Pagan Artist Trading Cards
Author: Rev. etain.butterfly
Posted: November 15th. 2017
Times Viewed: 705
I feel it is important to give a little bit of the history on Artist Trading Cards. Although miniature works of art created on cards have been around for centuries, the modern-day concept of ATCs was conceptualized by artist M. Vanci Stirnemann in 1996. In May 1997, Stirnemann held a gallery showing of 1, 200 cards at the INK.art and text bookstore in Zurich, Switzerland, for which he collaborated with artists Cat Schick and Gido Dietrich. Those attending the show were told that if they wanted to acquire a card that was on display they should bring in one of their own creations to trade for it. A movement was then born that denounced the tradition of critiquing and appraising art, and embraced the process of one artist connecting with another. (Artist Trading Card Workshop by Bernie Berlin, North Light Books2007; page 8)
The main reason I am so captivated with ATCs is the endless possibilities that I have for creating my masterpiece. I can use any media to create my cards (paint, draw, sew, sculpt, collage) as long as I adhere to the true size of 2 ½ x 3 ½.
After discovering the concept of ATCs I decided to narrow down the options and use this art form to enhance my spirituality though making Pagan Artist Trading Cards. As I became more involved I found a group that offered trading and swaps with people worldwide. I traded and collected ATCs from all over the USA plus Europe too. It was amazing to receive cards related to the Wheel of the Year, divination, cycles of the moon and other pagan theme related cards. I was hooked for sure.
So what are the requirements for these cards you ask? Well, the main rule of thumb is the size. As I already stated they are to be 2 ½ x 3 ½ in size. Unlike sports trading cards, ATCs mustn’t be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists
meeting (by correspondence if in person meeting is not possible) and exchanging their works, therefore meeting many artists and getting exposed to many personal styles.
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. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called a series. What most collectors really want are cards that were made with care. Based on that, numbers are meaningless.
Ideas for Your Artist Trading Cards
1. Consider using a particular medium that you are familiar with and that you enjoy:
Marking pen, pencil, coloured pencil, oil pastel… Explore the medium without worrying about content.
2. Use a piece of art from a textbook as a starter. Copy a section of a larger work.
Or combine several sections of pieces you like.
3. Divide your card in an interesting way. Do pattern work in each section. Decide if some or all will be in colour or whether only one should be coloured or even empty, etc.
4. Start in one corner and begin a design. Let the art develop on its own as you “give up control” of the work.
5. Use a clipping from a magazine – letters or pictures or just parts of objects to begin
a work. Complete the image in another medium.
6. Begin with a wash of watercolour. Draw on top of that a contour drawing of an object from the room or from the picture files.
7. Construct a common object as if it were made of some out of the ordinary material: A tree that is made of feathers, a fish that is made of brick etc.
8. Use the word lists from the drawing exercises to give you an idea for a fantasy creature.
9. Design a piece that emphasizes positive and negative space – like your logo.
When I am engrossed in creating an ATC I feel at peace – an almost meditative experience. I feel that I am one with my creator when I am creating. The flow of positive energy throughout the whole process is so enlightening.
Now that I have created all these beautiful works of art how do I incorporate them into my Pagan path …. Well, for one these make a beautiful addition to any altar. You can make them for each holiday. I have also used these cards in my spell workings by incorporating my intent in the card design. I find that the pure creative energy flow while making the ATCs binds with the intent making the spell that much stronger.
When Sacred Birch Society gathers for rituals I sometimes give ATCs to my brothers and sisters that attend. During a girls weekend retreat I gave a workshop on making ATCs. This is a wonderful way to help your children learn about the Craft and it will also allow them to trade with their friends that are in the Craft. I make ATCs and use them for labels on my gifts that I give for Pagan events. You can buy protective sleeves for your ATCs anywhere they sell sports trading cards. I often make ATCs and put it in a protective sleeve and attach it on a homemade greeting card so the recipient can keep the card for their collection. You can also buy
I do hope you will give this art form a try and I hope you find that it is a great addition for enhancing you Pagan spirituality by creating your own miniature works of art to use in your own tradition.
Published in Witchvox