Wednesday, August 10, 2011


As you can probably guess from my previous blog posts, I am someone who really likes to be surrounded by art.  I have a collector's mentality when it comes to beautiful things... I want them in my possession, and on display, and if they happen to be rare or unusual, then all the better.

When I was an attorney, collecting art (and other stuff) was no big deal.  I was never rich, but I made enough to get by and to spend some money on the things that I felt were important.  When I made the decision to stop practicing law, I knew I'd have to give a lot of things up.  Unfortunately, there's a huge difference between giving up fancy highlights and Chanel nail polish (ok, maybe I didn't give that up so much as space out my purchases a little more) and having to give up a hobby or a creative pursuit.

That's why I was really excited when I discovered ACEOs.  ACEOs are these little cards, the size of baseball cards, that artists make and then trade with each other or sell for a couple of dollars in places like Etsy.  Here's the official definition from the Etsy ACEO Street Team:

ACEO stands for "Art Cards, Editions and Originals". They are 3.5 x 2.5 inches 6.4 x 8.9 cms - the size of a trading card. They can be created using any medium.

Art Cards were originally traded between artists. While artists were happily trading cards, the general public was left out in the cold, having no Art Cards to trade. A group of artists realized this, and quickly made their cards available for sale! Artists from all over the world are creating, and selling these little works of art in different mediums and subject matter. You can use ACEO's as traditional art and hang them on the wall in frames, or you can place them in an album for a unique coffee table book. Extremely collectible art, you can't stop at just one!

At first, I didn't really see the point of ACEOs - what was I going to do with all these tiny trading cards?  Then I bought one... just one... and I was hooked.  Not only are they cute when framed and hung on the wall in big bunches, but the key thing that I realized was that with ACEOs, I could have any art that I wanted.  It was like shopping at Target instead of Prada, and the only potential obstacle was the artists' willingness or unwillingness to produce their artwork in ACEO size.

After collecting for a couple of months, I couldn't resist - I had to try my hand at making my own.  I did some mixed media collages first, and then decided to return to a favorite medium of my high school years... oil pastels.  I hit upon the idea of incorporating my own handspun yarn, and the "Art of Yarn" series was born!

So when a fellow Time Traveler, agentofchaos, suggested a team ACEO swap, I jumped on the project.  Agent held signups and then put all of our names into a random number generator.  We each sent out three ACEOs, and got three back in the mail.  Although everyone's ACEOs totally rocked, I really did score in that the three ACEOs I received were from artists whose work I really admire and would probably have bought eventually anyway:  poppydreamz, kuhlwhip, and amth13.

From left to right: Poppy's card, Amth's card, and two cards from Kuhl.

Amth's card is entitled "The Moon" and it came with a wonderful message: "The moon encourages us to listen to our intuition and pay attention to our dreams."  Now how did you know, Amth, exactly which inspirational message I needed to hear at this moment?  :)

I encourage everyone to visit these three artists' fabulous shops, and to explore the possibility of ACEO collecting.  If you need some suggestions, here are three more shops that have a wide selection of amazing ACEOs from which to choose, as well as excellent customer service:

If you want to try making your own ACEOs, you can cut your own blanks out of cardstock, or purchase blanks in a variety of paper types at art supply stores or in general craft stores like Michael's.

Please comment and let me know if you're already an ACEO collector, have recently discovered them or made some of your own, or if ACEOs are entirely new to you.  I'd love to hear how others collect and display these awesome little works of art!


  1. Great post, it's been amazing seeing all the different aceos that everyone's created. Glad you enjoyed your card.

  2. How neat that you posted this, ive just made my first couple of cards! Yours are beautiful. Tanya

  3. wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your journey into ACEOs & these lovely pieces. Also thanks for the shout out :D

  4. Hey guys! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post! I really enjoyed writing it and showing off the pictures, and I'm still buying up ACEOs! :)

  5. Tennessee Beader, do you have any photos posted of your ACEOs? I would love to see them!

  6. Wonderful post, and I love your pastel/yarn creations. It was really interesting to hear how you "caught the ATC/ACEO bug". Might have to borrow your concept for a posting and write up how it happened for me in my blog. And I'd absolutely be interested in a future swap.

  7. This post really seems to have struck a cord with some readers! I'm glad I'm not the only one who's suddenly caught the ACEO bug. I'd love to read your post on the subject, RoseAmberArts!

    I'm hoping to do another ACEO related post sometime soon that I think you guys will like... so stay tuned! :)