Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Scrapbook on the Wall

By Christina VanGinkel

Ok, the title is a tad misleading, as I do not mean for you to actually scrapbook 'on' the wall (though that could work!), but to create a scrapbook layout that is worthy of hanging on the wall. The idea came to me when I was in a small store that had a framing counter the other day and was browsing through a bin of odd sized picture frames that the storeowner had put clearance prices on. Many of the frames were good quality, but of such odd sizes, I could not at first imagine what I would frame with any of them. At about that time, a woman walked over, picked up a couple of the frames and started measuring them with a small tape measure she had attached to her keychain (I wish I were so organized) and ended up picking out several to buy. I could not help but ask her what she intended to frame with them, as the sizes were so odd. She quickly responded the sizes were not odd, that the ones she had picked up were sizes she had been looking for to frame her law degree and a couple other certificates she had earned.

At least at this point, I knew that the frames actually were made to frame something specific. Apparently, there is a whole market of different sized frames out there, but unless one has a use for them, we get our brains stuck on the more common sizes that we see everyday such as your typical 8" x 10". Sure, I knew frames were made larger for painting and artwork, but for everyday framing, we never give these sizes much thought, at least I never did.

Browsing through the bin a bit further, I did get an idea, though it was nothing as grand as going to law school to earn a degree to fit in one of the frames. I realized by turning one of the very frames she had picked up, on its side, it would make an good frame to create a landscape scrapbook layout, but not for including in any scrapbook, but to hang on the wall. At about this time I saw another frame that was about twenty inches by ten inches. It had an included mat that was made to hold three separate pictures, but my mind was racing by this time and thought this would be ideal for an idea I had just conceived, all I would have to do is remove the matting. I alter learned this was not really a new idea, but at the time it was new to me.

What I created turned out to be one of the most fun pieces of scrapping that I have ever done. I actually started out with the mind frame that it would be no different from a typical scrapbook layout, other than the size. Was I ever wrong. When I kept thinking that, the finished piece would hang on my wall, where everyone from family and friends to casual visitors would be able to view it, my approach changed somewhat. I wanted to make a piece of art. I wanted to create a layout that was both pleasing to my sense of what the page should represent, and have it fit in with my eclectic style of decor. I wanted it to be what I perceived of making it and that meant that ultimately it needed to be fun. For you, the outcome could be a piece that is sentimental, serious, thought provoking, whatever. For myself personally, I wanted the piece to represent the one emotion I have most often when I scrap and that is exactly what it ended up being. I also wanted it to be a layout though, not just a group of framed pictures.

The choice of subject was easy to choose, my son on his motocross bike. I had done previous layouts, but because of the limitations on size, I had never captured what I felt was the true emotion of his riding enjoyment. Because of the length of the layout, I was able to create a panorama of him going around the track and over jumps. I was able to capture a whole scene and not just a single snippet of one occasion. I added journaling that expressed both my fear of seeing him fly over the jumps, and my being proud at seeing him accomplish something that not everyone is able or willing to try. I also added depth by including some embellishments that I never would have thought to include in a traditional scrapbook layout, namely links from a chain that he broke and I salvaged pieces of just for the project.

I had heard others express a similar feeling of astonishment when they went from a small format scrapbook to a larger format for the first time, and while I understood their feelings to a point, this different approach to a hobby I enjoy so immensely, to me epitomized the whole pastime perfectly. It allowed me to express my perception of my son's enjoyment and my perception of it, in a way that would never have fit the boundaries of a traditional scrapbook layout. At the same time permitted me to draw on facets of scrapbooking, such as journaling and the use of embellishments, which one would not normally include in a typical framed print to hang on the wall.

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