-- 05 November, 2006 --

Autumn Splendor - Falling Leaves

Autumn Splendor - Falling Leaves
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

Where do you get inspiration from? I have a very talented friend who is a never ending stream of new ideas. Blue is in a constant flow of creativity and I just get sucked along in the wake as I gasp in awe of the talent.

At the moment Blue is learning Japanese calligraphy as a branch of an intense interest in Zen Buddhism. The beautiful pieces of brushed calligraphy that are appearing regularly on the Bluesky Studio web site have an enormous sense of calm and serenity about them. They come, coincidentally, just shortly after The Poet and I saw an exhibition of Zen brush painting at the Art Gallery of NSW.

A recent ATC challenge was one of those out-of-Aussie-seasons seasons challenges. I needed three cards to depict Autumn Spendor at a time when the tree in my garden is bursting with the green of spring. The card in this picture was the first of the set. I wasn't sure when the idea came from until I turned back to Bluesky Studio and the calligraphy.

I am so lucky to have such a talented friend!

If you want to see the rest of the cards in this set, click on the image to go to my Flickr photostream.

Posted by robynls at 8:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 21 October, 2006 --

Other Than Paper ATC

Other Than Paper ATC
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

"If you use a paper based material for the card then you can not embellish with paper based material."

I think that this challenge was pointing towards some sort of collage that was more than just a pile of fancy paper glued to a base. I prefer to paint, so it is another opportunity to get out the gouache and have another bash at a David Boyd inspired landscape.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has two David Boyd's that appear in a search of their collections on their web site but have no images on the site. Looks like I will have to go searching for them when I go in there with the Year 7 Visual Art excursion in a couple of weeks.

Posted by robynls at 11:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 14 October, 2006 --

Halloween ATCs

Halloween ATC 1 Halloween ATC 2 Halloween ATC 3

I'm an Aussie so what do I know about Halloween? Traditionally we don't celebrate this holiday here, except for those kids who are influenced by American television shows, a practice that really irritates a lot of people who feel that we are loosing our own culture to a globalised American culture.

So how does a dyed in the wool Aussie find inspiration for ATCs with a Halloween theme? You get them from computer games, of course! The current obsession in our household is World of Warcraft, an online game which is constantly being updated and changed. For each season something in the game changes to reflect what is going on in the real world. The Halloween themes in the game gave rise to these images.

I can think of much better uses for yummy pumpkins than wasting them on Jack 'O Lanterns!

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-- 30 September, 2006 --

Spring Theme ATCs

Spring Theme ATC 1 Spring Theme ATC 2 Spring Theme ATC 3

One of the unfortunate things about living in Australia is that most of the rest of the world forgets (or never knew) that the seasons are reversed to those in the northern hemisphere. The result of this is that seasonal art challenges are always wrong for us and, as a result, really become a challenge of memory. That is why I decided to host a seasonal challenge on Swap-bot myself.

I was happy to see that lots of people from the north decided to join in the swap. These three ATCs are on their way to my partner who lives in Newfoundland. This is the first time I have sent anything to Newfoundland. I hope that she enjoys seeing an impression of spring in Australia, which I imagine is very different from the snowy north. In most cases it is a showy flush of new green that will quickly be swallowed up by the dry and dusty heat of the quickly approaching summer. I think that it will be particulalry so this year as we head into another summer of this long drought.

My inspiration for these cards has been the work of famous Australia artist, David Boyd, a member of the artistic Boyd family.

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-- 25 September, 2006 --

Purple, Purple, Purple ATC Swap

Purple, Purple, Purple ATC Swap Purple, Purple, Purple ATC Swap Purple, Purple, Purple ATC Swap

I walk past the most magnificent display of pansies every morning at the beginning of spring each year. Our school has a Spring Fair to help to raise money and the gardeners make a special effort to have lots of wonderful flowers in the garden for the day. The pansies seem to go on and on and on. It could be that they appreciate all of the attention lavished on them

This year the pansies have been especially good with an enormous range of colours and variations still blossoming weeks after the fair. When I had to choose a subject for an ATC swap that had a Purple, Purple, Purple theme, the pansies were just sitting there waiting to be painted. These three, which are off to New Zealand, are a small sample of our gardeners' skill.

Posted by robynls at 6:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 22 September, 2006 --

Barcodes ATCs

Barcodes ATC 1
Barcodes ATC 2 Barcodes ATC 3

"my challenge to you an open theme trading art card that includes a barcode found from a food or clothing product."

So sayeth the mistress of this Swap-bot challenge. I had to make 3 cards to send to a single partner. The first idea came so easily, after all, I do brush my teeth a couple of times a day so the bristles came to mind quickly. Can I do a hair brush too? No, that would be a cop out!

Bar codes standing straight upwards do look a bit like the stem of something growing in a clump and close together. Out comes the glue again and the paper flowers from a packet that I bought for something else made the things growing out of the top.

Then comes the complete brain freeze. Where to from here? I had run out of ideas entirely! It has been a long and very tiring week - which one isn't! I found the last barcode on the side of a box of headache tablets - it HAS been a long week! Instead of the usual, inevitable black, this one was blue, and so the inspiration trickled in again. A waterfall is sort of long straight lines and the numbers could be the water frothing over the top (or should it have been at the bottom?). I was a bit disappointed when The Poet had to ask what it was, though. Do you think that the lucky recipient in the US will know? I hope so!

Posted by robynls at 3:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

-- 20 September, 2006 --

Aussie Floral ATCs

Aussie Floral ATC 1 Aussie Floral ATC 2 Aussie Floral ATC 3

Another day, another swap.

For this one the requirement was to make three of them all including a cancelled postage stamp. Since they were off to the USA I wanted to use Australian stamps. Unfortunately almost all of the local mail that I get are bills so they have franking marks instead of stamps. To the rescue comes my white knight in the guise of Number Two Son who donated three stamps from some of his mail.

Now, what to do with them? I like the colours and shapes of the flowers. They inspired abstract backgrounds on which to mount the stamps for the trip across the ocean. I have managed to maintain a haiku-like simplicity in my ATCs.

Posted by robynls at 10:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

-- 19 September, 2006 --

Peace Crane ATC

Peace Crane
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

This is neither a scratch or a scribble, but more of a fold and stick.

The challenge that we were invited to take up was under the title 'The first time I tried ...' which encouraged the participants to make an ATC using some technique or embellishment that we hadn't tried before. Since I am still reasonably new to this stuff there are lots of things that I haven't tried but I still wanted to stay true to my belief in simplicity.

During a recent visit to Borders a little box with an origami instruction book and some papers just jumped into my hand. I have been on an Oriental jag lately so the idea of adding a little piece of folded paper to an ATC seemed like a good idea ... silly me!

To make the finished object small enough to fit on a 2.5" by 3.5" piece of card, the original piece of paper had to be quite small. You try folding a paper crane with a wee piece of paper, in the dusk without your glasses! Yes ... I know ... I could have gone looking for my glasses but then I would have had nothing to blame the failure of this design on, would I?

The scanned image of the card has been up on Flickr since Sunday and has had only ONE viewing. It is now Tuesday. I do hope that my three Swap-bot partners aren't too disappointed with it when it arrives.

Update: 21/9/2005 - I have stopped sulking. My little card has a total of 25 views on Flikr as of this evening.

Posted by robynls at 10:26 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 17 September, 2006 --

Autobiographical ATC

Autobiography 1 Autobiography 2

What do I want to say about me on an ATC? It is such a little space.

Meg wanted to be included and what Meg wants, Meg gets, so I suppose that says something about me. Her outline is a rubber stamp which has been printed with a clear embossing pad and then covered with antique gold embossing powder, baked over the toaster. She is then hand painted using watercolour. The border of the card is two different tapes that are just like correction tape but laying patterns instead of covering errors.

After reading one of Stephen King's short stories in which he used the term Butterfly Mind, The Poet said that the phrase described me to a tee. Butterflies have become my totem. My card is a handpainted interpretation of a butterfly.

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-- 16 September, 2006 --


Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

How strange it is that you never see or know about something and then suddenly one incident happens and it consumes your thought thereafter.

I wrote recently about a visit with The Poet to the Art Gallery of NSW where we saw an exhibition of Zen Brush paintings. Since then Zen, calligraphy and all things Chinese and Buddhist seems to be filling my consciousness. When a Zen swap came up on Swap-bot, I just had to get involved. The challenge was quite simple really. It was just to send a card with a Zen Koan printed on it. The difficult part was to select one which I felt was 'right'. The one I finally chose was:-

One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him, "Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"
Manjusri replied, "I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?"

I finished off the card by painting an enso on the reverse.

Posted by robynls at 3:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

-- 14 September, 2006 --

What is an ATC?

What is an ATC?
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

This damned ATC thing has me hooked well and truely!

When I signed up for this swap, which is called, by the way, "What is an ATC?", I was very new to these little mind-sized bites of art making. That was the criteria for the swap. Since then I have made quite a number of them using some old media and some new. I think about the next swap all day and try to think of unusual interpretations of the theme, as in the last one shown here. I can spend a couple of hours in the evening making a series of cards to go out in the mail the next day. They are small enough to play with on my knee.

I am slowly gathering my own little collection of ATCs made by others in return for swaps. I have even contacted a couple of like-minded souls who want to do private swaps with me, away from the formality of Swap-bot. It's a different way of communicating with and getting to know new friends across the world.

This 3 editions of cards maintain my liking for simplicity. I have pasted down a couple of pieces of nice paper. The butterfly comes from one of Dover books CDs of copyright free graphics and is printed on laserjet overhead plastic. To finish off, the little dragonfly was punched out of some silver card.

BTW ... to answer the question "What is an ATC?" you would be best to go to the Art in Your Pocket article on the Cedar Seed web site.

Posted by robynls at 11:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

-- 13 September, 2006 --

Peace ATCs

Peace ATC 1 Peace ATC 2 Peace ATC 3

'What do you think the future will bring? Any sort of future - tomorrow, 2070, your future!' This set of cards is my response to this Swap-bot challenge.

Space ships, Tardis, robot vacuum cleaners ... all a bit predictable so I thought about what I would like to have if I were queen of the world. With all of the lunacy going on in the world these days what I would like in the future would be peace. I would like for all of the meglomaniacs in the world to get a grip and realise that they are not going to make up for a rotten childhood or get even with their parents by killing everyone who isn't the same colour, religion, tribe, political persuasion or shoe size.

For those interested in the technical stuff, I used a clear inkpad and embossing powder of various colours for the word. All of the drawings were done using watercolour pencil which was then blended using a water brush. They are off in the mail tomorrow to their new owner in the US (only a day or so late in setting off on their journey).

Posted by robynls at 9:13 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

-- 10 September, 2006 --

Text ATC swap

Text ATC 1 Text ATC 2 Text ATC 3

All of the cards made for this swap had to include text. It could be quotes, poetry, anything, so long as it was text. I think that if I am going to make three different cards to go to one person then I should try three different things.

After spending heaps on stamps and stuff at the Stitches and Craft Show then the first card got a text stamp using embossing powder. For those who were kind enough to suggest that my cooking might be effected by putting the embossing powder in the oven, I have found that my toaster works very well just by holding the paper over the slot. It has a reset button to turn it off when the embossing powder has done its thing.

The second card has printed text on it. I found the cat saying on a web site that has lists of all sorts of text associated with cats. I printed it using Word using coloured text on a coloured background. I will probably end up with a million cat related rubber stamps.

I wanted the last card to be hand written text. To make it more personal, I used one of my own haikus and an original watercolour. I suppose that it qualfies as a haiga.

The cards are already winging their way across the Pacific to my swap partner in the US.

Posted by robynls at 11:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 08 September, 2006 --

No Evil ATC

No Evil ATC
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

Here is what my other partner did with the materials that I sent to her. Isn't she clever for someone who is even newer to ATCs than I am!

Emily found my 3 Wise Monkeys in a picture of my kitten that was included in the package and used them as her inspiration. She had to use the pink circle as the mandatory item

When I sent her the material she was in the UK. She sent them back to me from a post office 2 suburbs away from me after she arrived in Sydney for a 4 month working holiday. Amazing!

Posted by robynls at 7:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 06 September, 2006 --

Sent Materials ATC

Sent Materials ATC
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

This was a fabulous swap!

Get together a package of 'stuff' according to a list ... add whatever you fancy ... mark one of the bits as a mandatory item ... put it all in a parcel and send it off to a swap partner. The partner has to put together an ATC using only the materials in the package, including the mandatory item, put it in an envelope and send it back.

All sounds quite simple, really ... if you don't take into account how long it takes various postal services across the world to get their acts into gear! Then, of course, you get a partner who sends a thin metal star as the mandatory item. I am new to this, my girl! How on earth am I going to get that star to stick to the card?

It took me a while, but I finally worked it out. No prizes for the ATC aficionado who figures out how I did it.

I really enjoyed this swap. I hope that the coordinator does another one like this.

Posted by robynls at 6:44 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 04 September, 2006 --

Favourite Song ATC Swap

Favourite Song ATC 1 Favourite Song ATC 2 Favourite Song ATC 3

Here I go again! Signing up for another ATC swap without thinking about it! The theme for the swap was 'Favourite Song' which most people wouldn't think too much about but I don't listen to much music radio. I don't have a favourite song, let alone 3 of them. In fact I am listening to the radio as I type this and it is talk radio.

I was supposed to send these cards off last Thursday but I could not think of what to do. Eventually I came up with the 'Pictures of Lily', written by Pete Townshend in the mid 1960s and sung by The Who. I think that this one came to mind because I can remember entering a competition way back then where entrants had to submit a sketch of what they thought Lily would look like. I didn't win.

'I was Only Nineteen' is an Australian song about the Vietnam war and was written by John Schuman and sung by Redgum. The recent Vietnam Veterans' Day had me thinking about this evocotive song so I decided to include it in this set.

'Lady in Red', written and sung by Chris De Burgh is a song that The Poet used to be quite fond of so I decided to include it as my third choice. It had to be done quickly as I was way over time for sending them out and I couldn't take the time needed to do a decent drawing of a lady. Lacking an appropriate rubber stamp, I went off to left field and used a butterfly in red. It's my card. I can do what I like!

Posted by robynls at 10:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 31 August, 2006 --

Colours of Australia ATCs

Colours of Australia ATC 1 Colours of Australia ATC 2 Colours of Australia ATC 3

More ATCs for Swap-bot.

The trend with ATCs seems to be to cover them with lots of 'stuff'. Some people are very good at 'stuff' and can make it look very artistic. When I look at some of these, I think "Why can't I do that?", but I'm not good at 'stuff'. I like simplicity - although my family would not say that in relation to our house which is very full of 'stuff'.

My favourite haiku teacher likes to remind her students that 'They are such little poems'. They should be stripped of anything that is not necessary to the image. I tend to feel the same way about ATCs. They are such little pictures and so should be devoid of extraneous material that is not important to the story.

This was my inspiration for this set of cards. I hope that it has worked.

Posted by robynls at 10:36 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

-- 30 August, 2006 --

Peace postcard

Peace postcard.
Since visiting an exhibition of Zen Brush painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales recently, I have been interested in oriental art and imagery. It supplied the inspiration for a series of handmade postcards that I needed to produce for a swap on Swap-bot. I needed a single design to send to 5 different people. The final product used some origama paper that I picked up at Eckersley's Art Supplies a couple of weeks ago.

This one didn't have the straightest edge on the cut paper but I think that it has my best attempt at the calligraphy which says 'Peace' in Japanese characters ... I HOPE! I found a few examples on the internet and tried to determine what was the important characteristics of the characters.

The lady is a rubber stamp that I have hand coloured using watercolour, trying to coordinate with the origami paper.

Finally, I have sealed them in plastic sleeves so they can go through the post without too much damage. I have used a sticky label on the outside of the sleeve to act as a platform for the postage stamps which would not adhere to the shiny plastic.

Off they go tomorrow, all to the USA.

Posted by robynls at 9:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 27 August, 2006 --

Swap-bot Sparkles

Swap-bot Sparkles
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

Why? Oh, why did I sign up for an ATC swap that asks for things sparkly? I don't do sparkly. Sparkly means I really can't draw or paint and get the effect that is probably expected. It did give me an excuse to go to the Stitches and Craft Show and spend lots of money, though (as if I really need an excuse).

I have now learned to use embossing powder - not terribly well, work with stamps and glitter and how to turn an ordinary piece of gift wrapping paper into a source of inspiration for collage. The only thing that I used here that is an old skill is a Photoshopped background.

I think that I will leave invitations to join in sparkly swaps well and truely alone. In the mean time, I hope my two swap partner will forgive my novice status in these crafty pursuits.

Note : in response to a comment to this entry, I must confess to my method of dealing with the embossing powder. When I realised that the box of the gas room heater didn't get hot enough, it dawned on me that I had a roast in the oven for dinner. I put the cards onto a foil covered baking sheet and popped them into the oven for a couple of minutes. Presto! melted embossing powder. Now does that mean that I have to cook a roast dinner every time I want to use embossing powder?

Posted by robynls at 7:36 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

-- 22 August, 2006 --

Floral ATCs

Floral ATC 1 Floral ATC 2 Floral ATC 3

These cards were made for a swap that was not given a theme. I had to think for myself for a change ... heaven forbid!

I lost my Bird of Paradise plant recently when we had a new patch of paving laid in our front garden. This card is in memory of the lovely plant that was there in the garden when we moved in. The Pansy is a reprise from a week or two ago and the Tulip ... well, I needed a third flower so why not?

The method was a little bit of an experiment. The watercolour was washed on first in roughly the places where I thought that the flower might end up. The fine black Pitt pen was then used to do the contour drawing of the flower. What do you think?

Posted by robynls at 9:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 20 August, 2006 --

EDM Challenge 80 - What makes you happy?

Meg Brooch
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
'Draw something that makes you happy, and write about it, too.' So says the EDM Challenge Mistress for this current challenge.

At this point of my life, my cat, Meg, is what makes me absolutely happy. And why wouldn't she? She is devoted to me, or at least to my hands that feed her. She cuddles up to me in the night so that I am not alone in the dark. She is there to greet me when I walk through the front door at the end of the day and she follows me around the house when I am there at the weekend. She sleeps on my lap when there isn't a laptop or a sketchbook there and at my feet when there is. I like to think that she even gives me kisses on the nose.

I have done this painting on an unusual support for me. It is a shape that I punched from DAS modelling clay, using a kiddy's cookie cutter in the shape of a cat. I have used gouache to paint the sanded surface of the dried clay so that it looks like Meg. A brooch pin is superglued to the back. When the paint was dried, I finished the surface with clear nail varnish to protect the paint and give it a shine. Making art makes me happy. Learning new ways of making art makes me happy.

I am not going to keep this brooch, unfortunately. I designed it give away to my partner in a Swap-bot 'Create me a handmade item' swap. I have signed up for lots of different swaps on this site. When I started I looked forward receiving letters and little parcels from my partners but now it make me very happy knowing that other people are seeing my art works and might even be enjoying having them.

In reflection, this object represents lots of different things that make me happy.

Note: 29 Aug - I finally posted this little brooch to its new owner today. It was very sad as I like it very much. Perhaps I will have to make myself one, when I get the time.

Posted by robynls at 4:34 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

-- 17 August, 2006 --

Altered CD with Butterflies

Altered CD
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
I'll try anything once so I am giving this altered CD thing a trot for yet another Swap-bot swap.

I had no idea what to do that would make a redundant CD interesting to someone else who has probably doing this craft for ages. My only experience with decorating CDs has been in making labels for them after saving data or photographs onto them, so that's where I began

Using Photoshop Elements I chose a colour that appealed to me to lay down a background. I played around with brushes to texturise the background until I came across one that spread tiny wee butterflies all over the place. Aha! Inspiration! I rather like butterflies and have a butterfly punch so that's where the little stuck on bits came from.

The decorative ribbon was a real pain to glue on. It had to be done a bit at a time because the curve kept making it want to lift . I think that it was worth the effort. It finishes off the edge. I am not sure what one does with an altered CD but I hope that my swap partner has a place for it.

Posted by robynls at 10:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Feline Theme ATC Swap

Feline Theme ATC 2 Feline Theme ATC 1
I am so hooked on this ATC thing and on swaps on Swap-bot that I started my own swap. Since the great love of my life is my now rather pampered and overweight kitten, I chose a feline theme and am happy to say that 18 other folk decided to join in the fun and games.

I really wanted to to some watercolour painting but when I saw a series of pictures from a Chinese scroll on eBay (no, I didn't win it!) I was 'called' to use them in a collage. None of my usual paper hangouts had any oriental paper, which I found a little surprising as I am sure that have seen some around and about. Just about reaching the point of dispair, I suddenly came across some origami paper when I stopped for a little art indugence on the way home from work earlier this week. The naughty looks on the faces of these cats needed something to chase so they got leaves, butterflies and dragonflies punched from scraps of the origami paper. Finally, to satisfy my need for paint, I spead a little watercolour in the white space that was left.

I am sure that I will get better at collage the more I try but I think that these are cute.

Posted by robynls at 10:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 12 August, 2006 --

Woman Theme ATCs

Woman Theme ATC 1 Woman Theme ATC 2 Woman Theme ATC 3
I am completely enchanted by art making using ATCs so Swap-bot have become an addiction. The design brief for this swap was to produce 3 cards on the theme 'Woman' which included some stamping. After dithering around for a couple of weeks I was inspired to use images of some of the strong women that I have come to know through school.

Not being Catholic, I never had a real understanding of the motivation of the woman who joined converts so I have been captivated by the stories of these dedicated people. The first card, called 'Faith' depicts Mary Ward, the daughter of a wealthy 16th century English family, who risked all to found an order whose objective was, and still is, to educate girls. The second card, 'Hope', shows Mary Gonzaga Barry, also an IBVM nun, who came from Ireland to Australia in the 19th century to set up schools here. The last card, 'Charity', is Mary MacKillop, who was also an educator, dedicated to the poor and is destined to be Australia's first saint.

The cards each have a different background created using Photoshop. The images of the women are sticky tape transfers produced using the method describe by Melanie and Misty here on Inspire Me Thursday. The lettering is done using a set of alphabet stamps. Finally the whole card is covered with white tissue paper glued to the surface with the area over the transfer scraped away.

It is fun to learn new techniques.

Posted by robynls at 10:59 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 09 August, 2006 --

Ocean Theme ATC - After Hiroshige and Hokusai

Ocean Theme ATC 2 - After Hokusai Ocean Theme ATC 3 - After Hokusai
I brought two beautiful little books of prints of the work of two Japanese artists - Hiroshige and Hokusai. When an ocean theme ATC swap came up on Swap-bot these little books came to mind as inspiration. I love the simplicity of Japanese art. I think that my renditions of these prints have a more western flavour to them than I would really like.

Like writers of haiku, these artists were interested in capturing the moment. I have always been intimidated by the very thought of trying to draw water. By using their work as references, I have not followed their philosophy, however I would like to now go and look at water and try to use the techniques that I have learnt from this exercise to try my own original pieces. Maybe I will wait, though, until the weather gets to be a bit warmer. It will be spring soon.

Posted by robynls at 9:58 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 07 August, 2006 --

Autumn ATCs

Autumn ATC 1 Autumn ATC 2 Autumn ATC 3

I have never tried making Artist's Trading Cards, commonly known at ATCs, before. To be honest all of the hype that I have seen on some of the mailing lists that I read had actually put me off. Then I joined Swap-bot and signed up for an ATC exchange ...

The theme for this exchange was autumn (obviously a northern hemisphere swap coordinator) and it took me a while to decide what I was going to do. Since the only way to get an ATC is to swap for them, I have never actually seen one up close and personal so I really had nothing to base my design upon.

Staying within a comfort zone, I began by making the background images using Photoshop Elements. I wanted to print them onto watercolour paper so I blended some autumn colours together and then used the watercolour filter to give them an appropriate appearance. I have a few interesting fonts that I bought from 2 Peas in a Bucket so I used one of these to add the lettering to look a bit like scrapbooking. Then, even though I had used a different image for each card, I felt a bit guilty about going digital, so I started to worry about how to make them a bit more hand-made.

The first card got a gouache leaf and branch, using the liquid amber in my front garden as a reference. On the second card I used a couple of the skills that I learned at a scrapbooking class. I used a piece of torn paper for the simulated ground and a pile of leaves made using a little punch. The third card is a combination of gouache hand painting and punched leaves.

Altogether they have come out OK, in my opinion, especialy for a first timer. They have been sent off to a lady in Western Australia. I received my cards today from someone in the US. That's how Swap-bot works.

Posted by robynls at 7:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 02 August, 2006 --

Swap-bot addict

Swap-bot addict
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.

I remember as a kid I was always very pleased when a letter arrived that was for me. In an attempt to encourage this, I had the occasional pen-pen. Unfortunately, either my pal or I would get sick of it after a 3 or 4 letters. After all, what does a kid really have to say about their lives that is new and interesting. The letters would stop coming and pen-pals become a passing phase.

I still love to go to the letter box and find a letter or a parcel that is addressed to me, especially if it isn't a bill. These days I can encourage that by being an Amazon and eBay nut. That was until last week when, through another blog that I regularly read, I found out about Swap-bot.

Swap-bot is a web site where people who love to swap things go to find or set up a swap. You can swap anything ... Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), letters, postcards, toys ... the list is endless. Most things that are swapped are original and hand made. Each swap is a one off where you might be asked to send one or more thing to one person, or maybe one thing to a number of people. So far I have signed up for swaps of postcards, scrapping embellishments, ATC by the dozen and letters.

The picture here shows a note card that I received this week from a woman in the US. Looks like I am back on the pen-pal trail. Maybe one of the people that I contact this way will become a friend ... or not. It doesn't matter. It is just fun.

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