Being a maker is more than having a hobby. A maker is someone who can not help but be creative because they were created to be creative. A maker is someone who creates because their soul yearns to be creative when they are not. Maybe you can relate.
I have been creative my whole life, however, my passion was painting. Acrylic, watercolors, and pencil was my favorite mediums through high school. When I graduated, I gave up painting thinking it was just a hobby. It wasn't until five years later that I would walk into a scrapbook store and fall in love with memory keeping. I realized that my love for mixed media could be used with papers and photos and I started my very first scrapbook.
I started working part time in a local scrapbook store where the owner, Sue, took me under her wing and encouraged me to be the artist that she knew I was. To start, she made me create scrapbook pages for every endcap in the store. Ha! An assignment like that unleashed any self-doubt that I had about my work. However, I had a deadline and Sue was persistent that I create from my heart. I fell in love with designing pages, techniques, and most of all teaching others how to scrapbook.
The next year, I gave birth to my son and stopped making once again. I thought as a mother, painting or scrapbooking beyond a baby album was a luxury I couldn't afford. My time should be focused on my family and not on myself. I felt selfish if I took time for just myself. However, during this time I was in a dark postpartum depression and very sick. One day, my twin sister came to see me and told me, "Jen, I think you need to start scrapbooking again." She handed me a flyer for a contest to join a scrapbooking design team. It took me almost a week to gain the courage to enter the contest and I am so glad I did.
I won the contest and it changed my life. It gave me the confidence to wake up in the morning and trust that God would help me find myself again while fighting depression. I was given those deadlines again to challenge me to create. That position opened the door for me to work with amazing companies in the crafting industry which helped shaped me into a better person, wife, and mother.
The last nine years has taken me on a wild creative ride! I have worked with some of the industry's top brands including Heidi Swapp with American Crafts. For almost seven years every time Heidi Swapp releases a new collection I get excited and the passion of being a maker is ignited again. I love to bridge the gap between mixed media and scrapbooking with simple techniques, like using Art Screen Ink on a scrapbook page. (You can see how simple it is to use screen ink on paper here.)
Some people laugh and ask me, "Why scrapbooking?" The truth is that the photograph is becoming a rarity in our age. Everyone is taking more pictures than ever before but some children haven't seen a photo printed of themselves or have ever flipped through their own baby album. Something similar happened to my father in law as he always thought there wasn't any photos of himself as a child. You can hear about his story and how I found and restored his baby photos here.
After seeing my father-in-law's reaction after seeing his baby album for the first time, I knew that telling my story and my family's story will always be worth it. You can see his reaction below.
While on this maker journey I have found that I was created to be creative and that my story matters. However you tell your story through your own craft or through memory keeping, never let it die. Keep making on.