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11/07/2010


ART SAVES • by Ali Edwards


Ali EdwardsI believe that words and photos can save people.

Never a Possibility
Growing up my interest was in getting good grades, excelling in sports, and being practical. An art-filled, design-related, creative career was never really even a thought or a possibility. It was neither encouraged nor discouraged. It was simply non-existent.

Looking back it’s interesting to note a few things. I’ve always been a visually organized person. I would tear pages from magazines and line the walls of my bedroom (very neatly of course). My favorites were always the full-page images combined with interesting type. I wrote elaborate hand-drawn notes to friends always playing with my own typography. I loved school supplies, especially blank notebooks that were full of possibility. I’ve also always loved to read. It’s likely I was first saved by the power of words. It’s also interesting to note that my Mom is a wonderful keeper of memories. She has collected major amounts of life ephemera over the years – clothing, handwritten notes, toys, schoolwork, etc.

Dissatisfied with my Direction
After finishing college with an inter-disciplinary degree in American Studies (history, literature, and political science) I was on a path towards law school and married a year after graduation. Amidst much happiness I was completely dissatisfied with my professional direction. My internal compass was screaming. I knew I needed more.

I decided to go back to school and study graphic design. It was still a practical move — the skills I would gain could help pay the bills and be done from home once I had kids. I was not prepared for how much I loved design and how completely at home I felt.

I will never forget sitting in class that first day and knowing, really knowing, that I was in exactly the right place.

Where Stories & Images Intersect
Today my passion resides in that place where the stories and images of life intersect.

My art is generated from seeing and capturing beauty in the very basics of everyday life. Conversations, routines, glances, fleeting moments, and memories from a single minute ago to time long past. I capture life through the lens of my camera and pair those images with words on a page that describe, evoke, document, and add meaning from a very personal point of view.

My life is completely different because I started scrapbooking. Yes, my art is scrapbooking.

I began shortly after the birth of my son in 2002 and nothing has been the same since. Taking pictures and writing down the stories of our lives changed me and continues to enrich my life in ways I never imagined. I am much more aware of my everyday life. I am more in tune with my own thoughts and feelings. I am more myself and so much more awake and alive. I am more grateful everyday for the millions of little blessings because I’m paying attention.

Documenting Life
In 2004 my son was diagnosed with autism. That experience also had a tremendous impact on me and the way I approach documenting life. Around here we do a lot of celebrating. We celebrate small successes just as much as big events. My scrapbook pages are full of these celebrations. In so many ways my books are love made visible.

Because of my experience with my son I’m so much better at going with the flow. Things that I used to worry about aren’t even on my radar today. He’s taught me a million lessons in his eight years. My experience with his journey has helped me get to the heart of the matter and I think that’s reflected in the stories I choose to document.

Telling Stories
I’m not about “keeping up” my scrapbooks or really all that interested in telling stories chronologically. I’m not about documenting every single detail of every day of our lives. I have no guilt related to not creating a birthday page for a scrapbook before I make something about Christmas.

Instead, I’m interested in telling stories that inspire me. Some days that story is from five minutes ago and other days it’s from when I was a child. I’m interested in comparing the past and the present and inspiring others to get their own personal stories recorded. I’m interested in capturing moments between my kids and being a witness to their journey. I’m interested in celebrating our everyday lives – those mundane moments that pass by in an instant that really matter most.

I believe that words and photos can save people.

Ali Edwards has been involved in the scrapbook industry since 2003. She has written four books, authored a column for Creating Keepsakes magazine, taught workshops around the world and online, designed products for both traditional and digital memory keepers and currently shares her life, projects, and products via her popular blog. To learn more about Ali visit aliedwards.com.

Ali Edwards

Ali Edwards

Ali Edwards

Ali Edwards

Ali Edwards

Comments

you art is more than just scrapbooking... you're an artist with photos, words, telling stories & making very cool digital things :)

I love Ali, as does anyone who spends 5 minutes in her presence. It's always amazing to me how similar our two stories. Her eloquence about the passion for, and relevance of, memory-keeping as a creative art form is much needed in the greater art community. Thank you for featuring her work today.

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