I'm Gaynor, welcome to my blog!

I'm a textile designer, sewing tutor and sewing blogger. I absolutely love what I do and I am so fortunate to have been able to follow my creative dream. 

On my blog I'll be sharing creative projects together with sewing hints & tips, as well as my personal creative adventures. I hope you'll join me! 


Who says artwork has to be huge...

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...small can be just as beautiful!

There can be something rather off putting about huge white spaces when it comes to sitting down and creating art. You know the feeling, you decide to make something beautiful, you're sitting in front of your canvas or large piece of paper, you're all set, strikes. Creative block. You start to question yourself. Where shall I begin? How on earth will I fill that huge white space? 

Admittedly, that's why painters sometimes wash over the white space with a muted colour, it makes it less daunting but that isn't always possible with some types of art.  

Fear not!

Size doesn't matter.

Wait a minute, where does it say that artwork has to be a particular size? That's right, it doesn't. It can be any size you, the artist, chooses. Large or small. Facing a small canvas or piece of paper is much easier to cope with. 


You may be surprised to learn that miniature art has been around for centuries. The earliest examples we have date back as far as the 3rd Century and were part of an illustrated manuscript of the Iliad.

I challenge anyone who says this isn't exquisitely beautiful, based purely on its size.


Miniature Artwork: The Ambrosian Iliad - 3rd Century AD.

Risque to reciprocal.

Miniatures were all the rage during the 16th Century too, but for very different reasons. Men would have nude pictures of their mistresses painted, usually by the same artist who painted the big family portraits of their wives! How blatant is that? The size of these portraits meant they could be kept in their pockets and they are considered to be the original "wallet photos".

During the Impressionist period, artists traded cards amongst themselves to study each others style and techniques. They would also trade or sell them as necessary for supplies, food and lodging. This is a similar practice to some "swaps" that happen today.

A modern twist.

Skipping forward to the modern day versions of these art cards and there are two types most often associated with the genre: Artist Trading Cards (ATC) and Art Card Originals and Editions (ACEO). Both must measure 2.5" x 3.5" but ATC's should only ever be traded, whist ACEO's may be sold.

Artist Trading Card's are most commonly associated with the cigarette cards first introduced by the US-based Allen and Ginter tobacco company back in 1875.

By 1887 "baseball" cards started to appear. These early cards were not mass produced and are therefore very rare. Between 1902 - 1935 baseball was in its heyday and cards made during this time were found in various products from chewing gum to chewing tobacco, which meant that they were not uniform in size. It wasn't until the 1960's that the modern 2.5" x 3.5" size was standardised.

The freedom to create.

The genre's current resurgence is attributed to the Swiss artist M.Vanci Stirnemann. He wanted to make a catalogue to document his activities with other artists. In 1996 he decided to produce 1200 cards by hand which ultimately led to the first exhibition of ATC's in April 1997.


Artist Trading Card by M. Vänçi Stirnemann

During the show visitors were encouraged to produce their own cards to trade with Stimemann and others at the end of the show. The rest, as they say, is history.

If you would like to have a go at producing your own ATC's or ACEO's the only detail you need to remember is the size: 2.5" x 3.5". Other than that...have fun!

If you simply want to create miniature artwork: you choose how big...or small you want to go.

Below are some of my ACEO's.


The subject matter is only as limited as your imagination, as are the mediums you use to create it. Basically anything goes, paint, knitting, altered art, collages, beading, digital work and of course stitching.

On that note, I think I'll be having a go at creating some stitched ACEO's, it could be fun! If you fancy joining in tag your creations over on Instagram with #gaynormdesigns. I'd love to see them!

Until next time...

Gaynor xx

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  1. Gaynor

    Thanks Sue. I think you're paper piecing would be ideally suited to aceo work. xx

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  2. Sue

    That was fascinating Gaynor thank you. I might give it a try!

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