Our ATC History
Wait we have a history now? I guess we do!
We didn't expect this to be going on as long as it did. But we are so excited it has and hope to spread this fun wherever we go! How far will we go?
Will you join our adventure?
How It Began
Michelle came across this art form in 2014 or 2015. By that time it had been around for awhile having been created by a Swiss artist named M. Vänçi Stirnemann in 1997. He called it a Collaborative Cultural Performance. Life happened and it had sat amongst her stuff for awhile. Found again in 2017, traded online and got back into it. I had made many cards and had traded a bit through snail mail but I couldn't afford the postage as often as I made cards. I didn't know there was a trade group in Denver until we moved so we never were able to trade often.
It wasn't until we came across ReCreative in Denver. They are a creative upcycle store that takes in unwanted art supplies and then sells them back cheaply (or donates to groups) to divert them from ended up in the landfill. We love the idea of using what art materials you can find (or want to experiment with) and creating little pieces of art to collect so we wanted to be a part of what they were doing.
We didn't have a place to make or create cards. We weren't sure how to find groups to join (and RIGHT before the pandemic hit so no chance to really search for awhile). We had extremely high social anxiety and heavy depression/ptsd/insomnia so we weren't able to host any/advertise wanting to trade with others. Michelle also was very much into interactive art and art galleries, wanting people to participate in what was around them.
So thus came this idea where it would be an art display where people can observe the art, leave their art behind, and take a card home for a memory!
We put this up for a planned one month which extended to three months! Their first friday went extremely well with people struggling to find a spot to work on their card. Even people who weren't interested in making a card were excited to take a card. (At that time we had a separate section that were for anyone to take and didn't require a card swap.
The idea of people creating, enjoying the process of creating, enjoying the process of leaving their art and picking a piece they want drove us to keep recreating this. Everyone is an artist and even art you don't like, someone else will LOVE. You never know and it's encouraging to know that what you create, no matter what quality or skill level, will speak to someone else. Art is a powerful communicator.
Join us in our Journey of Creating a Community through Artist Trading Cards!
October 2019 -December 2019
July 2022 - September 2022
March 2023 - Present
June 2023 - Present
Our first Trade Display was at ReCreative Denver for their First Friday Art Walk! People were enjoying the art, the process, and the little gift they got to take with them. During the month, the display was left up for people to come and go through during open store hours. Supplies were left out for people to come by, take their time creating cards and interacting with the display. It went so well, the store decided to keep it up for another two months!
Our second Trade Display was at Pikes Peak Library District East Library in the Makers Space upstairs. This one didn't get as much traction as it was upstairs in a corner in a room that had different hours than the library. So from this, we learned that we want our Trade Displays where they can be seen and can get plenty of foot traffic. We also didn't include much art supplies as it kept moving without us knowing. Again, we would like a stable location for everyone to become accustomed to. Introducing something new and interactive to people's patterns may take some visual repetition before they take action. We want them to create! They must see!
Third Trade Display standing proudly at Who Gives a Scrap! This is where a lot of the ideas became reality. The year consisted with a lot of research and experimentation for what people liked and how to get more interaction. We have had a lot of success with this display and hope to create more!
This is also where we decided to make bag kits, and envelope kits to curate the art materials and project. Instead of using paper instructions, we switched to video instructions which are available for free on our website through a QR code.
Fourth Trade Display added to our friend's Crafter's Clique area! Upstairs at The Next Us is her cute little frame based off of one of their first crafts they did their as a group. For smaller areas such as these, envelope kits work best! They also provide you with an envelope to mail one of the cards you make so someone you know!