Sometimes when I mention swaps I have people draw a blank. A swap is an exchange of items. There are different types of swaps. One-on-one is where I give you something and you me something. Central Point swaps - I send a number of swaps to one address and I get back the same number of swaps from other people.
Yearly swaps - I do swaps once a year and send them to individuals and every month I get swaps from the others. All are great swaps, I prefer the Central Point Swaps. There are also variations of the above swaps. I've been swapping for years and years.
When we moved from Leavenworth Kansas to Key West, Florida I left a miniature club that I loved and left access to miniatures to an island 150 miles from the nearest miniature shop. When I do miniature room boxes I need lots of 'stuff' to finish the scene. I like my miniature scenes like I like my house - full of things I love.
Reason for swapping. One, gives you access to other miniaturists, gives you an opportunity to improve your skill, gives you lots of things at a very reasonable price to fill your room boxes.
The above swap was for a swap for main dish. I thought spaghetti would be good. These little bowls are about an inch across which is perfect for 1/12 scale.
The above plates and shelf were for a shabby chic swap. They plates are copies of plates that I got from the Internet and made them the right size to fit in a little jig that gives the curves to the edges. The shelf was just scrap wood trim. The jar on the shelf was a bead with a metal bezel added as lid.
The above mounted fish was from a fish that I bought and made a mold from polymer clay. I added scrap wood. These will be one of my future swaps.
The ribbon holder was one of the very first swaps I did years ago. I it a replica of one done on the Carol Duvall show in full size. It is a wrapper paper organizer. I did 32 of those swaps and I am amazed that I kept swapping. I couldn't get the ribbon to glue the ribbon together and it took me forever.
There are several places to find swapping groups. Through your local club if you are fortunate enough to have one. All of the groups I do swaps with now are through Yahoo Groups. There are many. If you sign up to do swaps in miniatures, be sure you understand the rules of the group you belong to. Some are run rather rigidly (which works well for me) and some rather loosey-goosey and you might wait for a long time for your return swaps.
Most of the groups I belong to now are either 10 or 12 swappers. However some groups do annual or biannual swaps of 50+ swappers. Again, it is very rewarding, but please fully understand the rules.
Swapping is a great way to improve your skills and obtain a lot of very nice items for your miniature projects.