UNPLUGGED: Putting the past to paper

Sylvia Long’s mother is an award-winning painter and her dad drew beautifully. With two gifted parents, Sylvia’s artistic flair and creativity are seemingly inherent.

Some of those traits began to show when Sylvia was in seventh grade and given an old Kodak camera. The young shutterbug packed it with her on class trips to snap pictures of her friends. In high school, she served as a spirit girl for Tuloso-Midway in Corpus Christi and loved decorating the football players’ lockers that lined the school’s hallway.

She later pursued a career in computer science, and today serves as the senior manager of Enterprise Information Technology (EIT) & End User Support. She leads teams at our Main Office complex, with a focus on assisting employees and contractors with technology issues and requests.

Unlike this more-structured role, Sylvia’s interests away from work allow her creativity to freely flow. She sews, crochets, makes vinyl signage and décor, and does punch needlework. She also immerses herself in designing greeting cards before major holidays. “I go into crazy card-making mode!” she says.

Scrapbooking, though, proved to be the perfect way for Sylvia to blend her colorful imagination with her love for photography and decorating. She spends most Saturdays in her “ProCRAFTination Room,” standing at the heavy wooden table that once belonged to her dad while her favorite movies like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter play in the background. Here, Sylvia brings life to empty pages, similar to the way her mother brushed life onto empty canvases with her landscapes and still-life images.

scrapbooking collage
Long started scrapbooking to recall the special people and moments in her life.

As a traditional scrapbooker, Sylvia designs her own layouts from start to finish – printing her own photos then using stamps, die cuts, quilling, mixed media and other tools to embellish or add texture. On a good day, without any interruptions, she completes four pages.

On those hand-crafted pages, Sylvia captures the special people and moments in her life: her family, vacations and holidays, her adolescent years, and her weight-loss journey that would happen years later. One embellished pink page reads “She Lights Up the Room” and shows images of her mother as a young girl and young woman. Another page titled “Me and My Dad” highlights Sylvia with her father at Padre Island with the sun streaming down upon them. Sylvia fashioned an attractive “Out at Sea” page that features her husband and his friends surrounded by wispy waves splashed with fish.

“I worried about losing my family’s stories,” she says. “I also wanted to do something with the tens of thousands of photos I had accumulated. A regular photo album just didn’t seem to do them justice.”

Through scrapbooking, Sylvia is preserving those precious stories and photos – page after colorful page – while keeping her parent’s artistic legacy alive.

Scott Wudel

Scott was part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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