Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Artist Trading Cards

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Easter Sunday the Moose Jaw Art Gallery & Museum in partnership with the Moose Jaw Art Guild hosted a session on Artist Trading Cards. In need for an outing after spending most of last week preparing workshop kits for classes later this year I decided to check out the event. Several years ago I was caught up in the ATC culture, then exhibition deadlines, a move and the building of my studio put a stop to my attending events. I used to create my ATCs in fabric and thread exclusively – some of the 2.5″ x 3.5″ cards taking up to 20 hours to finish…

Last Sunday I decided to work with materials provided. The theme was centered around Easter with pre-cut accordion folded cardstock eggs. Five of us gathered wielding scissors, stamps, glue bottles, fine papers, re-purposed threads and fibers.

New to the concept? Here is a brief history: Artists’ Trading Cards are not new. In 1996 Swiss artist M. Vänci Stirneman conceptualized the idea of trading miniature pieces of art. In 1997 he held a gallery showing of 1,200 cards at the & text bookstore in Zürich, Switzerland, for which he collaborated with artists Cat Schick and Gido Dietrich. Visitors attending the show were informed that if they wanted to own one of the cards they were to bring in one of their own to trade. The Artist Trading Card (ATC) movement was born.

One of the artists attending the very first trading session in Europe was Canadian Don Mabie (aka Chuck Stake). Mabie was immediately captivated by artists sharing with one another. He brought the concept home to Calgary, where in September 2000 in collaboration with Vänci Stirneman the First Biennial of Artist Trading Cards took place at the New Gallery. Eighty artists from ten countries attended the inaugural event. Interest continues to spread across the globe. Regular sessions to create and trade take place around Saskatchewan in Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon. Check with your local gallery to see if your city or town offers ATC events.

Over the years countless yahoo groups have formed. If you live in an area where you cannot gather physically with like-minded artists check out the various Yahoo groups and search for: artisttradingcards,  ATC, ATC_World, ArtTradingCards, ArtErratica, Collagecats, Bmuse, clothpaperstudio and/or Habiliments

For additional info check out the original ATC website:

My personal go-to favorite is the the book “Artist Trading Cards Workshop” by Bernie Berlin; North Light Books; 2007. ISBN 978.1.58180.848.3


And the last word for today:

Thank you everyone for submitting some interesting and current topics for upcoming blog posts. With nine comments and seven of these containing excellent questions and food for thought I am looking forward to preparing a number of blog posts for weeks to come. This is only the beginning. Questions will be accepted from now until May 15th – a full six weeks to go, and every time you post a fiber related question your name will be entered into the draw.

This entry was published on April 2, 2013 at 7:08 am. It’s filed under Art, Creativity Update, Design, History, Repurpose & Re-Create, Reuse, Special event, Special Project and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Artist Trading Cards

  1. Hello Anna! I’m enjoying reading through the comments. It’s wonderful how you address them all! I wanted to mention that there’s a little push to reinstate hand work in school. The teachers I talk to want it, but they are being phased out by boards. I’m heading to a high school in NB in 2 weeks – invited to teach hand stitching & fibre art in the home classes for a full day, and then introducing fibre art into the art classes the next day. (The teachers asked for it, not the board.) I’m hoping that it’ll catch on and more kids will request it. There is a wonderful article in Hand Eye magazine too that is about mentally challenged students learn to hand embroider, embellish and create art on a full time basis. EXCITING!

    I’m hoping (and seeing) that younger generations are reviving the whole hand made & craft scene.

    All the best Anna – and lovely posts! Your photography on the blog is looking to fantastic FYI!


    • Thanks, Monika. Please check back on Sunday when I will address the issue of passing knowledge on to the younger generation. It is a topic near and dear to my heart: Growing up in Germany with weekly handwork lessons, my maternal grandmother teaching me the basics before I even entered school, and then working as a handwork teacher myself for the Calgary Waldorf School for three years (in one of my past lives.)


  2. Linda on said:

    Thank you for explaining the history and concept of trading cards. I have heard of them, and seen some beautiful ones, but I thought people called them postcards and put them in the mail. Is that something different? I like the trading card idea- nice way to share your art and a collection from friends and oher artists you admire would be a lovely thing to have.

    Always a pleasure reading your blog!



  3. on said:

    Hi Anna … you never fail to inspire!

    This is a question completely out of left field:

    Who will teach our young children (boys and girls), the art of stitchery? Many schools are eliminating “Home Ec” at the junior high level, yet I believe the spark should occur much earlier. Time and distance do not allow the ‘learning at grandmother’s knee’ for the children. I am happy that my granddaughter has the ‘yearn to learn’ for both quilting and knitting (blame on both maternal and paternal grandmothers), but we (Nana and Grandma) are ‘hooped’ by long distances.

    While I take every opportunity to expand my own horizons, I’m not seeing much opportunity for the kidlets. This topic could make for some lively discussions, and perhaps solutions. I’d personally be happy to conduct some classes during school breaks for kidlets, but would probably need guidance. Are there references out in the ether on how to teach young children? I’ll be discussing this with retired art teachers to get their feedback.



  4. An interesting topic. I came across this link yesterday, it may be new to you. and of interest to anyone in the UK.

    Just a thought, although not atcs, some readers may be interested in joining in with this project. Hope you don’t mind links, by all means delete the comment if you do.


    • Thank you for leaving the comment with the great information. I don’t mind at all – in fact I welcome such contributions. My blog is all about sharing and informing the reader. Your comment is perfect!


Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: