Today I'm pleased to be a part of a different kind of blog hop -- it's a blog tour, really, continuing from week to week as one crafty blogger tags another. Last week, I was tagged by Amanda Reddicliffe, a brilliant scrapbooker whose pages are full of rich color and lovely details. I'm not quite sure how she does it, but she captures a sense of energy on every one of her pages. Amanda is also a photographer for Scrapbook Creations, and I was so flattered when she asked to interview me for a feature in the magazine a few months ago.
There's also an interview component to this blog hop, as luck would have it. Amanda answered these questions last week, and now it's my turn!
1. What am I working on right now?
I put the final touches on my most recent project yesterday, and it's up on the October Afternoon blog today. Every Monday a member of the design team poses a challenge for the week, and this week, it's my turn! I chose to go with a five-part selfie challenge, extending the idea of a selfie to make it apply to an entire layout, not just a photo. Part of the challenge includes using one's handwriting to create a text-based pattern.
2. How long does it take me to create a project?
The answer to this depends on four "s" words: the supplies at my disposal, the subject matter, my schedule, and self-doubt. The more freedom I have to create a layout about anything, using any supplies that I wish, without worrying about a deadline or whether the final product is meeting someone else's expectations of quality design, the smoother the process will be; however, smoother doesn't always mean quicker. I suppose a layout like that could come together in as little as thirty minutes, if I have a clear focus of where I am going with it, or it could take hours, if I just want to try different things and see where the process takes me. Efficiency does not matter to me; it can actually impede creativity at times.
It's usually the layouts attached to firm deadlines and specific topics that come together more quickly for me, usually in about an hour, maybe because they force me to take a more disciplined approach to what I can include on a page. When it comes to these kinds of layouts, most of the time invested involves generating ideas, gathering supplies, and considering the creative possibilities of different products. Assembling the layout becomes easier once there is a clear sense of direction. Efficiency probably does play a greater role with these layouts, but even though I acknowledge that I may need to pick up the pace at times, I know that I can't force a layout into completion. I still insist that every page have heart. If that means that one hour becomes two hours, then so be it.
3. What are my favorite things to create with at the moment?
4. How does my writing/creating process work?
I talked a bit about my creating process in #2 already, but as for my writing process, it depends largely on the emotional connection I feel to the subject of a layout. The most powerful journaling comes about when something resonates within. For instance, take the journaling on the OA layout mentioned earlier:
I assembled the entire layout, drew the lines for the journaling, and then, realizing that I did not yet have the words to say what I was hoping to say, I walked away from the page for about an hour. That time away made a difference, as my brain began to make associations between the physical products -- the book-themed Public Library collection -- and the focus of the page, a genuine "selfie." I started thinking about books, and how people's lives can be like books...and then I started thinking about life stories...and about books that I hadn't finished, and why...and about people who become comfortable living lives without the story...and then...just like that...I had my idea. A distinct sentence emerged from the muddle in my brain: "I don't want to be a book one abandons upon realizing halfway through that there is no story." I returned to the page and wrote the rest in minutes.
The process doesn't always work this way, but the point is, I accept that there is a process. If there are no words, I don't force the words. I find the words. Had I rushed the journaling and not given myself the time and mental space to let the words come, then my journaling might have been reduced to the act of simply filling the space, scribbling, in effect compromising the meaning and the value of the page.
5. How do I become inspired and stay inspired?
There are a few avenues that I explore whenever I need to jump start my creative thinking. Pinterest has been a godsend, making curators of us all, and teaching us that if you love something, you don't have to let it go. You can pin it. Usually when I am seeking a spark, I take a moment to browse the images in my "Artsy-Craftsy Inspiration" pinboard. That usually does it for me.
I'm also endlessly inspired by my fellow scrapbookers. Being a believer in the adage, "There is nothing new under the sun," I'm in awe of those who have the ability to see with fresh eyes and to enliven their layouts in innovative ways.
Staying inspired is a tall order, but I think it's possible by surrounding myself with words and images that stimulate the senses, and by keeping myself open to the new and the different while also honoring the tried-and-true.
6. What is my signature style?
The "style" question is always the toughest to answer for me. You would think that after all of these years I would be ready for this one.
When it comes to writing, style is basically how one writes, so when it comes to scrapbooking, style is basically how one scraps. With that said, my scrapbooking style can best be described in terms of convergence. I think in layers and work in layers -- layers of color, texture, and meaning. I pull together bits and pieces with a sense of intention until they click for me, and say what I want them to say, collectively.
Next week, the blog tour continues as I pass the torch to three of my favorite crafty folk, all of whom possess magic scrappy fingers.
I'm fairly certain that little golden sparkles from Ashley's soul are infused in every one of her layouts. Her pages have a soft, dreamy quality, and even when a layout is not about her, she is always present on the page. She has a gift for summoning a sense of wonder through her layouts.
"Wow." This is what I said the first time I saw one of Sasha's layouts, and this is what I still say each time I behold one of her creations. There is something so strong and solid about her pages, but at the same time, there is a sense of something whimsical, even experimental. That's Sasha, I guess -- a mind at play, a steadfast heart.
On every page, a white background, and in the foreground, a stunning color combination -- you would think this sounds like a formula, but Kim's pages are anything but formulaic. She does for color what Willy Wonka does for candy, exploring so many permutations and combinations of it, rendering something so delectable that I always find myself wanting more.
Next Monday, please be sure to stop by the blogs of the talented, always-inspiring crafters tagged above, as the blog hop continues!
As a token of my appreciation for taking the time to learn a little more about me and my scrappy inclinations, leave a comment below by Wednesday, July 30 at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I'll randomly pick one person to receive a sweet little giveaway of some scrappy supplies. Be sure that I can contact you via your blog or email. Good luck!