Scrapbooking experiencing comeback

Kymberly Helton, 17, works on a page for her pageant scrapbook at her home in Clovis. The scrapbook includes pictures from the New Mexico Teen Pageant in which Helton competed in October.

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

She saves candy wrappers and movie stubs. She is ever searching for odd-shaped, colorful paper and cute stickers. For these supplies are essential fodder for the creation of a scrapbook — once they are coupled with a photograph or any other memento that may pass through her hands.

Alyssa Kate Pyeatt has already created three scrapbooks since her hobby took root about four years ago.

“I think it’s fun to do. But more than anything, it’s something to look back on when I get older,” Pyeatt said.

The Clovis High School senior is part of a scrapbooking boom among teenage girls. Fellow senior Jessica Russell has compiled five scrapbooks centering around her love of sports. They are filled with magazine cut-outs, snapshots and accompanying notes, simply glued onto the pages of an album. She leafs through the scrapbooks every once in a while. But they are mostly for posterity, she said.

“It is something I can show my kids in the future. So they can know what I was like when I was younger and what I did,” said Russell, who also enjoys looking at photos of her mother, when she in high school.

Like Russell, when Clovis resident Gloria Helton was younger, she clipped articles from newspapers and saved photos of her days as a high school cheerleader.

These days, she dabbles in scrapbooking, but her daughter Kymberly — a Clovis High School cheerleader — gravitated toward the hobby with much more enthusiasm.

“I keep scrapbooks, but not to the extent that Kymberly does,” said the mother, who has funneled nearly $1,000 into her daughter’s scrapbooks.

Kymberly explained her hobby with a light laugh, “I am really sentimental,” she said. The 17-year-old said scrapbooking gives her a break from her other extracurricular activities and a chance to be creative.

Five aisles in local craft store Hobby Lobby are devoted the tools of Kymberly’s craft: Stickers, stencils, decorative paper, albums, album refill pages, markers, and glue. The demand for such supplies is so high another scrapbook supply aisle is in the works, according to the head of the craft department, Tiffany Harrell.

“Scrapbooking is becoming one of the more popular hobbies. It is really fun and easy; something that’s easy to get into right away. It’s also a way to become more organized and keep memories,” Harrell said, a scrapbook maven herself who spends an average of 30 minutes on each scrapbook page she puts together.

Revenue from the sale of scrapbook supplies hovered at around $200 million in 1996 and ballooned to more than $2 billion in 2004, according to Allan Fliss, a Craft & Hobby Association spokesperson. He said CHA studies show the hobby has increased in popularity by almost 30 percent in six years.

Sales grew along with company involvement and product availability, but there was an immediate spike after 9/11, Fliss said. He links that catastrophic event to the adoption of the hobby by a younger generation.

“This is the first generation in a very long time who dealt with a catastrophic event in the their lives. I think it really had an impact on their attitudes. There is a rejuvenation of the family unit,” Fliss said.

When it comes to searching for a deeper meaning behind scrapbooking, the usual response among these teenage girls is akin to a shrug of the shoulders.

“I just do it for fun,” a sweetly dismissive Pyeatt said.