For those who don’t know, ATC is short for Artist Trading Card. These are small baseball card sized pieces of art that artists trade with one another. They are meant for trading and not for sale. Each one is unique and different even though they may follow a theme. They are quick, fun, and may be simple or elaborate.

I have come to know of them through QuiltArt, an online discussion group for art quilters and textile artists. Most of the ATC’s that I’ve traded with other artists are fabric based, though I have several that are paper or mixed media. So imagine my delight when we went to a local craft show recently and there was a lady there selling her photographs. They were all beautifully framed and lovely. What really caught my eye though was a little display rack on the table in front that said “Free. One per person”. She was giving away artist trading cards. Each one was a small photograph mounted on heavy weight paper and signed by the artist on the back. I was intrigued by some of her subject matter and the one I chose was a close-up of leaf veins with light coming from behind. The dark veins are silhouetted against a brilliant red and yellow field.

Artist Trading CardsWe had a lovely discussion about ATC’s and I told her I might just send her one in return. She “made” the craft show for me and I cherish my wonderful leaf. So I set about making some cards that I could trade, little landscapes like I have been using on my postcards. But when I looked on the back of her card, there is only an address to her photo files and no contact info. Alas, I’ll need to do a little more research before I can send her a card.


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