This is not a new deck in the making, but promotional cards for the upcoming convention I mentioned a few days ago. These are the final color versions of some of the black and white illustrations I posted earlier. I love this character! I made cards for her because I’m the tarot lady at conventions so it seemed fitting to advertise with her. If you happen to like her as I do, you can see a little more Bly artwork on my portfolio blog. If you happen to the attend the International Steampunk Symposium in Cinci the end of April, pop by my booth and grab a complimentary card! And say hi 🙂
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.
I enjoy talking about the creation process of my decks and I absolutely adore when someone gets excited over one. So it makes me a little sad when I find a reason to talk about a deck that I didn’t find to be quite so enjoyable or successful. There comes my Mirabai Oracle deck. I am very sentimental about this deck but I don’t include it in my portfolio or offer it for sale any longer. There are probably only forty decks out there in the world and I personally know most of the people who own those decks. So first, a little history.
In 2010 my husband was contacted for permission to include some of his artwork in an author’s new book. This person was Bethany Grenier and we became friends with her and her husband, who happened to live not five minutes from us. Through her we were introduced to fellow local artists Ted & Kate Jauw. We were invited to join their artist group to create a group entry for a local event called ArtPrize. Our theme was a circus out of time; a very steampunk inspired tinker toy type of affair. We each created characters for our vintage big top. It was fun, it was stressful, and ultimately many of the things we went through trying to get our event to the finish line was ten years worth of lessons packed into three months. It was very bittersweet.
A lot of my art was used for our circus posters and our group’s logo. My character was a cartomancer of course. I wanted to have a deck to go along with my part of our entry. So I made the Mirabai oracle deck. It was quickly done and was a combination of existing artwork and portraits I created of the other members of our art group. The only thing that was unified about it was the color scheme and our group’s logo (created by Ted) in each card. The card meanings were based on the Victorian language of flowers. That was something I especially liked about the deck. I also liked being able to create portraits of my new circle of friends. (Pictured above left to right Cassie Truskowsie, Ted Jauw and Bethany Grenier.) Click that wee arrow for the rest of the article.