Sunday, July 15, 2012

New Crafting Fun, or Devistatingly Enjoyable addiction...?

Free time is not common in my life. I have to budget family time, and my Etsy store, with domestic chores and cooking to boot! So when the opportunity to do an ATC (Artist Trading Card) exchange with some friends from Ravelry came up, you know I had to pass.

yes I can

But I didn't.

Nope! I decided that I deserved some "out of the box" time and dove in instead. I had never even heard of ATCs before this exchange and am super glad they have entered my creative life! They are an incredible outlet for stagnating creativity and act almost like a cure for the writer's block of the crafting world. With each card being such a small canvas, they are a perfect mix of limited time investment with awesomely powerful results. For those who are not familiar with these little beauties, this is a brief description I snatched from Wikipedia:

"Artist trading cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern baseball cards...Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.) or even metals or cloth. The cards are usually traded or exchanged."

These little babies are a great way to play with different techniques and play in new artistic arenas. Have you ever seen something and said "oh I wish I knew how to do that" or "this would look so much better if the artist had only done ______"? Well, this is the perfect outlet for that type of creative energy/frustration. Ok, now that we are all "in the know", I'll tell you a little about my ATC experiences thus far.

In the Ravelry group "Good Things Together", we often host group crochet-a-longs, knit-a-longs, and just general craft-a-longs. One of the most recent happenings has been the ATC swap I mentioned. Since I was new to this whole arena, I drew inspiration from some of the other group member examples and played around with a few before diving into my swap obligations. A general theme flowing through the group was a collage/decoupage approach, so I grabbed up some scrapbook paper and embellishments and jumped on the boat!

mod podge

No, I am not being paid to advertise, and I'm not looking for endorsements, but this stuff totally rocks! I've never used it before this swap, but I have already incorporated it into other projects as well-- new craft staple for me!!! It's like shiny varnish and heavy duty glue all in one with no lumpy, clumpy, gooey issues to deal with. I don't think I could have achieved such nice results without it. My very first ATC actually ended up being an ACEO (Art Card Editions and Originals)-- the main difference being that this one is not intended for trade purposes. The timing of all this just happened to coincide with the very first Everyday Peacocks give away, so I decided to incorporate my "ATC" into the packaging of this special prize. (Originally I was going to include a matching case, but it did not turn out the way I wanted and therefore became another jewelry box for my daughter.)

ACEO Process

The process was fairly straight forward:

  • Paint card with pale watercolors (and sprinkle with salt before drying)
  • Create pattern from sketch
  • Cut out paper pieces
  • Mod Podge design onto card
  • Draw doodles wherever my pen wanted to go
  • And add rhinestone details.
Once the outside was ready, I printed my Silver Jewelry Care sheet and finished up the inside information part of the card. All together-- not including drying times-- this took about 2-3 hours of hard creative labor. Below is the result of my efforts:


I really quite liked how this one turned out, and how nicely it incorporated into my jewelry packaging, so I decided to make a quick set of customer appreciation ATCs to send out with the first internet orders I received for Everyday Peacocks! The series is titled "Famous Firsts" and has six cards:

FamousFirsts ATCs

For these, I followed the same process, only I used tissue paper instead of scrapbook paper to get that translucent effect. And with that, my warm-up cards were done! Time to dive into the deep end and create some true crafty works of art for my group swap...

TO BE CONTINUED (but here is a juicy preview...)

Swap Preview

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