Paper craft: community, creativity, meditation and mementos

Some of Nicole’s work.

In a modest shopping village off Boxhill Road, Claremont, a secret world exists unknown to most mere mortals.

Lovely Deputy makes cards and journals and beautifully decorates presents with paper and other embellishments. And so I found myself at Image Plus Scrapbook Superstore one Saturday. While he looked around, I looked on in wonder.

I’m not sure what you can’t find in this super store because it seems to have just about everything you could want if you wanted for paper.
The shop is super, but what I liked about it was something else.

Image Plus Scrapbook Superstore offers the paper-crafter something else, space to make their craft. You can come in and pay a small fee per hour for a possie, or you can make a day of it, a cropping day of it, where you can stay and play between 10am and 10pm. It’s popular. On any given cropping day you’ll find 20-25 people, you need to reserve a place.

Regular and copic colourer, Denise tells me it’s a cult. It does seem like once you get stuck in you’re hooked, so she might be right.
It was abundantly clear that it is a community.
You can do your own thing and keep to yourself, but I didn’t see a lot of that. I saw women enjoying something in common and spending time together. It’s a place where social bonds are built with people whose paths may never otherwise cross. Dawn tells me about the (mostly) women who come:
They can tell a funny story, sit around
the table and we enjoy doing the same thing. It gives you a bond and it’s
different to going to a pub with work colleagues because here you all have the
same thing in common that you’re all passionate about. There are all different
age groups. There are new mums doing photo albums of their new babies and
grandparents. It’s not age specific.

Denise (left) and Dawn copic colouring friends.
Dawn and Denise met at a cropping day and have become close friends.
Front of house, Cheryl-Lee tells me that she has customers come from each of the southern municipalities, as far as Orford, Huonville and the Tasman Peninsular. She even has one woman who drives from Devonport.
It’s obviously an outlet for creativity. The women I met at the May cropping day take ordinary things and through their design, add a bit of themselves to make their creations.
We treat it as an art form. We are trying
to improve all the time and try new techniques. We think about how we can push
ourselves. We find more difficult images or different techniques so we can
build our repertoire. Denise is learning about light sources and casting
shadows which gives the three-dimensional look. Dawn

Copic colouring by Denise.
Whilst there’s lots of chat and sharing of equipment and ideas, there are periods of comfortable silence while each person is mindful on their craft.
I disappear into it and don’t have to
think about anything. It’s therapeutic. They say that colouring in is good for
stress relief. Denise
It seemed to that it’s also a form of meditation.
Nicole has been scrap booking for 12 years. Her eldest is nearly 17 and the whole of his life is documented, which is kind of crazy but also kind of cool. It’s obvious these women are heavily
invested in how they feel about their families, friends and their lives. Scrap booking is a celebration of their love.

Nicole making mementos.
It got me to thinking that scrap booking is about making mementos. It uses photos and journaling to record your life.
It’s fun to do now and really nice to
look at in years to come. I read them years later and think I don’t remember
that, so it helps me remember. [Referring to the page she was working on] I’ve included the recipe of what
we ate the day I took the photos. My grandkids might think, ‘Oh that’s what my
grandma enjoyed’. Nicole

This is no photo album you flip through. You’re drawn to want to spend time in these books. They ask you to stay awhile and enjoy the moment again.

Mel making a pop-up card for her niece’s graduation.
Mel tells me about when she used to receive a letter in the mail and recognise her grandma’s handwriting.
I’d get excited because I could tell it
was from her. This is the same sort of thing. When we’re not around it’s
something our kids will remember us by. Mel
When asked what they liked about scrap booking, Linda exclaims, ‘What don’t we like about it!’
Linda scrap booking.

Scrapbooking is truly for everyone. A trained, Geologist, bubbly Cheryl-Lee is proof. She went from oil rigs to scrapbooking and then retail. You’ll often find her front of house for Tasmania’s largest scrapbooking supplier, Image Plus Scrapbook Superstore and taking classes.

This family business has been at Wyndham Road for eight years but has operated in Claremont since 2000.
Cheryl-Lee working on an off the page project.

Paper craft for dummies

Paper craft seems to refer to practically anything you can make with paper. But I like to think of it as embellishing paper to make mementos.
Four styles of paper craft are the focus at the Plus Scrapbook Superstore:
Scrapbooking – it’s a type of journaling which showcases your memorabilia like photos, cards, notes, recipes and other special things using paper.
Card making – you know, making cards.
Copic colouring – blending colours to bring a flat picture to life with shading by using alcohol markers.
Off the page – decorating things that are not on the page! They’re home ornaments that are decorated with paper and bits and pieces.
They also sell coloured rubber bands for making bandies which apparently is THE latest thing or so says by nine year old godson. To make rubber band bracelets you need a loom, a hook and rubber bands and then you add beads to them if you fancy. They tell me it’s addictive fun. This Girl met addicted Aimee making bandies.
Miss Aimee making bandies

Hobbies can cost a motza. Paper craft is not going to break the bank in the same way yachting will but there are plenty of ways you can spend your dosh if you want to develop your skills.

Copic colouring pens can cost $7 or $9 for example, but most people start off using two or three colours to shade with. The more you want to develop your capacity, the more you want to achieve a good result. Denise and Dawn have literally hundreds of pens so you do the math. Denise says:
You probably think geese how many pinks
do you need? You can see that I’ve got probably 40. But when you do detailed shading
you tend to want to have the whole collection.
Denise and Dawn’s collection of copic colouring pens.

You buy your images to colour but there are copyright issues so get informed before you start downloading things, otherwise you can buy them for around $3 each. Or you can use rubber stamps.

A crop day or cropping day is a day of doing paper craft amongst like-minded folk. Cropping refers to the act of cutting photos for the purpose of scrap booking.
Cropping days are held the last Saturday of each month.

You can do a class each Tuesday morning.

You’ll find Image Plus Scrapbook Superstore at shop 8, 28 Wyndham Road, Claremont, telephone them on 6249 1577 or you can find them on Facebook here.
Email them imageplus@netspace.net.au


Denise has her own website, find out more about her copic colouring here.
If you’re interested in mementos you might like some of our earlier posts:
Or a little something on creativity:
And on mindfulness:

A taxi ride can go one of two ways: Ataxi driver called BillThank you to Cheryl-Lee, Nicole, Aimee, Linda, Mel, Dawn and Denise xx

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