I was thrilled to receive another Art Box on Saturday. The art box is part of an Internet based ATC trading group whose original focus was to swap out ATCs that other people made that we owned but didn’t necessarily want to keep (which the list owner calls “second generation” swapping. However the group also allows swapping of our own ATCs. In fact there are some members on the group whose art I love and which I am now collecting. I look forward to receiving the Art Boxes so I can see if some of my favorite trader’s art is in it!
The group originally only worked through private trades. It was kind of cumbersome as sometimes someone would want one of mine but I didn’t like what they had to offer, for example. Then the group morphed to do more private trading of our own ATCs because to increase our pool of tradable ATCs we’d add our own ATCs to our list of trade offers. Then the list owner had a great idea to send out these ‘art boxes’. At first there were 45 in each but now there are 90 (five sheets that hold 9 ATCs with one on each side, so 18 per sheet x 5 sheets = 90 ATCs).
So what happens is the art box is sent to us. When I received mine I already had a few ATCs that others made that I didn’t care to keep. I also had a bunch of my own ATCs that I had ready to swap out. We are allowed to put in 18 of our own ATCs. We can put in an unlimited number of other people’s ATCs.
To get another art box circulating some of us contributed nine ATCs to make a new box. I helped with that and gave nine of my own ATCs.
The box that arrived on Saturday had 24 ATCs that I kept. Actually I wanted 23 and my older son wanted 1. In that box were 3 of the ATCs which I had sent in to start the box off. So I put in 15 of my own ATCs in addition to my 3 that were already in there to hit the 18 max of my own ATCs that I could have in the box. I then went through all the ATCs that I own and picked out some others that I had not intended to swap out but did decide to let them go as the new ones which I had in hand were more desired for me to keep than the ones I let go. Sometimes it is fun to have an ATC for a while and to enjoy it but then I feel that it is alright to let it go back out into the world and to let someone else enjoy it. So I added in 9 second generation ATCs.
I savored looking at these ATCs over three different browsing sessions this weekend.
I was very efficient this time and instead of using up the two week timeline that we allowed to work with the Art Box was sent back out this morning. So I had it less than one business day.
The Art Boxes are sent by Priority Mail to keep things moving efficiently and with Delivery Confirmation, so we can track the status of each Art Box. Right now that costs $4.55 to do. Right now this trading list is only for residents of the United States so that we can use the Priority Mail and have a Delivery Confirmation and to keep the mail moving quickly. (More and more people seem to be having problems with International Mail, with ATCs sometimes arriving 6 weeks or even months after they are mailed out.)
I think this Art Box idea is brilliant and I wonder if it will be the wave of the future of ATC trading. I will say that it does take time and energy on the part of the organizer/list owner. There are also problems when the couple of times a person has kept a box and not returned it. I am not sure at this point if both of the boxes which went missing have been recovered or not.
It is wonderful to have 90 ATCs arrive in my mailbox. It is fun to look through all of them including who made them, see if I know any of them and also what country or state is the artists from? Seeing all those ATCs is also inspiring and I get new ideas. This is quite different from just viewing scans on the Internet. Seeing an ATC in real life is a superior experience.
Just had to share that I had fun with that trade! (Not all are the same; one Art Box was so not-my taste that I only kept 3 from it!)
So my collection of ATCs made by others has just grown by 23 ATCs!