Sunday, August 17, 2014

Remember Film? Artist Trading Cards from Photography Ephemera

You meant to  do something creative this summer, but the weeks slipped by. Despair not! Here's the solution: Inform 3 to 8 of your least craft-o-phobic friends (or casual acquaintances) that you will be swapping Artist Trading Cards at, say, 3 o'clock next Sunday.

Artist Trading Cards are a bona fide international movement, and it's no wonder, because anyone can do them and they're addictive. They measure 2 1/2"  x 3 1/2", you can cut them out of paper, cardstock, quilts, more quiltsfiber, chocolate bars, titanium plates, or whatever. Embellish them in any way you please, swap them and have each person talk about them, and voila, a low-stress way to have a lot of creative fun and get to know people quickly and profoundly.

And speaking of stress, they're also, as it turns out, a way to repurpose few ounces of the stuff from closing down your parent's home of 50 years.

I'm a member of a wonderful ATC group has met about 4 times over the last couple of years, and we had another meeting/afternoon potluck scheduled for last weekend. About two weeks before I found myself with some extra time and went digging through my paper ephemera bins.

I found some old photographs, photo mailers, negatives, and failed photos from the 1950s-1980s saved from clearing out my parents' house, that  I couldn't quite throw away. The mailers had fabulous graphics, like this elephant,

The negatives, and many of the photos, were shrouded in mystery - the person above is possibly my mother, and I don't have a clue as to who these two boys below might be..... (If you recognize them, let me know.)
The film mailers went to all kinds of far-flung places, including to Lincoln, Nebraska! (our family lived in New York at the time)
The postmark above is 1957. Mailing cost: two cents. I put more of the mailer on the back.
The quotations came from my disintegrating copy of Bartlett's familiar quotations.
 (Here's the front of the book - not dated, but from the style, I'm guessing 1910s?)
Since it is falling apart, I bought it with the idea  that it would be okay to cut up the pages. But I couldn't bring myself to cut it, so I photocopy the pages I want and cut out the quotations. 
 The next card started as a blurry photograph of geese. It's dated March 1964. So I added a vintage JFK stamp (he had died 4 months previously), and the quotation from Isaiah: "All flesh is grass."
Next, a 1964 horse, with the same grass quotation.
Buildings cut up and alternated with negatives. 
 Eisenhower, below, is also now grass. The figure in the negative below is my mom in long plaid shorts, lying on the grass, I believe. (She's now 87.)
Next: I had no idea that printing photographs involved pure artesian water. So this portion of the mailer seemed to call for an old sailboat. Note the bargain prices. 
 Quotation, plus someone sledding down a hill. The figure is probably my brother.
 Woven negatives, prints, and mailer.
Decades pass. The next mailer and photo is from the 70s or 80s. That's my glamourous mom. Prices have risen.
If nothing else, these ATCs are a reminder of how challenging and labor-intensive developing photographs used to be.

Next week: The extraordinary ATCs I received in exhange from very talented and creative people!

Some earlier postings:

No comments:

Post a Comment