I first found out about Tasra Dawson when I stumbled across her blog, Lessons from the Scrapbook Page. I was immediately intrigued by her fresh, unique style and her ability have fun while still getting right down to business with organization and motivation! I soon found out that Tasra is the author of the brand new book, Real Women Scrap, which has been getting rave reviews from the scrapbooking celebs- I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! My favorite new aspect of Tasra’s blog is Real Women Scrap TV a series of interesting and informative webisodes you can watch for free. Also, check out this great ABC news segment featuring Tasra and Real Women Scrap. OK – Let’s jump right into the interview, shall we? Tasra’s answers are sure to inspire!
What is your scrappin’ job, and how does it involve scrapbooking?
I’m an author, speaker, and scrapper. I write about scrapbooking, speak about the lessons we can learn from scrapbooking, and scrapbook professionally and personally. It’s something that I love for many reasons, two of which are leaving a legacy and being creative. I believe that we all have a story to tell and scrapbooking is an amazing and powerful way to capture and preserve those stories for generations to come. Creativity is something that helps me reconnect with who I am and why I exist…creating something from nothing brings me such joy and a sense of accomplishment.
How did you start scrapbooking?
Scrapbooking in one form or another has been part of my life since high school. My best friend and I used to make collage cards for one another with inside jokes and photos only we would understand. From there, my scrappin’ evolved into very simple pages with construction paper and a glue stick. We all know what’s available today…it’s just amazing. But the principle and purpose for why I scrapbook remains the same…to celebrate the people, relationships, and events in my life that make it meaningful.
What made you think this job was for you?
I don’t know if my job was made for me or if I was made for my job. It seems to be a bit of both. The way that I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be is that I see evidence in my life and the lives of others that what I do is making a difference. It has been through my “job” that I’ve been able to get more clear about who I am and how I am uniquely created to do what I’m doing. That feeling is confirmed when I received email messages like this, “I think you are a refreshing jolt of life, much needed by the scrapbooking world. Finally I hear someone and see someone who shares my reasons for scrapping and with active fervor. You are a very much needed reminder for me of how beautiful life can be when you follow HIM. Thank you does not cover my gratitude to you: simply for being YOU.”
Where are most of your work hours spent (at home / away, etc)?
I’m a true WAHM (work at home mom). My office is in my son’s former bedroom. Our kids now share a bedroom and have a large playroom. In my office at home, I’m surrounded by books and scrapbooking supplies. My husband has an outside office about 15 minutes from our home and every once in a while I’ll go there to get some solid quiet working time, but generally I’m at home with the sounds of the kids playing in the background.
Do you have any advice for people looking to get into this area of work?
We all have dreams, unique gifts, and amazing talent. I think that when you can line up your dreams, gifts, and talents, you will find your place in the world. That may be in the line of work that you think or it could be something else entirely. When I first started writing Real Women Scrap, I had no idea where the idea would take me…to appearances on NBC, ABC, and speaking engagements in Washington, New Jersey, and Las Vegas. It’s an amazing adventure to submit to the calling on your life and just see what doors open before you.
What inspires you most creatively?
Nature and God’s creation inspires me. When I take photographs in nature, I immediately think of ways that I could incorporate them in a layout or altered project. Nature provides such beautiful and rich colors and textures…something unparalleled anywhere else. I’m also inspired by my children…they do such funny things that I can’t resist making layouts about their antics and escapades.
What is your scrappin’ style?
I’m a classic scrapper by nature, which I talk about in Real Women Scrap. But, I’d like to be more shabby chic or modern. I see pages and layouts that shabby chic scrappers make and I’m so impressed with how they make something seemingly random and unrelated look so pulled together. I’ve tried it a few times, but don’t know that I really have the shabby touch. I’ll keep trying and experimenting though…it helps expand my creativity and ideas about what works and doesn’t.
What is/are your favorite scrapbooking product(s)?
Paper and ribbon. That’s an easy question for me because I absolutely love my paper…and can never have too much. I guess it’s probably a combination of the writer and scrapper in me that loves the different colors, patterns and textures of the paper currently on the market. I confess to having more paper than I will probably ever use, but I enjoy just looking through it. As for ribbon, everything looks a little better with some ribbon attached…from an altered journal to a layout.
What are your favorite pictures to scrap?
You hit on an area that is hard for me to make a decision because I love photography. I’ve been getting more involved in photography in the last few years, as most people who follow my show, Real Women Scrap TV, will have already seen. We’ve talked about organizing photos and how to take better photos over the last few episodes. I think pictures, good ones, can capture the emotion and action of an event and person in a way that words sometimes fail. As I improve in my photography, I’ve become more photojournalistic and capture the events and people as they are naturally, rather than posed. So to decide what I like best to scrapbook is nearly impossible…I just love photos. I don’t mind if they’re my photos, your photos, or a stranger’s photos. I love trying to discern the story behind the person and the picture.
What is the most difficult thing for you to scrap?
When I scrap legacy photos of my grandpa, I have mixed emotions. My grandfather was such a pillar for me…someone who loved me unconditionally at all times. Even writing about him brings tears to my eyes because I still miss him since he passed away. I would have loved for him to meet my husband and son, but he wasn’t able to. So that’s the hardest thing for me to scrap.
Where do you see your scrapbooks in 50 years?
In 50 years I expect my scrapbooks to be in the hands of my kids or grandkids…prominently displayed in their living rooms where they can be taken down and stories told about the people in them. Storytelling is a powerful way to connect generations and people and remind them of their history and legacy. I hope and pray my scrapbooks will do that for my children and grandchildren.
Do you scrap in:
a) 100% paper?
b) 100% digital?
c) Mostly paper, some digital?
d) Mostly digital, some paper?
e) Pretty equal paper and digital?
c) Mostly paper, some digital. I’ve just been getting into more digital recently with some great online resources and digital kits, like the one from Digital Scrapbook Memories and Tinkering Ink. We’re even creating a digital kit for Real Women Scrap with words, titles, and papers to match the logo and theme of the book. I like the flexibility that digi scrapbooking provides in time and less mess. But, I will never fully convert to digi because I love the hands on feel of paper scrapbooking. I also would miss the sisterhood and connection with my girl friends if I only scrapped on the computer.
What is your favorite scrappin’ tip?
I have two tips that I think are essential…don’t compare and celebrate you! I tend to be a perfectionist (I’m working on it!) and when I started scrapbooking I would let myself compare my work with others who had more experience, time, and money. This led me to stop feeling creative and not enjoy what I was doing. Many years of this has taught me to celebrate my unique style and vision for my pages. They may be simple and classic, but they are mine and tell the story of those I love. That’s what is important.
Thanks for sharing such great insight with us, Tasra!
To see some of Tasra’s beautiful scrapbook pages, check out her gallery. Enjoy!