Saturday, December 11, 2010


A Brief Apology: At times, life gets in the way of writing, especially when life brings wonderful things your way.


Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features (Wikipedia). My question to you is, then, what is the most important—fundamental—feature of your layout? I think we would all agree it is the photograph or photographs we are planning to showcase in our layout. Were it not for the photographs, rather than a scrapbook layout, would we not be creating works of art, much as a painter paints, or a seamstress seams, or even as a plumber “plumbs” (if you are not yet used to my sense of humor and play with words, you will soon be)? We definitely want to use color, patterned paper, embellishments, titles and journaling, but, when any one or all of these in combination overpowers our photograph, we have lost the point.

I love to use other scrapbook artists' work to make a point, but think that it might not be appreciated here, so, it is my plan to take a single photograph and create two layouts…the first will focus on the photo alone, the second will be based on what I believe is too much of everything!

Here is the first layout. I took a black and white photograph provided by the bride's photographer, and enhanced it for this layout by using a special effects software program to change it to a bronze tone. Rather than create a distracting title, I used the font the bride used in her wedding stationery to place her name directly onto the photograph. The result is definitely simple; yet elegant, to be sure. This layout is ALL about the beautiful bride. She is overshadowed by nothing at all. Even the subtle background paper does nothing more than to support the innocence of this photograph.

The second layout was a bit of a challenge for me to design because it is not normal for me to create "busy" layouts. If it is your style, then, press on! It would be very dull if all our layouts were mirror images of others' works! I will admit, however, to searching online galleries for some inspiration for this second layout.

I began with a blank canvas of light yellow card stock. My goal was to use a variety of papers, embellishments and techniques, while attempting to maintain the innocence of the photograph, if possible. In a process of "layering," I added a floral paper in muted tones for a touch of femininity. Ribbon came next, brown with threads of yellow and turquoise. At the same time, at the top, I added a paper with black simply for the disruptive value! I tore this paper to give it an unkempt appearance. Next layer at the bottom was actually a piece of backing from some rub-ons I had in my stash. I "rubbed on" to it one of the rub-ons to create my title (bliss). Next layer, and to the right, I used another piece of black paper, this one with text and a doily edge. I wanted to step away from traditional matting for this layout, so I used a piece of cream card stock considerably larger than my 5x7 photo and added a border punch on only two sides. Behind that, I placed a piece of turquoise card stock so that it showed through the punched border. I also enhanced the look of the matting by taking a Bravo Burgundy stampin' pad (from stampin' up) to create a random pattern. Three turquoise brads and two die cuts later, I found myself with an empty lower left-hand corner! I grabbed a handless clock stamp, stamped its image there, then quickly embossed it and added a yellow brad at its center.

I am actually not displeased with the layout, but still much prefer the "purer" version. Take a look.

I showed this layout to a few other designers to get their take on the comparison. Their opinions were pretty much in agreement that, indeed, the second layout is "interesting." Hmmmmmm, interesting, huh? One designer in particular, Becky Poland, a scrapbooking teacher and workshop leader in Maryland, was very candid in her remarks. While she agreed that the second layout could be classified as busy, she felt it was "discombobulated" (my word, not hers!). Becky challenged me to make a busy layout in my own style, searching only my own talent for inspiration.

I am very happy with the third layout (thanks, Becky!). I used the same photo, but left it in its original black and white. I did, however, orient the photo to a vertical position, and cropped it much more closely than in the other two layouts. In keeping with the black and white theme, I searched my stash and found two identical floral patterned papers, one white on black, the other black on white. I used the lighter of the two for the background, and the darker to create the striping along the left-hand side. I continued the non-traditional matting into this third layout, but in monochromatic tones. The use of ribbon, a die-cut heart, and a Prima feathered flower added depth without overpowering the photo. This flower was used because the center pearl highlighted the bride's pearl stud earring, and the feathers mimicked the ribbon extending from her floral headpiece. A more dramatic title (done on the Cricut using the "George & Basic Shapes" and "Opposites Attract" cartridges) finished off the layout.

If there is a conclusion to be reached here (and I am not sure there needs to be), it is this: Periodically, step outside the box--outside your scrapbooking comfort zone--and create something that isn't you. It may not be a masterpiece, but it will help you to expand your creativity...and may lead to something that is a masterpiece!

I am certainly glad to be back here, and glad you stopped by, too! Take a moment to leave a comment and to join as a "follower."