Editor's Note: Ms. Sanford is an accomplished scrapbooker, author, designer and advocate within the scrapbooking industry, particularly in reference to diversity-focused issues. You can learn more about her at her blog, ethnicscrapbooking.typepad.com.
I created my first school days scrapbook in 2nd grade and the next project was the challenge of scrapbooking over 2,000 photographs taken in Africa. When I sat down to scrapbook my sister’s first trip to the “motherland” and I was faced with the fact that there were very, VERY, few ethnic products on the market. I was forced to paper-piece items together to embellish my layouts.
I quickly came to find out that many other African-American scrapbookers felt my pain and I began teaching other scrappers how to create their own designs too. Thank goodness a couple of manufacturers heard my cries and produced a smidgen of multi-cultural products. So instead of beating my head against every magazine and manufacturers door for more ethnic products, I’ve set my sights on introducing minority communities to the world of scrapbooking and preserving their family memories. Most recently, I’ve expanded my creating and teaching to including cultural flair in all types of paper craft projects. I think everyone can be inspired to celebrate cultural diversity, the good of life, family and community. Anyone can add cultural flair to scrapbook projects regardless of their race, ethnicity, or nationality.
After teaching scrapbooking nationwide, I’ve come to the realization that most scrapbookers are like me…they have tons of “event” photographs…they have little time to devote to scrapbooking …and they want their pages to be personalized. I’m just looking for a way to move my photographs from the shoebox (or computer) to an album. I look in magazines and idea books to visualize my own photos on the layouts.
Although my focus is to constantly teach my children about our own culture and to appreciate the differences of other cultures. I noticed that many scrapbookers already add cultural flair to their pages just by reflecting their own lifestyles, but it would be nice if there were cultural specific products or ideas. I believe multi-cultural products are appropriate year round and survive any “fashion trend” that comes along, because it’s the cultural aspect of our lives that survives for generations.
I haven’t been to one person’s home where I haven’t seen an artifact, textile, food or piece of art that wasn’t reflective of their ethnicity or of their travel’s abroad. Ethnic culture is a part of everyone’s life on a daily basis and I don’t see why any company wouldn’t want to be a part of the consistent sales that culturally inspired products could eventually bring.
Lisa's article examines how she 'shares the passion' of scrapbooking within her community. Have you found a way to share your passion? Do you share the author's thoughts about the need for more culturally-representative products to use in your scrapbooks? We welcome your comments!