When creativity goes missing – the spirit of swapping

The ninth Very Berry Artist Trading Card Swap is coming to a close – just check out some of the beautiful cards that have been swapped (and there is more at #veryberryatcswap on Instagram and the Very Berry Handmade ATC Swap Group on Flickr):

Collage of textile Artist trading cards from the Very Berry Handmade ATC swap
Some beautiful ATCs from the 9th Very Berry Handmade Textile Artist Trading Card swap. Clockwise from top left the cards are by Julia, Sherry, Sian S, Larisa, Bekki, Paula and Colette.

Running craft swaps has its ups and downs (you know how bad I am at all the admin!), but the really hard thing when you are the Swap Mama, is having to break it to someone that the ATC that they spent so much time and care on has disappeared in the post – I absolutely dread the day when we have to face up to the fact that something has gone missing. It is a really difficult duty, and it always causes me a really big pang (especially as it has happened to me once too).

Someone emailed me this week to say how sad they were that all the hard work they had put into the card was wasted. I so empathised with that point of view, but I really believe that, even if a swap gift does go astray, the work and creativity is not wasted. First up, of course, the maker always learns something from the creative process (and especially with ATCs, which are so small and easy to try new things with), so in that sense, it’s got to be a positive – the act of creating always enriches the life of the person doing the creating, at it’s very best, bringing a sense of fulfilment, and at its worst, helping you to realise that you’re not going to try THAT technique again! Learning to smile (kindly!) at your mishaps is a hard lesson but a good one.

Secondly, the care and thoughtfulness that goes into a swap gift does not just disappear. Remember the phrase ‘It’s the thought that counts?’ – well this is the ultimate illustration of that saying. The generosity of spirit that created our Artist Trading Cards is still out there in the world, doing its thing. I realise that, every time I have to make a call out to ask for Swap Angels – those lovely people who make an extra card to replace one that has gone missing or to help out someone who has been unable to complete the swap. Quite often the volunteers are keen to help because someone has helped then with a missing card in the past. Or they step in because they have the time to help, and want to be generous, in the spirit of the swap. It’s always lovely that I get so many people offering to help.

Thanks all who joined in this time, I love being part of this generous Very Berry swapping community. And if you are interested in doing more – next week sign-ups will open for another mini-mini-hoop swap, using these tiny display hoops, available from my fab sponsors, Cloud Craft.

One thought on “When creativity goes missing – the spirit of swapping

  1. As a first time participant I found your admin to be excellent, I knew exactly what to do by when and found you to be extremely encouraging and supportive throughout. I’d definitely take part in an ATC challenge again.

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