Charm swaps - they make up a particular niche in the jewelry world. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
a : a recess in a wall especially for a statueb : something (as a sheltered or private space) that resembles a recess in a wall
a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted <finally found her niche>b : a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or speciesc : the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumptiond : a specialized market
I've been a part of many charm swaps, particularly our own Jennifer Cameron's Charm Swap to benefit Beads of Courage, as well as charms swaps with ArtBLISS, Ornamentea, and a charm swap group I belong to on yahoo.
This first photo is from the Ornamentea Charm Swap. Cynthia does a charm swap every year - you send six, and get six. She has a party, and if you can't make it to the party (since they're in Raleigh) you pay for postage, and she puts the package together for you and mails it! I've done it for two years in a row now and it's always fun to open the package and see what everyone made!
This next photo is from a Seafoam Blue/Green swap I did with a Yahoo Groups swap. In this group, there's a hostess who coordinates the theme and the swap. You make the charms in the appropriate number, send them in with money for postate, and the hostess distributes the charms back. This is a nice group because you can pick and choose which types of swaps you are interested in, and they aren't all limited to jewelry or beads.
We also do charm swaps at the ArtBLISS workshops in September, in Virginia. This is fun, because we get together at a pizza lunch, someone usually makes a really nice bag to put the charms in, then chaos ensues as everyone drops their charms in the various bags. This is the charm I made the first year I attended, the theme was leaves.
This is a group photo of the charms made the second year - the theme was Bliss. Unfortunately I didn't attend the third year, so I don't know of the theme. This year there's a swap and there's no particular theme. And I will be there and make a group collage of the charms I make and receive!
You may have read the post by Jennifer Cameron - she is hosting a charm swap this year to benefit Beads of Courage. This is the second year her swap will benefit that organization. Last year the theme was FUN! This year the theme is LOVE. You make 11 charms - 10 to swap and 1 to auction. She lists all the charms separately on eBay and all proceeds of the auctions go to Beads of Courage! Even though registration for the swap is closed, you can still participate by donating a charm in that theme for the auction! Or, you can bid on the charms when the auction becomes available!
I enjoy participating swaps because 1. I love seeing what other artists make and 2. getting those packages in the mail is so much fun! There's so much creativity out there, and charms are a nice little way to express it!
SO, do you participate in charm swaps? What do you like about them? What other "niche" swaps do you participate in, in the jewelry world - earring swaps (a la Diane Ptaszynski) or ornament swaps (a la Sally Russick)?