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, November 20, 2011

Books that Inspire.....

Maybe it's because I'm a librarian but books have always inspired my art.   I don't just mean art or technique books, although I'm crazy about them too, but fiction, biographies, non-fiction, name it!   Do you ever read a passage in a book and something in it strikes you as beautiful or meaningful and you reach for your pen to write it down so you can read it again and again?   I do.   That's why I have journal after journal filled with profound and awe-inspiring quotations and passages.  

Sometimes it's the theme of a book that gets the creative juices flowing:

I'm in the process of reading a book called "A Fierce Radiance" by Lauren Belfer.   I'm finding it to be a fascinating read.   Here's the description provided by Harper Collins:

In the anxious days after Pearl Harbor, Life photojournalist Claire Shipley finds herself covering one of the nation's most important stories. At New York City's renowned Rockefeller Institute, researchers are racing to save thousands of wounded American soldiers and countless others by developing a miraculous new drug they call penicillin. For Claire, a single mother haunted by the loss of her young daughter—a death the miracle drug could have prevented—the story is cuttingly personal, especially after she unexpectedly begins to fall in love with the shy and brilliant head physician, James Stanton. But Claire isn't the only one interested in the secret cure. When a researcher dies under suspicious circumstances, the stakes become starkly clear: someone understands just how profitable the new drug could be—and will stop at nothing to get it. Now, with lives and a new love hanging in the balance, Claire will throw herself into harm's way to find a killer—no matter what price she may have to pay.
What has really struck a chord with me personally is the fact that at the time when this novel was set, a person could die from a scratch on the skin.   I knew that but hadn't really given it much more than a passing thought.  Heck  I periodically trip and fall on my face while running, ending up with nasty looking knees and hands.   What if penicillin hadn't been invented?  What if we weren't  immunized against the terrible diseases that claimed so many people in the past?    My Grandmother's Sister, Grace, died from a scrape that she received when she was riding her bike down their family farm's lane to retrieve the mail.  She was only 8 years old and is pictured in the photograph above.   She's the little one on the left at the front.  I, for one, am grateful for the amazing medical advances and dedicated researchers who discover them.

At other times, it's a person that I've read about that touches me in some way:

I read a book....yes, I know that is shocking given that I'm a librarian....but it was a book that has stayed with me for years. It is a book about a woman called Mina Benson Hubbard. She was a remarkable woman. This is how the online Canadian Encyclopedia described her and her accomplishments:

From the time she plunged into the unknown Labrador wild, crossing huge lakes of wind-whipped white caps, running kilometre after kilometre of dancing, foam-flecked rapids down the George River until it lost its wilderness spirit in Ungava Bay, Mrs. Hubbard was not idle. She brought back the first maps of the Naskaupi and George River valleys, which were accepted by the American Geographical Society and the Geographical Society of Great Britain. She made notes on the flora and fauna of Labrador. She described in detail the great Labrador caribou migration and photographed the Naskaupi and Montagnais Indians who hunted the animals for their food and clothes.
Mrs. Hubbard's expedition was extraordinary by any measure. Given the era and the fact that she was a woman, her trip stands out like a beacon in the annals of Canadian exploration.
I'm blessed to be a part of a round robin journal exchange that has just begun. I have to admit that I am partial to exchanges in which the journals actually travel. I know the risks....postal issues being the biggest....but it means something to have a journal in one's hand. To feel its textures and experience it's colours and vibrancy. The theme of my journal is "Women Who Dared...." and that is what inspired this post. The spread on Mina Benson Hubbard had been nibbling at my artful subconscious for some time and this was my chance to release it. I hope to continue to commemorate females who accomplished extraordinary feats in times of incredible hardship and in societies that discouraged them.

If you get a chance, check out the book on won't be disappointed. I'd love to hear about the women who inspire you!

And then there are snatches of poetry:

How do books inspire you?   When asked that question, the very talented Cathy Calamas sent me this pairing of book and artwork....absolutely stunning!


abby j said...

Love your meaningful post, Heather...I can definitely identify with what you're many times I hear a song, read a book or a quote, see a movie that inspires me to create art about it! I loved YOUR creations...thanks for sharing!!


Kim said...

Beautiful post Heather...thank you!

Cathy L. Calamas said...

I'm going to look for that book over the holidays. I've always loved biographies. I grew up reading books on Clara Barton Barton, Madame Curie,
Juliette Gordon, etc. Words have always inspired me in my art and many times I build pieces around words. Very thoughtful, Heather. :)

Aimeslee said...

Great article, Heather. That bio sounds great. I am really not aware of any books that have influenced my art, other than art technique books. This was an interesting aspect of what influences it. xoxo