What is it about charms/trades/swaps that make us dizzy with delight? I've been posting photos on fb of some charms I have been making for the Art-is-You Stamford, CT event and the phone has not stopped ringing! (well, not really, but the private messages wanting to know all about them is what I meant, lol)
If you aren't familiar, trade/charms/swaps are created and traded at events (in our case, Art-is-You). At burning man, people trade things or services as a way of bonding/interacting with one another. The act of creating things to trade, in my opinion, is the most fun. I think a lot of love and intention go into the process because when they are traded with one another, the recipient is always quite excited.
Traditionally most charms are made to hang off of something. I know the participants at AIY like to hang them off of their specially made name tags. It's not uncommon for swappers to make little packets of paper ephemera or mini art supplies. I know one year I gave out mini notepads and pens because I've found that most people seem to forget those when gathering their art supplies. In the past I have given out pins that have my artwork on them. People love to put the pins on their purses.
Charms I have collected over the years, mini dolls, beaded work, glass beads, mini felted animals, fabric flowers, mica,shrinky dinks, soldered charms, bottle caps, dominoes, etc. If you are stuck for an idea, maybe think about something with fibers. It's a nice balance to some of the other trades. May I also suggest, packing a few extras to give to someone who doesn't know about trading and may be feeling left out. I've given out packets in the past of extra things for them to trade and it makes both parties feel very happy!
This year at AIY in Stamford, I am hosting an evening event where we take all our collected charms and hang them. I'll be showing a fun way to display our collected charms so that when we go home, it'll be ready to hang and enjoyed. Artists love to recycle/upcycle/repurpose items that are plentiful and economical at the same time. For my charm this year, I chose to use Jenga wood game pieces. I love working on wood and I had made a tiny little watercolor that I thought would be perfect to duplicate and add to the jenga tiles.