Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at:  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:
Come play with us... Join today!

Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Member Spotlight Time!

This month we are spotlighting Beckie Holso, one of our Paper Traders moderators.

How did you find Paper Traders? 
I was encouraged to join by my mom, Connie Holso.  About a year later, we both volunteered to help out as moderators after the original group owners decided to step down.

How long have you been a member?
I joined in January 2008.

Where do you live? 
I currently reside in San Diego, California, USA.  I moved back to San Diego after a 3-year stint in Colorado; with that little exception, I have lived in California for over 20 years.

How have your surroundings affected your art? 
Honestly, I think most of my inspiration comes from other Paper Traders members and my Somerset Studio magazine!  But I do especially love to visit Balboa Park and take in the fabulous architecture and stroll through the many museums.  I also truly love the Getty in Los Angeles although I've only been able to visit a few times.  I look forward to going back again someday soon!

Please share a little about your own art experience. 
Years ago, my sister started selling DOTS (now known as Close To My Heart) and I got on the bandwagon, starting out by making greeting cards for friends and family.  Over time, I followed my mom's transition into paperarts and eventually mixed media.  Lately, I've been having some fun experimenting with steampunk assemblage art.  I wish I had more time to devote to my hobby but I work full time so I have to steal an hour here or there and am usually glued to my art table on the weekends.

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?  
As I mentioned, lately I've been having fun with steampunk.  Recently I tried some variations of Jill Geraghty-Groves "decaying background" technique as described in the March/April 2011 issue of Somerset Studio.  Another favorite is our own Barb Thomas's peeled paper technique ( - which make fabulous backgrounds.

What inspires you?  
All of you!  I am definitely inspired by the members of our group who are always sharing new ideas and techniques.  Seeing the fabulous things that each of you make inspires me to try new things and continue to stretch myself as an artist.  Have I also mentioned how much I love my Somerset Studio magazine?

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this? 
Of course, I love many of the classics - Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir, Seurat, Da Vinci... the list goes on and on.  But I am also very impressed by many of the mixed media artists - Misty Mawn, DJ Pettit, Kelly Rae Roberts, Suzi Blu.  I love the way they share their methods and encourage all of us to challenge ourselves and embrace our own artistic talents.

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?   What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art? 
I am so thrilled to have a whole room devoted to my office/studio.  I have Iris carts stacked behind me to store my stamps and papers, with a board on top to create a counter where I have all my tools within easy reach and small beads and charms in hardware cabinets.  Above that, I have shelves filled with clear shoeboxes (from the Container Store) holding all my supplies, each box sorted by type.  I also have a bookcase for my books and magazines, as well as old books that I tear pages out of for ephemera - and a shelf reserved for displaying art from various swaps and trades.  I keep my ribbons & fibers in photo storage boxes (color-coded, of course =)  and there's a small filing cabinet for larger sticker sheets and other ephemera.  I have recently started using small 4x6 photo boxes to sort my smallest images by category.  One of my most handy things is a clear shoe hanger that I keep on my studio door to sort the miscellaneous stuff that accumulates on my table - I've found it's an easy way to sort items in order to return them to where they belong.

Please share a little about your family and pets... 
I don't currently have any pets although I love all kinds of animals and had many different kinds of pets growing up.  I am single, no kids... but also no family nearby.  My parents and siblings live about 1200 miles away, in Wyoming.  I only get to see them about once a year.  I talk to my mom on the phone several times a week and email daily.  One of the things I like about Paper Traders is the opportunity it gives us to share in this experience together, despite the miles apart.

If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began. 
Growing up, we moved around a lot but I usually tell people that I'm from Colorado since that is where I lived the longest as a kid and where I graduated from High School.  A year after that, I moved out to central California and eventually down to San Diego.  I am the oldest of four kids - I have two sisters and one brother, 3 beautiful nieces and 3 handsome nephews ranging in age from nearly two to 18 years old.  My mom has always been a very creative and talented woman - a skill that was born of necessity and progressed into more creative avenues.  Most of what I have learned to do, I have gotten from my mother.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?  
I love to read - especially fiction as it is a way to relax and escape from the stress of work and everyday life.  I enjoy the puzzles and the occasional video game.  I especially like movies and have a television set up in my studio so that I can watch them while I work on my art projects.

Beckie Holso

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