I've always been suspicious of art trades. They just seem like a good way to get ripped off, taken advantage of, and to sell out. Call me cynical, but an early life full of fair-weather friends, bullies, and people willing to peddle their friendship for the day for your lunch cookie leeches the excitement out of 'trading' for art.
Some of you might think me hypocritical because you remember my involvement in a pay-it-forward project. I assure, I am not. Paying it forward expects NOTHING in return. You can't be cheated if you weren't expecting anything back. That model is more palatable to me than trading.
A trade requires you to receive something in return. It opens the door for people to scam and extort (I've experienced the latter and I wasn't even involved in an art trade.). An equivalent exchange is not guaranteed. You MUST negotiate the trade. Negotiations require you to be analytical, critical and in some cases, a little mean. I don't like that sort of activity. So for the longest, I avoided art trades.
A young artist contacted me through deviantart. She wanted to trade for one of my Jack Skellington bracelets. Previously, people who offered me trades were met with a, "Sorry, I don't do art trades." and proceeded to call me 'stingy' for not jumping at the opportunity to trade with them. However, this artist was more polite and persistent than the others. She offered 'anything from her gallery', 'the best thing she's ever made', and 'anything at all'. It was earnest, so I decided to do a trade with her.
However, since she lives in the UK, shipping costs are high, and the Etsy-listed item she requested was expensive to make, I decided to, instead, make something special and a little more postage friendly just for her. I will never, ever, ever make another one like it. Here are the photos.