I met the good gent Robert Scott from Arcana Advising at the convention this weekend. Thanks to him I was introduced to a world of tarot magazines I didn’t even know existed! He was kind enough to give one of my Isidore Tarots a new home. He also posted a review of the deck to his youtube channel. Many thanks to him for that! My only disappointment was I wasn’t able to get away from the table long enough to get my own reading. Though I have to note he is probably the very first person who pronounced my last name properly on the first go. 😉
So this little note explains where I went to poof on Bat Appreciation day. Boo to that. So I’m off on A.C. posts. It’s been a bit busy though as we start our traveling sales-peeps season. I’ll be getting regular posts scheduled when I get back to my home and a week off!
In the meantime, the gent and I are vending at the International Steampunk Symposium just outside Cincinnati Ohio. If you’re attending please stop by and say hello! I’ve got all my decks on hand, among other things. 😉
I received my Isidore Tarot doll size deck sample deck today. It’s wonderful!! It’s so tiny! We have a new section we’re adding to The Attic Shoppe that is devoted to the dolls we sell at shows and craft fairs. I’ve been stitching together a quirky little fortune teller doll who needed a a deck to keep with her. My printer just started offering mirco-sized decks so I shrunk the entire Isidore deck down (I even added a Happy Squirrel card, well… Happy Squirelthulhu, you’ll see soon) and now I have a deck that is about one inch by one and a half inch in size. More to come.
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 🙂
It is a rainy day here at the start of the week. Thankfully neither rainy days or Mondays get me down. I am a little apprehensive about the approaching storms though. So as I wait for the booms to come I’m collecting my thoughts over a nice game of solitaire with my Steampunk playing cards given to me many conventions go. The card backs are very pretty, but over all this is a simple Bicycle deck of cards. Now if you want to see a really cool steampunk themed deck, check out the deck from Steampunk Goggles. That aside, now that my convention artwork commission is done I’m back to card things. One of those things is reading Andy Matzner’s The Tarot Activity Book with a review to come.
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. 😉
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 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.“
A very fluttering hearts happy Valentine’s Day to you! The original heart image is Lousie Brooks illustrated and featured in 1928 in La Vie Parisienne, an old saucy French periodical. Illustration by Cheri Herouard Samedi, 21 Avril 66 Année, No 16.
Tonight’s Winter Moon also corresponds with a penumbral eclipse. Penumbral type eclipses typically aren’t as exciting as a regular lunar eclipse as there is just a light shadow cast over the moon. This one, however, will be darker than most. One celestial site suggested we think blood moon. I’m a star-gazer through and through so any excuse to stare at the moon makes me happy. In honor of this event today is all about the tarot’s moon card. Here are a few of mine. 😉
You will have noticed a lack of card of the day posts, well, posts in general! During all the happy-happy of Christmas my gent and I caught a horrible bug that has been floating around. We’re still putting up the good fight, but much of my good fight is being done from bed in a cough syrup coma. Hopefully things will be back to their chatty-posting self.
Happy holidays everyone! Attic Cartomancy will be on a brief break while I’m off with family for the holidays. It’ll be a holiday from work and the internet. I should be back to the aetherwebs the following week before the New Year. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend however you celebrate it. – Bethalynne
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!
Speaking of the Empress, this is an etching my gent did for me many years ago. I was beginning to get more involved in learning the tarot and I happened to tell him that the cards most representing us (as far as elements and zodiac signs went) were the Emperor and Empress cards. Somewhere in that conversation I also mentioned (randomly, oh those old conversations were so random) my frustration with my very large ears that had just enough of a point, but not a point in which I could claim to be an elf. During that conversation he began working on this piece. At the random ear point he ended up giving his Empress proper pointy ears. 😉
I absolutely love this etching. It sits next to my side of the bed these days. Over the years I’ve tried to gently prod him into creating a full major arcana in this style. He thought about it for awhile, but alas his work schedule these days doesn’t give him a lot of time to tinker with etchings that can be rather time consuming. I’m still hoping though. The couple that makes tarot decks together stays together. That’s a saying, right? Artwork is copyright Myke Amend and reposted here with his permission of course.
Cards have always played an important role in my life. I wasn’t always aware of just how much until not so long ago I had pause to think about it. It came about when I was asked to contribute to an article for a popular entertainment website.
My friend Maggie is an editor and prolific ghost writer. If you’re not familiar with ghost writing I’m sorry to say that phrase is not literal. She writes articles or portions of books in the voice of the credited author when that person isn’t available. Maggie was assigned an article on unconventional forms of therapy. She asked me if I would write the portion dealing with cards as a form of therapy. More specifically she wanted me to write about creating the Isidore Tarot as a form of therapy and how others in the tarot community used the cards for meditation and therapeutic means. In the process of writing the short piece I thought back about my interaction with cards throughout my life.
It started very early when I was just six. My parents had been divorced a few years and living in a very remote Michigan town called Bad Axe. My mom decided it was time to get out of there and moved us back to her hometown where we moved into the apartment over my grandparent’s garage. Since my mom worked second shift I spent my afternoons and evenings with my grandparents. I loved that. And every Friday night was poker night for the aunts and uncles. I loved that even more.
These were actually my great aunts and uncles. My grandparents both came from large families where everyone had married young and were still with their partners. Everyone was very close and they were their own circle of friends. So the aunts and uncles would be over, spread out around the poker table, and I had my own little seat at the table. I didn’t take part in their game. They had devised a system for me to play along but also keep my little girl card rules. I had my own miniature deck and my own set of small poker chips. My uncle would pass out the cards and then deal me my own hand. When it was my turn I would throw my betting chips into my special pot and either pass or take a new card. Basically I was playing a game of Blackjack with myself and when everyone showed their cards or folded I would either show my good hand or fold if I had busted. When we counted chips at the end of the evening I got a quarter for the red chips, a dime for the blue ones, and a nickle for the yellow ones. Sometimes I really cleaned up. Poke that arrow to continue.
A few years back I had the pleasure of photographing (below) Boheme Tribal, a Michigan belly dancing troupe, for an art project of mine. At the end of the day they indulged me with a little card reading (above) for the camera.
I wrote this entry on the practical side of creating packaging for a deck. It offers a few suggestions on what you should consider as far as materials, costs and miscellaneous details are concerned. It’s the checklist I use when packaging an open edition deck. I get all crazy when it comes to the limited editions, but I try to keep my wits about me when it comes to the decks openly sold. I say try.
If I had my way all my decks would come in fabulous containers where you opened them up to find the deck lovingly wrapped in rich materials. Just getting to the deck would be like opening up the most gloriously gift wrapped birthday present. The companion book would be full color and contain not just the details about the cards, but also a serious of related trivia, art, and general beautiful page clutter. All of this would come within another large package of beautiful make and design. Yes, I want to be the fairy tarot godmother who touches her magic wand to a deck and a Cinderella scene explodes around it. I do start out with that type of scenario in mind. Fortunately for me I’ve developed a reflex that smacks me in the head in those times and screams slow your roll and edit woman!
Editing is very important. Toning down of my packaging comes after that and my open editions become more practical and affordable for my potential customers. I’ve learned to temper some of that enthusiasm by keeping one side attractive but simple and allowing the other side to be more over the top. Open edition practical, limited edition more extravagant. Sometimes I try and meld the two by offering a –not limited edition– but limited time sale on more unique packaging for a deck. I do this mostly for The Isidore Tarot. I have an autumn edition that is available each autumn. I have the Devil is in the Details special edition I created special for some of my goth-centric friends. This is my happy medium and the deck is popular enough for me to do this.
Ultimately the most important thing is the deck of cards. Packaging is fine but it means little if the deck itself doesn’t hit well with people. I’ve had a few experiences with buying a tarot deck that came packaged with all the bells and whistles only to find the deck itself felt like it was printed on cheap cardboard. Having gone through the whole nerve-racking process of card printing I know the printing part can be difficult, so I don’t fault the deck maker so much for that. It’s still disappointing though. I don’t want to disappoint so my first focus is the deck.
Of course, with all that said, there are a few exceptions to my personal rules. Deck popularity plays a lot into things. I have two versions of The Isidore Tarot – full packaging and just the deck. Just the deck is exactly that. The deck comes in a box and I include a organza draw string bag for those who prefer a bag over the box. I keep it affordable and put it one sale often. The fully packaged deck is stored in an organza drawstring bag within a labeled tin. I put flower petals in the tin because I just think it’s a nice touch to the packaging, not to mention I love my flower petal drawers I have as a result of that extra. It comes with a companion book. It’s an extremely popular deck and my baby so I like keeping it in nice clothes, so to speak. I want to make it available to everyone while still retaining that special packaging that doesn’t get too outrageous cost-wise.
This entry should be called how to avoid packaging work. I have my mini tarots sitting in front of me and they’re naked. I feel like I should put a blanket over them so they don’t catch cold! This one is done. I’m still working on packaging for the Halloween mini and the Black Ibis mini. I’m leaning towards small tins though. I love the idea of these tiny cards being in an equally tiny tin. Something I can tuck away in my owl bag and take with me. With that thought, I should be back to my work and start price checking small tins! 😉