I’m a paper crafter. I love using paper to create things. I started with scrapbooking back in 2000. A co-worker brought in an album to show us, and I was totally captivated by how she embellished her pictures in a way that told a story rather than simply presented anonymous photos to be viewed. I was hooked! I started creating my own albums out of 30 years of photos that had been stashed in shoe boxes. I wasn’t that great when I started, but my albums were definitely better than those shoe boxes. As I went along, I started scrapping with others and learned tricks and techniques from them. I started collecting the tools that would allow me to be more inventive in my layouts. My skill level increased, and the albums I created were appreciated by my family who enjoyed remembering old times or learning something new about our family history.
Eventually I felt the need to spread my wings beyond the scrapbooks. I started making greeting cards. Once again, my skill level has increased over time. And I’ve dabbled a bit into other paper crafts such as artist’s trading cards, decoupage, altered books and art journals.
My friends and family have come to expect a hand-crafted card from me for birthdays and holidays. I’m always surprised when I see that someone still has one my cards on display on their desk long after the event has passed and all the other cards have been removed. The idea that anyone would enjoy what I created that much just pleases and delights me. And, I must admit, surprises me as well!
I now selectively market my greeting cards under my Queen of Ohio Designs logo. I’ve had some success selling them at fairs, and at a gift boutique at my church. I have been invited to submit some for sale at a local gallery.
Why did it take me 14 years to go from that first scrapbook to sharing my crafts with the outside world? The answer, dear reader, is simple—fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being judged or laughed at. I don’t suppose I will ever be the absolute most talented paper crafter who ever lived. There are lots of people who are better than I. But, I give it my all, and I get so much pleasure and satisfaction from it. What I produce is an expression of my personality, but more than that. The crafting process is part of my journey of the spirit.
“To stay with our creative journey, we should celebrate our quirks, our idiosyncrasies, our unique and weird ways of perceiving and expressing. They are our staunchest defenders against the destructive aspects of self-judgment. They are the qualities that make our individual creativity unlike any other. They are, in fact, each creator's home.” ~Shelley Berc
What I’m coming to realize is that it doesn’t matter whether I’m the best or not. It doesn’t matter how others judge my work. In fact, I have found that I do my best work when I don’t have an audience in mind, when I’m just creating for the simple pleasure of pleasing myself. And if I put my stuff out there, and others judge it as wanting, somehow that no longer matters to me. I create for myself. I offer it to others because, frankly, I simply don’t have enough room in my house for everything I make! What I’ve come to realize is that creativity should be a practice, not a product. If, along the way, you discover that others appreciate what you have created, so much the better, but that should never be your goal.
Who knows if selling my cards will be a successful venture? Who knows if I’ll make any money from it? That’s not the point anyway. The point of creating anything is to grow in our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in. The point of creating anything, dear reader, is to just take the journey.