By Robert Lucke
It's called scrapbooking, and what is so amazing is that folks who collect most anything are learning ingenious ways to keep their mementos displayed along with keeping them in good condition for generations to come.
This is a nation of collectors and scrapbooking covers most everything. Old photos, business stories, baby pictures, a great honeymoon, the wedding, Uncle Tom's beer label collection. It all can find its way into scrapbooking.
The interesting aspect of scrapbooking is not just that mementos are displayed. It is the way in which they are displayed. The detail. The design of page after page. For that, many people need to be taught.
In Havre there are at least a couple of people who teach regular courses in scrapbooking. They are Shannon Hanson and Joyce Kops. Kops explained how she got involved as she stood behind a desk in her home
classroom. It's easy to tell that Kops is a retired school teacher.
"It all started when we acquired my husband's family photo album," Kops said. "There were no names with the pictures. We didn't know who anyone was. No dates, no places. That got me started with album books."
That and the fact that when she looked into her own photo albums, she
found that the pages were giving off a gas that over time would ruin all
"Then I retired from school teaching," she said. "I worked for a
year for Bing N Bob's but that just wasn't me, so I started taking classes in
Great Falls called Creative Memories."
That led to Kops starting her own classes and attending more workshops
around the Untied States to become more proficient in scrapbook design and how to best preserve those things that mean so much to individual
It all requires teaching a great degree of creativity. That is what Kops likes best.
"The idea to teach this intrigued me and it caused me to go ahead with my creative talents," Kops said. "One thing I have always been good at is visualizing something. I can visualize in living color."
That has helped her in the design and creative aspects of scrapbooking.
Not only that but she stresses that anytime she teaches how to build a scrapbook, it is going to be an archival safe scrapbook. Even her pins are the kind used by the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Kops figures she has taught between 100 and 150 people the techniques of scrapbooking. Classes last about six weeks. She teaches some in her home and teaches many others during afternoons at the Senior Citizens Center.
Scrapbooking has brought Kops some strange experiences.
"One lady brought me her mother's album. It was pictures pasted in a magazine and she wanted to know how to preserve it," Kops said. "Then there are even the pet albums. Some see a real joy in preserving the story of the family snake."
If that isn't enough to preserve, there is another completely different sort of album or scrapbook. Called Across Generations, it might include photos of all the family cars over a 50-year period or photos of Grandpa's Hupmobile, the grandson's first car in high school and everything in between.
Perhaps it is the hairstyles of five generations of the same family. Or renderings of all the kitchens in a family going back several generations.
Keep in mind, though, that it is not just how many pictures there are. It is how they are displayed and how each page is decorated to best enhance the project. That is scrapbooking.
Not only are scrapbookers encouraged to keep their scrapbooks displayed prominently in their living rooms for family and friends to page through, but they enter those same scrapbooks in competitions all over the country. One company even has what they call "Hall of Fame" layouts.
There are still other worlds of scrapbooking to be explored. Some folks are heavy into computer-generated scrapbooking with whole scrapbooks displayed on discs.
Finally, Kops has some advice for people interested in scrapbooking.
"Now is the time to get started. Maybe you want to preserve the Christmas parties you went to. Things like that," she said. "This is the perfect time to get things started with a Christmas photo book."