Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.
Most respondents in my study report support for their hobby to varying degrees from their family. In fact, other family members are more supportive than non-family.
Husbands may roll their eyes or “think it is dumb” yet they still accommodate their wife’s hobby by taking care of children’s needs while their wife scrapbooks or providing financial resources to be put toward scrapbooking. It could be that scrapbookers who are supported in their leisure activity are more likely to consent to be interviewed in the first place. In other words, they feel confident that their hobby is something worth talking about with a researcher because their partners are supportive. Overall, there were no reports of the hobby harming family relationships, consistent with what previous scholars have found.
I did not specifically ask about how the hobby is negotiated in the household but did ask respondents how their family feels about their scrapbooking. Not one respondent talks about lying to other family members about how much they spend on their hobby or that they hide recent purchases from family members as previous research suggests happens among other women crafters (including scrapbookers) (Downs 2006; Stalp 2006a; Stalp 2006b).
Family support extends beyond sharing space and economic resources with scrapbooking but also involves consenting to be photographed, taking pictures (of the scrapbooker), learning to take better photographs, going places for the scrapbook (e.g., scrapbook shopping and picture taking opportunities), and contributing their thoughts to the scrapbook. Family members have the right to refuse having their photograph taken, though most respondents did not mention this happening. Refusing to be photographed was the exception, not the rule. For example, one respondent comments how her family would not let her photograph them when they were seasick. Other than at that moment, they usually were good sports about it.
Not only do most scrapbookers want photographic images of family members for their scrapbooks, but they also want their words. Scrapbookers have various strategies for getting other family member’s words and thoughts in the scrapbook. Respondents use family member’s blog posts for journaling. Others email family members questionnaires to use in the scrapbook. Scrapbookers ask family to do things as simple as labeling photographs so that they knew what the caption for various photographs should read.
Extended family members also help scrapbookers scrapbook. The primary way extended family members help is by sending photographs to the scrapbooker who lives too far away to regularly see nieces, nephews, and grandchildren and take photographs themselves.
Overall, respondents feel like they are supported in their hobby by other family members. Scrapbookers feel the most support from family members who also scrapbook (or do other crafts), then from other female family members, and the least support from men family members. Husbands and boyfriends look at the scrapbooks but they do not really take an interest in the scrapbooks, like mothers of scrapbookers or other women do (i.e., asking about the scrapbooks or wanting to see the scrapbooks).
Scrapbookers seem to feel their hobby is most validated when another person becomes a scrapbooker, when they are asked to create scrapbooks for the family (e.g., heritage albums or an album for an elder family member’s 80th birthday), or they are asked to use their scrapbooking tools and supplies for other projects.
Does your family support your scrapbooking? How? Join the conversation below or on facebook.
 At City Scrapbooks (pseudonym), customers can write checks out to the acronym of the store, “CS,” so husbands are not be suspicious of checks written out to “City Scrapbooks.”
Downs, Heather Ann. 2006. “Crafting Culture: Scrapbooking and the Lives of Women.” PhD dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL.
Stalp, Marybeth C. 2006a. “Hiding the (Fabric) Stash: Collecing, Hoarding, and Hiding Strategies of Contemporary US Quilters.” Textile 4(1):104-25.
——. 2006b. “Negotiating Time and Space for Serious Leisure: Quilting in the Modern U.S. Home.” The Journal of Leisure Research 38(1):104-32.
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