A recurring issue I hear and read about with Crafters of Color? In regards to scrapping, paper crafting, mixed media and the like - are that there are not enough images and products out there to reflect who we are, as People of Color. The plethora of vintage papers, stamps, digi stamps, background papers, etc which flood the market - and less than 3% reflect African Americans and other ethnic backgrounds. Some would say that the companies can not be ALL things to ALL people - and you know what? .. they are right. WE can take care of that as crafters and artists. WE can control, to some degree, the images that we are looking for elsewhere - we need to use what we've already got!
Back in May, the design team members on Scraps of Color E:spire online magazine were asked if we'd be interested in creating some projects using products from a new company called Basically Bare. Well I don't know about anyone else - but I jumped on it.
I decided last year when I could not find satisfactory images of vintage African American Life on the latest scrapbook papers to use on my scrap layouts - that I would use pictures from my own life, my Grandparents, Great-Aunts and Uncles ... I would infuse their images and their stories to help me tell stories that *I* wanted to tell today through my art and scrapbooking.
While companies such as Graphic 45 are starting to introduce Louis Armstrong and other jazz notables in their fabulous Curtain Call line ... we must flip the script on the industry and take what is unique to **US** and push ahead. Use the images we already have as the focal points to our creations. Don't wait for companies to represent you. Like I did using the Basically Bare accessories, you can take the fabulous papers of Graphic 45 and other papers who are trying to reach Artists and Crafters of Color, and use their products to enhance what you already have.
It's not hard - it just takes thinking outside the box about using what you have a little differently to give you what you want.
Look for the next issue of SOC E:spire in September to help you get those ideas to showcase your talents, and more importantly, your own family. Utilize all those pictures of your ancestors. Take the images you have or that your family has, and scan them ... create your own background images ... and pay homage not only to your family through your creativity - but to yourselves, as artists and crafters.