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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Last Life Mantras Word Prompt

We are on to our 12th and last Life Mantra
Word Prompt for our Art Journal Challenge.
Many thanks to those who joined us
for the whole year.

This month's prompt is "Laugh Everyday"
and the requirement is to
use an image of a child/children in your design.

Here are some inspirational quotes as
well as our DT contributions:

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose
. ~Woody Allen

Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit. 
 ~Author Unknown

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. 
 ~Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Member Spotlight: Debra Claxton

It's time for another member spotlight and this month the light is shining on... 
Debra Claxton!

How did you find Paper Traders?
I was searching for art images on the internet and saw some work done for Yahoo Groups.  I went there and searched for collage & mixed media.  Many sites were available, but I waited about 4 months before committing to sign up!  Paper Traders seemed to be the BEST of all I viewed.

How long have you been a member?
3 years

Where do you live?
I live about 45 miles north of Chicago, in a rural/small town called Hainesville.  It is actually attached with the same zip code to the town next door where I grew up, Grayslake, Illinois.

How have your surroundings affected your art?
Nature, nature, nature.  There was no internet, cell phones, etc. when I was a kid.  We were outdoors playing all the time, day and night, during all seasons in a small-town setting.

Please share a little about your own art experience.
I always drew, colored, and painted - even when I was very little.  So the adults around me supported that and kept me supplied with art materials.  I always liked solitude; and looking back, I think this nourished my interest in art.  We all need time to process the visual world and store our impressions. It takes time. I took two years of art in high school and got an Art Education degree in college. I taught Elementary Art for a while.  And I may not have been the best artist, but I like to think I was a very good teacher!

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?
I love collage.  I also do a lot of work with watercolors and colored pencils.  I like to try new ways to “blend” them and soften their look.  Pen & ink techniques interest me, too.  And recently I have been making friends with acrylics.  I am trying to loosen up a bit and be more abstract.  I was a graphic designer (prior to teaching) and that experience with design has been an ongoing influence.

What inspires you?
Everything... not a very interesting answer, sorry!!!

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this?
Artists that have taken risks are inspiring. I recently took my first trip to France and walked in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh in Arles, where he lived and worked for a few years.  He knew his work was not popular at the time and yet he kept painting because it fed his soul.

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?
Finally, I have a space to work.  Just this summer we turned an open loft space into my art area.  Before that my supplies were in the garage, dining room, laundry room, under my bed, etc... Now at last everything is within 6 feet of my desk.  I worked on one end of a dining room table for many years - so now it's a thrill to have my own space!

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
The biggest issue is time - so I call making art my “work”  and when I go to work I allow myself to ignore the phone, laundry, shopping, husband, and whatever else beckons.  It helps if the people around you respect your need to be your creative self.  I choose a consistent time of the day or week that is just set aside for my art - and hope for the best!

Please share a little about your family and pets...
We have three grown children. Our son is 26 and our daughter is 24. I have a step-daughter who is 32. They all have careers and are out of the house.  We often babysit our only grandson (20 months old).  No pets yet - but maybe someday!

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?  
My husband and I are bicyclists.  We have done many 3 - 5 day biking trips where you peddle from hotel to hotel.  I think an appreciation of the outdoors and fitness inspired this activity.  We also love to travel and hope to do more now that we are both retired.

Below are some samplings of Debra's fabulous work:

New Swap - Let's Hear it for the Boys

This swap is for Paper Traders members only but we would love to have you join our fun. Please click on the purple yahoo button in the sidebar for more information on how to join Paper Traders.

Let's Hear It for the Boys
5 for 5 ATC Swap
Theme: Boys, Men, Merman, Elves, Gnomes, etc.
Hostess: Cathy Calamas
Sign-up by December 27th
Mail out deadline by January 21st

With the next Hobbit movie coming out soon, I thought it would be fun to host a swap dedicated to the boys! Any theme, EXCEPT anything overtly Steampunk , but make sure it includes a male figure.

A whole pageful of inspiration:

Please send $2.00 postage and a self addressed mailing label.
Int'l members welcome: please send ephemera in lieu of postage.

Hope you'll join!!

New Swap - Mixed Media Postcard Book

This swap is for Paper Traders members only but we would love to have you join our fun. Please click on the purple yahoo button in the sidebar for more information on how to join Paper Traders.

Mixed Media Postcard Book 
Levels: 2-3 
Make one 6" x 4" postcard for each player 
Note: if we get a big response, it will be randomly split into two groups
to keep the numbers of cards you have to make at a reasonable level.
Signup by: Jan 31st 2014 - final numbers announced Feb 1st 2014 
Post by: March 31st 2014 (this gives you 8 weeks to make your cards) 
Hosted by: Bevlea Ross

Think art journaling on a small scale. Mixed media is a combining of papers, inks, painting, fabric etc. For example... From the following suggestions (and any more you can think of) pick 2-3 items and combine these to create your masterpieces.

Your postcards are going to come back to you in a fabric bag/cover to hold them all (my gift to you) - you don't need to leave an edge clear for binding as each card will be inside an bag/envie - for this reason its also irrelevant if you do your card in portrait or landscape... 

  • Fabric 
  • Paper 
  • Watercolours 
  • Crayons, Pens, Ink 
  • Collage 
  • Paint 
  • Stitching 
  • Zentagles 
  • Collage 
  • Ribbon/twine 
  • Photographs 
  • Lace 
  • Findings 

Some examples:

Return Postage – payment via PayPal:
Australian residents: $7
Outside Australia: $15Au

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gallery: My Stuff / Your Stuff ATCs

by Barb using Carolyn's stuff

by Beckie using Gigi's stuff

by Carolyn using Barb's stuff

by Cathy using Jo's stuff

by Jo using Cathy's stuff

by Joy using Krisha's stuff

by Lillian using Roselyn's stuff

by Mel using Roselyn's stuff

by Mel using Roselyn's stuff

by Pattie using Toni's stuff

by Roselyn using Lillian's stuff

by Shelly using Bev's stuff

by Toni using Pattie's stuff

Gallery: Manila Envie Journals

Cathy C

Joy M

Krisha O

Letha R

Lillian M

Shelly R

Gallery: Chipboard Stand-Up Dolls

Beckie H

Bevlea R

Cathy C

Pam P

Teri F

Gallery: 8th Anniversary Altered Books

Amanda E

Beckie H

Bevlea R

Cathee S

Cathy C

Nancy S

Pam C

Gallery: Flat Arty ATCs

Amanda E

Barb A

Beckie H

Cathy C

Debra C

Eileen K

Jo M

Joy M

Mel D

Nydia D

Pam P

Pattie M

Roselyn P