Thursday, April 29, 1999

Passion for picture pasting

Craft techniques of 'scrapbooking' become popular here

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — To Kathleen Groeschen, scrapbooks are more than collections of old photographs.

        “They are our memories, legacies and family histories,” she said. “They are what we leave behind for future generations to look back on and learn from."

        Mrs. Groeschen, a Mason resident and former teacher in Mason schools, is passionate about preserving “frozen moments in time.” That's a major reason she became involved in the art of “scrapbooking” as a Creative Memories consultant.

        Creative Memories, based in St. Cloud, Minn., has been around for about 11 years. It is an international organiza tion that offers direct-to-the-consumer photo storage information, products and hands-on assistance.

        “A friend of mine turned me on to creative scrapbooking by showing me one of the pages in her book,” she said. “I was instantly hooked.”

All-day class
        On Saturday — National Scrapbook Day — Mrs. Groeschen and nine other consultants will conduct a class from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sharonville Community Center.

        “The class will focus on photo preservation and cropping techniques and photojournalism,” she said. “It is very fun, and we encourage anyone who is interested to come out.”

        The cost of the event is $20 a person, which includes lunch. A portion of the registration fee will go toward breast cancer research, Mrs. Groeschen said.

        Like thousands of other people, Mrs. Groeschen was fed up with opening old photo albums only to find yellowed and faded photos falling out of magnetic pages.

        She said “scrapbooking,” a close relative of children's paper-and-scissors crafts, combines the art of protecting and preserving photos with the desire to do more than stuff them in an album, drawer or grocery bag. Scrapbookers, who are mostly women, decorate their albums with colored paper, stickers, fancy lettering and photos to tell a story.

        Over the past two years, the crafts trend has attracted the attention of major retailers and crafts manufacturers around the globe. Several Greater Cincinnati crafts stores have devoted entire sections to scrapbook supplies and industry experts estimate scrapbooking accounts for $250 million of the $10.4 billion hobby crafts pie.

        “A lot of people see this as a fad that is going to go away, but it's not,” Mrs. Groeschen said. “People have been making scrapbooks for years, and they are always taking pictures.”

        Mason resident Tina Rudolph, who has taken several classes taught by Mrs. Groeschen, called scrapbooking “a very rewarding experience.” She is working on an album chronicling her daughter's life. She plans to give it to her daughter as a college graduation present.

        “It's good therapy for me to look back on my kids' lives and see how much they've accomplished and how much fun we've had as a family.”

"It's wonderful'
        Patricia Colbert of Fairfield Township in Butler County has done three photo albums since joining the scrapbooking fold.

        “It's a wonderful thing,” she said. “My grandchildren love to go through the albums and talk about the things they see in there.

        “It's going to be fantastic for them when they get older to look back and not just see the pictures but the journaling as well. You can't put a price tag on what this does for you.”

        But you can put one on the seemingly endless array of supplies available for scrapbook hobbyists. Albums generally run between $18 and $55, while other products such as hole punchers, colored pencils, scissors, colored or patterned acid-free paper and polypropylene photo protectors can vary in price.

        “Scrapbooking can be an expensive undertaking but doesn't have to be,” Mrs. Groeschen said. “You can spend as much or as little as you want and still have a nice album. On a limited budget of $150, you can buy all the tools and supplies you need to do an album.”

For some, a career
        Mrs. Groeschen is one of 40,000 consultants operating in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and England. While many people may look at what she does as a hobby she considers it a career.

        “I take this very seriously, because this is my business,” she said. “Some consultants use this as a way to make extra money, while others use it as a main source of income.”

        Senior directors with Creative Memories can pull down as much as six figures. But unit managers, like Mrs. Groeschen, are generally at the lower end of the pay scale.

        “An average for a unit manager is about $1,000 to $2,000 a month,” she said.

        Her job involves teaching people how to organize and responsibly store their photos and memorabilia.

        A few times a week she holds a beginners class at her home or at Mason Christian Village at 411 Western Row Road.

        “The biggest thrill I get from doing this is knowing that when I do leave this place, I will have left behind something of value,” she said.

        For information on Saturday's class, call 459-2820.


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