Typical photo albums often are simply a compilation of photographs with, perhaps, a few captions. Scrapbooks, on the other hand, consist of various layouts, with fancy papers, color palettes, cut-outs, ephemera, text and other artistic touches. The effort that goes into each page is not only heartfelt, but requires planning and creativity. It’s this creativity that allows people who may not otherwise have the confidence, ability or time to pursue other more traditional art forms to express themselves.
Equally or even more important than its role as a conduit for creativity, scrapbooking is also a highly social activity. Crop parties––get-togethers where scrapbookers spend a few hours creating pages, sharing ideas and their stashes of papers, cut-outs and ephemera––are extremely popular. Whether regularly scheduled meetings at someone’s house, a scrapbooking store or photo retailer’s space or more informal gatherings, the social aspects of scrapbooking are, for many, an important component of the experience.
Those who don’t have a local social network (and even those who do) often turn to the Internet for interactions with others. There are hundreds of online groups––some with membership rolls that exceed several thousand people––that are dedicated to the craft. Members share technical tips, design ideas, new product discoveries as well as successes (and failures) with different techniques.