Artists’ Trading Cards for Two Swaps

ATCs – the beginning

Today I finally managed to complete the two Artists’ Trading Cards (ATCs) that I have been making for the fourth Very Berry Handmade Swap and the Be Creative Swap as part of the National Celebration of Stitch 2014 respectively. I was doing so well with them, in fact, I had almost finished them – way ahead of time! As usual, no matter how well organised I am, something always crops up and makes me late! I should have remembered: it has happened so many times before. Oh well, at least the swap date for the Very Berry swap hasn’t come yet and Sheila, with whom I am partnered in the Be Creative Swap, knows that I have been unwell.

The photo at the head of this post shows the start of the creative process for these ATCs. It shows various plastic bags that I had ironed between some non-stick baking paper, which resulted in several different effects.

ATCs in progress

The theme of the Very Berry swap is “Getting away from it all” but there was no theme for the Be Creative swap. However, both swaps stipulated that the ATCs must include some stitching. As soon as I saw the theme I knew that I was going to make an ATC using Antarctica for inspiration. I think Antarctica is probably my ultimate “getting away from it all” destination. Peter and I were privileged to be able to travel there during the winter of 2006/2007.

During that trip I took hundreds of photographs on films, not digital camera, so the processing bill was HUGE. I also bought a CD containing 365 photographs taken during our trip by one of the geologists who accompanied us. I think that, from the selection of my photographs below, you will see what inspired these ATCs! (Apologies for the curves around the corners: the strong light damaged my camera. I knew that was a possibility but it didn’t stop me clicking away.)

A beautiful tabular iceberg

Tabular icebergs and berg-y bits –
Yes, that’s what they are called!

So many colours, including the
vivid turquoise at the base of the iceberg

More lovely colours on this
tabular iceberg

The eerie beauty of drifting, part-melted

The amazing range of colours in Antarctica remains in my memory: such beautiful shades and hues, yet so unexpected.

The first of my completed ATCs

Unusually for me, as soon as I knew that Antarctica was to be my inspiration, I knew that I wanted to use slivers of different whites and blues. Almost immediately after that decision I happened to see a translucent blue plastic bag which inspired me to use that and other bags to show the colours. I loved the soft sheen on the bags after they had been ironed and also the variation in colour and texture that was created from just a small selection of bags. I am not usually particularly imaginative when it comes to creating something like an Artist Trading Card so I was absolutely thrilled to have come up with the idea and a way of putting it into practice. 

The second, slightly different, ATC

I began with a piece of white cotton fabric measuring 3.5″ x 2.5″ and began tacking strips of the ironed plastic bags onto it. I added a few slivers of coloured fabrics to give more variation in colour. Next, I used just two or three pale shades of embroidery thread to embellish some of the strips using a simple running stitch. I also used some ordinary cotton thread for the running stitch. *** I merely wanted to enhance the idea of slices of colour and so keep the finished card looking fairly understated. I hope I succeeded – I think I did.

*** After completing the running stitch, I attached a few beads across a couple of the strips of colour which, I hope, pick up and reflect a little light. My aim was to give an impression of how, occasionally, one glimpses a sparkle in the ice. ***


10 thoughts on “Artists’ Trading Cards for Two Swaps

  1. I am getting excited now it will be an amazing addition to my collection and now I know how you did it. Well done. That sounds like a fantastic trip and the colour at the bottom of those burgs is just stunning.


  2. Dina, absolutely beautiful ATCs! Love your creativity in using plastic bags and using all other materials and stitches.You truly captured the feel of Antarctica, its coldness and bluish whiteness. When I first looked at your work in progress, the only thought I had on my mind – snow. 🙂 Great work! Someone is going to be very lucky to get this card.


  3. Thank you so much, Larisa. I am thrilled that they really do seem to reflect the colours and the atmosphere of Antarctica. By the way, I was very impressed at how quickly you picked up on the cold theme!


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