Why to do them

...Swaps are good for everyone for various reasons. Not only do we get some wonderful pieces in return for ours, but it's also a way of making us look at something in a different light, and it always makes us grow and expand in our creativity . . . Dotty

Where to find them

You can do a swap within your guild ....or just with a few clay mates.
Or you can do an online swap, held by a polymer group.

Photos from finished swaps
(& ideas)

PolymerClayCentral has many swaps to view at their site, many of which were at Arlene Thayer's original PolymerClayCentral website:
... http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/pcc/swapindex.html
... http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/pcc/swaplist.html (info & upcoming)

Individual people's websites may have one or more swaps shown... for example:
....Kim K's list of swap links... http://www.tlcnet.com/~polyclay/swaps.html
....Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild's swaps: http://www.capcg.org/swaphome.htm
....NoraJean's swaps: http://www.norajean.com/Biz-Archive/MSAT/ClayArt/Swaps/Past/Index.htm
....Sarajane's swaps (mostly masks) http://www.polyclay.com/swapinfo.htm
....goddesses and "wild women" swaps:
... http://sunnisan.com/crafts/goddess2.html ....http://www.capcg.org/goddess.htm

For ferreting out even more swaps, a "site search" here at GlassAttic will turn up even more:
...by clicking on the word "Cached" under any page link brought up in the results (rather than on the link itself), you will see all instances of the word "swap" on that page highlighted in yellow when you get there... you can then easily click on each link you see to take you to the actual swap photos.

A couple of years ago I participated in a mixed media online (themed) "challenge" with the the theme of Aprons. Here is the url: http://www.elsawachs.com/apron/, which contains a brief discourse on aprons, a challenge statement, and pictures of each artist's apron with their artist's statement. . . .Mine began by incorporating the conceptual, and and how I created a form that has permanent being but can be destroyed by improper care. . . the apron challenge object was built on the concept of the meaning of aprons --politics, self-deprecation, submission, etc., not just on the object.( We were considering head coverings as a next possiblililty - not hats because our idea was to make a political statement of the position of women as related to covering one's head or being forced to cover one's head. . . . check the two pages about aprons and about the challenge.) Jacqueline
.... This is the kind of challenge that I like---not so much technique driven, but idea driven. The techniques get explored once I figure out what I want to make. I can come up with many ideas and it really gets me going with being creative. So from now on I will do idea swaps ---more than technique driven swaps. Jeanne

My guild has a monthly "Exploration Theme" assigned to members (since 2001), which can also be a good resource for thinking up possible swap themes:
(this page is not in the navigation bar here though)

for swapping and hosting a swap

what a swap is, what one is expected to do, and some guidelines for becoming a "swapmeister"

As swapmeister for another swap a while back, I'll offer the tips we benefitted from:
--Limit your swap to no more than 20 and preferably more like 15 people -- think of making twenty pens (especially if you do fancy ones) and you will start to see why -- maybe with the group you already have accumulated, you should have two swaps.
--Set a deadline but realize some people will be a week late! ;^) (TRY really hard to meet it)
--Send your stuff carefully wrapped and identified to the swapmeister by Priority mail (costs $3--more now?) and include $3 for return by priority mail. (Another reason to limit the number of swappers is to keep the mail weight under the three dollar level.)
.......Send a self-addressed mailing LABEL for the swapmeister to use to mail your goodies to you -- you wouldn't BELIEVE how helpful this is! (If you simply can't find a self-stick label, make one from paper the swapmeister can tape or glue on.)
--If you find you can't do the swap, TELL THE SWAPMEISTER!!! Don't just "not play" -- it's REALLY rude to drop out and make everybody who thinks you are in make things especially for you. This has happened at least once in every swap I have been in so far.
.....make everybody commit in e-mail to you
....then assemble a mailing list to keep them updated
....remind them of the deadline
....tell them your address (more private than posting it), etc.
That's all I can think of at the moment -- I hope you all get beautiful things from each other! Sherry

I've been in swaps where this has happened (I got some of my items back from the swapmeister). (This usually happens when some people have dropped out of the swap and there are extras.) The usual occurrance is that the meister contacts the swappers and asks them what they want done with the extras - to give extras to the existing swappers or send them back. To return them with no explanation could indeed cause confusion. caneguru

Displaying or using swap items

A neat way to display some of your swap stuff! Take a double layer of foam core... cover it with cloth, taped to the back.... insert it into a frame and hang it on the wall. Then use it like a bulletin board. T-pins work great for attaching pieces to the backing and look good too. Put a t-pin at the two top corners and make a bead string, from all your swap beads, to drape the edges of your board with. Joanie

Make a necklace or other piece using all the items

Place in a nice bowl or basket on your coffeetable or bookshelf

Put in a shadow box display case on the wall