Life art

How scrapbooking can turn a blank page into your life story

Amanda Goodwin, junior nursing major, is a renown for her scrapbooking pages. She has had 46 pages published and has won 18 awards for her creative scrapbook layouts. In the United States scrapbooking is a 3 billion dollar a year industry. The average scr

Credit: Ron Soltys


Since she was 12, junior nursing major Amanda Goodwin has known a world of brads and ribbons, stickers and embellishments, paper cutters and adhesive.

Goodwin scrapbooks.

She got her start by digging through her mom’s stash of supplies and experimenting with them. A few pictures here. A few alphabet letters there. Some glue to hold it all down on acid-free paper, and she was hooked.

“One page, and it was totally my thing,” she said.

Now, stacks of plastic storage cubes containing scissors, die cuts and stickers tower over her bed. Racks full of paper of every color, hue, texture and quality sit ready.

Goodwin has at least one book for each year since she started scrapbooking in 2000. She also makes specialty books, such as the guest book she made for her engagement party last August.

“Most of the time people go into scrapbooking for a specific reason,” Goodwin said. “For me, scrapbooking is more life-oriented. I’m a life artist. This is life art.”

And as life art, Goodwin said it must show both the good and the bad.

“One time I cut my finger with a knife, and I had pictures of the cut and stitches,” she said. “You’re almost telling a lie when you make this book with everything happy, because that’s not what life is.”

Goodwin’s not alone in her craft. According to the 2004 Scrapbooking in America Survey conducted by Creating Keepsakes magazine, scrapbooking is a $3 billion industry in the United States. Thirty-two million people scrapbook. Most are women, and they each own an average of $1,800 in scrapbooking supplies.

As Goodwin listed the costs of her latest album, those numbers aren’t hard to believe.

“You figure an album costs $20,” she said. “A sheet of patterned paper can cost up to $1. A pack of letters costs $4, and an alphabet can cost $3, but you can use this on more than one page. These are from a pack of stickers that probably cost $3. This is cardstock that probably costs 60 cents.”

Goodwin said she’s made anywhere from 20 to 30 albums during the past seven years. Each page takes about one to three hours, depending on her preparation. She always keeps a journal with her and writes down things that strike her and could help enhance the page later.

“If I have journaling and a picture, it usually goes together a lot faster,” she said.

Forty-six of Goodwin’s pages have been published in magazines such as Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers and Papercuts, all scrapbooking publications. She’s won 18 awards, including two blue ribbons for best of show at the Summit County Fair.

It’s also Goodwin’s job. She’s worked at The Scrapbook Shop in Copley for four years, where she’s witnessed scrapbooking blow up into a phenomenon.

Dawnielle Essig, manager at the Fairlawn Archiver’s, a national scrapbooking chain with 45 stores, agreed that scrapbooking has taken off into the mainstream.

“It’s available to people now,” Essig said. “It can be an intimidating hobby. There’s so much product and so much information out there. As it becomes available at more retailers, it’s opening to a wider market.”

Essig, who’s been scrapbooking for more than three years, said the age of her customers ranges from “little girls that come in with their moms to tons of pre-teens and teens, all the way up to people who have great-grandchildren.”

“You get drawn in as soon as you start,” Essig said. “It’s always a work in progress.”

And anyone can do it, said Goodwin. Anyone can put his or her life on paper to share, and anything can be a page.

“If you want to do it, you can,” Goodwin said. “It doesn’t have to look perfect. If your heart and soul is on that page, and you write what’s important to you, what else could you ask for?”

And for those who are intimidated by the art, guidance is available.

“If somebody needs help, we’ll give them ideas,” Essig said. “We’ll show them, help them find what they’re looking for, but we don’t make the project for them.”

Goodwin agreed and urged anyone who is hesitant to start scrapbooking to put it all out there.

“It’s not about looking perfect,” she said. “It’s about giving your family or friends or yourself your heart and soul on the pages. Just have fun with it.”

Contact student life reporter Adam Griffiths at [email protected].