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State of scrolling today???

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  • State of scrolling today???

    I've been thinking about this question a bit lately and figured this was the best place to get some input. Where do you think scrolling stands today, as a hobby? Do you see it as growing, with more new & younger folks taking it up? Or do you see it as pretty much standing pat, new scrollers primarily being older, retired folks with time on their hands, replacing the ones who pass on. Or, perhaps you are concerned about the decline of scrolling and fear that it is fading away.

    Since this site probably boasts the largest collection of scrollers, in one "place", I figured it would be the ideal forum to pose that question. I'm interested in all opinions, but particularly those of folks like BobD, Mike Moorlach, etc who have related business interests, as well as our international scrolling members. These folks may have a broader perspective of the scrolling community, at large, than some of the rest of us.

    So what do you think? Where does scrolling fit in the broad spectrum of pastimes? Does it rank closer to golf, or underwater basket weaving? Other than the folks on this board, how many scrollers do you know personally? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
    Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

  • #2
    G'day Bill,
    Good Question mate.
    I personally don't know any scrollers besides those on this and another board.
    I think that in the 8 or so years I have been doing markets, I have only met about 1/2 dozen other blokes who scrolled, and non of those lived in the State even.

    I personally thank that all handicrafts etc are on the decline. The stall have gradually disappeared from the Markets. With insurance costs etc Older people on a pension can't afford a stall and the younger ones are to busy with both partners working, trying to make ends meet, to have time for crafts.
    Obviously that big bad TV and Computers have played their part in the decline of home crafts.
    Another thing that has greatly influenced crafts is cheap overseas manufacturing. Anything you or I can make in our shed in a few hours/ days some body overseas can knock out in minutes with automated machines or pay a pittance to the local population to make.

    Just by the popularity of the forum over the past few years I'd have to say, in my learned opinion, that things seem pretty steady as far as scrolling goes at the moment.

    Anyhow, that's my 2 bob's worth
    "The Golden Mile"John Wayne
    Some of my Stuff
    Retired Medically Unfit Police Officers ***.


    • #3
      I am surprised how many emails I get from people who are just starting out with scroll sawing. Many mention that they went to this forum and got interested.
      I know some shop teachers who are teaching scroll sawing. One student is my grand daughter.
      FD Mike
      SD Mike


      • #4
        Like John B I don't know of any other scrollers in my area. I also see many scroll saws for sale on eBay and Craig's List so it indicates that people have tried it and haven't picked it up and are now trying to recover some of their money. I think there are a few scrollers that enjoy the hobby and even fewer that try to make a living at it. I don't see it changing in the future.


        • #5
          With the economic downturn people are not willing to spend money on craft items, I for one have cut back on my scrolling items for sale as people are not willing to pay the sale price of my items. They do not know the hours spent on making these goods nor the price of purchased wood,glue etc. I now only make items my family request. I do not know of any new Scrollers in my area and when I venture out to Apple Hill's craft locations,many of the crafters are disappearing due to lack of sales.



          • #6
            Is there a correlation between the decline in the craft market and the relative popularity of the hobby itself? I wonder, does less interest in buying scrollsawn items necessarily equate to less interest in scrolling, in general? I understand that there is a direct cause & effect relationship between supply & demand, affecting thos who make to sell, but I'm thinking in the larger context of scrollers in general. Does the popularity (or lack therof) of scrolled items in the craft market relate to the popularity of the craft, as a whole, regardless of whether you scroll for fun or profit?

            I suppose one could also speculate that perhaps an increase in the number of hobbiest scrollers could adversely affect the retail market, because more folks are making these items for fun, decreasing the demand at the retail level. I have absolutely no evidence to support or dispute such a theory, so please excuse my stream of consciousness ramblings. I'm just curious and looking to generate some thoughtful discussion.
            Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


            • #7
              One indicator could be the number of subscriptions for the magazine. If that is moving it may tell us where the craft is heading. Thoughts from FCP?
              . . . because each piece will be someone's heirloom someday.
              visit sometime
              Hawk 220VS, Delta 40-570


              • #8
                I read on several sites where it is in decline across North America mostly because of this being the electronic age and not as many young people getting interested in it. Also hear that craft sales are way down because most people don't want to pay for scrolled items . They do not understand the expense and time invloved in making it and made in China stuff is so much cheaper in big department stores. Still a wonderful hobby primarily for retired people that just want to scroll a few things for themselves or to give as gifts.


                • #9
                  Our subscriptions have been growing at a somewhat random rate since Shannon and I took over the magazine several years ago. But...that's really not a good baseline to determine people's interest in a hobby. There are too many variables. Did the subs increase because the project selection changed? Or because people liked the look of the magazine?

                  Reaching out to people to introduce them to scrolling is one of our primary goals at the magazine. Obviously, we'd like them to subscribe or purchase a book from Fox Chapel Publishing, but we also support and encourage the community. It's not an easy task.

                  Personally, whenever I find a youngster interested in scrolling, I do what I can to support them (putting their work on the bragging page, soliciting articles and article ideas, etc.). But, I've found that scrolling has a hard time competing with the other attention seeking hobbies younger people have: sports, video games, socializing with friends, computers, social networking, etc. While there are people of all ages who start scrolling (evidenced by our diverse membership on this site), many of our readers are older men who are close to retirement if not retired, who have more spare time than younger people.

                  Take me for example; I've got a great shop less than 50 feet from my house. I'm lucky to be able to spend 10 minutes in the shop most weeks...with my family, I just don't have time. I'm sure many other people my age are in the same position...



                  • #10
                    Well, I think there are so many different aspects of Scrolling, that it can't be considered a Hobby, unless you're like me. I just do certain scrollsaw pieces as a Hobby & don't sell very much. Only when asked. I think that a lot of our survival will depend on who wants those Art Crafts & how much money will be involved. I know here in the USA, most of our sports are spoiled by too much money. A family man can't afford to take the children to a ball game. And, then there is the Scrollsaw itself, made of less quality than before, year after year. Alway, cheapen the product, but, sell it for more. I live in an area where wood is not plentiful & don't know many woodworkers. I do get to visit the woodcarvers show each January & enjoy looking at the fantastic crafts involved with that show. I do pick up some unusual wood pieces for my personal choice & make something that is really different than the normal scroll pieces that we see from day to day. I really don't know if Scrolling is growing or not, because I'm not in an area where there might be good numbers of scrollers located. So, I think it will depend on how much cost will be involved, for a newcomer to get into Scrolling. That's my Perk's worth.


                    • #11
                      So it would be fair to say that scrolling, as it pertains specifically to selling crafts, is probably on the decline. I think most of us have witnessed that first or second hand.

                      How about that other population of scrollers, those who scroll only for fun. Take fishing for example. Very few people fish for a living. The vast majority who fish, do it for the enjoyment. Is scrolling in that same type of category? I don't sell my items. I belong to a scrollsaw club with perhaps 3 dozen members. I think there are maybe two that regularly sell at craft shows. Most of the rest just do it for fun, giving items away to family, friends, charity, etc. Do you think the number of those folks is growing, shrinking, staying the same?
                      Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


                      • #12
                        Scrollsawing is just a hobby for me, I have sold a few things but not many.
                        Seems like anymore all I make are Christmas ornaments, that I give to family and friends. It is still fun after 20+ years.
                        I'm like some of the others I don't know anyone around here that uses a scrollsaw.

                        Delta P-20 & Q-3

                        I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!


                        • #13
                          I have not met anyone on the Island where I live that uses a scrollsaw .. A few crafts people use band saws and there are a couple of wood turners .

                          I use mine as a hobby.



                          • #14
                            I had a discussion with a gent today that had created some drawings that I thought would translate well to the scrollsaw. He didn't know what a scrollsaw was. I had a detailed cross that I retrieved from my desk and gave to him as a gift. He was very excited and promised to draw some art specifically for scrollsawing.

                            Since I give all my stuff away for free, people don't evaluate the worth of the objects as they would in a market. They look, are amazed at the detail (not because I'm any good), and have questions. They ask me about how long it took to make, and are usually very excited to receive the gift. Many of those that work around me are very interested in the hobby and all come and crowd around the desk when I bring something new to work. These folks do not go to craft fairs and don't see this kind of stuff every day, so for them it is very neat.

                            In my experience, it's very easy to provoke curiosity in folks, especially since most know nothing about this type of craft. Several are now talking about buying a saw.

                            -------Randy the Scrollsaw Evangelist :-)
                            "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"


                            • #15
                              I love scrolling. And always will. But as far as selling things. It seems to be all most a lost cause. On line sales. Blaaaaaa... I am about to give up my web site. I have had it for all most four years and have only sold 4 items directly from the web. I do OK at craft fairs, I still can not buy a 60 ft yacht, but do have fun at the fairs. And now that I am retired I don't know how I will make enough money to attend any far away fairs. So as far as the question of this post is. Looks like scrolling is in a decline. As far as making money. Most people who are interested in scroll items can make them their selfs. I think more could be made by selling patterns, but I don't have the talent or imagination to make good patterns.... So I will just keep cutting for the fun of it.

                              PS I belong to the DFW Scrollers. Those are the only other people I know who are scrollers. Great bunch of people.. Also I seem to be really slow at getting items cut, and finished. Just can not seem to speed up my work. Also I do try to do to many different types of cutting to get really good at one kind. I need to stop that.
                              Last edited by Pajaro; 09-01-2011, 01:10 AM. Reason: PS

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