I mentioned in the DIY stencils from hot glue post I was disappointed in my DIY Shimmer sprays. They have clogged the nozzle, went on a bit to heavy for what I wanted and ran some after I took off the stencils because of that. Today when I came down to work on a few things, I found the dried papers to be quite delightful. They were shimmery, pretty pages and I was wondering just exactly what I would do with them.
An automatic feed from you-tube (which I have going all the time-there true confessions) and someone named Kelly Donovan popped up and she was doing a video about ATC’s.
Artist Trading Cards are 3 1/2″ by 2 1/2″cards which you can make into little works of art. They, I guess, are used as an ongoing art project which was started in 1997 by M. Vänçi Stirnemann. The purpose was to encourage all people, regardless of economic circumstance, to create art work and trade it with other people who created their own version of an Artist Trading Card. It opened up communication with others, was economic to produce and people began collecting them. There were new groups which popped up to create ATC’s for trading with other ATC groups in other areas of the world.
Some time later, Lisa Luree began to create what she called: “Art Cards, Editions and Originals” and sold them on Ebay. This began another movement, which was the buying and selling of Artist Trading Cards, rather than just exchanging them with other artists. The point here is ATC’s have been around 20 years and I never once got into them.
So when this you-tube video came up and was playing in the background I thought of the papers I had used the hot glue stencils and DIY shimmer sprays. Now I remember vaguely trying a couple ATC’s a few years ago. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand the purpose or the point and I have no idea how to trade them anyway. But now I realize these are wonderful opportunities for unique creative techniques. The one thing that seems to be consistent is the size: 3 1/2″ by 2 1/2″. You can make these from anything you have on hand. Cereal boxes, watercolor paper, card stock, junk mail, whatever you want can become an Artist Trading Card. DH just cut up a sheet of poster board into the correct sizes for ATC’s. I think there were 60 cards of the appropriate size from one sheet of poster board from the Dollar Tree.
If you have a standard 8 1/2 by 11″ piece of card stock, cut the card stock at 2 1/2″ length-wise twice. You are now left with a 3 1/2″ strip of paper. Take the 3 1/2″ strip and cut it into sections of 2 1/2″. You now have a 2 1/2 by 3 1/2″ piece of card stock. With the other two strips of paper which you cut to 2 1/2″ in width, cut into 3 1/2″ pieces. You will end up with 10 2 1/2 by 3 1/2″ ATC bases, with three little scrap pieces left over. Almost no waste at all, and you can use the scraps as embellishments on your ATC.
Card stock is fairly thin, but you can thicken the paper by adding it to cardboard, by gluing other papers or fabrics on the card stock, by painting the card stock…anything you can think of for an art journal page works just as well on an ATC. It’s a multi-media delight. My first plain card stock ATC was covered with an antiqued book page, then inked, then stamped with a delightful phrase stamp my dear friend Laurie gave me yesterday. It is hanging on my board behind my desk.
The possibilities are endless with these little works of art. You can watercolor, stencil, use modeling paste, add textures from fabrics and fibers, use up all your ugly papers which we all have hanging around. (Actually, all mine has been made into paper beads but that’s another project.) Add buttons and bling. Use acrylics, markers, inks, pastels, hot glue, collage, anything you can think of you can add to these cards. Once they are finished you can cover them with a gloss varnish of some kind. Be sure to leave the back with plenty of room for your name, business card and/or website and swap information-if you are part of a group swap.
ATC’s are also perfect for getting out of your creative slump, breaking in new art materials and just having fun with no pressure. If the card doesn’t turn out like you wanted, so what? Gesso over it and start again, or give it away and no one will ever know it wasn’t what you had in mind. The left over scraps can be made into smaller embellishments to attach to the ATC’s themselves or as as affirmation tiles for your vision boards or wishing trees.
These are delightfully frugal art projects in which you can use even the tiniest of scraps from your stash. Nothing will ever go to waste again if you use your scraps for ATC’s.