Hi! Imagine a frantic hand waving at you from my laptop. Tonight I’m finally starting to promote my site and actually use all those lovely social media accounts I’ve set up for it, so hopefully I start to get a few visitors. This is just a little sticky note to welcome you to my new site. Please note that there are a couple of pages I still need to update, but for the most part everything is running smoothly. I hope you find something interesting here and that you visit regularly!
I’d love to tell you that I’m out having green beer and acting a happy fool among friends, however, I’m having a quiet night with my gent where I’m not doing anything. That’s actually the most wonderful thing I can think of to do with my night. As tempting as green beer is. Before I start my blissfully actionless evening, I’ve been giving quick updates to my sites. Sadly I didn’t have the opportunity to get some new cards and deck recommendations for the evening. So instead I’m going to share a sneak-peek at what has me so busy as of late. Please meet the mock-ups for my automaton girl:
Now that the gent and I have moved to the Cincinnati area we’re able to be involved more with the local steampunk community. One of the things we’re doing is helping out with the branding of a local steampunk convention. The automaton girl was a request for event posters, but after turning out so ridiculously cute she’s taken on a life of her own. For the moment we’re calling her Bly after Nellie Bly, the incredible woman who in her Victorian day proved around the world in so many days wasn’t fiction. She did it in forty-two. I can’t say anything more about her future career at the moment, we’re still finalizing the posters, logos, branding, and that sort of thing. It’s a decent size job added to my normal day to day duties, so forgive me for my few days of silence. I’ll be back this weekend with regular programming, so to speak. Now go enjoy that green beer! Or, if you’re actually like me, some green Hi-C because you don’t actually drink beer. 🙂 Oh, wow, and ignore my toes! Ha! I didn’t notice they were in there.
This here is a good read for those about to tackle crowdfunding for your deck. It outlines some of the hiccups of using this method to fund your project. I’ve experienced quite a few of the pros and cons of using crowdfunding to get a deck out there. With the Isidore Tarot it worked wonderfully, though it was a really hard/busy couple of months with promotion and then perk fulfillment. Then there was the Tea Bats Lenormand that was meant to promote the deck and help my start-up tea business with my friend. The promotion was awesome, but I ran into so many problems where I ended up losing money on the venture and worried about knocks to my reputation. These are learning experiences that anyone new to the idea should take a moment to read. It might help you be more successful. 😉
A few years back my shoppe prepared to offer the second edition of the Isidore Tarot. We did some fundraising to get the second edition printed and one of the options was handmade tarot bags in one of these materials, and hand painted Isidore prints. They were fun to make, but the size and scope of fundraising like that means A LOT of work at the end of the day. I got really sick of metallic paints for awhile there. :p
I’ve been systematically organizing my many external hard-drives and with that task stumbling upon past work. These were the first prototypes for the Black Ibis Tarot’s minor arcana. Specifically the King and Queen of Coins. I ended up nixing the idea because they looked very close to the Sepia Stain’s minor arcana, which wasn’t a bad thing. The Sepia and Ibis are companion decks from the same story so there are some similarities between them. I want the Black Ibis minor arcana to be more unique though, as well as more colorful. As a result my dark King and Queen went into the unused folder. One day I’ll make a bat-poop crazy deck that is made up of nothing but unused or left over art. 😉
Here’s an interesting find, though a bit dated as far as when the article was posted: Photographer Teams Up With Haitian Artists to Transform Tarot Cards Into Real Scenes. The photographs are wonderful. This is a good, wordy article with photographer Alice Smeets about this project.
“The creativity of some photographers astounds me. Just when you think you’ve seen every creative, strange, and unique photo idea, another comes along that would never have crossed your mind.
“That was the case with Ghetto Tarot, a creative photos series created by award-winning documentary photographer Alice Smeets and a group of Haitian artists known as Atiz Rezistans.
“These fascinating images transform the mysterious (and, depending on what you believe, prophetic) cards into real life scenes captured in the ghetto of Haiti, using found items that the Haitian artists themselves provided and created for the project.” – from article
Being a bit of a comic book geek I’m rather surprised I didn’t run across this deck sooner. This is the major arcana devoted to Marvel’s Avengers. It’s cute, whimsical, with just a dollop of the gratuitous considering some of our Avengers’ modesty is only maintained by a perfectly placed cloth. (See Thor and Captain America ;p) So far all I can find out about this deck is that Julia Cross created it and I can’t find a website for her, not even a deviantart page. It is readily seen all over pinterest and tumblr though. It’s very well done, but given that it’s a fan deck I doubt it would be readily available for purchase without some licensing hiccups. I’ve only seen nine cards so far so I’m not sure it’s complete yet.
I collect bats. My favorite bat maker is Samantha, one half of the awesome duo Frenchy and the Punk. This cute guy of Samantha’s was adopted by my niece Stacy when she trekked to New England with me for a steampunk convention. Little Ricky here has his own bat-size Isidore Tarot I made him. He delighted in giving us a reading during a break photographing my niece and the deck for my shoppe’s catalog a few years back.
Today’s card of the day is Temperance from my Isidore Tarot. This is actually the first version of the card. There are only a few special decks that included alternative versions of certain cards. There were very few card designs that were a challenge for me, but I struggled a bit with the Temperance card.
As for the card itself, I like to think of Temperance as the just take a moment to exhale and relax card. It’s about patience and knowing how to calmly balance things in your life. When I see this card it makes me want to take a moment and give thought to what is going on in my life and what it is I’m trying to achieve and am I still on track for that? It’s a card of quiet thoughtfulness.
While on the topic of Le Grand Tarot Belline (from my AHS Coven entry), it would make a good beautiful deck entry. The original Le Grand Tarot Belline is from the nineteenth century and was designed by Jules Charles Ernest Billaudot who went by the name Magus Edmond. He appears to be a pretty notable cartomancer in his day. The deck was published by Magus Belline after he acquired the rights to the cards from Edmond. The version available these days was printed by the Grimaud Company in 1966. Doing a brief search for available decks they’re mostly to be found on Ebay and will set you back a penny or two. The Tarot Garden site has some information as well as a translation for this deck that is worth reading.
Hollywood has always enjoyed using the tarot as a plot devise, especially when it comes to spooky or supernatural story-lines. Case in point: American Horror Story Coven. These images are from the third season episode The Axeman Cometh. The card seen in the climax of the scene is the grim reaper from the Le Grand Tarot Belline deck. (Spoiler Alert) The murderous axeman approaches the witch who dares play classical music on the night he demanded jazz music to be heard throughout New Orleans. She sits at her tarot spread and turns over her last card as he creeps up on her with axe in hand. She whispers that she always knew it would be death. The gotcha moment of the scene is when it turns out another witch is behind the axe man and comes for him just as he swings his axe for the fortune telling one and we see the edge of his axe pierce the grim reaper card before the axeman is taken out by the witches. In this instance the tarot’s most improperly used Death card is a major focus of the scene and used for dramatic effect. In such cases no one is so concerned that the Death card is typically never taken literally. It’s a card about endings, change and new beginnings, among other things. I can’t fault Hollywood for their literal use of the very grim visual aspect of the card.
I’ve said it before and I will most likely say it again, I really do enjoy the few moments spent making card of the day photographs. Today’s card is from my Tea Bats Lenormand.
I’ve already written a far longer entry for this card here that gets a bit more in-depth/personal. The ring represents a variety of things: relationships, repeating patterns, to coming full circle. I, like a lot of folks, tend to see a representation of cycles because of the circular nature of the ring. Like all of these cards there really is no strict rule as to how you read them, just suggestions to give you a place to start.
I don’t actually know the proper name of this deck. It’s most popularly identified online (in searches) as the IONA Tarot but I’ve recently learned has a different names. This deck was designed and printed by artist Giona Fiochi and, given its printing process, was produced in really small numbers. It’s a hard deck to find. I stumbled upon this forum conversation about it where a collector managed to purchase a deck as well as show photographs of it. After seeing the actual printed cards it not only makes the tarot collector in me squeal, but the graphic designer as well. I’m not going to be a bad aetherweb person and reprint those photos here, so check out that link! It gives quite a bit of information about the deck as well. The full deck is mature in nature due to nudity and themes, but simply beautiful.
The Paulina Tarot is new to my wish list, though cards from the deck have been bouncing around my pinterest for awhile now. This romantic and whimsical deck by artist Paulina Cassidy is based upon the Rider-Waite-Smith deck with some personal artist influences. And as a wonderful touch for deck collectors each deck comes with a hand painted water-color by the artist! You can purchase this deck here and see Paulina’s portfolio here. Check out her other beautiful decks while you’re there. 🙂
Today is a drive by carding, so to speak. I’m pleased to say this is because I’m up to my neck in commission work for an event in April. The Lenormand’s man card is pretty self explanatory though. Like the woman card, it typically refers to the man in your life; be that a lover, husband, father, brother, son, etc. If the person addressing the cards is a man, then this card represents him. Look to the cards around this one for answers.
My card here is from my Butterfly Circus Lenormand deck. My gent is, as you can imagine, dapper, but also a performer for my butterfly circus. He’s a bit of an M.C. and master butterfly wrangler. Alright, I have poster art needing my attention. Have a good day!
These are a few cards from the Druid Animal Oracle. This is actually my gent’s deck and his area of expertise. I don’t have the companion book to learn it on my own at the moment. It’s incredibly beautiful though. There are thirty-three cards in all, each offering a different animal familiar in Druidism and Celtic mythology. The deck was created by Stephanie Carr-Gomm & Philip Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Will Worthington. It is readily available online in all the usual places. 😉
I happened upon this page while researching something else. This looks so cool! You can visit the site here. Take a moment to watch the video of the event! The living cards above are, left to right: The Lovers, The Fool and The Wheel of Fortune. Below is quoted from the site:
“As a hallmark that makes IONA stand out from other dance/theatrical groups, alternative venues and cutting-edge themes act as a muse for Artistic Director, Cheryl Flaharty. ‘The Living Tarot’ was the fourth interactive production of IONA’s diverse Salon Series which offered audiences a once in a lifetime provocative interpretation of eleven of the major Arcana Tarot cards.
“This production took place at the century-old house located on Oahu’s Pali Highway (dubbed, ‘The House of the Living Tarot’), in which the living installations became personal encounters as audience-members roamed from room to room to experience the cards they were dealt by their personal reader as they walked in the door.“
Oh how wonderfully beautiful and strange this animal themed tarot is. This deck was created by Italian artist Mibramig and published in 2013 by Lo Scarabeo. It’s at the top of my tarot deck wish list. I was already in love and then I found it had a Happy Squirrel card! I might have to make an entry for that to explain, but it’s neat. This deck is readily available for purchase online.
When you get the Lenormand’s snake card you can think of it in a variety of different ways. It’s not exactly a positive card, but neither should it be thought of as strictly a bad card. You will read that this card is associated with a woman, perhaps a dark haired woman and this may have something to do with the fact that it’s also associated with the Queen of Clubs. And with that a suggestion of a seduction or betrayal. It can represent maliciousness or deceit. When you find it in a spread look towards the cards around them and be wary.
In my Butterfly Circus Lenormand I kept my snake dapper. Because I wanted this to be a bright and more whimsical deck of cards, I kept all my characters a bit more light. This will sound silly but I always hear in my head Michigan J frog’s song only with lyrics for the cards at hand and a snake in a top hat belting it out. Sometimes you just have to keep things light hearted. 😉
I’ve been a part of the Michigan steampunk scene since around 2009. My first event was vending at the Steampunk Expo and there I met so many wonderful people who I’ve gotten to know over the years. There was one couple I first saw there and then at many events afterwards. Though I never knew them by name for a very long time, I always knew them. They were always dressed fabulously and always looked so happy. This couple I would learn was Don and Sue Watts.
I was asked to be a guest of honor at the first year of The Motor City Steam Con and as their guest artist I wanted to contribute something noteworthy to it. I’ve made a lot of decks, but never a simple deck of playing cards, so I suggested that. Sal, the event organizer (and great chick), and I worked out who in our Michigan steampunk community should be featured on the trump cards. Sal asked if I would put the Watts on the hearts suit. By this point Sue was very ill and we wanted to celebrate this wonderful couple and all they offered our community. So Don became my King of Hearts, Sue my Queen, and their son Kyle the Jack. (Kyle’s wife Jenny is also in the deck as the Jack of Diamonds.)
Sue has since passed. I never knew her very well, but I knew better the people around her and all of them have nothing but incredibly beautiful things to say about her. I’m very glad I was able to offer this small thing to the Michigan steampunk community, who have supported me through the years. This deck is no longer available for sale online, it’s a convention only type item. But I do have the whole deck to preview here. I wanted to highlight my hearts and the story behind them for this Valentine’s Day.
On a sentimental note: I came across my great, great grandmother Meike’s sentiment book. As best I can figure it’s well wishes to her on her wedding day. It’s written in Friesland Dutch so I can’t make out too much of what’s said. It’s a beautiful book, two pages which are under my heart cards. It’s from the turn of the 20th century so it’s pretty antique.