Greenville artist works on miniature canvas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2006

Mary Croley of Greenville enjoys trading cards. They are not the kind featuring baseball players or other sports figures, however. These are cards featuring original works of art in miniature.

Croley, a local artist, has been creating and trading these special cards, called Artist Trading Cards (ATC) with other artists from around the world.

Each card must be no more than 3.5 by 2.5 inches in size and can be executed in any medium and in any style. The purpose of these tiny works of art is to allow artists to meet each other (if only by correspondence) and share their styles, techniques and artistic vision.

Croley said she's been having &#8220lots of fun” since she got involved in the unusual card trading project.

&#8220This is really enjoyable, and to the best of my knowledge, no other area artists are doing this yet. I would love to see some more people get involved.”

Croley's own miniature artistic efforts are paying off. She was recently invited to participate in the ATC Division of the International Mail Art Exhibit in Trail, British Colombia. The exhibit runs October 6-31 in various venues with the possibility of the event making excursions throughout the Kootenay Region.

The theme of the exhibit is &#8220Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales.” Work from more than 19 countries will be on display.

Croley will have nine of her ATCs on display, each illustrating fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm and Irish fairy tales collected by W. B. Yeats. The artist worked in transparent watercolor, gouache and pen and ink on various art papers to interpret her vision of the fairy tales.

Two examples she brought in to The Advocate office illustrate the diversity found in the ATCS: an impressionistic watercolor and gouache study of autumn trees and an abstract pen and ink drawing in black and white.

Artist Trading Cards are a relatively new art form, one that originated in Zurich, Switzerland by artist Vanci Stirnemann in 1997 before spreading to Canada, the U.S. and other countries.

The cards are often kept in sleeves in the same as baseball and other sports collectible cards are preserved, then put in a standard notebook which protects the artwork while making it visible.

It's an easy way to collect the work of various artists at low cost and without the problems of displaying traditional art, Croley said.

&#8220I'm very excited I was invited to be a part of this exhibition.

I hope to get other interested and involved in this type of art.”