One of the women talked about the small size of the canvas being ideal to try a new technique. She also told me that once you make one of these cards, you are an artist. You don't have to be a famous artist to make and trade these pieces of art. The thing that sold me was that because of the size, there usually aren't any UFOs! This is a photo of one of the cards; a little blurry, but you get the idea.
I copied the following information from the poster that was on display next to the ATCs.
"Swiss performance artist M. Vanci Stirnemann was the originator of the Artist Trading Card (ATC) phenomenon. On a visit to Canada for the Calgary Olympic Arts Festival in 1988 he noticed people swapping hockey cards. Nearly a decade later he made 1000 miniature works of art the same size as hockey cards and in April 1997 he displayed them in a Swiss book shop. Visitors asked if they could buy them but instead Stirnemann asked them to make their own cards and bring them in to swap".
Searching the internet, I found the following links about ATCs:
http://www.joycehartley.com/atcs.htm - Pictures of Joyce Hartley's Artist Trading Cards
http://www.artchixstudio.com/create/classroom/class_fabricatc.htm - Instructions on how to make your own Artist Trading Cards
http://cqmagonline.com/vol03iss02/articles/art258/index.shtml - An interesting article on ATCs
http://prettyimpressivestuff.com/blog/2006/04/fiber-artist-trading-cards.html - Blog reference to ATCs
I can hardly wait to try making some myself.