Thursday, November 21, 2013

Becky Higgins on Creative Live - the development of the Project Life memory keeping system

So it's 4:30am here in Melbourne, and I'm up watching Becky Higgins live on Creative Live! Yes, I will pay for this tomorrow... but here I am, watching it on my iPhone (low resolution - I had trouble with it on the PC, I guess my internet connection wasn't fast enough). This is going to be three full days of live online classes with Becky Higgins, on memory keeping with her system, Project Life. And it's FREE to watch live!

Her Introduction has been about Memory Keeping, going back to the beginning of photography. Becky shared an old family album, with photos of relatives, a very precious family keepsake.

Then she shared three of her early scrapbooks.

Oh my, how I love Becky's teenage scrapbook! I did the same thing! But with a lot more writing. I covered notebooks, made my own books, altered old books. All before I had heard of the term "Scrapbooking". I knew about scrapbooks; my Mum showed me her scrapbook from her teenage years, the same sort of thing in an exercise book. But it wasn't called ScrapbookING, it didn't have special products, I never saw those until I was quite a bit older, and honestly I thought it was pretty dumb, because I knew you didn't need to buy special papers to make a scrapbook. Haha!!

She spoke about the advent of the "Scrapbooking Industry" in the 1990s, and then the downsides of this hobby - it can be time consuming and expensive. Knowing where to start can be hard if you don't feel creative. It can be overwhelming.

Now Becky is talking about the upsides: organising our photos. Scrapbooking can be a social experience. A creative outlet - it's FUN! It's meaningful, its personal. And she is now talking through her personal journey from her high school scrapbooks, into college, and her career, beginning with asking at local stores if she could run classes! She joined Creating Keepsakes magazine, writing and teaching Creative Lettering, and then layout Sketches. She published nine books on Sketches between 1999 and 2007.

Then Becky moved on to talking about the time-consuming aspect of the hobby while having children. She has three children three years apart. After already scrapbooking for many years, spending a lot of time and creative energy on her hobby, "reality set in!" when she became a mother. At a time when she had a full and busy life, and wanted to "keep up", with her scrapbooks, particularly for her children, Becky needed a quick and simple solution to memory keeping. 

So in an attempt to solve her own problem, she experimented with a concept she'd seen photographers do - "Project 365". She decided to capture a picture a day to represent her year. While doing this she got pregnant and it hit her hard. She was very sick, and didn't manage to finish her memory keeping project, but the two months she worked on Project 365 were so fulfilling that she knew she was onto something. From here, she developed the idea from Project 365 into a more complete solution that would present the photos better than in a regular photo album, and allow room for journalling. Becky launched the product "Project 365" through Creating Keepsakes. This was the precursor to Project Life - no embellishments, just photos and journal cards slipped into pockets. It was so popular, it sold out within hours!

Next Becky further developed the concept, so it was no longer about a daily photo, it was much more flexible so people could capture and record whatever was meaningful to them. Project Life was born! So in 2009, Becky resigned from the magazine and began a company with her husband to launch her memory keeping system. More than a photo album, the journal cards allow you to capture the important details, and also add a creative touch.  It looks like a scrapbook, but there are no added embellishments. It's beautiful, but simple. "Back to the basics of Photos and Stories." Yay!

The benefits of Project Life are greater than just getting your photos printed and in an album. "By doing something with your pictures, you will become more aware of how you are blessed." And also more aware of what you need to do and do more of. It can help you to be thankful, to recognise the blessings in your life.

"We'll do it, if it's manageable" - by making whatever we need to do in our lives simple and manageable, we'll be much more likely to do it! There is a little audience interaction at the end of the session. The host says he regrets not finishing his son's album, and Becky says, yes, there is often a feeling of regret, or guilt, a wistful "I wish" I had finished this or done that. But over the next three days Becky is going to cover this. She says she's going to break it down and make it achieveable. Sounds fantastic!

The next section is "Getting Started". It's 5:25am and the first 90 minute session has just finished. I'm going to add some pictures, proofread and then I'm off to bed! Oh, and I will definitely be watching more of this, as I find Becky to be very inspiring. Apparently Creative Live run replays of the day's show throughout the day, so I may be able to watch the rest at a more civilised hour ;D

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