Sunday, 16 March 2014

Creating ' Me ' scrapbooking pages

Tattoos of Memories (IRL scrapbooking page
from 2009 - I doodled the gold swirls on by
hand with a gold pen.
I use scrapbooking (and now digital scrapbooking) like a personal journal. I hate filling out diaries - they are just not my thing - but I love creating art journals or arty scrapbooking pages. At first, it was really difficult to do 'me' pages.

For most of my eight years or so of scrapbooking it was very, very rare. I hated photographs of myself and couldn't work out why anyone would want to do a 'me' page.

And then, in 2009,  I found that I could use scrapbooking pages to spill my feelings out onto during a crisis point in my life. I used to find it really difficult to talk about what I felt and to even know what feeling I was experiencing - it was like a loud noisy mess in my head, and I couldn't separate them out.

When I was really down I would pull out the camera and take shot after shot of attempts to smile. Sometimes that was really difficult - and took about eight or ten shots before I was able to relax my face enough into a natural looking smile. After I got out of that depressive cycle, then I could use the photos I had taken to create a scrap page. It was almost like something good had come out of feeling so bad.

I realised that I could take 'selfies' and delete any pictures I didn't like. I found that there was a side I liked to be taken from, and because my digi camera has a swivel screen, I could see what I was taking.

Grief 2009 IRL scrapbooking page
I spent alot of time crying on the end of my
bed with my teddy bear, so I took some pics of that and
scrapped it. It actually helped to deal with what was
going on. The little bird is hand stitched.
I would have periods of colour and brightness, and then a string of black backgrounds and black, black, black layouts.

At first too, I hid my journaling. But after a while, I realised that I could share my journaling, as long as it was broad enough to capture what I felt, but not actually providing any details. I could bleed out onto my scrapbooking pages. During 2010 I found this very helpful.

And then, the online scrapbooking community reached out to me. At first, I was shocked. I didn't realise that some of the stuff I was dealing with happened to other people - I always thought I was different and all alone, and because I'd never been game enough to share my feelings with anyone else IRL, I had no idea that this would be the case.

In 2010 the Black Period happened. I couldn't create any page without it having a black background. At first I struggled with this. Black just wasn't fashionable in 2010, but page after page kept coming out black. Plus, I loved bright colours, and not being able to use them frustrated me. Finally I decided to go with it and continue to enter comps with my black pages. The site I was with then were very friendly, easy to use, and comps that were not too rigid. I actually won a prize with a black page during this period (Kookaburra 2010). The pages weren't all as personal as some that are here - some
2009 'Lost' - still afraid to use black, I produced this page
where I wondered what had happened to this girl (me
as a teenager)
were flower pages, or bird pages and one was of my cousinette - but they were very black! And then, after weeks and months of black pages, I was finally able to create colourful pages again. Bliss!

For the first time in my life, I began to respect myself as a person, and after the Black Period I was keen to create pages of myself and about what I did and who I was and what I thought. I really felt like it was time to get to know myself and what sort of person I was. I used scrapbooking for that.

And I've continued with that up to today. And I've found myself in this way. And I'm learning new things about myself still as well.

Of course, the darkness still comes to visit now and then, but its way shorter and less drowning.

After my Nan died last year (at age 98) it seemed that I was more able to deal with her passing and all the things that happened around that, because of my earlier experiences. Plus, I'd never really lost someone I truly loved before. For a while, all my pages were about Nan and my feelings for her. Mind you, there were moments of despair and darkness, but I used alot of different methods of getting through - talking to her outloud, painting her, writing memories I had of her, and even doing things I knew Nan would have liked.

Do I recommend others do 'me' pages? I suppose I do. But I don't say everyone has to. It worked for me and is still working as an outlet for me. I have so much more control over how a page will look artistically with digital scrapbooking, that I am able to go much further than I could with IRL scrapping. But we are all different. 

PS I should point out that there were lots of pages in my Black Period - it did go for months - far more than I have shared here.

2010 Starlight - part of my Black Period - I used photos of
myself to create the starburst. The black paper in the
background is black plastic wrapping paper from the
florist. I used lots and lots of it.

2010 Practising Smiling
One of the many pages that used pictures I had taken
of me in one of those downer moods. I had felt like S#@!
at the time, but was then able to create a me page
later, so it felt like something good had come out of it.

2010 The Forest
Another from the Black Period - those crows are Fleur
de Lys from patterned paper. The stars are stamped on,
and the gnarly tree branches are drawn on with a
white pen,. See - very dark page! I got very attached
to my white pen during this period.

2010 Kookaburra. I wont a prize for this page. This was
during the Black Period - I used bubblewrap to create
the circles with paint and then outlined them with a white
pen. The doodle border is created by hand and
coloured in with the white pen. Something good can
come out of a dark period in my life.



  1. I find your black pages very artsy and eye-catching. Scrapbooking isn't about trends. It is about documenting your life...the way you like. Glad that you are taking selfies.:)

    P/s: I scrapbook about myself, about my travels and the food I eat. I think it would be great if people came to my funeral and look at my scrapbook albums to celebrate the life I've lived.

  2. Thanks Yyam. I often wish I could plaster an art gallery with scrapbooking pages just like I do artwork - it feels to same to me, but when I say I "scrapbook" people imagine a gluestick, some photos and some kind of old fashioned paper book. Now that I say I digi scrap they only imagine a computer!


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