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September 01, 2006



I think changing your focus...
"So instead of beating my head against every magazine and manufacturer's door for more ethnic products, I’ve set my sights on introducing minority communities to the world of scrapbooking and preserving their family memories."
...will yield better results for several reasons.

The industry needs more consumers, not more products. Consumers with an immigration history (free or forced) have more of a story to tell than most. Manufacturers will listen to a group of consumers with an established presence.

You can't please all the people all the time, and Manufacturers know that. So they go "generic", and that's a good thing. Their products make it easy for anyone to scrap. I'd much rather see numerous coordinated lines -- and multiple, feasible, practical ways to use it -- than one line pigeon-holed for one type of consumer.

If I could convince a manufacturer to make a product that I could relate to doesn't mean I would like it enough to purchase it and use it in my albums.

I'd like to see a manufacturer work WITH the system, for example, design specific, individual SKUs like stickers and embellishments that coordinate with popular, accessible lines (Spanish phrases or AA faces that coordinate with Chatterbox rooms or Doodlebug lines.)

Besides, scrapbookers have many traditional ways to individualize their pages. The greatest way is through journaling. How empowering it is to put YOUR OWN words to your pages...and much easier than waiting for an industry to produce something that makes everyone happy.


I agree that finding ethnic themed products can be a challenge. Like Lisa I have paper pieced many of my own embellishments or converted existing products to fit my needs. It would be wonderful to see even more diverse products that enhance our scrapbook pages.


I agree with Lisa, that there are only a smigden of multicultural products out there. It would be wonderful to see more cultures represented and celebrated all year round, not just during certain holidays or when it's trendy. It would be nice to see diversity in an industry that I have grown to enjoy and love.

Sarah Hodsdon

This is such an insightful article. I personally am not a person of color (other than flaming red after looking at the sun....wink...). This being said, I teach many inner city children and those in the foster care system scrapbooking, artistic journaling, mixed media and rubber stamping on a volunteer basis. It is so difficult for my "kids" to create their story- they simply have a hard time using materials that don't fit their cultural background. This goes for all crafting materials as a whole (scrapping, stamping, mixed media, fabrics, books and DVD's etc....). I don't understand why the industry has not embraced the diversity of those who scrap and stamp more readily. I have begged companies to create more "ethnic" (and I use this term very loosely simply because I don't have a better word) materials. I have kids that want to talk about their roots (African American, Latin American, Asian American and Indian American....you can go on) and they feel as if nobody cares to hear their story.... think about it, if they did, they would have more variety of materials for them to use right? I personally think that scrapbooking and artistic journaling is a valuable tool for people to work through their issues and define who they are and who they are becoming. If I could share but a glimpse of what some of these kids go through, the raw emotion and hurt they write about, it would bring you to tears. I have taught many of my students how to carve their own stamps, their own symbols and I teach them how to make their own background papers for their projects. It has empowered many to share their voice through their art.

I taught at the Mega Meet here in Michigan back in May and we shared a booth with a company called Grassroots (http://www.grassrootscreative.com/grassrootscreative/home.html). I was impressed with the fact that many of their papers represented various ethnic groups and each had a brief mention about where the designs were derived for. I thought to myself then that it was an awesome way to introduce culture to school kids.....

Awesome thread.....


Sarah Hodsdon


For ethnic scrapbooking check out www.folkimpressions.com Currently has authentic Polish and Ukrainian scrapbook paper. Will be expanding to cover other other cultures.

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