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Several years ago – 2007 to be exact – I discovered artist trading cards, which are handmade cards 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ that artists make and trade with each other. I made several at that time, carefully cutting out the correct size paper, then creating the designs and posting them at my old blog, Filter & Splice. Unfortunately, the images of those cards are no longer showing up on the blog. (Can’t figure out why. Humph, technology!)

I took another pic of the four I made so you don’ t have to deal with the frustration of missing photos:

Artist trading cards by Mary Warner, 2007.

Artist trading cards by Mary Warner, 2007. How do you like the red table cloth?

The reason I’m bringing up artist trading cards again is because I found a new product while buying linen thread for a bookbinding class I’ll be taking soon. Here’s the new product:

Artist trading card blanks by Strathmore, April 2011.

Artist trading card blanks by Strathmore, April 2011.

Strathmore is now making artist trading card blanks. Woohoo! No more cutting paper down to size!

I bought the vellum surface bristol cards, but there were several styles available at Crafts Direct, including smooth surface bristol and watercolor paper.

When a company starts making a product to meet a need, you know that an underground movement has hit the mainstream. I have no idea when artist trading cards first came into being, but I think it’s interesting that it’s taken four years from the time I discovered them to the time I found mass-produced blanks in a craft store. I’m a fairly regular cruiser of art supplies stores, particularly the paper section, so if they’d been available back in 2007 or 2008, I’m sure I would have seen them.

Have you noticed this kind of lag time between an informal or underground hobby and the sale of commercial products that cater to that hobby? What products in which fields?