ATC Guest Post: Ideas from an expert!

She will be cross with me for writing this, but I always think of Bea, our guest post author tonight, as being one of my expert Artist Trading Card swappers – she’s done so many, her work is always so exquisite (I was the lucky recipient of the tiny hexie ATC at the end of this post), and she always posts on time. I was super-delighted when she volunteered to give us some insight into her creative process:

Hello everyone. I am Beatriz (or just Bea). I’ve been sewing for more than 20 years and making patchwork for 18 years now. Since I was a child, I loved crafts. I started knitting as a teenager. I had my own patchwork shop back in Brazil, where I am originally from, and taught the techniques for 12 years. It was very sad to say good bye to my pupils, as some of them had been with me for over a decade.

This last October I moved back to England (I lived here before), and it is my favourite place in the world. I like everything about this country. I’m currently living in a charming village in Kent with my husband, my sweet 6-year-old girl, and, on holidays, my big boy, who is attending University in The Netherlands.

This is my 7th ATC swap. I was even chosen to be an angel when the lovely Larisa had a baby and couldn’t participate in a round. I was so glad to do it. Before the ATC swaps, I had never been in any other swaps.

Since my first swap, I always used the same approach to make my ATC cards:
First of all, I like to brainstorm a few ideas and put them on paper. Coincidently, I always have these ideas when I don’t have one of my sketchbooks with me. In a situation like this, anything counts: napkins, tissues, cards, shopping list…. I just write or draw (I am really bad at drawing; a skill I wish I could have) something to remind me of the idea.

pic 1

Then, I draw the size of the card and try to transfer what I thought. Usually I draw multiple illustrations to decide which one I will use.

pic 2

This theme gives us endless possibilities: a nice cuppa, fireplace, hot chocolate with marshmallows, baking and cooking, sewing, a puppy, a kitten, warm mittens, quilts to snuggle in, crocheting (I am learning now), board games, a glass of wine, hours cuddling in a blanket through Pinterest….
After my sketching, I decide which model to make. This is the best part: sorting all the materials. I love to dive into my fabric stash and boxes of threads. Many hours “lost” in this hunting and playing with the fabrics (an excuse not to do the dishes or ironing). As embroidery is my hobby, I like to incorporate it in my works alongside some tiny appliques too.

pic 3 pic 4 pic 5

I love to add tiny details, and the blanket stitches edges.

Normally I finished the cards in one or two afternoons. To finish the card, I like to keep it simple. I am used to sew top and back right sides together with a thin batting in between, then I turn it right-side-out and hand sew it closed. Sometimes, I also like to add a nice blanket stitch on the edges to add detail. I fuse a little fabric with the swap title, date, my name and e-mail (and if I have time and inspiration, a tiny embroidered detail too). And it’s done!

pic 6

The card above took me quite a few days to make. ¼” hexagons and a few of my favourite things embroidered in the middle.

And two different ways to finish the back:

pic 8 pic 7

Thank you Ali, for these amazing swaps. I hope we can have more.

My pleasure Bea – and thanks to you too! Of course there will be loads more ATC swaps! 

10 thoughts on “ATC Guest Post: Ideas from an expert!

  1. WOW – that tiny quilt is amazing. I work with paper mostly and apply designs to Altoids tins… I do the same process, sketch out a design on paper the size of the tin, then go on the pare hunt for all the right pieces. I’d like to try an ATC swap sometime, but the commitment scares me a little. Beautiful work! you are fabulous with the little details.

  2. Bea, thank you for the lovely post. I always enjoy seeing or reading behind-the-scenes process. Your cards are so beautiful and detailed. Love your work!

  3. Thank you Ali for your delightful post. After being “so cross” with you (lol), your kind words made my day.
    I am always waiting for the next ATC card swap. For a while, it will be the only swap I will be in. I am already planning my new ATC card and really hope my partner will like it.

  4. What an incredibly inspiring post! Thank you so much! I agree with Ali.. Expert ATC status, for sure! (And 1/4 hexies! I can’t wait till all my boxes are unpacked to see how small I can go! )

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