art-supply-swap-2019Is your studio so full that you can hardly work? Grab those items you’ve always intended to use but haven’t, and swap them for something you love!

Hosting an Art Supply Swap can be fun and easy, and I’ve got a few suggestions below. I hosted one recently and not only did we clean out our studios, but we all went home with new inspiration and made some of new friends in the process. Here’s are some tips for hosting your own event.

Keep it simple. The first time I tried this I only invited a few good friends so we could figure out the best way for everyone to get something they really wanted. This works best with friends, but if you invite strangers too you’ll need a few rules. If it’s your first try, keep your guest list small.

Be specific. Be clear about the materials you’ll accept. I said: “Please only bring quality supplies in good condition so that everyone can go home with something inspiring” and everyone brought really interesting materials, especially great art books.

I also made clear that if your items aren’t chosen you need to take them back. I don’t want to end up having to dispose of things at the end, but it’s rarely and issue. I also post the schedule: “The party starts at 1:30 pm and we’ll swap at 3 pm sharp!”


Create community. If you have time for people to hang out a bit, ask everyone to bring a snack/drink to share and come ready to meet new friends. My last swap was a showcase of culinary talents and we even had a impromptu tequila tasting!

Collect supplies as people arrive and let them peek at the goodies while they enjoy the refreshments and wait for the swap start time. It’s much harder to grab art supplies out of someone’s hands when you’ve just had a meal with them. 😉

Have a plan. I have everyone take a number when they arrive so when the swap starts each person can get at least one thing they love. For the first round they choose in the order they arrived, but after that everyone is free to mingle and fill up bags. Oh yes, and have bags/boxes available or remind folks to bring their own.

After things get going they tend to take care of themselves. I hope you’ll give it a try! Hopefully you’ll end up with lots of inspiring new art supplies and some new friends in the process. If you’d like an invitation to my next party or swap, join my mailing list.


Linda Robertson is a painter and the author of the Embracing Encaustic book series. She offers live encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes.

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Online Encaustic Classes online video classes bring Linda Robertson, an art teacher with international experience, right into your studio. Work at your own pace and watch the videos as many times as you want for a whole year.


My Books: Embracing Encaustic Series

There are now two books under the Embracing Encaustic title, Learning to Paint with Beeswax and the new title Advanced Techniques for Mixing Media, each focusing on specific encaustic techniques. Between the two books there are a total of 70 artists who share their work, reveal their personal painting methods and explain why they are compelled to make the work they do.Find out more and purchase them online here.

Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax
By Linda Robertson


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