The 2015 6 degrees of HLM Card Swap was once again a smashing success! The theme this year was either "birthday" or "bird." Some people combined the two, and others diverged from the theme to create something totally different. It is a particular pleasure of mine to see how the same theme is translated into so many creative and unique ways by different people. Let me introduce you to our participants and their fine works of art (and click on any photo to get a closer view):
Brittany is from Fort Collins, and she used napkins with a bird print decoupaged onto cardstock and cut into tiny flying birds heading for tasty seeds (beads!) on a branch.
Laura is also from FoCo. She was really excited to get to participate this year, and she found inspiration in Anthropologie catalogs, placing bird images in unexpected interiors, in the mood to celebrate.
Nancy, from Portland, Oregon, played with a toucan/two can theme, using an original design and manipulating it in Photoshop to get it just right.
Susan used a combination of paper she had leftover from last year's swap, washi tape, bird cut-outs, and her own encaustic backgrounds to create a harmonious design. (She is from Fort Collins.)
Ambra lives in Canada--our one international participant this year--and was inspired by a birthday card I made for her many years ago. She made this collage then scanned and printed it to share the love tenfold.
This is Diana's first year in the swap, and she made a unique mix of cards. She and her school-aged kids worked together on the illustrated ones. Miles designed the middle one, and Claire came up with the right center one. They all live in Tinmath, CO.
Claudia, another local, is also new to the swap this year, and her cards were a great contribution, utilizing different papers and hand-stitching.
Anne has participated in the swap several times, but this year she was inspired to do something different from her usual photography. She used a pin to create patterns that, at first, she hoped would be bird-like. She found she was happier when she didn't try to control the forms, though, resulting in molecular, fractal, starburst, and circle shapes. She is from Seattle, one of four people in our swap from Washington!
Another Washingtonian, Gloria participated for the first time in the swap. She contributed sweet watercolor paintings of birds. Of anyone who got to see all her cards before they were divvied up, the "Picasso Bird" (center) was a particular favorite.
Reid is another Seattlite. I've been inviting her to participate for years, and finally this year she said yes! She did a series of ten "Let's..." cards. Each card had a unique illustration and inside, a suggestion for what we should do, like "Let's make each other mix tapes," or "Let's make out."
Not only did Reid participate this year, but she recruited a friend! Jaala, our fourth Washington representative, used old pages of text about birds to cut out silhouettes of birds and feathers. She and Reid even got together to make their cards in a fun work party of their own.
My card was inspired by a Martha Stewart Valentine's project I spotted in the February issue of her magazine. (Click here if you'd like to see it and get a template.) Lately I've been really into drawing, so I checked out some bird books at the library and drew from those using just one pen. I initially wanted to draw a different bird for each card, but after 5 drawings, I had to get a move on with the constructing of these volvelles. I had particular fun researching good bird jokes to use. Paul (husband) had to hear each and every one of them. Ha!
I can't think of a year that Andrea hasn't participated in the card swap. She's from Fort Collins and we had an art date to get her cards done. She's a big fan of recycling old cards into new ones. She saves every card she receives in order to turn it into a new one.
This is Annie's first year in the swap. We met at the 2013 Fort Collins Studio Tour, when she visited my studio that weekend. The next year, she came back to tell me that my studio inspired her to make her own space for creating, and thank goodness she did that, because these excellent cards are one result of her efforts to make time and space for art in her life.
Gaye is from Fort Collins, too, and throughout the year, saves and presses leaves and flowers she finds. She was reminiscing about her camp counselor years when making these cards, a refined version of a simple craft project. Many of the flowers she saves are from cacti.
Gene was recruited this year by another loyal participant, Jennifer, both of whom live in Santa Rosa, CA. Gene used colored pencils to bring us into the world of joyfully sliding down sand dunes with the sun low on the horizon, and Jennifer's card (below that) was made with a stamp she carved out of a potato!
Haley is from Fort Collins, and she printed out engineering designs (made by her husband, Eric) on decorative paper, then cut them into bird house shapes. The outside represents science, while through the window on the inside, you'll find music!
Jessie and I have been working together at the university for about a year, but she recently revealed to me that we have art in common. Of course she had to participate in the swap! She drew this fun abstracted cupcake design while at the work party in my studio in April.
Kara is from Oregon, and another one I've been trying to recruit to the swap for a few years. This year she said yes, and hand-drew each of her ten cards in unique birthday/bird designs.
If you've been following along with the swap for years, you'll know that Katie (from Fort Collins) has actually already made two previous cards with a bird theme. This year, she wanted to find something she could do together with her three year-old daughter. Coinciding with her choice to make sun prints, I happened to be studying women artists in art history this spring, and Anna Atkins, the inventor of camera-less photography and a botanist, was introduced to me in class just a few days after Google made a doodle in honor of her 216th birthday.
Another Fort Collins resident, Mary Lu had a rough year of it in 2014, so was glad to have an excuse to say hello to her creative side again through the card swap. She made this fabulous rooster linocut, then hand-colored each one with colored pencils.
Megan's done the swap before and I was glad to have her back for a second time this year, with her "bubbly" happy birthday cards made with ink and watercolors.
Mia also played around with watercolors to create this sweet 'hello' card. This is her second year in the swap and she's from the Fort.
Phuong is a regular contributor from Boston, who also used watercolors and ink to create a dynamic and bright card design.
Sandy made ten unique collages for her ten cards, which also incorporated some drawing and watercolor. This is her first year in the swap and she's from Fort Collins.
Another local, Shari, covered masking tape in ink, then pressed it onto the paper to create the unique background pattern for her stamp design. She said it made a big mess, but the effect is pretty cool.
Last but not least, Siri joined the swap again this year after her last time, maybe 4 or 5 years ago. She's from State College, Pennsylvania and used some metallic papers to add pop to her birthday card design.
Two last photos, including the Big Picture (sorry for the bad quality of a nighttime photo) and everyone's piles after my friend Marci and I divvied them up late one night before my big trip (thanks Marci!). Be sure to click on the photo to see better who made what. In total, we were 28 people, which meant 280 cards! Thank you so much to those who participated. Whether you made cards this year or not, I hope you'll consider joining us next year for the 6 degrees of HLM card swap. It's your participation and help recruiting your friends that make the swap the success that it is.