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After getting my feet wet with ATCs last month, I elected to give it another go in Craftster's February ATC swap. Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are small crafts that are freely exchanged between individuals, around the world, usually via snail mail, as an exercise to interact with other artists and experience/collect samples of their work. Basically, you "claim" the most recent participant before you, select one of their listed themes as the subject matter for the card that you'll subsequently make for them, and then post your own preferences for an ATC so that the next person who comes along can do the same for you. For my second February swap, I chose "Allegrae", a woman from California, and picked her Charcuterie food theme.

To tell you the truth, I had absolutely no idea what Charcuterie even was (it's French for "cooked flesh"), when I first read the word as I scanned through Allegrae's list of desired subject matter for cards, but a quick detour over to Wikipedia solved my ignorance. Charcuterie is the culinary art that focuses on prepared meat products, including ham, bacon, sausage, and pÔtÚs. Pork is the traditional meat of choice for Charcuterie, but the flesh of other animals can also be used. I decided to focus on sausage, even though I'm not terribly fond of eating that kind of stuff myself.


I also made a "bonus" second card, for one of Allegrae's other themes, the actress Lupita Nyong'o. Said woman was actually what I was first inclined to pick, but, I let thoughts of tasty meats sway me (I figured, with there being so many different kinds of Charcuterie, I'd have more creative options). I'm not terribly happy with how this piece turned out. The overall composition is all right, but I feel that I failed at capturing Lupita's likeness and I should have made her skin tone a bit darker too (frankly, this looks like some random woman instead of Ms. Nyong'o). In addition to my artistic shortcomings, conditions were also less than ideal when I drew these two cards (the temperature inside our house was below the freezing point because the oil stove wasn't burning), so, bundled up and shivering, I wasn't in a very positive or creative mood when I did them. Even though I had until February 26th to make and send the ATC, I told Allegrae, on the 13th, via PM, that I'd draw her card over the weekend, and I try to keep my word, so, despite the frigid environment, I followed through.




Materials:
The pair of cards were both made using white paper, white glue, brown paper from a grocery bag, graphite pencil, colored pencil, marker, watercolor paint, and ink.

Dimensions:
While their orientations are different, each measures 8.9 cm (3.5") x 6.4 cm (2.5"), which is the standard ATC size.

Time:
I made both cards on February 15th, 2015 and sealed the drawn surfaces (badly) with white glue the following day. Aside from it being my first attempt at using that as a transparent top coat on my ATCs (to prevent smudging from handling), glue doesn't set/dry very well in the cold.





All right, so, now that you've seen what I made, you're probably wondering what I got in return, right? Craftster member "bunny1kenobi", a woman from Arizona, picked me, and my "a goddess from any real-world religion/mythology" theme. Her letter, worse for wear after the postal system got done with it (the envelope had several rips/tears along the edges and was bent in the middle), arrived in the mail on 3/4/15.

First, here's the larger card that contained the ATC. The colorful pattern is cool and reminds me of a peacock's tail plumage, which, as you shall shortly read, is certainly appropriate, given the importance of a particular feather to the goddess in question:


For my theme, bunny1kenobi chose to depict the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice, Ma'at. If you can't tell from the photo, the Ma'at figure is a thicker, raised element, glued to the hieroglyphic background, that gives the card a neat, sculpted-relief-like feel. I don't know how to read those Egyptian pictographs, but bunny1kenobi kindly provided me with a translation: "I have committed no sin", which is also what she titled this work. She further explained that phrase refers to the first of forty-two "negative confessions" that you have to make, during the judgement of your soul, when your heart is measured against Ma'at's sacred ostrich feather. If the weight of your sins makes your blood-pumping organ too heavy, the monster Ammit devours you, but, on the other hand, if your heart is light, indicating that you've behaved virtuously, you can proceed onwards to the after life. (I'll tell you straight up, if the worship of the Egyptian pantheon turns out to be the one true religion, Ammit is probably going to be munching on me, as I've got many a misdeed to atone for.)


Chilling with Wal-mart's "Ruin #1" pharaoh statue (which I would guess is an aquarium decoration, but, as I bought it secondhand, I'm not sure):


Pictured with the Ma'at image from my copy of Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm's monstrous 2006 The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. Said heavy tome could probably kill you if it fell off of a book shelf and onto your head, which would be a rather literal case of being struck down by divine intervention.

"Alas, Mark was slain by the gods."

"Which deity did he offend?"

"According to the index, ALL of them!"


This is a wonderful card of Ma'at that captures the look and feel of classical Egyptian art very well. Many thanks, bunny1kenobi! Maybe, if I take good care of this ATC, until the day that I die, Ma'at will be merciful and not let Ammit have me for a snack!






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