Recently I enjoyed participating in an artist trading card exchange, organized by 6 Degrees of Creativity.
I am somewhat new to the idea of artist trading cards (ATCs), and this was my first exchange to participate in. The swap was centered on the theme of “Pocket Change,” creating change through small acts of kindness and creativity by sending positive messages and intentions to others.
Not only was creating my ATCs an enjoyable time for creativity, I loved the idea of participating in a collaborative and community-building activity with other artists and art therapists. I have mailed in my four artist trading cards to the organizers and look forward to receiving some back in the mail later this month. I also hope to connect with more ATC swaps in the future to continue to build community and creativity.
For those who are not familiar with artist trading cards, I thought I would share some about this. Artist trading cards are small, original works of art, created on small cards. The cards are similar to other types of trading cards and should be 2.5″x3.5″ in size. The artwork can be created using any medium, including drawing, painting, collage, and mixed media. You can learn more here: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Artist-Trading-Cards
In keeping with the original intention and spirit of the movement, ATCs should be given away for free or exchanged with others. Sometimes this is done through organized exchanges, like the one organized by 6 Degrees of Creativity. However, my first time coming across artist trading cards was a display at a coffee shop where patrons were invited to take an ATC, so long as they left a new one in its place. You can organize exchanges with others, or you can locate swaps through the mail through websites like www.atcsforall.com.
I would love to explore some other options for creating and swapping cards as well. In an art therapy group, group members could create cards to share with each other to provide support, to have transitional objects, and to build the sense of group cohesion. I think this would also provide a great activity for a local art therapy association meeting or within an art therapy peer consultation group.
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Carolyn Mehlomakulu is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about individual therapy, adolescent and child counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in mental health, psychotherapy, counseling, art therapy, or play therapy. Although anyone can have a healing experience with art, art therapy requires the direction of a trained art therapist.
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