Alison Wood, 23, is an avid scrapbooker, photographer and writer. With a degree in Public Relations & Journalism, she currently works for in PR and advertising at Australian scrapbooking manufacturer, Kaisercraft. Until November 20th, Kaisercraft is having a Design Your Own Rub-on Contest. Details are on their blog.
Alison has taught scrapbooking classes and has been published several times in Australian scrapbooking magazines. She has also just launched a new blog, Scrapbook Insight – an Australian perspective; you can visit the website at www.scrapbookinsight.wordpress.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Australian scrapbooking industry is unique, innovative and arty.
One of the biggest words circulating the scrapbooking industry of late is individuality. With the increase of blogs, forums, online galleries, scrapbook stores and challenge sites, Kim Taranto, editor of Australian scrapbooking magazine Scrapbook Creations says, “Scrapbookers have become much more knowledgeable about the various styles of scrapbooking and most have found their own unique style rather than jump from fad to fad.”
Scrapbooker and Design Team member for Australian manufacturer, Kaisercraft, Fran Tynan sees a similar thing, “There’s so many ways of gaining inspiration now that there’s something for everyone.
Both Fran and Kim see a clear distinction between scrapbookers who are all about ‘getting photos in albums and recording the stories in an attractive way’, and the artists who are about ‘making artistic impressions and interpretations of the stories’.
Fran says, “I think over the last few years in Australia, people have seemed to have relaxed the ‘rules’ and are more comfortable doing what THEY want and doing it how they want to do it.”
Devorah Koronczyk, Director of Buzz and Bloom, agrees: “The trend seems to be towards freestyle scrapping, creating something that is unique. People are incorporating other crafts and lots of mediums.”
Tom Beanlands, Brand Manager for Kaisercraft, says “I think, like in all things, it’s our diversity that is unique. Americans seem to be very governed by their ‘Home sweet home’ heritage and Europeans by bold vibrant designs; Australian scrappers seem to want to give anything a go.”
Because of the large expanse of the country and vast economic and society changes between cities and small towns, scrappers tend to buy their products anywhere they can. Chain stores such as Spotlight and Lincraft are popular, as well as local scrapbook stores and online.
Kim couldn’t agree more. “I think the distances some scrapbookers have to travel to their nearest store makes online shopping appealing in some parts of the country.”
Because some purchasing is done online, online communities, groups, challenge sites, forums and galleries play an important part in shaping the scrapbooking industry in Australia. Devorah says Aussie scrapbooking is all about community, friendships and an ‘Aussie’ relaxed attitude: “Crafting groups and classes and of course online community groups supporting each other and learning from each other.”
“Although it seems a younger industry [than overseas], even if we have got many “wise elders” the crafting and scrapping community seems young and fresh, and there are still so many people who don’t know what scrapping is,” she says. “ Australian’s are fortunate that they have their own ‘home grown’ brands such as Bella!, Kaisercraft and Buzz and Bloom, on top of Overseas favourites like Basic Grey, Prima and American Crafts to name a few. Fran says, “I think that we are lucky to have one of the most unique companies here, in Kaisercraft, with their amazing MDF products that are so inexpensive, which make BTP items so affordable!”
Buzz and Bloom most recently won ‘Best Innovation’ at CHA Summer 2009 for their laser cut and engraved acrylic, cord and denim products.
Devorah, Director of Buzz and Bloom, says, “Our aim is to create products that can be used as is, as well as being able to be treated with techniques or mediums to create something that can match your projects.”
Most recently, Kaisercraft began creating full product collections with coordinating 12×12 double sided papers and embellishments in clever resealable ziplock bags (pictured below).
Not only are Aussie scrappers and Aussie products different, but so are the magazines. Editor of popular magazine, Scrapbook Creations, Kim Taranto says, “Generally our magazines are produced with fewer staff and smaller budgets than their US or British contemporaries, and I think considering that we hold our own.”
From a manufacturers perspective, Tom from Kaisercraft agrees, “The Australian magazines really do put in an effort to support Australian craft brands, this is great to see as it is hard to get noticed overseas.”
Like other industries, the craft industry in Australia too has its fads: doodling, journaling, layering, distressing etc. Fran believes Australian trends are a result of what manufacturers release, and, “what works and what doesn’t.”
Among Fran’s ‘hot products’ right now, are American Crafts Thickers, acrylic stamps, specialty inks, die cut papers and prima flowers.
Top scrapbooking trends among Australian crafters include quilling, hand-made embellishments, simple scrapbooking, vintage ephemera and distressing techniques to name a few. Kim sums it up perfectly, “Vintage is hot, hot, hot!”
Kaisercraft’s brand manager, Tom, says digital scrapbooking is increasing in popularity in Australia also. “Kaisercraft, among other major brands are developing digital collections and increasing our product offering.”
“Advancements in digital photography, online sharing and digital printing have really encouraged creativity in people and made this more accessible to a wider audience outside ‘traditional scrapbookers’,” he says.
Jo O’Malley, owner of online store Memories 2 Remember, also says Australians are beginning to invest in tools and products they can use again and again. “[Products such as] acrylic stamps, punches and die-cut machines are really popular right now. Scrapbookers are learning many different ways to use these tools to alter the finished look of their projects,” she says.
Fran totally agrees, saying “Border punches have been around for a little while but I’ve really noticed an increase in the use of them lately—with all the new ones brought out by Fiskars and now Martha Stewart are popular at the moment.”
Due to the origins of scrapbooking, Australian scrapbookers generally only get to scrap with the popular products from overseas due to shipping costs for wholesalers and retailers. Fran believes this can only benefit crafters, “[It means] we don’t have to wade through a lot of less popular stuff to find what we are after!”
Devorah and Tom have also sees an increase in popularity of ‘Beyond-the-Page’ projects like mini albums and home decor projects. “Homemade gifts & card making are popular right now, as are mini books and sewing crafts,” says Devorah.
However, scrapbooking goes hand in hand with spending money. The words still on everyone lips’ are ‘economic downturn’. Recently I conducted a quick poll on my blog Scrapbook Insight to find out if scrapbookers are spending less on scrapbooking products to what they were a year ago. Of the 12 responses, 67% said ‘No’.
Western Australia scrapbooker Fran agrees. “I spend the same that I usually do. I actually only noticed the financial crisis because of the fact that I scrapbook; with a lot of the manufacturers being overseas, it brings to the fore who is doing well and who isn’t,” she says.
Australian manufacturers, Buzz and Bloom and Kaisercraft also agree. Devorah from Buzz and Bloom says, “It has affected every industry, but I think people are still interested in crafting, and are still looking for ways to do things at home themselves rather than buying something more expensive.”
Store owner Jo thinks the economic downturn has made scrapbookers savvy about their purchases, and rather than spending time at the shopping centre buying, they’re at home creating.
Kim couldn’t agree more, “Many scrapbookers have not had as much money to devote to their craft but the upside is they’ve had to delve into their creativity and stretch their dollar to do more with less.”
So if Aussies are turning their scrap supplies into something special, come check out our work on some of the links below! You’ll be sure to find inspiration galore!