A current thread on a scrapping board I read wants to know why so many local scrapbooking stores are closing. The posts before mine named all the usual suspects, mostly the Internet. So, I wrote this:
Stores are closing because a lot less people are scrapbooking. It's that simple.
How many hobbies and/or crafts did each of you try before you found scrapbooking? How many of those do you still do?
I would suspect that I have been scrapbooking longer than most anyone here- I made my first scrapbook in 1960. In those days cameras, film and developing were expensive and there weren't that many pictures. We scrapped mostly special events- a graduation, anniversary, etc. I did my own wedding album in 1977- all my friends thought I was either crazy or really cheap!
My list of "did it for a while" is long and includes ceramics, oil painting, sewing, bobbin lace and lots of others. I still crochet (50 years), do needlework (almost 30 years), quilt (about 12 years) and scrapbook. As a needle worker before stitching was hot, and one who still does it long past it's most recent peak and decline, I saw the shops, and the magazines, and the conventions and all the rest bloom, flourish for a few years, and then die. I was at a cross stitch festival in the mid-90s that attracted 10,000 women to a convention center in ONE DAY!!!!! Now there are no needlework conventions and only small gatherings for the truly committed, and most of the LNS are gone. Even what was arguably the most famous LNS in the country, the one many people credited with the resurgence of interest from the 80s through the 90s, is gone.
Does anyone still do macramé? Actually, yes! Google it and you will see a small but serious group still at it. I do some tatting, and am frequently told that it is "a lost art". Well, no, it can't be if I am doing it. But I am one of a very small number compared to 80 or 100 years ago.
All hobbies and crafts are cyclic. The Victorians did scrapbooking, although it was somewhat different- but the word has been around for almost 200 years. Quilting comes and goes as a major activity, as does embroidery, knitting, etc. The crafts that appeal most, those that make something of lasting beauty or value, always come back into vogue. Even when they are out of style, there are always the faithful who continue to participate and pass it along to the next generation. So, scrapbooking will survive and depending on our ages, some of us might even see it come back once again as the dominant activity in the crafting world. But, in the meantime, it seems that everyone is beading and making jewelry right now.
The real culprit for the downfall of so many LSS is human nature. All of the many reasons in the posts above cover some of it- we want more for less, we want convenience and ease, we want it now, we want the newest, we jump in where we have no business being. But ultimately, it is our restive natures, our desire constantly to try something new, something else, our short attention spans, that have closed the LSS- and will bring back a 21st century version, whatever that may be, the next time scrapbooking is hot.
4 hours ago