PRT185 – Scrapbooking in Asia

This week we’re talking about scrapbooking in Asia!

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  • Jennifer G.

    It was interesting to learn about scrapbooking from the other side of our world. Thank you for all of your hard work in bringing us this topic.

  • Claire T

    As an expat scrapbooker based in Singapore it was interesting to hear the perspectives of others scrapbooking in this part of the world. Singapore is very well served with supplies and the internet has certainly helped me find my people, but I totally agree that it is very difficult to connect in real life. I have tried to find some classes to make those connections but I am not a shabby chic kind of girl and that is definitely the preferred style here. Thanks for some really interesting picks of the week too. I would never have expected to hear about a Polish chipboard company on the Asia themed show!

  • Teresa Smith

    Thank you for showing us that you don’t have to have a lot of supplies available to still be able to do what you love! I feel like we should send them some scrapbooking love and put together a ‘stash’ package!

  • Thank-you ladies for joining with Izzy and Noelle and sharing your love for scrapbooking. I always enjoy hearing anyone’s approach to it no matter where in the world they are. It all comes down to documenting the stories of our lives.

  • Sherrie Mallett

    I found this very interesting. I lived in Beijing from 2007-2009 as a wife and young pregnant mum of one (soon to be two) who could only speak English. I took all my scrapbook supplies with me but was not motivated to do much over there due to lack of inspiration and scrapping community. One positive was I joined a card making class of expats that was advertised in my church bulletin. Absolutely loved this class and the company, even though card making wasn’t my forte. I wish I was more motivated to scrap while I was living there, but there was also a lack of supplies that concerned me so I hardly used mine at all. Thanks for a great show.

  • Tiffany W.

    I finally finished the episode, Thanksgiving preparations just kept getting in the way! I enjoyed this episode and the perspectives of the guests. I have never been to Asia, though I would love to visit or even live there, so I felt like listening to the guests was like eavesdropping on another part of the world. Even though I have no experience with Asia or scrapbooking in Asia or about Asia, I could really relate to the guests, especially their struggles with getting supplies. When I lived in Sweden, there were a few stores, but they were hard to get to, my budget was limited, and the prices were high. Taxes were also a major consideration when deciding whether or not it was worth shipping something to the country because you could get slammed with a huge tax bill on a shipment. I learned how to scrap with what I had because it was my only option. In some ways it was less stressful because you just do what you can. When I lived in Saudi Arabia, there were no stores at all in the area. I just brought my stash with me and scrapped from that.

    I had a light bulb moment when one of the guests mentioned not buying embellishments because of the cost and stocking up on patterned paper. I never realized that my simpler style was so influenced by my earlier inability to buy only limited supplies, but it is totally true. Even now that I have access to lots of supplies, I find myself most likely to buy paper instead of embellishments. So funny how those things stick with us.

  • Anya

    Loved the show! I came from Ukraine and it’s nice to see how rapidly this hobby grows in Ukraine and Russia!

  • Gwynn Asbury

    This episode made me very sad. Although I cannot speak for the rest of Asia, I can share my experiences of Seoul, South Korea – having spent much time there and growing up in a South Korean household in the States. Hearing the conversation was a little disheartening for me as it sounded much more like the Westernization of Asian Papercrafting. The idea of using local supplies that are made by asian companies was not even mentioned. It was heart breaking as my mind swam with images of mulberry paper, washi paper, oragami paper, culturally specific stamps, in country made paper punches, and the beautiful oriental designs highlighted in all of these local supplies. Every trip I make to Seoul I make it a point to visit the open market which is dedicated to household goods and stationary – to visit the Alpha stationary store. This store has stationary, Korean stamps, gift wrap, packaging materials, painting supplies, it is the place to get art supplies. I go with the intention of gathering supplies that are meaningful to the context of living in Korea. As I listened to this show, it felt very much like a Western commentary on the lack of western perspective on papercrafting in Asia. No mention of the beautiful calligraphy picture reprints, oragami paper available in a whole host of sizes, or the incorporation of very asian experiences like the Lotus Flower, Cherry Blossom Trees, etc. I do think this was a wonderful jumping off point for future episodes about crafting around the world and want to thank you all for your hard work in putting the show together. My complaints are really more about food for thought from an insider/outsider of the Asian, South Korean community.

  • Hey, Gwynn — I have to admit I don’t feel like I led this episode at all the way I wanted to. When I first met Jen and we talked about the show I brought up the same issues. She said that Asian scrapbookers love the same products we all love over here — that they see the same page layouts examples and the same products, and that’s what they want. She was adamant that they don’t want to use anything local products (and when I brought up on the show she referred to it all as being 40 year old stationary). I wanted to push it but I talked to a number of people about this and I looked all over for Asian scrapbookers whose scrapbooking reflected Asia more and I couldn’t find ANY. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there, but I had long lists of links to Asian scrapbookers and all of their pages looked western to me. It actually made me very sad, too.
    I’ve talked about it a little in other episodes, but when it came down to this discussion, I couldn’t bring myself to push the subject because I was afraid I would only get blank responses from the guests, or if I pushed it, they would feel offended. Plus the audio was so difficult I just didn’t feel as comfortable as I usually do in leading the show. But I really regret not having found a way to talk about it. :(

  • Gwynn Asbury

    In all honesty, I applaud you for taking on such a daunting task! I think this episode really does tap into a lot of “under the surface issues” including language differences and cultural differences. It’s hard to scrapbook in Asia when all of the supplies are in a Latin alphabet – if you are not bilingual your SOL. And when you think about it “scrapbooking” is a very Western Idea – I would imagine those with exposure to Western culture do really want American products, but what about those without a whole lot of exposure? Tapping into those people would be virtually impossible because of language and cultural issues. I do not know about Japan or China or Southeast Asia but I know in South Korea, not every home has a computer with internet access. And dealing with people who are very private, academically driven, and sometimes value aesthetic arts like papercrafting differently……..You are trying to have a conversation about something that has yet to be created really in Asia, in my opinion. If anything I think you have an idea that will get better with marination. AND a little food for thought – my google searches in South Korea for scrapbook stuff result in my getting blogs and such about papercrafting in South Korea written in Korean…. I try and search them here and they don’t even show up.

  • Some VERY interesting thoughts here, Gwynn. I feel like I need to think about them for a while.

    I must say, I worked up to doing this episode for over a year. I started with the same desire for content that you want right now. And the more I searched the more resistance I found to the idea of Asians scrapbooking more authentically Asian — to the point that by the time I did the show, I was paranoid about this: that I was projecting my own western idea of what I wanted Asian scrapbooking to be onto the Asian scrapbookers.

    By the time we did the show I gave up on that idea and thought, “I should let them be what they want to be, and scrapbook how they want to scrapbook.” But you’re reigniting my original feelings now…

  • One thing I noticed was how they talked about how Singapore has a lot of LSS. I live in Middle Tennessee and there is maybe one scrapbooking store in the area and it is about an hour and a half from where I live. I am close to big box stores but mostly I don’t really get to see the new lines in person. Luckily in the US, we have a lot of great online stores but it is still not the same as seeing items in person. I think this is why I continue to subscribe to a kit club as they do get to see items in person. Anyways, I just wanted to mention that. Great episode – definitely enjoyed it!

  • Gwynn Asbury

    Well I look forward to when you have worked up to doing another show about papercrafting outside of the United States. I think that if anyone takes the perspective of “traditional scrapbooking” and applies it to Asia you won’t get anything. However, Asia has a rich culture steeped in the paper crafting arts – it’s there just in a different dictionary for a different language! Some of the conversation reminded me of your episode of “Is Scrapbooking Dead” and one of the guests talking about it’s all about how you define it. I think the same applies here, what you get will depend entirely on how you are defining and applying.

    On a totally different note, I listed to your new episode today and my comments sounded so snarky! Terribly sorry if they were received that way. I always enjoy listening to you moderate conversations and challenging scrapbookers everywhere to expand our horizons!

  • No, I didn’t think your comment sounded snarky!

  • Tanya Batrak

    Thank you, guys! It was very interesting!
    Sandy, it was nice to hear your voice :)

  • Gabrielle McCann

    Really interesting discussion. As an Aussie living in Hong Kong for the second time around (first time was 1998-2005) I can only comment on the HK situation. When I was here the first time, I scrapbooked and found it really difficult to get supplies (as in US style scrapbooking supplies). So a friend and I started a business out of my house – we sold supplies and ran classes. I also taught English to both children and adults, and tried to get my students and any other Hong Kong people I knew interested in scrapbooking. Hong Kong people love taking photos so I thought scrapbooking would be a natural fit. But I couldn’t really generate much interest. Fast forward to now and there is a thriving local scrapbooking community – but it’s still scrapbooking as we know it and not really any traditional papercrafting. Maybe Korea or Japan would be different?
    I loved the discussion though – great to “meet” Jen, Fiona and Sandy!