Monday, July 18, 2011


So my best friend in the whole widest world has introduced to me the potato chip of artistic expression.  Allow me to explain where the potato part comes in.  These little works of art are known as Artist Trading Cards aka ATCs. They can be anything and everything as long as they are 2.5x3in in size.  They can be tiny representations of larger works, fine art, collage, vintage inspired, ephemera, etc.  As soon as you complete your first  one you are on such a roll that you have to make another, and another, and another....I've made 3 this weekend so far.

My friend and I decided to do a little personal swap between the two of us.  We chose the theme "nature".  You typically set a deadline for completion and mailing, ours was a loose date of before July 22nd.  Right off the bat I had a terrible time!  I couldn't think of anything. I googled for inspirations to little avail.  I went through at least 3 ideas and a lot of hair pulling until I FINALLY figured it out.  I took a more liberal interpretation of "nature".  I received my friends card on Saturday and it was beautiful!  She used real pieces of evergreen which made it extra special.  I think my hang up came from wanting to make something directly personal to her.  It's not that I didn't in the end, but as soon as I kinda let that part go I had more success. I'm not going to post the one I completed until she's received it (it is now posted), but I will post the other one that I finished for an upcoming swap.  Sorry for the quality, but my phone actually took a better pic than my camera, go figure.

Folks trade ATCs all over the world.  The catch is to trade not sell.  I've already signed up for a swap for later this month.  I already completed the card for that as well.  Another of my larger hurdles is the lack of crafting supplies I have.  Plenty of paint and what-not, but no embellishments, ribbon, glitter, etc.  Most ATC swaps require some sort of embellishment.  Cash flow is pretty tight in our household.  We're trying to get approval for a home loan when we move in Oct, and I wasn't offered a course this term so $$ has been tight.  I'm trying to get into this quick art with as little investment as possible at this point.  Lucky for me it was 1$ days at Michael's!

The greatest benefit of all came from the fact that having completed these little works you get that instant gratification of project completion so its a lot easier to maintain the momentum.  With that said, although I keep thinking about my next ATC it's brought me back around to take my hand back to my paintings.  My heron piece is coming along, but on hold since I think I have a lighting issue I need to work out first.  So maybe after all of this I'll bang out another painting this week. Maybe even a big one!  We'll just have to wait and see what pops up to prevent this new drive I've gained.

"Button" Theme
Completed 7/16/11
Materials: Scrapbook paper background, vintage ballerina print,
1 button, iridescent ribbon, glitter and 3 adhesive gems.
All coated/glued on using Soft Matte medium. Button was sewn on.

"Nature vs Nurture"
Completed 7/13/11
Materials: Scrapbooking paper background,
jeweled butterfly adhesive, words and image from Vouge Magazine


  1. OK, first of all, I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! Way to use a variety of materials - more than I ever use!!!! Yours, that I've seen so far, are more complex than mine. Is that bad? When I post them, you can tell me if so. Second of all, you're my bestest friend in whole widest world too! Yay! Third of all, it was bonsai, not evergreen - even cooler huh? Fourth of all, you definitely don't have to personalize towards me. It's YOUR art, I'm glad you let that go, even a little bit. Fifth of all (catching the theme?), I have the same exact feelings about ATCs, they are quick and quick to finish, granting the thrill of satisfaction more often. That's why they're addicting. Sixth of all, would you like some craft stuff? I've done a couple of supplies swaps and imagine I'll get some stuff I don't want to use. Plus I have a lot of extra other stuff. Give me an idea of what you need and I'll send you some stuff (once I get a few of my supply swaps back), don't mind a bit - if you want, anyway. Seventh of all, kudos to you for sewing the button! I just use Mod Podge (my <3). I forget at the moment how to spell 8th. But I can't wait to see the heron! Ninth, I guess you're doing Swap-bot. My user name is lttleetoile of course. Tenth, I think I'm done. I love you and this is fun, right? Eleventh, oh wait, not done. Know you can't reply on here, but reply on FB or text or email if you want. 12th, my spelling is not working right at the moment, but I LOVE YOU!

  2. LOL!! I fixed the responding issue. To get the ribbon, I went into my stash of wedding cards from our wedding and jacked a ribbon off one! Resourceful right?! And the medium I already have for my paints is the same stuff they sell for $6 in a teeny jar ($10 buys the tub) I don't think complexity makes a nice card. I've seen some that are LOADED, then I've seen some with pretty pictures and ribbon borders that look even more sophisticated than the ones covered in stuff. Yup, signed up for swap-bot, user name is what else: interruptedartist (trying to get a monopoly on this name). Would love any supplies you're not interested in (ribbons, stickers, paper stock)!!!! I was trying to find some place where I could trade my yarn stash for scapbooking supplies but no luck. Yes, this is super fun!! LOVE YOU TOO!

  3. Once I get some of my swaps back, I'll send you some of those goodies plus some of mine. I'd love a little bit of yarn if you can spare some. I have white and white/green/silver already (the yarn on the printables bookmark). Let me know what you think of my cards.

  4. Hello! This is elleboheme from swap-bot (Read My Blog! swap). I also just started to make ATCs and I must say their teeny size doesn't make them much easier to finish. Like you, I was at the brink of tearing my hair out looking for inspiration!

    That said, I love Nature vs Nurture, I wish I could receive ones of your ATCs!

  5. Another swap-botter hot on the trail of completion of the Read my blog swap here....

    I've yet to attempt an ATC, having had some terrible responses (from myself!) while attempting to create homemade cards and postcards...but for awhile, I had a burst of ideas for these cards...

    A "misheard lyrics" series, a "captive food" series, "the little red hen's revenge" series...

    But my creative side lost out to my "can't have any muss" side, and I chucked/gave away a lot of the supplies - old magazines and junk mail - that I had started to collect in order to start of collage...

    I'm glad that you stumbled onto a $1 day at Michaels! I've gotten to the point where I'll only pick up something for my letter projects IF it's on sale, not so much for budget reasons, but because if it's on sale, I can get two!