Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Having Fun with Artist Trading Cards

On our last week of summer, we are having fun and relaxing.

Last week I joined an artist trading card (ATC) swap list. I was interested in hosting a swap so I could pick the topic. However, the group rules are that a member must participate in two swaps before being the host of a swap. So I browsed the open swaps and found a lot to choose from. I signed up to participate in these swaps:

math swap: must feature a number on the ATC
train swap: must feature a locomotive or train image on the ATC
produce swap: must feature fruit or vegetable image(s) on the ATC

A few days ago, I went through my unread magazine pile and picked out a bunch of magazines to browse through. Over the last few days I have been browsing through them and removing any pages or portions of a page that interested me. Today I created the six cards required for the math swap.

My younger son joined in and created his first ATC. He started a second card, then got bored and abandoned the project.

My husband thinks that this is a weird endeavor. He thinks my ATCs are strange and he “doesn’t get it”. He also is wary of anything that uses what he calls junk. What he doesn’t know is that in the art world these paper scraps have an official term “ephemera”.

I have been cutting up food boxes as we finish eating the food that is within them, to use as my base cards. My husband feels this recycling of junk is suspicious. I also use new tag board (card stock) paper (which I bet he prefers).

I was surprised to discover that many people are selling what my husband calls junk paper over the internet. They are selling pages ripped out of vintage magazines, as well as pages ripped out of (book) atlases (maps) and other book’s pages such as pages from old dictionaries and encyclopedia’s.

On my hunch that anything and everything is sold on eBay, I went over to see, and sure enough, people are selling “ephemera” on eBay.

Some other things that are called ephemera are wrapping paper, greeting cards, junk mail, advertisements, ticket stubs, train schedules, old cancelled checks and even old handwritten letters or lists. One website was selling 50 sheets for $20.

Ephemera is used not only in ATC collage but in larger collages/works of art as well.

Lastly, some collage making artists are using 3-D objects, and these items are being sold on the internet and on eBay as well. Examples: doll body parts, bottle caps, matchbooks, buttons, lace, fabric and rick-rack.

Another odd thing I saw being sold was photocopied sheets of antique photographs. One person had purchased antique photos, classified them by type (children, women, etc.), copied them (hey, no copyright infringement to hold this person back), then is selling them. Actually the images are scanned and she is printing the sheets from her computer to her home computer printer, for $4.50 per sheet! I am amazed and wonder if anyone really is buying these. I have purchased some antique photos that interested me but never thought that I could make money off of them!

I suddenly realize that the paper and greeting cards I own, which are stored in my basement, could be resold on the internet to make money. Wow. The question is, will anyone actually buy it?

Also all the books that are given away free at the end of library sales could be taken apart and sold as ephemera (rather than being thrown in the trash).

Perhaps I should start a little cottage industry selling ephemera to try and earn some income for our family?


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jon said...

After we paid for our kids summer basketball camp we found it tough to recover! I totally agree with you!

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