- Fiber artists really are artists (despite what one US embassy visa officer might believe, so sign this);
- Think outside the guild! Whether a person paints, draws, or stitches, we share a profound need to create in response to our inner world and the world around us.
- ATCs are the perfect, fun, non-threatening way to dabble in connecting with other artists. Plus, swapping makes for an excellent party!
Our first exchange took place at an office, on a weekend; the second at a members' house. We eat fabulous food provided by our gracious host, drink a little wine or sparkly juice, talk a little about our work, and then march around the table, picking up a card from each members' pile. Most are tucked into envelopes.
Sitting down to open the envelopes is like Chrismukkah! [= Christmas + Hanukkah.] There's always an exciting gem inside! Below are the cards that I've received in our two exchanges, and a little bit about them and their makers.
Gabri is a painter and a clergyman, and, speaking of gems, his cards have been meditations on the biblical parable about the "pearl of great price." He was so excited about our first exchange that he made and gave us each multiple cards. These are my first two from him:
Jenny, who works in philanthropy, makes art using Japanese mineral pigments. The card on the right, below, also includes silver leaf.
John Tallacksen is a talented professional artist, as well as a community organizer. The first card is a print portrait of a young "graffiti writer" he works with:
The second has to do with a family of sparrows that moved in next door. It's a hand-colored linoleum cut print.
You can see (and buy) more of John's incredible work, at JohnTallacksen.com.
Karla is also a social activist, working to help bring healthy foods to urban areas. Her cards for our second exchange portrayed little-known edible native Los Angeles plants. I lucked into her beautiful manzanita card, which came with a recipe for jelly, plus the useful information that manzanita helps clear urinary tract infections!
My friend Marian, who brought me into this group, has an amazing eye and loves to work in collage. I love her sense of balance and drama, and her meticulous craftsmanship (she cuts out those little details incredibly accurately!) Below left is her portrait of singer Edith Piaf; there's a metal embellishment on the upper left. On the right, of course, is Sir Paul, enjoying a cuppa, and gazing at me lovingly, forevermore, with piercing hand-colored blue eyes. (Does Paul actually have blue eyes?)
Sue works for a California foundation. Her first card is an abstract confection with layers of paint, brown paper,cardboard and tin foil.
It's about a half-in thick, giving it a fascinating packet-like heft. Side view:
John W is new participant At first glance, his collaged card looks awfully cute.
At second glance, it's anything but cute. John, who is an urban pastor and a community organizer, was shaken and saddened by an article about the ongoing devastation of Chernobyl. His response was to cut up the article, and juxtapose the pieces with Mary Engelbreit's happy-sappy images, I think from a calendar. The image on the right side shows a disintegrating wall in an abandoned Chernobyl classroom, hung with portraits of Soviet leaders. Once you know what's in it, this card sizzles with outrage.
I am so grateful to Marian for bringing me into this group! I might never have had the courage to seek out an exchange group of "2-D" artists to trade with. It's tremendous fun as well as a learning experience!
PS If you missed them, the cards I contributed are here and here.
UPDATE: If you want to find a swap group of your own,
- Ask at your local art and/or craft store,
- Go to groups.yahoo.com/ and type in "Artist Trading Cards." Some groups trade through the mail; others arrange face-to-face meetings in specific cities.
- Check out more lists of local exchanges at Artist-trading-cards.ch/events.html.