When Project Spectrum was first born, way back in 2006, I thought that it would be a great exercise in creativity to include a swap. I started a postcard swap where participants created a postcard using the designated colors of the month, and mailed them to their partners. For a majority of people, this worked very well. It was a lot of work to match names, but it worked… well, almost. Over time, some participants flaked, and this was quite discouraging to me and to my email inbox. I was completely overwhelmed and decided to do away with it altogether.
However, thanks to the encouragement and help of a special friend, I am proposing that we give this another try. It is just too perfect to pass up – especially with the thematic and the chromatic focus of this version of Project Spectrum. But this time, there will be a few changes… good ones that will make it a more enjoyable process for everyone involved.
~ Artist Trading Card Swap ~
What is an artist trading card?
“ATCs are collectables, a brilliant idea born of the older sports-themed trading cards. The one rule that makes an ATC derives from their origins: the dimensions of the ATC must be 2.5″x3.5″, or 64x89mm.
An ATC mustn’t be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting (by correspondence or online if need be) and exchanging their works, thus meeting many artists and getting exposed to many personal styles. Second, on the back of each ATC the artist writes part or all of the following information: name, contact information, title of the ATC and number (1/8, 2/8…) if it’s part of an edition. By definition ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind.”
The card stock must be strong enough to sustain a mailing (possibly an international mailing) in an envelope. If your ATC has special features that might require more care, you should consider enclosing it in a transparent sleeve, or wrapping it in tissue before mailing.
There are many websites, groups, and books devoted to the creation of Artist Trading Cards. Poppins has created some lovely pieces herself, and you can see them on her Flickr page. ATCs can be as simplistic or as detailed as you want to make them (within the 2.5 x 3.5 scale!) Common themes are mixed media: collage, mosaics, drawing, paints, embroidery, etc. Some examples from one of Flickr’s many Artist Trading Card groups:
How will the ATCs relate to Project Spectrum: Elements?
How will the swap work?
There are FOUR sections of the swap – one for each designated element. You do not have to participate in all four swaps, as they will be conducted independent of each other (e.g. participate in “fire”, but not in “earth”). Ideally, you would create your ATCs to reflect your ideas of the elements, or the colors associated with that element. An example of this could be using FIRE as your general theme, and drawing, painting, or collaging something related to fire or flames OR using the color RED (or one of the other colors) as a base for inspiration for your card.
First and foremost, think about your schedule and your committment. If this is not something that you can make in the alloted time frame, please do not sign up.
The mechanics of the swap are simple. Poppins set up a swap on the very nifty site, Swap Bot. It automatically pairs people and sends addresses, etc. without any third party intervention. This will make things much easier, and more secure. So, if you are interested in being a part of the Project Spectrum ATC swap, please create an account on Swap Bot. Please also fill out the profile section – this will help us realize that you are real and not a robot
After joining Swap Bot, you can see the information about the the PS FIRE swap in particular:
This is an ATC swap for Project Spectrum participants on the Fire theme: orange, red, pink.
For this swap, you will have 2 partners and make 1 ATC for each. (2 total) It’s always neat to see multiple interpretations of a theme.
It is assumed that you’re ok with mailing internationally.
It is assumed that you understand that the organizers of this swap will not be providing extra ATCs if someone flakes.
To join, you need to have a completed profile – this helps us weed out the uncommitted.
Enjoy creating your little masterpieces. Don’t forget to photograph them and load images to the PS Flickr group!
If you agree/are eligible to the terms, please click on “Sign Up for This Swap” at the bottom of the Swap Bot page. It is a private swap [for participants only] and you will be prompted for a password. It is spectrum (note the lower case spelling).
When do my cards have to be finished / mailed?
You can start thinking about your themes and your art now, and in the meantime you can sign up for the swap (see above). The last date to sign up for the FIRE theme is February 14th, and your partners names and addresses will be emailed to you shortly after this date. The deadline to mail your ATC is March 5th. The following months/elements will follow that pattern: signups close in the middle of the first month, and you mail your cards out early in the second month. This ensures that your cards arrive on time.
How do I make the cards?
As long as you keep with the size parameters, you can make anything you want! You can use any supplies, and really expand on the theme and the colors. It is completely up to you! There are some helpful hints about making the cards in general on the previously mentioned website, Art in Your Pocket.
This is a new adventure, and one that I am quite excited to start. I do hope that you will join me for the swap! If any other questions come up, please feel free to ask them in the comments!