09 January 2015

Artist Trading Blocks

One of my mentorship groups, FiberArt Northeast (otherwise known as FANE) has been meeting monthly since 2006. Among many other things, I am constantly challenging the members with fun art projects, some for exhibition and some just to stretch creative muscles. Over the holiday break I offered them a quick little project that I had read about on the Gelli Arts blog, Artist Trading Blocks. A number of years ago Artist Trading Cards burst onto the scene. The size of baseball cards (2.5" x 3.5") the ATCs are a great way to collect and trade small pieces of art with others.

The artist trading block is a three-dimensional interpretation of this idea. The Gelli Arts blog suggests using 4" x 4" posts cut into 4" cubes for the blocks, but once I realized that I needed over 30 of these and I discovered how very much each one would weigh, I quickly dropped the size suggestion and tried to find a smaller, lighter weight alternative.

I wandered around the lumber department of Home Depot until I came upon what they call "square dowels", oddly, since aren't dowels by their very definition round? Lumber is weird, my friends, 2 x 4s are not 2" or 4", and dowels are apparently not always round. Anyway, the square dowels are 1.75" on a side and 36" long so I bought two. Using Carlos' chop saw I was able to cut each dowel up into 19 blocks, ending with 38 total. Some members took 1 and others took 2 so they would have one to trade. I took two so I could trade as well.

What a blast! Nifty little six-sided collages! Three dimensional accessible art! A great way to slide into the new year art wise.

One block is covered with different whites and off whites to start. I added pieces of an old book, an embossed paper Ganesha, colored art papers, a postage stamp, and then I stamped some letters, numbers, a word, and a chop over the papers.

The other block is a mixture of papers and fabrics, with other papers, a fortune cookie fortune, and more stamped letters, numbers, and words added. This block is in much brighter colors than the first.

I can't wait to see what everyone else has made and I'll be sure to report back. So what do you think? Will ATBs become a thing? Do you have a yen to make one (or three) now?


Sandy said...

Wish I had Carlos' chop saw! Love these blocks and you could also do an encaustic finish on them! I bought a gross of 4" gift boxes years ago and recently covered 20 with paste papers I made with the grandkids. I think I will take a few and make them into your Artist Trading Blocks next. And the good thing is that they would unfold and lie flat to mail or store. Thanks for the project- like I have nothing else to be doing!

Norma Schlager said...

Once again I was sorry that I did not participate after I saw all the fabulous results. But I am going to do the one that I took home. Already have my stuff out and ready to go. Thanks for always inspiring us!

Anonymous said...

Jane - I have to do this! You know how much I love anything square! Thanks, Pam