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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Member Spotlight - Nancy Slaby

How did you find Paper Traders?
Yahoo has a group search function, and I searched for “mixed media”.  If I find that I am not participating as a member of one group I will search for another option.  I am currently involved in three groups, one specifically for cards, one for ATC’s and Paper Traders.  I enjoy them all, the members are helpful, and the swaps are interesting and fun.

How long have you been a member?
I have been with Paper Traders March, 2011

Where do you live?
My home is in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Two Rivers is a city of 13,000 located north of Milwaukee right on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

How have your surroundings affected your art?
Having the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter affects my art.  I love the changes of the seasons, and love working with the coloring changes, in conjunction with the season colors.  Autumn gold’s, reds, rich dark oranges and deep greens, are probably my favorites.  But when spring rolls around, I change direction and find a new love of pastels, subtle colors, and glitzy Easter colors.  Winter brings out my cool blues, stark whites, purples, which is a welcome contrast to the colors of Christmas.  Summer brings yellows, orange, bright blues and greens.  What is not to love about the changes of the seasons?

Please share a little about your own art experience.
As much as I wish I would have had formal art training, my career has been working with technology and numbers.  My father was an avid crafter, and my mother was in the background working on various hand embroidery projects.  I suspect I got my love of art from these beginnings.  Over the years, I have always been creative, working in quilting, sewing, ceramics, embroidery, and other projects.  My paper art background started when a friend invited me to a Stamping Up party about 15 years ago, maybe even 20 years ago now.  I do remember her telling me on the way to the party….”be careful, this is an addiction”.  How correct she was!
One of the most valuable sources of my humble art background was an online eight week collage course.  The class included collage design but also was an overview of design elements and principals.  I cannot say how this directly helped my art; I just know that it did.  My collage skills improved and after that class I was not afraid to experiment and the items that I was not happy with, shrank to be just a few.   Unfortunately this class is no longer taught and the instructor has moved on, as I would love to revisit the experience.

Do you have a blog or photo site?
No, I do not have a blog or photo site.  My group work is usually posted in the group photo albums.  I do however scan and store photo files of all my work.  Several years ago I purchased a high resolution scanner.  The scanning of art, and working with Photoshop, keeps me busy.  I confess that I have tried about three times to start a blog, but have always failed to commit to keeping it up to date.  So I opt to keep my photos mostly unpublished.
What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?
This is a tough question as my techniques change.  I love to try new things or create new things.  One of my favorite “tools” is a set of metallic rubs.  I use them quite a bit for backgrounds, highlighting, framing, etc.  I love to alter just anything, and often buy the insides of things just to have the “outsides”.  I think most of us are guilty of this. I have a vast stack of used books and magazines either purchased at second hand book stores or the Goodwill stores I love to work with the images in the books, or use the papers for backgrounds.  My matte medium and acrylic colors are two of my must haves, as well as a variety of sanding blocks.

What inspires you?
I may have covered this in the question about my surroundings and location, having the four defined seasons and the colors that work with the seasons.  I am also inspired by the Yahoo groups and what other artists have successfully tried.  I appreciate the artists that share their experiences, always a plus trait of the members of a Yahoo group.

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this?
My favorite pastime is visiting museums on the Internet.  I do not really have a favorite artist, but I use my computer to “see” and research works of art.  Does anyone realize the value of this medium?  To be able to find paintings, sculptures, old master collections, at a click of the mouse is a treasure.  I have “been” to the Louvre and have “seen” the Mona Lisa, I have been to Milan and have “visited” the Last Supper by Da vinci.   The Smithsonian is another of my favorites.  Some sites now offer high resolution options and you can actually zoom and see brush strokes.  This does not make me an expert in art, but it gives me satisfaction to be able to look at works, as I know I will never physically be able to visit these places.

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?
My work room is in our home lower floor.  During the winter I move my supplies to the upstairs living room to be comfortable and warm.  I have a very nice work area, with lots of room, and organized and structured.  I get very I get frustrated when things are out of place and I cannot put my finger on just that one thing.  I enjoy working with my array of tools and substrates, coloring tools, and images, embellishments and items to alter.  There are many things that are fun while doing artwork, but most of all I enjoy the peace and quiet and especially the satisfaction of completing a piece that I enjoy, and will be enjoyed.

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
Doing artwork is not fun if you have to look for something when you are trying to create.  I have many favorite tools, too numerous to mention.  Try to stay organized.  Even if it means setting aside a half an hour to clean up and put away.  I have a favorite matte medium and that is and has always been Plaid Royal Coat finish.  (No I do not own stock in the company,J)  I do have a handy tip that I stumbled upon several years ago.  We always receive some thick mail order catalogs.  I use these as a work surface.  When a page is dirty or sticky, rip the one page and discard, a fresh page is instantly available. 

Please share a little about your family and pets.
My home family consists of my husband and two sweet dogs, Chance and Lucky.  They are our babies, and I fear the time when we will have to get along without them.  We have been married since 1965, and my hubby puts up with my hobbies, and I do the same for him.  We do not share the same hobby types so as “Martha” would say, “It’s a Good Thing” that we can pretend interest with each other’s passions and give the other the room to be free to enjoy each hobby.  We have three adult sons, and three wonderful daughters-in-law.  Each family has given us two grandchildren, six total, four girls and two young men.  The oldest girl is 21, and the youngest boy is in 7th grade.
If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began.
My creativity comes from my father.  I think I shared that earlier.  I grew up in a small, very small town. The population of the town was 177 and I lived there until I was 18.  I had eight brothers and sisters, and because there were so many, we were always responsible for our own free time.  We created things to do, be it games, explorations, or working with art. I consider myself fortunate to have grown in this environment and my sisters and brothers are pure treasures. We were all fortunate to grow together in love with creative and fun days.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
My second favorite hobby is reading.  I love to read books, and am currently making my way through interesting classics.  My favorite book is East of Eden, by Steinbeck, but I also loved, The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I also have many favorite books of my time, too numerous to mention.
A final thought
Thank you to the Paper Traders group for the honor of being chosen as Artist of the Month for Nov/2011.  There are such wonderful artists in this group; I am privileged to be considered a member. 


Cathy L. Calamas said...

Wonderful learning more about you, Nancy! Love having you and your art at PT. Great tip about using old catalogs!

Aimeslee said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing with us, Nancy and Heather. xoxo

Kim said...

Wonderful interview, Nancy I really enjoyed learning more about you and your art! xo