Aimee The Great: ATCs: Make them, Trade them!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ATCs: Make them, Trade them!

Do you remember collecting baseball cards as a kid? I loved the idea of it, but hated baseball. No fear, crafters, that's what ATCs are for!!! ARTIST Trading Cards! I know, applause applause!

ATCs are a magical way to 1) meet a fellow artist!! It's fun to meet another artist and connect with that person, to learn from them, share ideas and interests! And 2) own something uniquely made by a fellow artist! 

For a tiny, almost unrelated note, I realized a long time ago I wouldn't be able to afford REAL art (I am talking large canvas paintings or sculptures) by my favorite artists for a while. This was a distressing thought to a young girl of 17. My favorite artist at the time was Gris Grimly. I joined his mailing list and occasionally was sent post cards. I cherished and loved and kept the 3x5 postcards. This, in a small way, is like ATCs. I was able to "collect" and keep tiny art by a favorite artist. 

On to ATCs...

ATCs are roughly the size of a baseball card, or a playing card. About 2.5"x3.5". The origins are, I believe from Switzerland, and you can read more about that on this site.

The great thing about ATCs are there are no rules, aside from the size, and you can use whatever materials you like! There are no limits!
 Some of my favorite cards that I have collected (please don't ask where my collection is, everything is topsy turvey due to the move) are material/beads and iron in transfers. Hand painted, computer designed and printed, etc.

The only real "rule" is that on the back of the card you put the following information: your name, your contact information (email will work), title of your card and # if it's in an series.

While there are no rules in creating ATCs, there are a few suggested guidelines:

  • Creativity is the key, you may go with a theme and do "Autumn in the Valley Series" where the a set of 20 cards have a certain similarity. Or you may choose to digitally create a design and print off 20 of the same "Broken Record Pieces of my Heart". 
  • While some people prefer handmade cards, choosing to ignore the time and effort that goes into digitally created art, they might offer 1 handmade card for the price of 3 digitally created masterpieces.
  • The trade prices are up solely to the individuals. If you feel that you put a lot of effort in a card/or set of cards and want 3 per card, that's your choice. :)
  • While mail trading sessions are very nice, they point of ATCs was the meet another person, why not suggest ATCs to some friends, or start a group-- ask your local library if you can borrow a meeting room and put up signs. It's always nice to meet fellow artisans and exchange work this way. Have fun with it, life and art are both parties in which we are invited-- the more the merrier!
  • Trading: Feel free to pass on a card you received through a previous trade (this is called a second generation trade. Don't like someone's ATC, don't trade. 
If you wish to create and trade ATC and there isn't a group near you--- offers a place to swap your ATCs. 

But there are PLENTY of websites and even Facebook groups all about ATCs! Here are some helpful links: Very helpful in guidelines, and different art forms/ideas :)

In fact I am going to see if I can set up a make ATC day. Maybe get a group of people, some art supplies and set a theme, "Second Star to the Right and Straight on til Morning" and see how we do :) I will keep you up to date on this.

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