June 3, 2023

006: Thinking Globally

Today’s podcast features three very talented ladies from around the world:

Nathalie Kalbach


Nathalie Kalbach is an European Mixed Media Scrapbooker. Her layered work is an explosion of texture, dimension and jewel tone colors.

In Nathalie’s workshops she shares her secrets for using paint and ink products to reveal texture, tips and tricks for embedding found objects and embellishments and how to unlock your personal creativity.  She has taught workshops in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Israel, Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, The Netherlands and Norway. Also her Online Workshops are very well visited and a big hit.

Nathalie has been published in many Stampington Publications including her own column “Nathalie’s Studio” with Somerset Memories as well as in numerous magazines from around the world and several idea books.

You can read more about Nathalie and find her work on the n*Studio blog.

Louise Nelson

Louise Nelson1
Louise currently lives in an inner city suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. She has a day job working full time as a Perioperative Nurse [RN] for an agency; working mostly evening and night shifts in public hospital emergency/trauma operating theatres in and around Adelaide.

Louise has always had creative hobbies, before taking up scrapbooking 6 years ago she loved to restore furniture. Since she started scrapbooking she has also devloped a love for portrait photography, and recently she has begun to dabble in painting.

During the last 6 years Louise has been fortunate to have been a Creative Design Team member for Scrapbooking Memories Magazine [AUS] in 2009 and currently a Scrapbooking Memories Master for 2011-12. Also fortunate to be invited to be on the Creative Design Team for UK based scrapbooking magazine; Scrap365. Currently she creates for Aussie Scrap Source, Jenni Bowlin Studio, Imaginarium Designs, Tattered Angels and 7 Dots Studio. She has been blessed to be published in Scrapbooking Memories [AUS], and have also been featured in the last 4 editions of Somerset Memories, with technique articles and layouts in the reader gallery.

You can read more about Louise and find her work on An Uninterrupted View.

Birgit Koopsen

Head shot
Birgit is married to Erik and mom of 3 beautiful kids. She lives in a little village called Winsum in the north of the Netherlands.

Color me a little rainbow - birgit koopsen - Internationally Inspired
Birgit started scrapbooking officially when her youngest child was one year old, in 2003, but actually she has been doing it since she was a teenager. Birgit always enjoyed photography and “pimped” her photo albums, just didn’t know there was a name for it and special products. She loves how scrapbooking keeps all the beautiful memories of special events and everyday life alive. Especially for her children! But she also loves the creative outlet it gives her! She just loves to get her hands dirty! Be creative, play, experiment!

Hanging out with Nat layout - birgit koopsen
Birgit loves color! Bright, happy and bold colors are her favorites to work with. Lime Green, turquoise, pink, orange, yellow and red. Her style goes from clean and geometric to “busy” layouts with lots of details and colors.  Birgit loves to play with paints and inks and use non-scrapbooking products! In the last few years she fell in love with mixed media and very much enjoys creating “off-the-page” projects like canvases and Art Journal style mini albums.

Summer Breeze canvas - brigit koopsen - Tattered Angels
In the last 8 years scrapbooking slowly turned into a job for Birgit. She teaches and demonstrate in her own studio at home as well as in scrapbook stores and at (international) scrapbook events, shows and conventions. She also does freelance work for magazines. She was given the privilege to work on a couple of wonderful DT’s like in the past for Infocrea, MyStampBOX and until last year Prima. Currently she’s a DT-member for Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L, a certified Tattered Angels Designer, an endorsed educator for WOW! Embossing Powders and designing for Sizzix and Craft Stampers Magazine.

Let's go dancing art journal - birgit koopsen - Wow Embossing
You can read more about Birgit and find her work on her blog.

As you might have guessed, today’s episode includes our first ever (and certainly not our last) roundtable.  On the episode there’s a lot of laughter (a lot) as we discuss working in the very U.S.A.-based craft industry when you don’t live in the U.S.A.  We discuss economics, cultural differences, personal journeys, shipping costs, and so much more!  You won’t want to miss this one!

15 thoughts on “006: Thinking Globally

  1. That was great! One of the best podcasts I’ve ever listened to. Hearing the different perspectives from around the world was very enlightening. Being part of an American/Australian family it was especially interesting to hear Louise’s comments.
    And, yes, someone should definitely import directly from Asia to Australia.

  2. I’ve been really enjoying the podcasts – but this was a fantastic episode – really interesting. As someone from the UK I can relate to the shipping costs being a problem as well as the customs tax. I know that the internet has globalised everything (in a good way!) but it was interesting to hear that some countries have their own style still – I wonder whether we will all become homogenised eventually? I’m hoping that some of the individual style remains. A great episode – though I missed Eileen’s input – she has such good observations and questions!

  3. This was a really interesting podcast. Having worked for a Germany company in the US, I found it interesting to hear the difference with the communication. It didn’t take long to make my business communications more direct.
    I like the art work from Europe and the mixed media more than I do the scrapbooking with all the ephemera. The inks, paints and doodling fascinate me. I’m leaning towards that more.
    Thank you ladies for a very interesting and enjoyable podcast. Love your sense of humor!

  4. Great podcast, I really enjoyed the int’l perspective.

    I’m an American living in Italy and totally relate to the difficulty of simple access to products. Not only does it take a long time for products to arrive and often, you can’t even order what you want… shipping costs can be very high and customs fees are even worse. I have paid enormous amounts on custom fees because what else can you do? You have no choice but to pay the fee… whether it seems fair or not. I often avoid giveaways even if they are offered to int’l folks, because I know the customs issue will just cause more trouble than it’s worth.

  5. Thank you Ladies, I really enjoyed your discussion. The issue of product goes even further. Product is not available here in Australia and then when you can order so much is being produced in limited ranges and has already been discontinued. By the time I order, get the product, design for my classes and then teach, people get excited about product that is not available. If this comes from Australian distributors then the problem is compounded.
    I loved your frankness re. the blurky stuff that is out there!
    Recently I have gained places on a couple of design teams and I am highly amused – there was a lot of “can’t wait to get to know you etc etc and then there is NOTHING” No feedback of any kind.
    The segment about style was interesting too. One of my peeves is that the US is so occasion driven – so the blogs and magazines become VERY boring. Is no other colour but PINK acceptable when Valentines Day is on the calendar?????
    I agree with Louise re Australian styles but I think most of that is driven by what is being published by. If you do not do what everyone else does then you don’t get accepted. Louise and I have had that conversation many times.
    Re. English there is a huge difference with dealing with US people – they apologise when they are not responsible and when they are they TOTALLY and absolutely IGNORE the question, comment etc.
    Thanks Louise re. the jokes, I too, am finding that! With a very long teaching career where hunour was totally essential it’s sometimes difficult to not feel comfortable with it.
    There’s a lot of Awesome, amazing etc but none of it is real! Making real connections is very difficult.
    Looking at the content and understanding what the artist intends is what I look for in blogs. There are blogs I have come across that are totally impersonal, cold and are just product advertising that I never go back – I don’t care how famous they are!
    Hurrah, hurrah – keep talking “authentic” to anyone who will listen!
    Thank you for a wonderful podcast – sometimes Louise, we don’t want to even shake hands 🙂

    1. This is a GREAT comment. I had no idea Australians were hands off! I tend to think of Aussies as friendly and open so it was a complete surprise to hear it’s better to hold back and shake hands when first meeting someone you’ve probably met online and have talked to for a while. Great tip and will keep it in mind!
      I’ve been in a couple of smaller DTs and I also experience the communication issues- I tend to talk A LOT and I think it turns off some of the non american readers but I do it because I’m trying to create a link with the people I’m talking to.
      I must admit I get very overwhelmed trying to keep up with what my team mates are doing all the time so when I first meet someone I try to make friends- if they don’t respond in kind I move on and focus on the one or two team mates who seem ok with my talkative style.
      For my blog I give full frontal Michelle- no holding back. I also don’t limit what i say on Facebook- if you become a friend there you get all of my- the politics, the opinions and the scrapbooking. I don’t like to compartmentalize my life even though many people say that’s what required to be taken seriously in the crafts industry.
      Lately I’ve been editing what I say on my blog because I’ve notice I’ve had some readers drop off. I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t like the work I’m producing (which is totally fine- I’ll eventually evolve in my style and get some new readers) or if they’ve been driven away by something I wrote. I was also “lucky” to land on a scrap smack blog a while back and get some nasty comments made which made me scared to show the real me for a while- I’ve since decided to heck with it and let it all hang out again- it’s too hard to edit my personality.
      Perhaps these are some of the reasons for the impersonal blog posts of many scrappers- people would rather you swing by once in a while to look at their work than banish their blog forever because you didn’t like some random thing they may have said on any particular day.
      I agree with you though- I wish most paper craft blogs were more candid candid too.

  6. I live in the Midwest/NorthCentral part of the US and we are much more reserved, similar to Louise – shaking hands here is alive and well! Have you ever heard the Garrison Keillor show on public radio that supposedly takes place in Lake Webegone? Yes, we are like that. We travel quite a bit and know lots of people from Germany, and yes, they are abrupt. But that is OK. I feel they are being sincere when they don’t want to be the “yay, rah, rah, huggy” types who cannot sustain that demeanor for more than a couple of hours. I think Julie Short is onto something when she offers her analysis of Americans, but, that said, please don’t paint all of us with the same brush 🙂 Chasing the dollar changes people and it’s not always for the good. I’ve watched two bloggers go from innovative creativity to just cranking out what their sponsors want and now their work looks awful. Don’t let that happen to you Julie, Nat, Louise, and Birgit! This is has been a very thought provoking and entertaining podcast – Julie, you keep coming up with the best ideas! I can’t forget to tell Eileen that she has the most amazing ability to analyze and compare on the spot! I love her insights. Thanks, everyone.

  7. Wow this discussion was AMAZING!!!!! It took me a while to find my way here because I have a toddler old who makes listening to anything for an extended amount of time difficult but tonight I made some time. I have so much to say- I’ll limit it to a few things.
    I am am American Latina (from Puerto Rico) – hugging people when you first meet them is part of my culture and we do it to make people feel included and welcome. I might shake your hand if you are a man or if we are meeting for a work thing but my bloggy friends are FRIENDS- they get HUGS- many! LOTS!
    I hugged Louise like 20 times when we met up here in January. I had NO IDEA Aussies preferred to shake hands!!! I must come off like a giant Golden Retriever! Oh well!
    I also wonder about how much to reveal or conceal on my blog. I tend to put it all out there because sometimes people offer up great suggestions on how to handle a particular problem but I have noticed when I read these “smack blogs” or even the message board over at Two Peas that some people remember personal information for YEARS and attack fellow scrappers with it if they do something which attracts attention in some way.
    To me this isn’t necessarily a scrapbooker thing but an online thing. Bullies and trolls are particularly bad in an anonymous environment. Ever try reading the comments in a political or news blog? They are down right awful! It gets better when people’s name and face is attached to the comment and they know others can tell them off and avoid them in the future.
    I think scrappers hold back A LOT actually. It bothers me that everything has to be super positive all the time- work focused critique can really help an artist grow.
    I would LOVE to hear what people really thought about what I made but I understand that just isn’t going to happen because reading someone’s comment is not like face to face communication. Words are easily misinterpreted when written. I also think most scrapers are really short on time. They leave the I LOVE THIS comment and move on because they have 3 more blogs to see before they go to bed or do their next family oriented thing.
    In any case- great discussion everyone!!!
    I personally LOVE Polish and French scrapbook styles and product but shipping is a huge problem. Both the cost and the high probability of the package getting lost or stolen in the mail- tracking is not reliable at all. Payments are also a problems since Paypal fees have gotten so expensive. Shipping and paper costs are helping kill off the magazine industry so I’m worried about the physical scrapbook side of things- perhaps in a few years we will all be scrapping in the computer- shipping shouldn’t be an issue there at all.

  8. I am really enjoying these podcasts. This one in particular had me laughing hysterically especially the conversation about how we write flowery emails. It’s so true. Language and communication is so delicate in the US and emails have brought that sensitivity to the forefront i guess. Keep up the good work and thanks for doing these. I live in Brooklyn and I have been enjoying my commute into midtown this week by catching up on all the episodes.

  9. Thank you Julie for these podcasts, you and your mom are awesome. You are bringing all this great people and information to us, the consumers, that it would be impossible in any other way.
    Love your work!

  10. that was A for Awesome! i feel like learned so much about the different perspectives of each of these ladies. 🙂 i recognized them from nathalie’s creative jumpstarts.

  11. I’m working my way through the episodes (after having found your podcast less than a week ago) and I am in love! Great podcasts, wonderful guests, fabulous topics! This was my favorite so far. Thanks for a very interesting conversation! Looking forward to getting caught up with the rest of your episodes.

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