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, August 21, 2011

Member Spotlight Time!

Connie Ireland Holso - A Paper Traders Moderator

How did you find Paper Traders?
 When this group was first organized I was invited by one of the original owners to be a part of it.  I knew her from a swap we had both been in on another Yahoo group.

How long have you been a member?
 Since the beginning - 2005

Where do you live?
I live in Cody, Wyoming USA (Where the West is still Wild!) Cody is the gateway to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park .  We are surrounded by mountains and it is a beautiful place to live.  We have tons of wildlife - I have deer in my yard every day.  Last year we had a doe with fawns that came to nibble on the flowers on my porch every afternoon.  It was so fun to watch the babies grow!  Cody is the home of the world renowned Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a complex of several awesome museums - The Buffalo Bill Museum, The Winchester Firearms Museum, The Draper Natural History Museum, The Plains Indian Museum, and the Whitney Art Gallery.  Cody was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody and his famous Irma Hotel is still in operation.  In the summer we have a rodeo every night, concerts in the park, the Cody Stampede, and many other fun activities.

How have your surroundings affected your art? 
Growing up on a ranch in rural South Dakota I learned early to love the beauty of nature.  We have moved a lot in our married life so I have seen a great deal of this country from Virginia and the Carolinas to the west coast and everything in between including the gulf coast.  The variety in the USA is inspiring in so many ways but most especially in the natural beauty - I can never capture those colors and the play of the light found in nature.  Living in Wyoming is very inspiring - the wildlife, the majestic mountains, Yellowstone National Park, the prairies, and everything in between. I think this is why birds and other natural things are some of my favorite themes when creating.  Right now I am being serenaded by the doves just outside my window. 
Please share a little about your own art experience. 
I have always been interested in arts and crafts.  My mother was very crafty and I grew up knowing that if you wanted something for your house you could always make it yourself if you just tried.  I sew, quilt, have dabbled in ceramics, doll making, cross stitch, and many other arts but it wasn't until I discovered paperarts that I really found my niche.  It is so varied that one never grows bored with it.  My most recently acquired toy is a Silhouette electronic die cut machine and I am loving it.  

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?  
I am one of those people who is always trying something new, so usually it changes frequently as I learn new things. Right now I am learning to use my Silhouette and designing cut files for it.  I am also learning to relax and be a little more messy in my art.  My girls tell me I need to not be so uptight about everything being "perfect" - which it never is!  I love anything that is vintage - steampunk, shabby chic -things that remind me of ancestors.  I have also been working on restoring some old family photos and dabbling in digital art. I have been playing with torn paper backgrounds for years and am always intriqued about all the different ways that people find to do it. One of my favorite is to tear really bright papers such as origami or printed papers and glue them down with gel medium, then cover the whole thing with a layer of thin white tissue paper, also glued with gel medium.  It make the tissue semi-transparent and mutes all of the colored papers for a really pretty look.

What inspires you?
Probably the thing that inspires me most is to see my daughters and granddaughter develop as artists.  I was the first in our family to dabble in altered art and mixed media, but now they have all surpassed me in talent and vision.  It inspires me to see their work and how they have grown.  Also, I am constantly inspired by the art of our group members.  They are so varied in their techniques and themes but all are so beautiful and inspiring.
Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you aboutthis? 
I live in the West and am constantly exposed to wonderful western art by the best western artists ever at the Whitney Gallery Museum, and in the local art galleries as there are many contemporary artists of note who live in this area.  Although I do love all of this art, it is not my favorite.  My favorite works are those featuring children.  I love the work of the Red Rose Girls - Jessie Willcox Smith, Violet Oakley, and Elizabeth Shippen Green.  I think Jessie Wilcox Smith is probably my favorite Red Rose artist (I have some of her prints on my walls).  I love how she captured the innocence of children in such natural settings.  William Adolphe Bouguereau, is another artist I love, especially his paintings of children.  Other artists I like are Mary Cassatt and Bessie Pease Gutman.

Describe your work area... 
Do you have your own studio or craft room?
I do have an art room.  It is small (about 9 x 91/2 feet) but I have lots of shelves and have managed to fit all my "stuff" as well as a computer desk in there. LOL  It is so nice to have a little place where you can work then close the door if things are messy instead of having to put everything away each time.  

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
I have all my stamps and lots of other supplies in Iris carts. I pulled them apart and reassembled them to add drawers to each making them higher, then I hooked them together so they are a solid unit.  My dh made a board that fits on top  from pre-finished supershelf  so it makes a nice counter-top.  I use clear acrylic box frames in the drawers to add a second layer so I can easily lift them out to see what is in the bottom layer.  I use mini crates (from the dollar store) to store cut papers and small supplies on shelves that we mounted above the Iris carts.  My images and paper ephemera are filed in a two drawer file cabinet which fits under my work table.  My cardstock is in plastic paper sorters (Cropper Hopper) on a book shelf unit.

Please share a little about your family and pets...
I have been married to my college sweetheart for 44 years in September. We have 4 grown children and  6  beautiful,  wonderfully talented grandchildren ages 2 to 18 year. We now have only one pet - a white goldfish named "Whitey"  (his little orange companion "Goldie" died).  The imaginative names are courtesy of the little grandkids who gave them to us. :-)

If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began. 
I was born and raised in South Dakota.  I was the only girl in a family of six children – three older brothers and two younger.  We lived on a ranch down a dirt road thirteen mile from the nearest town.  We went to a rural one-room school until 8th grade, rode horses to school, and always had chores to do before and after school.  We grew our own food -  butchered and canned it for the winter months and worked hard on the ranch.  But we had great times too just being kids  - running wild over the hills, wading in the creek, swimming in the stock pond,  picking wild berries (oh, you would die for my mom’s chokecherry jelly!).  My mother was a make-do kind of person so I learned early how to sew and craft.  Family and neighbors were frequent visitors in our home so we learned to share and help one another.  As far back as I can remember we were always creating or refurbishing things.  When I was thirteen I entered an art contest I saw advertised in the newspaper and won a week-long art camp at a state college.  That was so eye opening for me.  It was the first time I ever knew about so many art supplies...pencils in every hardness, kneaded erasers, watercolor paper!  I was in heaven.  My mom had given me $20 for meals (that was a fortune in 1961!)  but they ended up being included in the camp so I spent it all at the book store - on art supplies! 

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?  
I sew and have been making some clothes for my grandkids recently – I have a culotte to finish hemming today in fact.  I love to read and just finished "The Help" which was a gift from my daughter and granddaughter - can't wait to see the movie!  I volunteer one day each week at the local Family History Center and teach a Family History class on Sundays at church. I have been working on my own genealogy and on digitally restoring some old family photos.


Aimeslee said...

Great interview, Cathy and Connie! Always enjoy reading about Connie, but this time I even learned a few new things! xoxo

danceswithtrees said...

Wow, what an interesting childhood! I went to a 3 room country school, but no ranch, etc. Very nice to read all about you Connie! Great interview...Hugs, Lorna

stampgram said...

Thanks Ladies, for the kind remarks. Yes, I grew up quite primative...was in school before we got electricity and indoor plumbing. But growing up in the country is something I wish every child could experience. Learning to help one another, making your own fun, and being best friends with your siblings. What more could a kid need? :0)

fairyrocks said...

I loved reading this . So nice of you to share. I too went to school before we had indoor plumbing.
Love that you got to go to an art camp as a kid.
Keep smiling and creating