As with many of the art retreats, one way to get the participants involved before the festivites begin - there are swaps. Some are casual freeform exchange of artist trading cards, some are more elaborate. Fat books - where each participant created pages to be assembled in a book, are common.
But for the artistic affaire - i chose to be a part of two very different swaps! The first is a colour swap. Each person is paired with another. Each person picks a colour or colour theme. You then decorate a small box and fill it with goodies, all in the colour theme of your partner. The gal i am paired with chose pink and brown - very fitting for the printemps theme of the event! i was back home for a couple of days last month and i grabbed a small cigar box and everything pink and brown i could find in my craft room.
I sanded the box before covering it with french dictionary pages
I then added additional papers and borders and a touch or paint. The fun part was adding the nest and bird to the top and adding all the girlie ribbons and flowers.
The pink envelopes contain images, stamps and stickers. There is a bundle of papers and an orgnaza pouch filled with buttons and shells and sparkly things.
The second swap was also a "one for one". We were each paired with someone and told to create an altered birdhouse. My swap partner has two passions - polka dots and owls. Well - this would be a challenge! Since i know nothing about owls - i chose to create a barn instead of a traditional birdhouse. I found the wimsical owl printed paper in a gift shop near my rented house.
I painted the edges of the barn with robin's egg blue paint and collaged the sides with french dictionary paper and some vintage ephemera.
I used some flattened stones to create polka dots on the sides and used some hand painted deli paper for the roof. I added pink stripes to all the edges and a touch of metallic paint to age it.
I used the owl paper on the back (not shown)
Here are all the pretty swaps along with a chinoiserie gift bag i bought to carry them to my artistic affaire! I cannot wait to see what i get "swapped" in return!