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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Member Spotlight: Shelly Recicar

This month our spotlight is shining on Paper Traders member, Shelly Recicar!

How did you find Paper Traders?
I found Paper Traders surfing the Net.

How long have you been a member?
I have been a member three years.

Where do you live?
I live in Boca Raton, Florida (USA) which is about an hour north of Miami.

How have your surroundings affected your art? 
Florida is bright and sunny and tropical. Much of my art is bright and the flora and fauna of the region are often the subjects in my work.

Please share a little about your own art experience.
I find art to be a great outlet of expression.  I have a passion for creating.  I cannot imagine life without art.  I am not afraid to try new things and am constantly experimenting with different techniques.

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?
I enjoy mixing paint and collage.  I like the look of layers and texture which this combination provides.  I also love to watercolor.

What inspires you?
Anything can bring inspiration.  Inspiration is often spontaneous for me.  I do rely on the Internet - especially Pinterest - and my photos for inspiration if something around me has not sparked my creativity.

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this?
I find that mixed media contemporaries inspire me more than traditional artists.  I really like the work of Julie Fei Fan Balzer, Teesha Moore and Roben Marie Smith who, coincidentally, all produce colorful work that combines paint and collage!

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?
I have a separate room for my artistic pursuits.  I have a paper table and a sewing table and a cutting table which is usually piled high with things that I have not put up.  There are two tall bookcases - one for paper and one for sewing.  Above my paper table are shelves as well.  The closet has shelves on one side and I keep my paper things there.  On the hanging side, I have fabric things in labeled boxes.  I also have many cabinets with fabric and patterns and books in my air-conditioned garage.

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
I love to use boxes and bins. Whenever I cut out an image, I toss it in a box. I have shoe box sized cardboard boxes which are labeled by category such as winged animals, females, tags, etc. They are stacked on top of each other and do not take up much room. Then, when I work on a project it is easy to locate the images.  I keep 2 gallon baggies for cut-up paper (that is primarily one color) from junk mail and magazines.  I have a separate bag for each color.  These are placed in a wooden crate that tangelos came in.

Please share a little about your family and pets...
I have been married 31 years and have two daughters, 23 and 25 years old.  They both have their own places but you never know how many times a week they may drop by because they both live near us.  We have two King Charles Cavaliers and a tuxedo cat.

If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began.
I am an only child who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) with her parents and both of her grandmothers under the same roof.  My Mom and Grandmothers were always working on a sewing or craft project.  I never remember a time when something artistic was not in progress at our home.  I took art throughout high school and started out as an art major.  I changed my major to journalism my junior year and then pursued a Master's degree in English.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
I have two other major hobbies.  I am an avid quilter.  I have an art quilt group that meets at my house every week and I belong to two other quilting bees and two quilt guilds.  I find that if you can do it on paper , you can do it on fabric and vice versa.  Experimenting with techniques from both hobbies has really broadened my horizons.  I am also a boater/fisherman.  We live on the Intracoastal and have a 44 ft. Sea Ray Sundancer docked in our back yard. We fish, we do weekend raft ups, and we take trips to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.  The Bahamas are only  three hours by boat from our house. Our favorite marina is at South Beach Miami.  What fun!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Swap: My Secret Valentine

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.

My Secret Valentine
one-for-one greeting card swap
any skill level
Sign up by January 24th.
Swap assignments will be determined on January 25th.
Mail your card in time to arrive by February 14th.
Hosted by: Beckie Holso

Valentine's Day is approaching and this is a perfect time to send a little love to a secret friend.  For this project, you will make a handmade greeting card and send it to your secret partner to arrive by February 14th.  Please sign up in the database by January 24th.  I will randomize all the participants' names and send each of you a private email with the name and address of the person to whom you will send your greeting card.  Please include a sincere sentiment in your card and sign it.  Your recipient won't know who is sending them a card until it arrives.

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Swap: Color Swatch Books

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.

Color Swatch Books
11 pages
(final count determined by number of participants)
Skill: all levels
Sign ups will close when all color choices have been selected or by February 7, 2014 - whichever comes first.
Mail out before March 7, 2014
Hosted by: Pam Colosimo aka 'fairyrocks'

Participants will first select their color from the list in the sign up column in the database: State your name behind the = sign next to the color you choose. First sign ups get first picks. You will create a 'Swatch' style page with your color only. You will make one page for each participant's book plus one for the hostess. (I will give you a number when sign ups are closed - 11 maximum.) I am calling for the page size to be 5" tall x 4" wide on good quality white paper. Leave the background white and keep them flat. See sample in photo gallery. They will be bound on the left hand side. Remember to sign and date each page on the back with blog address/email.

Think Paint chip samples, fabric squares, ribbon, paint, magazine images in your monochromatic color, color definitions, object representation (apple = red, sun = yellow, etc.); write words or quotes with colored pen. Your color should appear in writing at least once on your page. As hostess, I will collect all pages, bind swatch cover for the pages, and will mail them back completed. Hope you can join. This will be a thing of great beauty and inspiration when we are done!!

Please include a return address label. US and Canada, please send reasonable postage. (If you are not sure, get your postal service to weigh your package and enclose that amount). Overseas, please enclose quality unique ephemera in lieu of postage. If possible, use real picture postage stamps.

Black =
White =
Red = 
Orange = 
Yellow =
Green = 
Light Blue = 
Indigo (Dark Blue) =
Light Violet = 
Dark Purple =

For creative ideas, try an internet search for "Color Inspiration Boards".

New Swap: My Wish for You

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.

My Wish for You
3-for-3 ATC Swap
Skill Level: 1 - 4 Newbies Welcome!
Mail out by: February 28th
International members post by: February 21st
Host: Debra Claxton

Let's start 2014 by inspiring each other!  For this swap the theme is "wishes" that you would grant for other artists. These could be funny such as, "I wish your markers would never bleed - or run dry!"  Or your wishes could be serious and thoughtful - it's up to you. Send three cards that have wonderful wishes for other swappers to encourage them on their artistic journey.

Please include $1.00 postage and a return address label. Mail out by February 28th. International members post by February 21st. International members may send ephemera in lieu of postage.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January Freebie - Vintage Women

It's time for another freebie courtesy of your Paper Traders Moderators.  A great big THANK YOU to Connie Holso for preparing this lovely collage sheet for your personal use.  Please use the link BELOW the photo to download the high-res version of this file.  Enjoy!
Download HERE:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Swap: "Selfie" ATCs

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.

"Selfie" ATC Swap
5-for-5 ATCs
Theme: Any
Hostess: Cathy Calamas
Skill level: Any
Sign-up by: January 24th
Postmark by: February 18th

“Selfie”, either the most hated or most over-used word of 2013. So, let's have fun with it. Make 5 ATC's which feature an altered photo of yourself; head shot or full body, your choice. You may alter a baby/childhood photo of yourself or a current photo in whatever theme you choose. Use a head shot as a postage stamp, turn yourself into a fairy, steampunk yourself up. I couldn't find any inspiration images, we may be the first group to do something like this, LOL!

Please mail to Cathy Calamas by the post date of 02/18/2014. International members please post by February 11th. Please send $2.00 postage and a self addressed mailing label. International members welcome, Please send ephemera in lieu of postage.