Thursday, July 05, 2007

ATCs-- I just don't "get" 'em!

Not to be negative or anything, but I've never understood the appeal of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) or the related ACEO (Art Card, Editions and Originals) They're 2.5" by 3.5" cards made of whatever you like, decorated however you like. I guess the idea is to make something that shows "what you can do", artistically speaking. Fellow artists trade them to admire one another's work-- maybe even get inspiration for ways to improve their own creations.

According to the wiki on the subject, they haven't been around for all that long-- only since 1997. (1997 happens to be a landmark year for me, since it's the year I graduated from high school.) Since then, they've gained popularity among artists in a variety of media, including polymer clay.

If you're just trading them, ok. It's probably fun to be in on the trade, and I suppose you can display them as miniature works of art. Kind of like the original sports trading cards (though I never "got" those, either, not being the sporty sort).

But these days, I've been seeing them for sale, and I really don't understand that. Maybe it's different for people who aren't interested in jewelry, but I'd much rather have a bead or a pendant that I can wear or at least make into jewelry for someone else than a little rectangle of clay, however prettily it's been decorated.

Maybe my reaction to ACEOs is the result of my frugal nature in combination with my jewelry-making tendencies. What?! Make something out of clay that can't be worked into jewelry and worn?! What a waste of good clay! ;o)

Well, even if I'm still rather mystified by them, it's obvious that many others are not-- and I can appreciate the skill and work that goes into many of them. For instance, PCC hosts photos from a couple of ATC swaps: Here and here.

(If you enjoy those pages, check out PCC's swap index for more photos from polymer clay swaps.)


DrMom said...

I bought about half a dozen of them... all pears. Framed them each in black frames with white mats. They look lovely... and I spent less than $100 for 6 pieces of original art work. To trade them, or collect them like baseball cards... that I do not get!

Christie said...

I'm glad you posted this. It's nice to know I'm not the only person who doesn't get the appeal or have any desire to trade them. LOL! You and I have similar feelings on frugality with the clay it seems. :)

And wow...1997? You've just reached your 10 year mark. You OLD person you! LOL! Only joking. ;)

Michael said...

DrMom-- Yeah, grouping them like that makes sense. Individually, they'd seem a bit small to work for wall art. ...I can picture a series of them in the same basic style-- three or five in a long frame... Good idea!

Christie-- (g) Glad I could validate your feelings! ;o)

Yeah, I was shocked when I realized I'd reached the decade mark! And my youngest sister just graduated, too, so that's only added to the feeling. I mean, I can remember when she was born! (g)

Anonymous said...

I didn't get ATCs for the longest time then one day something clicked and I started making them. I do papercraft as well as polymer clay and most of them are paper sometimes with PC embellishments. I don't sell them. I do some organized swaps but most of the time I give them away because it pleases me to do so. I use them as gifts at Christmas and birthdays, thank yous, thinking of yous. I took a bunch on a cruise I went on and gave them to our dinner mates and some of the crew and staff. When I tell them to choose a card it's like I am giving them something precious -- that's how they react. They seem to appreciate my gift to them and I am pleased to bring a little of myself into their lives. I've grown to love ATCs.