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About the Swap
Before jumping into the swap instructions, I would like to share the reasons I created the Liberate Your Art postcard swap:
- To encourage artists to learn how to reproduce their artwork. Many people create original work, but don’t take the next step to reproduce their work to share more broadly. I would like you to learn how easy it is to create postcards if you haven’t done this before. All artistic mediums are invited to join the swap. If you can have an image of your art printed on a postcard, you are in!
- To encourage connection between artists of different mediums from around the world. Regardless of the medium we create in, we are all artists! I believe we have more inspiration for creation as we explore diversity in art and culture. Personal connections between artists enhance our art.
- To encourage sharing of art with others. If you love to create but have a fear of sharing your work, this is a safe way to start. You can get your work out there in the swap to a wonderful, supportive community. Sometimes taking that little step is enough to push past long-held fears!
- To give you some fun, happy mail! There is nothing better than visiting the letter box to find some wonderful piece of mail, is there? For a few weeks, you will receive pieces of art and encouragement from your fellow swap participants in the mail. It’s just plain fun!
This all wraps up into the central idea behind the swap: Liberate Your Art into the world, where it can do its greatest good!
Please read and follow these instructions carefully. They have been compiled over six years of experience with the swap, and when they are followed the swap goes beautifully.
What to Send:
1. Five (5) printed postcards of your art with a personal message and contact email or website/blog address written on the back.
- The postcards you send should be mechanically reproduced and not hand-made original pieces. You can send 5 of the same image or 5 different images, the choice is yours. To learn how to create your postcards, visit the tutorials.
- All artwork shown on the postcards should be of your own creation.
- Postcards must be rectangular, fall within the standard size range and not cost extra postage. Minimum size is 3.5×5 in (9×13 cm) and maximum size is 4.25×6 in (11x15cm). DO NOT send oversize postcards that require more postage, as this causes problems in the swap process. Square postcards cannot be mailed through the US Postal Service.
- Postcards should be of heavyweight cardstock or a paper stock of sufficient weight to mail. Lightweight cardstock or photo paper does not fare well in the mail.
- Do not affix any postage or address labels to the postcards. Leave right side blank for postage and address label to be added later as part of the swap process.
- Write or type a personal message on the back of your postcard on the left side only. The message can be a greeting from you, a note of encouragement, a background story on the artwork, a quote – something that connects you to the recipient or brightens the day of the recipient. Think of it as writing a short note to an artist friend.
- Include an email or blog/website address so the recipient can contact you.
- NOTE: Postcards with no personal message or contact email/website will not be swapped. The message MUST be more than your name, location and artwork title, or advertising for a business or an art exhibit.
2. Six (6) self-adhesive labels with your address.
- Address labels can be pre-printed labels or hand-written on self-adhesive material that is easy to peel and stick.
- Keep the labels to 2in (5cm) or less per side. Larger labels may cover the messages written to you.
- Note: While you only send FIVE postcards, you need to send SIX labels because you receive six postcards – five from other swap participants plus one from me, the swap host. Sending too few labels/stamps is one of the most common errors in the swap.
3. US Participants only: Six (6) stamps for return postage (US-Participants only)
- Stamps can be postcard stamps ($0.34) or first class stamps. Please do not send multiple stamps to make up postage amount (i.e., do not send one 32-cent stamp and two 1-cent stamps to make up the 34-cent postcard postage). This significantly increases the time it takes to swap. Just send first class stamps instead.
- DO NOT affix your postage to the postcards. The postage you send is for mailing other artist’s postcards back to you.
- Note: You need to send SIX stamps because you receive six postcards – five from other participants plus one from me, the swap host. Sending too few labels/stamps is one of the most common errors in the swap.
- If you would like confirmation of receipt, use a method of postage that includes tracking/receipt confirmation. Because of the volume of participants, I cannot confirm each envelope individually for US participants.
4. Non-US Participants only: Pay US$7.50 for return postage via Paypal at this link.
- You do not need a Paypal account to pay. The link will also work for credit card payments.
- Include the email you used for your Paypal payment with your postcards so I can match up payment when postcards have been received.
- When I receive your postcards, I will reply to you at your Paypal email to confirm I have received and matched postcards and payment. ONLY Non-US participants will receive a confirmation of receipt from me.
How to Send:
Place your postcards, address labels, return postage (US participants only) and a contact email address in an envelope and mail to the address below. Print this handy checklist to aid in preparing to mail your swap envelope.
- International participants: Please include the email you used for Paypal payment in your envelope.
- Please consider the environment in your mailing materials! Use recyclable materials as much as possible. Postcards are flat and your package will make it through the mail fine when in a heavyweight paper envelope. Very thin envelopes (like business reply envelopes) have been known to rip and lose their postcard contents. Please avoid bubble wrap envelopes; they cost more to mail and can’t be recycled.
- Please avoid sealed packaging inside your envelope – secondary sealed envelopes, taped paper, postcards tied up with string, etc. may look beautiful but take me significantly longer to unpackage as I get ready to swap. Think about what it would be like if you had to open/unwrap 200 envelopes like yours. Thanks for considering my time!
- If you want to send any extra postcards for the swap helpers, please send them along with your swap postcards and label them clearly, so I can give them out on swap day. I typically have 6-8 extra helpers on swap day.
FUN BONUS: If you decorate your envelope, you may be featured on my blog and in the swap newsletters. See an example of the featured mail art from a previous year on my blog here. The earlier you send, the more chance you have of being featured!
Where to send:
5060 SW Philomath Blvd #119
Corvallis, OR 97333
When to Send:
Anytime, starting now!
All materials must arrive on or before Saturday, March 18, 2017. Materials arriving after this date will not be swapped.
What happens after you send:
The Postcards: On Sunday, March 19, 2017, affectionately known as “swap day”, all postcards are swapped and prepped for mailing. Starting on Monday, March 20, I will begin mailing the postcards. I send them out in two mailings per week for three weeks to spread the fun out over time. By the end of the swap, you will have received 6 individual postcards in the mail: 5 from other swap participants and 1 from me.
- If you are going to be in or around Corvallis, Oregon and want to come help on swap day, drop me a note! I would love your help. It’s lots of fun!
The Video: For several years, I have created a video compiling the artwork of swap participants. (See last year’s video here.) If you would like your art to be in this year’s video, after you’ve mailed your postcards, email me one JPG of a piece of art you used on a postcard in the swap. Files should be at least 1920px on the long side to look good in the High Definition video. (Feel free to send full resolution images if that is easier, they won’t go anywhere beyond my hard drive for the making of the video.)
The Facebook group: Connect with your fellow swap participants in the Facebook Event Group throughout the swap. Share the event and invite your friends to join. Share your postcards as they arrive and let us know where they landed. You can also share and find each other on any social media, using #liberateyourart. There is also some extra swapping that always happens in the FB group, so don’t miss out!
The Final Celebration: The grand finale of the swap is the Blog Hop, held a couple of weeks after all postcards are mailed. I reveal the video, the number of swap participants and countries in this year’s swap, and you get to make more connections with other participants and find out where your postcards landed. You don’t have to have a blog to participate. Details will come later via the email list.
Please Note: Submissions which do not follow the guidelines will not be included in the swap nor returned. I do my best to resolve any problems with individuals prior to the swap, but with a large swap such as this, I won’t have the time to coordinate resolving any issues with missing postage, writing address labels, etc. especially as the swap deadline draws near. Please read the instructions carefully and contact me if you have any questions.