter up their homes with more stuff.

While I’m happy that there has been a resurgent interest in making things by hand, it’s nice to go back to the basics every once in awhile.  It’s fun to make something with just basic supplies; it forces you to be more creative, and you can truly say that you made it with your own hands.  Try it some time, and see what you come up with :0)

How do you feel about the crafting industry and the commercialization of crafting?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

(Please note:  I have not been given anything or have been paid by any company in exchange for the opinions expressed in this blog post.  These are my own honest opinions).

About Serena Y Lee

Serena worked in the biotech industry for 18 years before leaving to pursue her life purpose – to live in freedom with creativity and simplicity. Her love for baking, creativity, and story-telling compelled her to start blogging to share her ideas with a wider audience.

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