The International Card Deck Swap

inspcarddeckswap

Hi! My name is Jessica Brogan and if you don’t know me, I’m an author, photographer, teacher and mama who believes there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness, or a small act of art. I’m also the creator and facilitator of the swap you’ll read about on this page. It is open to artists of all types (newbies, professionals, young and old), and it is run one, two or three times a year, depending on my travel + teach + baby! balance. It’s called  The Inspirational Card Deck Swap. Participants hail from countries all over the world (Belize, New Zealand, Ireland, UK, USA,  South Africa, to name some), and I think I can safely say, this is the coolest Art Swap you’ll ever find.

When I started this project, I thought it sounded super fun, and inspiring, and a little challenging (but not “too” challenging…just the right amount).  I had NO IDEA what would happen next. I get teary thinking about the stories that have come to me, year after year. It’s entirely possible that this is the best swap you’ll ever participate in. It’s entirely possible you’ll get addicted. You’ve been warned! :-)

Joining is as simple as registering with the PAYPAL buttons below and then joining hundreds of women in the fun.  We have an optional Facebook group that is extremely awesome and drama-free. I shall always keep it that way, I promise. We also have tutorials further below, detailed explanations and a PHOTO GALLERY. Read on to learn more!

*REGISTRATION IS HERE BELOW IF YOU ARE READY TO JOIN! IF YOU ARE NEW, SCROLL DOWN AND READ ALL ABOUT IT THEN COME BACK UP TOP TO REGISTER! YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT ME WITH ANY QUESTIONS AT JESSICA.BROGAN@GMAIL.COM




SPRING SWAP: * RECIPE & FOOD THEME* 

This is a small swap, and a challenge! We will be making fewer cards, but with a twist: We challenge you to include a recipe on each of your cards! How will you do it? Find a creative way to include a great recipe and get new recipes, and art back! RECIPES ARE OPTIONAL. Give us your best most creative take on food!

12 CARDS (Please send 14 to cover damages/loss)

PACKAGES MAY ARRIVE BEGINNING MARCH 20th. PACKAGES DUE APRIL 30th.

12963417_897167567058654_5192833344416048949_n

SUMMER SWAP: * MUSIC THEME* GIVE US YOUR MOST CREATIVE TAKE ON ALL THINGS MUSIC, SONGS, LYRICS!

52 Cards (Please send 54 to cover loss / damage)

PACKAGES MAY ARRIVE BEGINNING MAY 7TH. PACKAGES DUE JULY 21ST.




swap2015

HOW DOES THIS SWAP WORK?? HERE’S A BASIC EXPLANATION…

 1. You take a deck of regular playing cards (or substrate of the same size) and turn each card into a piece of art. There is a theme for each swap, so make sure to use that theme to inspire and inform your art making! {Upcoming themes for 2017 are Food, Music and Word of the Year}

2. When finished, you send your deck to me (by the deadline of the swap you’ve signed up for) in the mail.

3. I go to work swapping the thousands of cards at my home. I will not let the baby eat your cards, promise.

 4. You receive a brand new deck, *52 cards from 52 different people, back in your mailbox (*Unless otherwise noted).

This is a quick intro video I made you, then you can scroll down to see what previous participants say about the swap + find more detailed instructions and FAQs.

DTI-Card-Decks_9

“I received my package of inspiration cards yesterday. They are amazing. I love them so much. My girls were so excited to get home last night and go through them one by one talking about the messages, the art, the cool bits like the one who tucked her note in a pocket on the card! Thank you again for encouraging us all to participate! I have not stopped since this began. I am signed up for courses galore, buying myself art supplies, getting my hands dirty and laughing again! I am planning to write a blog post about the experience, encouraging others to have a go even if they think they are not “good enough” at something. Jump in, have fun, see where it leads!” – Megan Reneer

“From all over the world artists shared their hearts and talent with little old me!!! I’m feel deeply grateful to have all this inspiration in my hands tonight!!”– Denise Stensland

THEY ARRIVED AND WHAT A FUN AND VARIED COLLECTION!  I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW HAPPY I AM!  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING THIS.  IT WAS MY FIRST EXPERIENCE OF TRADING WITH PEOPLE NOT IN MY LOCAL GROUP, AND IT WAS SO EXCITING.”

“ THE CARD DECK IS EVEN MORE INSPIRING AND BEAUTIFUL THAN I EVER IMAGINED!”

“ I’m still loving your inspiration cards.  I’m amazed at the impact they’re having on my life…I’m going to share the love at my next workshop by sharing some of the artworks on cards with an older (non-online) generation….”

This is one of the most loving and grateful bunch of girls that anyone could ask to accompany them in their journey to get their feet wet. No judgment, just joy when you complete them! And right after I mailed my cards, I prepped more cards to get ready for the next swap! Once you do it, you’re hooked! – Peggy Kasallis

“Jessica, thank you so much for organizing this. I can see this taking me places that I never dreamed of being! Like paper healthy courage right here in the palm of my hand. 1000 thank you’s. ~Fran Malone

fanofcards3

DEAR “I’M NOT SO SURE I CAN DO THIS…I’M NOT THAT CREATIVE…”

I want this to be an inspiring, confidence-building experience so I am going to pause and speak to the “beginners” (we do have a lot of lovely repeat participants!) who are lingering on the edges. If that’s you, trust me when I say, you can do this. You can so do this! I promise! And if, after reading the details below, you’re thinking, “Wow, this looks amazing, but I am really not sure I am capable of this…” then a) I’ve made a video to show you my super great shortcut / trick to make making 54 cards possible  and b) I’ve convinced hundreds of women at this point, who said the very same thing in the beginning, and my overflowing box of handwritten notes at homes tells me how they succeeded, and have gone on with such a feeling of joy in their creativity.  It’s all possible, from YOUR two hands,and the reward is amazing.

amateur-deck-card atc swap

*The Mission*

Now, in this swap, we gather to create because we love a great project! We also love to create inspiration that ripples out into our own lives and then beyond!  We love new friendships with kindreds (the Facebook group is active and inspirational during the swap!) and we love to flex our muscles of creativity and play in a safe and encouraging place.

 I encourage you to read this post, that will spell out and tell you so much more about the environment and impact I want to create here with this project.

DSC_0777

**INSTRUCTIONS**

I want to make this a beautiful experience as free from technology glitches and hiccups as possible so I, Jessica, mother of a 7 year old, 7 month old, full time French teacher, retreat and creative business runner, do it hands-on. There’s a low-tech sign-up process, I do the physical labor, and bring the post office peeps cookies when I stand there for two hours to send the packages off (that part was a request)! Therefore,  I so appreciate you following the Instructions , so that you get your amazing deck back in the mail easy-peasy!

1. Buy or make a deck of 54 cards (*unless otherwise noted). Most participants purchase a deck of playing cards, which can be purchased for under 1USD or less. If you’re ecologically minded, you can “make” your cards: cut your own cards from cardboard, watercolor paper, manila folders or even cereal boxes. Some of the tutorials further below showcase that method.

img_3217

2. To turn your cards into small works of art, follow any of the following tutorials or using your own creativity and ideas. Anything goes! People have made them very simple, and have made them very complex.  To be clear, we alter only one side  of each card, and put our information on the back / other side  of each card.

Here is a Photo Gallery of cards to get you inspired!

The best tip I can share is not to be intimidated by the NUMBER of cards you are making. The first time I did this, I hand painted 54 individual cards, and then melted into a pool of frustration. I figured out, there is a much better, faster and smarter way to create this many cards. I’ve got A TRICK! So let me get right to it. Watch this next video where I show you the secret to making 54 cards possible.

3. If you want to “seal” your cards (to avoid having the paint smear of if you used any type of ink or oil pastel that needs to be sealed) PLEASE DO NOT USE MOD PODGE. Every single year, someone does, and I have to throw their deck in the trash. For whatever reason, mod podge hates being mailed. It heats up, gets very sticky, then re-dries, and I CANNOT GET THE CARDS APART. It’s so sad. I know I’m going crazy with the all-caps, but don’t seal the cards unless you absolutely have to. I never do. If you do, try a spray sealant. Or gel medium of another brand. Just not mod podge.

4. Please tell us who made the card on the back of each card. You can write your name and location, and any contact info you want to add. Why? People BEG to know who made their cards! They LOVE to know. Don’t stop yourself because you think your cards aren’t going to be the “cool ones.” You never know how your cards touch someone.You can write with a ball point pen that won’t smear. You can print address labels and just slap them on the back! What you put is up to you but many people put the following:  NAME, WHERE YOU LIVE, DATE AND THEME OF SWAP

5Write your name and mailing address legibly/in print on a piece of paper, and put that inside your package when you mail it. That is what I will use for writing your address when I send you your package. This is important because often the post office puts a sticker over the return address, or I cannot read your writing on the outside package. I need the index card inside, or I have to do a lot of extra work to track you down and make sure you get a deck back.

6. Send me your deck of cards to my address given below.

Jessica Brogan

3226 N. 2nd Place

 Broken Arrow , Oklahoma

74012

7851986_orig

**THE REWARD**

img_3433

Meanwhile, the other participants around the world are doing the same, making and creating and then sending me their decks.

Now you wait a little while. Patience creative butterfly! I’m hard at work sitting on the floor, mixing and mixing. Making magic happen for your mailbox. After I have hand mixd the decks, I will be sending you 52 Altered Playing Cards from around the world!

In a short time, you will receive one deck from 52 other women – kindred spirits who love art projects and positive quotes – together in one package.

(*You submit 54 in case there are two stuck together, or any other random issues arise. This helps give me a buffer and is very much appreciated!)

comejointhefun

 

“This was very freeing and sparked so much inside of me!” – Deb Dane

“Jessica, you have no idea of how life-changing this process has been for me. Your work matters, you matter – so very much. THANK YOU.” – Tracy Dunn

“I have played twice. Love, love, love it. I am SO glad I participated.”- Pam Parker

“What you do for all of us is such an amazing gift Jessica. The idea of sharing the deck is super. I took my first deck and put it in my studio in a bowl and invited people to take one if they were moved by it….well, let’s just say the bowl is empty. I will do the same with this. I choose my favorite and keep it and share the rest. The women of Bali Studios love it. So thank you from everyone!” – Sheri Stewart

“I kept coming up with reasons why I couldn’t do this. I’m not creative, crafty, artistic, inspiring enough. This project pushed me way out of my comfort zone. But in the end, it was fun, and exciting and INSPIRING. I’m so glad I did it. Can’t wait for the next one.” – Greta Butler

“Thank you a hundred times over. This has been amazing for me. I tend to experience huge anxiety over things like this. Along the way I could feel the shimmering of creative juices and that was thrilling!” – Grace Moore

I seriously had more fun than I ever thought I could making those cards. – Sarah Treanor 

 

2016swap

*THE COMMUNITY*

We have a vibrant community on Facebook, in a private group. This community aspect is optional. You can participate in the Inspirational Card Swap without belonging to Facebook, and without joining the group. I offer it as a safe and super inspiring place where we can meet one another – kindred spirits who love to make a good art project, share and connect with others. If you DO join, it’s a fantastic place to share photos of your process. You can ask questions, talk art supply tips, look for new ideas, make art friends and find yourself inspired by all the other photos and art within.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE FACEBOOK TRIBE 

 

img_1493

**TUTORIALS**

Here is my strategy for making Mixed Media style Altered Cards.

It’s a four part process that includes the SUPER TRICK that makes making 54+ cards MUCH EASIER than you think! Please watch this video tutorial for the trick if you’re thinking that this is too much to take on.

My VERY FIRST TUTORIAL EVER FOR ANYTHING. Headless. I also have a black eye (I was boxing in a real boxing gym back then…ahh, past lives.). I’m pretty proud of this tutorial, and so let this be a lesson that your first attempts at something have a special magic to them. Just start where you are.

Laura Rumble shares how to make scrapbook inspired “movers and shakers” cards.

Amy Cavaness teaches us how to make quilted Fabric Cards

D. Loren’s Mixed Media Tutorial

Shannon Ganshorn’s Tutorial

Natasha White’s Tutorial

Art Love and Joy’s mixed media tutorial 

(If you want to create a tutorial for your blog, and have it featured here, please send me the link at jessica.brogan@gmail.com)

DSC_0668

MORE PRAISE FOR THIS AMAZING SWAP

“MY 9 1/2 YEAR OLD WHO IS AN AMAZING ARTIST CAME ALONG ON THIS CARD DECK JOURNEY AND IS ALREADY ON HER SECOND SET OF CARDS (SHE USED JUMBO ONES)! SHE BROUGHT HER FIRST SET INTO SCHOOL TO SHOW HER (VERY CREATIVE AND FREE THINKING) TEACHER. SHE IS CURRENTLY MAKING A SMALL SET TO GIFT TO HER TEACHER! WE SET UP ON THE DINING TABLE AND SINCE SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS SO DEEPLY I HAVE YET TO RECLAIM THE TABLE AS IT IS COVERED WITH PAPERS, STAMPS, PAINT AND CARDS!”

“I received my cards last week. I punched holes and added them to a binder ring. Each night, I look at a few and plot my next art journal page! Thanks so much, Jessica. I hope to find inspiration all year long.”

“I LOVE HOW AMAZINGLY DIFFERENT EACH CARD IS. I COULDN’T HAVE IMAGINED THEM ALL IF I TRIED!”

DSC_3405

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

DO I HAVE TO BE A SEASONED ARTIST

Nope, nope and nope. You can be a professional artist and you’ll still get something great out of this swap, because it’s about the sharing and swapping. But, I also secretly target people who are new to their creative yearnings, and just looking for a fun project to flex their creative muscle, because this is so important! You must follow your creativity; this is just one place to do it. So to repeat: all levels are welcome.

CAN CHILDREN PARTICIPATE?

By all means! We always have a handful of children participate and I personally wish that more would!! However, if your child wishes to send and receive a separate deck, that is a separate registration. Each deck costs 30$.

DO I HAVE TO PAY WITH PAYPAL?

No, you do not. It’s easiest for me but I do not require it. You can send a check or cash along in the mail to the same address, obviously at your own risk. I am not responsible for mail theft, so if your package arrives opened and missing the check, you’ll still need to pay the registration which is why I recommend Paypal.

WHAT FORM OF POST/MAIL DO YOU USE?

I use the United States Postal Service.However, I do not have control over the packages COMING to me. I recommend you get tracking and follow your package. I have had one or two packages go missing coming to me, and unfortunately, this is out of my control. This group is so wonderful that whenever someone’s package HAS gone missing, people rallied and sent that individual cards!  But it’s best to get tracking to start with! Very rarely, I have a package go missing in the mail that I have sent back, in which case I use the extras (*another reason to please submit 54 cards) to remake the deck.

WILL I GET ONE OF MY OWN CARDS BACK? 

No. I recommend that you make one of your own to keep (or more!) if you like your cards.

IF I PAY BUT DO NOT END UP NOT PARTICIPATING, WILL I GET A REFUND? CAN I TRANSFER MY PAYMENT TO A FUTURE SWAP?

No, I do not currently give refunds or allow transfers. To counter the inevitable life happenings that can come up, I give 8 weeks for creation + mailing and highly encourage you to begin creating right away.swap2015