I believe in scrapbooking people. I love to create pages like this one AND I have a growing collection of People We Love albums specifically designed to house completed "people" layouts.
I was invited to participate on the Paperclipping Roundtable this morning in a discussion about documenting people that have passed. With the exception of a few Skype issues, I thought this was a really good episode. Other guests were Jen Gallacher and Tracy from MercyTiara.com who both shared fantastic insights into this often uncertain and emotional topic. The perspective I shared was less about telling the stories of sudden and/or tragic death and more about documenting people we love, who have passed and that we want to pay tribute to.
Here are FIVE tips for creating people pages for family members that have passed ...
1. Locate 3 to 4 photos of this person, if possible from different time periods and in different roles. Certainly you could use more photos than this, but you may not have access to more photos and I also like what limiting the number of photos does in terms of telling a broader story. Just so you know, there are two additional photos on this page, that are tucked into the envelope.
2. If you knew the subject of your page personally, spend a few minutes immersed in memories of them. It helps me to close my eyes. I try and recall specific places and situations in which my recollections are very clear. For example, I have clear, detailed memories of my Grandpa Hall sitting in his upstairs office and in his black reclining chair. I can remember vividly riding with him in the front seat of his pick up truck. As you focus on these and other sensory triggers (foods, music, smells, etc.) jot down details, thoughts and feelings.
3. Once you've explored your memory with this person in mind, begin gathering papers and embellishments that "feel" like this person. I think it's extra cool when you select colors, patterns and accents that visually define or at least support a personality. Blue was the overwhelming color that came to my mind when thinking about my grandfather and I choose pattern papers with a vintage and scholarly feel—Grandpa was well educated and wore glasses. I chose the map-themed banner to reflect Grandpa's love for and experience with world travel.
4. Select a title that represents a personal connection. This tip is probably more of a challenge than it is recommendation, but I can say that a unique or unexpected title will pique the viewer's attention and draw them into the story. I could have titled this page, Charless Leness Hall, but a more interesting and engaging title is Escaboodily Bump, which is a nonsense expression that Grandpa would say out loud when we picked me up and flung me over his shoulder. If you're attempting to create a life overview page like this one, then (please) be sure to also include the person's full name.
5. Invite exploration and give yourself additional storytelling room by including some kind of pocket (or two) where you can slip in memorabilia or additional journaling or reference another resource, like a book or blog post. There are actually four open areas on this page—a large stitched pocket under the primary photo on the right, the envelope with the string closure, a very small library-style pocket and a smallish brown-paper sack. The combination of these elements gives me quite a bit more space to extend my story with additional photos and words.
Here are two additional detail images. Feel free to share any tips you have for documenting and celebrating "People We Love" in the comments below. If you want to see a larger version of this page, click on the image to enlarge it. If you want to see more of my people stories, click here.