A little something during my downtime: I have quite a few pieces that were created for The Black Ibis Tarot and the corresponding graphic novel that were never used for either. Blondie Bow here is one of them.
It’s storming outside. Let’s play hand model! *jazz hands* I can’t believe I’ve never had the Lovers card on the site yet. I must be overlooking at it, which is alright. I tend to have a different thing to say about a card depending on my mood. In this case, my mood is all about the relationship nature of this card. Today I’m going to let it represent my gent and I.
I met my gent online more than twenty years ago. He was a fellow artist and graphic designer. We chatted off and on for awhile until my health acted up again and I took a break from my sites and clients. He wouldn’t let me disappear though. He wrote my then boyfriend (who had become my ex in that time) to see if I was alright. I got the message and called him and we talked. This led to him smoothly asking me to share a table with him at a convention. Over the next four months leading up to said con we got to know each other A LOT better. By the time he stepped off the airplane and I met him in person we were in love. We’ve had nearly no time apart since that time.
Our neighbors next to us fight a lot. They’re young and jumped into a marriage I think because they thought it would heal all their insecurities and issues with one another. She came over one night after a fight and talked with me. She asked me how Myke and I managed to be so close and connected. She wanted that. I told her we didn’t start out that way. That together we have battled so many things and lived through so much together. I said he was my very best friend and I didn’t like being away from him. She didn’t quite like that answer, but that’s all I had. Relationships typically don’t come ready made, you have to work at them. And that work will manifest itself in so many different ways and some of them will catch you off guard.
In my time with my gent we’ve had highs and lows. We have traveled all avenues of this card from upright to downward. We’ve come to a crossroad on a few occasions where taking the wrong turn might have ended us. More than once I tried to hide away from the consequences of my actions and their impact on him. Throughout that time, as we worked on our own baggage and personal demons, we tried to stay focused and use our heads. The longer we’ve been together, the closer we’ve become. Eleven years later and we’ve achieved a wonderful balance and relationship. To think we’ve been engaged for ten of those years.
As anyone said it to you yet? No? Really? Really!! Okay… I’m taking a deep breath here… MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!! That goes out to Bethany, the biggest Star Wars geek I know besides my big brother, and as it happens the model for this tarot’s Fool card. She is a very creative person in her own right, so if you have a moment pay her site a visit. Oh wait… crap… of course I was the first, it’s only April. I got too excited by posting the end date of this sale as May the Fourth. We’ll revisit that in exactly one month from today!
Now, I’m pleased to say the third edition of the Black Ibis Tarot is now available for sale. The cards are larger in size in this edition and this makes the details of the card artwork standout more. I also pumped up the colors a bit to make them more vibrant, as well as adding a blue note element to each card to unify the majors a bit more. The deck is very beautiful if I set modesty to the side. I really adore this deck. And like the Sepia Stains deck, there were a lot of wonderful creative folks who lent their images to the deck. I’ll be highlighting each over April.
The pre-order will run throughout April. At the conclusion of the sale all the decks/materials will be purchased and shipping will begin most likely the second week of May. The deck is available with full packaging or just the deck/book depending on your budget. So if you’d like to give a slightly surreal neo-Victorian fantasy deck a new home, please select the link for what you want: Order Full Packaging Deck Here -or- Order Just Deck/Book Here
The five of pentacles is one of those cards, I’ve come to learn, that suggests very different stories depending on whether it lands upright or reversed. Upwards it deals with a financial strife or loss and all the things that come along with such a thing. Given how much value our society puts on having wealth, the loss of such wealth can affect someone in a number of negative ways beyond being a bit poorer.
Far too often many of us place our self worth on what material goods we have, how nice our house is, or how different the rich often get treated next to the poor. We might spend much of our lives excessively devoted to making more money and moving up the financial ladder. How many relationships ultimately implode because the couples stress so much over their income and bills? Money or lack of it is one of the biggest sources of anxiety for many of us. This card should make you take a moment to think about what your relationship with money is and how that affects how you conduct yourself. Would a financial loss be more than just a lightening of your wallet? Or would it be a stab at your self esteem?
It’s not all about money though. It can suggest something much more personal. Do you feel alone? Do you feel set aside from those around you? Are you needing someone to reach out and comfort you back into the fold? Or are you just feeling run down or drained? Are you looking out into the world and missing something potentially great in front of you because you’re too focused on something else?
How would I relate this to myself? (As I try to do when I pull cards and think on them.) I was fortunate that my insurance covered a great deal of the big issues with my fall this past autumn. I’m not sure what we would have done if I needed to cover the bill just for my face/eye surgery. So for that I feel blessed. That aside, there were many small bills that needed to be covered that threw our budget out of whack. There was downtime from my shoppe that took out a good deal of my income between the gent and I. We don’t only cover our household either; my aunt has always looked out for me over the years and now that she’s needed help we’ve been helping with certain bills for her. We fell into a bit of a hole as I recovered and I felt guilty for it. Aside from the financial burdens, I felt alone. Back home in Michigan I would have had the benefit of my family popping in and out as I mended and my aunt would have been there for me around the clock. Here in Ohio I get a bit isolated during the day with my car in the shop. My gent commutes to work at dawn and doesn’t get home till dusk. My conversations tend to be with the cats and plants. It felt worse while I healed though because it seemed much of our interactions with my gent’s family disappeared as their lives went on. Autumn was a mess of difficulties and set backs. This card acts as a reminder to that.
But as I said, there are two sides to this coin. Despite the set back, the new year slipped in and things started to look up. I have most of my strength back and the ability to devote my time and attentions to my projects and shop. I was able to create two new sides of my Isidore tarot and offer them to the world. My car is one new battery away from making me mobile during day time hours again. I can get back to my Y water aerobics group and talk to someone other than my fluff balls. I can help my aunt out again and only have it make our budget tight for the moment, not in the red as before. In other words, life s feeling a bit better these days. A good reminder of how it took a turn for awhile goes a long way in being reminded of one’s blessings.
The Temperance card is a good card to meditate on. It’s a good card for me to study a little bit further and write a card of the day about. Why? With my accident there has been a lot of room for life and the world around me to kind of weigh down on me. However? It has not. With all that my body has been through and how beat down I should feel (and believe me, my head has been a bit weighed down by it) I still feel this overwhelming sense of contentment. This has helped me realize a few things: It will sound weird, but I think this more profoundly looking upon the somewhat aggressive and dark face of the beautiful and incredibly unique woman who offered her self portrait for my temperance card in my Black Ibis Tarot. There is a balance to be had.
The Temperance card represents the ability to find calm in stressful situations. You can channel coolness in moments of extreme not coolness. You can take a moment to take a breath, look down the long path, and find your place and be good with it. Through patience and calm you can walk through life and look at those things in front of you that would try to fuss with it all. It’s a place of understanding. This is how I’ve come to see it.
Can I tell you a secret? I’m a natural hot head. I’m the type of person who small flames used to set my inner fuse a spark and eventually led to horrible explosions. I come from a family of dramatic, aggressive, yell as oppose to speaking calmly type of folk. It has taken me much of my life to find the ability to take a deep breath and exhale before I react. This is no small accomplishment when you can see yourself as being the only chick in Fight Club. Had I not learned to relax a little and understand the ability to let go, these past few months of mine would have been a fight. A fight between my rage of circumstance and my own body. But I know it is better to just go with life, appreciate the positives around us, and let go of the anger. If I can recommend anything to you; when looking at the Temperance card take a breath, feel grateful for life, and take a calm approach to your life and move on.
The devil card just came up as card of the day not so long ago. You can read that post here. That card was from my Isidore Tarot deck and very close to the symbolism from the Rider Waite Smith tradition. Today’s devil is from my Black Ibis Tarot where some of the symbolism can be matched to the RWS deck, but in most cases is quite different.
This is one of my favorite cards in this deck, not for meaning, but for the model who let me use his mischievous mug for it. Gerald Brom is one of my most favorite artists hands down and a great influence on me. I’ve also had the pleasure of being able to ask him advice and for favors over the years. This card was one of those favors. I really wanted him as the devil. If you’re familiar with his work you’ll know that such a request didn’t bother him one bit.
The Black Ibis Tarot’s devil is more about whispering in your ear and giving you all the wrong advice. In one sense it has much the same meaning at the Isidore Tarot’s devil, but in this case perhaps you’re already aware that you’re trapped in a bad place and want to be free of that bondage. This devil doesn’t give you the illusion that you are actually trapped; he simply strokes your ego and tells you everything is aces and that you actually like being in that bondage. He is the devil on your shoulder, the voice in the middle of the night that tells you everything is swell, and he knows a lot of tricks to keep you held back in that place. I like to think of this card as one that reminds you that there’s just a con artist behind that alluring voice and it’s about time to shut him down and tell him to shut up. You can try and blame him for life’s messy patches, but in the end only you can actually pick up a mop and bucket and clean it up and get on with life.
In this photo my Brom card is surrounded by his Plucker characters, who are some very scary dolls in this case. The only thing I like better than collecting tarot decks is collecting creepy toys. I keep holding out hope Brom will do some sort of card deck, but so far when I put in Brom and Tarot into a search my Black Ibis deck comes up first. The heart can dream. Check out his work! It’s very dark and beautiful. 😉
I just okayed the proof deck for The Black Ibis Tarot’s third edition. It looks lovely and a preview can be seen here. This means I’ll be selling the last of the second edition I have in stock and tucking it away. Monday, in honor of opening day when I’ll be downtown in Cincinnati staring and the Reds parade, we’ll have a sale going on in the Attic Shoppe. This will include a just the deck quick buy and two of the very original Black Ibis decks. The first edition didn’t have a minor arcana and the packaging was pretty simple. I offer them now more as a collectable. There were only fifty of those decks originally printed years back. Sale info will be at The Attic Shoppe tomorrow. 🙂
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. 😉
The Black Ibis third edition is all done and formatted. I have a sample copy being printed right now to see how it looks. I’m very happy with the new look. A sample companion book should be here soon as well. 🙂 Above are some samples of the deck.
With the new year comes shoppe inventory time and looking over my yearly sales. It kind of correlates with one of the first questions I was sent when I started this site. The question was what things prompted me to feel a need to make a new edition of a deck? This is a good question, because in the beginning I was not sure myself and wasn’t sure if making different editions would be a good thing. Turns out, for the right reasons, it’s quite invaluable to the life and longevity of a deck. I’m about to publish the third edition of the Black Ibis Tarot and I’m going to share why I’m doing a new edition to help answer that question.
I encourage feedback on my decks. I must confess though, it used to be hard for me to get feedback because I didn’t quite know how to take a thoughtful critique as anything but a put down. It’s not even a matter of having thick or thin skin, it’s just realizing that a customer can offer me negative feedback that is meant to be used to make my product better and to take it for that. Not why don’t you love everything about my baby! as some sensitive creative types (like me) can get. Of course someone saying this sucks is not helpful. However, someone taking the time to share with me what they didn’t completely like about the deck and how it might be improved is something of great value and beneficial to how I look after my decks as they age.
For example: Card stock quality is usually the biggest thing I get feedback on. Individuals tend to vary on what they think is thick enough. This was an issue my old decks had. With my current printer their decks are made with standard playing card stock with a smooth finish. They’re made to be handled and the occasional drop of spilled tea. Since switching to them and reformatting my decks I’ve had next to no negative feedback about the weight of the decks. The feedback I get now tends to be how easily the decks shuffle and how they’re good for daily use. In one rare case where a woman was still not quite happy with the thickness (she admitted she was really hard on her cards on a daily basis and she’d moved to daily use with the Isidore deck) I was able to extend her the option to get the heaviest weight of cards my printer offers that has a super thick finish, which is not practical for all decks. It worked out well for this wonderful wonky tarot reader who admits sometimes more tea ends up on her table and cards than her mouth. 😉
Creating the second edition of my Isidore Tarot was very successful and it’s remained quite popular. I was hoping my revamp and second edition of my Black Ibis Tarot would be as successful, but it just hasn’t been. So I sent out a questionnaire to those who have the deck and those who had interest in it but didn’t end up investing in it. I asked what owners thought of it and for those who would have bought it what kept them from picking up the second edition after the first edition they wanted was sold out. Overwhelmingly I was told the deck size I went with was too small for the very detailed card artwork. Also, they felt the cards were too dark in coloring. And the solid colored border as oppose to the original textured border was really not liked. Lastly I was told there was a bit of a disconnect between the deck itself and my second edition packaging. One nice gent pointed out that when he first saw the ad for the deck he thought all of the artwork would be like the orange themed tin & book cover. He said he wouldn’t have known how colorful and pretty the deck itself was from that cover.
So I took this feedback and sat down with my deck and realized I agreed with much of it. The original size of the first edition cards was a custom size that was offered by my original printer. My new printer doesn’t offer it so I had to opt for a card size that best fit my deck, which meant going smaller. I typically don’t go for anything but the standard tarot deck size my printer uses, which is a nice size and easy to handle. It was going to require a far more time consuming reformatting of the cards to fit that size though and back then I just didn’t have the time. My mistake. I should have taken the time to do it right. After the feedback and the obvious decline in Black Ibis sales I knew it was time for a revamp. Click that little arrow for the rest of the article.
The World card being pulled from my Black Ibis deck as we come to the end of the year seems fitting. This card represents, among other things, completion of a cycle. It could be most anything. You’ve seen a major goal full circle from start to completion. It can also be most literal and pertain to getting out there in the world.
The Black Ibis tarot’s World card is one of the designs I didn’t stick with the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith style much of the other major arcana cards have in this deck. I choose to represent the worldly suggestions of this card a bit more literally. My card gal is a worldly traveler who has seen a thing or two. There is a world map behind her outlining her path to enlightenment. She understands things from a larger world view and her eyes express this. A top her head she wears a wreath (as oppose to the one traditionally surrounding her body) to suggest her crowning achievements.
It’s not a quiet Sunday. Today is shoppe inventory day. Tins, boxes, drawstring bags, flower petals, labels, books, and on and on, it all needs to be counted and compared to my stock sheets and make sure all my inventory is on hand as it is in paper. Then the shoppe’s website needs a good cleaning to make sure everything is up to date. It’s all busywork really, to help keep my mind off of tomorrow. It seems appropriate to draw the strength card.
The strength card is pretty much self explanatory. This card represents inner strength and using that strength to overcome what life throws at you. Not only overcoming these things, but doing so with maturity and thoughtfulness. That’s not always an easy task, especially when there is fear involved. Fear is an annoying beast. Fear has that need to undermine your strength.
I’m tangoing with fear today. I meet my new doctor tomorrow and it took a lot to admit to my gent that I’m quite afraid of the approaching morning. This is a conversation that happened after hours of fluttering around the house without pause. Anxiety has a way of doing that to me. He tells me I just need to be strong and remember what will happen is what will happen and that I’ve weathered through far worse things. Then he tells me to take a breath. To exhale.
So as I sit here taking that breather, I’m staring at this card and thinking about that. Life is not an easy creature to master, but there are ways to make it a smoother process. Believing you have the strength to take on and battle through anything that life tosses at you ultimately helps make it smoother because it helps keep that fear in check. So I’m going to meditate on that a bit before I start fluttering about again.
Oh! A side note. I love taking my card photos. In this one I have my little zebra succulent newborns. I call them the twins. I love plants and am learning how to force my green thumb to get green. I’ve found I’m particularly good nurturing succulents. They’re very just let me do my own thing and I’ll be fine. Perfect! I was quite excited to see these little guys (along with their brother Eric, potted on his own as he’s way bigger) growing. Little things do make me happy.
Today’s card is the Queen of Swords. Traditionally this is a no nonsense lady who is all about independence, intellect and using logic and common sense to make a decision. You don’t get anything by this woman and she certainly doesn’t mince words. You won’t be able to appeal to her empathy either. Emotions are set to the side when this lady is figuring something out or dealing with someone. You could say this is a card that asks you to tackle your question in a mature and thoughtful manner where you don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement. Sometimes you have to be honest with yourself.
The card featured here (modeled by the–eh hem–lovely Lizzy Borden doll) is from my Black Ibis tarot. I have a great love of insects, especially Praying Mantis. In matching insects to the symbolism I wanted (I stayed a bit more traditional with the major arcana and then strayed off the path for its minor arcana) a creature that was strong, pretty no nonsense, and one that didn’t let emotions get in the way. I know, I know, the lady mantis really doesn’t let emotions get in the way and she might represent an extreme. I just found her to be very powerful and liked her for the card. 🙂 She offers wonderful advice though and asks that you approach your pondering from her view point.
These are my candid shots from the photo-shoot for my Black Ibis project way back in 2010. Before that time I typically gave directions to my photographer and models and they did the shoot and sent me the final photos. So this was a lot of fun getting to direct them and fuss over their costumes. My Black Ibis Tarot features a variety of different models, but Rachel and Audria (pictured here) are featured on the majority of the cards. They were a joy to work with. Full credits and details for that deck can be found here.
I’m taking a break from what has been a very busy twelve hours. When running my business I always want things to be big and fabulous. I want my shoppe to be as wonderful as the shoppes I adore and have tried to model it after. This used to be easier when I had more hands on help from my family. I have cyber help from the family, but have to do much of the actual physical work myself. I’m also the creator of most of what we sell so that makes me chase my tail now and then. I guess you could say I get anxious sometimes and have doubts about how well I’m doing. I’m not sure drawing the Moon helps with that feeling.
I was a little conflicted when I first started learning about the nature of the Moon card. I’ve grown up with this fantastical idea of the moon being like a glowing mother in the sky, always looking down and keeping track of me. It plays into my writing and art quite a bit. No matter where I’m at I can look up at the moon and know my place and feel good. This conflicts with what I’ve learned to be the traditional explanation of this card. It deals more with things that are not always positive. It’s a walk in the dark you may be making. It’s having to set aside what you think is a very knowledgeable inner voice and instead embrace intuition. Today this card doesn’t really speak to me. It popped up rather soon after Sepia Stains Moon card, which I consider the two to have very different meanings.
The version of the Moon shown here is from the first edition of my Black Ibis Tarot. Aesthetically as far as my artwork goes, it’s absolutely one of my favorite cards. It has a special meaning aside from being apart of the tarot. The models for my Black Ibis Sun, Moon and Star cards are Meredith Yayanos, Zoetic Ebb and Nadja Lev respectively. Each of these women are incredibly talented individuals who I look up to and have had the pleasure of knowing over the years. When I asked them if they would be in the deck they requested these three cards. At the time they were working together on their magazine Coilhouse and they wanted to be my celestials. Zoetica, who uses the moon to represent herself, especially wanted to be on this card and I was happy I could oblige her. On that note, back to work with me! 😉
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! 😉
Today I pulled out my Black Ibis Tarot and after a prolonged shuffling (I got caught up in a very heated exchange with one of my felines who likes to talk back and forgot about the shuffling part) I pulled from it the Magician card. Another good card for me as I start doing these daily readings. Just looking back at the process to create the artwork for this card shows me how things have changed so much in my life. How, creatively, I’ve come a very long way. In the beginning I only had a pad of drawing paper and some pencils and pens and my art was stark and one dimensional. Gradually I progressed to bigger and better things and perhaps the biggest was the day I was able to direct my models into poses I wanted while a professional photographer captured them for me. Then came all of the intricate details to create a scene and place my model within it. The end result was a snapshot of a place within my mind and there was my Magician. It’s a thought that works well with the many meanings behind this card.
My Magician doesn’t hold up a wand but a very old mechanical bird in his birdcage. This mechanical bird has watched generations of my family in his spot on the steps in my grandfather’s very old house. To me he represents all the wisdom and experience that has come and gone from that home. So while my Magician still wears a dress of white to represent purity, her red cloak representing wisdom and experience has be replaced by my mechanical bird. All the other symbols typically represented in the Magician’s card are worked into the crown on her head.
This is a card that wishes you to dig deep into those abilities you have within you and use them. To commit to an idea. I always have ideas and so many have never seen the light of day because I let them slip away without pursuing them. I’ve had to learn how to see an idea, take hold of it and see it through. I’ve had to learn commitment to the things I want to achieve. I’ve been saying that a lot lately, haven’t I? It’s kind of like the reverse, or hmm… more positive to the Knight of Swords I read the other day. I blame this on this website. This has been my private project for awhile now and it feels like a great project that ties into everything else I do.
I added two new tee shirt designs to my RedBubble Cartomancy profile. These delightfully colorful designs feature my Chalice frogs from my Black Ibis Tarot. They’re available in a variety of colors and styles. Just give the previews a little poke to see all options. 🙂
Today’s card was plucked from the Black Ibis Tarot by our resident living-dead batfrog Sven. He brought me the Page of Chalices card. I love this card. Yes, like with many of my own cards I’m a bit bias with some of them and I’m certainly that when it comes to my chalice frogs, but this is a good card for me.
I have several deck ideas slowly marching forward but this past week I really fell in love with a new idea. The first cards have been wonderful and they’re coming with ease. The Page of Chalices often (in a full reading when upright) represents something new trying to find its way to the surface, or just something new, be it news, ideas, and the like. So I think it gives me a poke to let me know this project is a good thing and it’ll do for me what many of my other decks have done before it. Very positive. And speaking of our Halloween guest (who never left) Sven, may we introduce you to the one and only batfrogs site? Worth a visit!