Fiber Artist Trading Cards

Rissa Peace Root 2004

Home - Articles  - Readers' Showcase  - Novices - Search-
Okay, everyone is talking about Artist Trading Cards (ATC), but they are almost always done on cardstock, even the ones with fiber collage designs.  Personally, I liked the concept and played with a few, but they never really sparked my creative imagination.  Then I received a fiber ATC from Mary Jane Cemer as a hostess gift in the Autograph Quilt Block Exchange.  I was fascinated and thrilled by this micro-miniature quilt. 

ATC by Mary Jane Cemer

At first,  I kept it by my PC, so I could look at it for inspiration.  Then I decided her card needed a place of honor. So, I took Mary Jane's ATC and slipped it into a trading card sleeve inside a cloth organizer.  When I saw it there with all those empty slots and empty pages, I knew I had to start trading cards with more people, so that I could eventually fill up my album with these tiny, wondrous works of art.  

Since I was writing an article on stamping on fabric, it seemed like a stamped image as the base would be a good idea.  But I knew I wanted to draw over the image with textile markers and that it would need to be permanent, so I chose a fabric that could withstand the heat-setting process.  My first one was a failure, the ink migrated and there was some melted fabric that I had forgotten to clean off my iron before I started.  But I knew I was on the right track.  So I tried again and got just the right results.  Then I embellished the image with tiny silk ribbon roses and leaves.  I made French knot roses with 2 mm ribbon and was able to cluster several of them together on the hat band. 

My first fabric ATCs

There are some basics for making a fiber ATC.  First, the size is standardized on the baseball trading card, so that the artists cards will fit into a collector's sleeve.  That means your finished ATC should be 2.5" wide by 3.5" high and since people keep them in these sleeves, be careful not to get too dimensional.  Most of these cards are flat, but you can embellish them, just test it to make sure it will still fit in a collector's sleeve and that the effect is not ruined by being sandwiched in an album.  Although most artist's give their complete contact information on the backs, is not required, but you should sign and date your work on the back.  Past those three guidelines, there are no rules, which should make this appealing to crazy quilters! 

There are several great ways to do this, but here it is broken down into tiny bite-sized chunks:

  1. Stamp, paint, embellish, make a miniature CQ, or otherwise express yourself on the tiny quilt top. 

  2. If your top is thin, as in the examples above, add a small piece of quilt batting and some fabric for the back to make a traditional quilt sandwich.   If your project is already thick, skip the batting, but add a piece of fabric to the back to give it a neat appearance and to give you a place to sign and date your fiber ATC. 

  3. Cut the quilt sandwich to size, 2.5" by 3.5" as described above.

  4. Bind your micro-miniature quilt any way you like. Use binding tape or fusible webbing, sew it together with a decorative stitch by hand or machine, or do anything else you can think of to secure the pieces, except possibly using hot glue.

At this point you are basically done.  Just make sure your finished product fits into a baseball trading card sleeve.  However, you can take another step. 

Optional Step:

  1. Machine or hand quilt your design.   Two of the fiber ATCs above have echo stippling through all three layers. This is completely optional, since the dimensions are so small that tying and quilting are not needed to secure the layers.   

Feel free to improvise!  I certainly have.

My first micro-mini CQ ATC

If you are interested in more information, would like to ask the author questions or want to trade fiber ATCs with other readers, please join the yahoo mailing list for 

Home - Articles  - Readers' Showcase  - Novices - Search-

Copyright 2002 - 2011, All Rights Reserved
Editor: Published by: Pretty Impressive Stuff