Saturday, July 14, 2018

First Tries at Making Tarot Boxes

When you've run out of decks to trim, and you've spiffed up a few naked edges with gold and silver Sharpies, then what? What will be your next tarot craft?
Well, the trimmed decks are now rattling around in their original tuck boxes like marbles in a shoebox. And what about that box with the ripped flaps? And...

Here's the video I used. It`s over an hour long, quite chatty but thorough. 

Here are my first three attempts. You'll see that my learning curve is running backwards as I go. 

Box #1 for the Dark Grimoire
Its tuckbox is perfectly healthy, but I had papers that went so well with the deck!
Cardboard used: book board, several mm. thick
Papers: outside - handmade from mulberries; inside - Japanese
Mistakes: you can see the little slivers of plum paper covering bare cardboard in the inside corners of the last picture. Not too bad for a first attempt.
Time to make: many hours plus glue-drying time

Box #2 for the Cat's Eye Tarot
Tuckbox flaps tearing off, and trimmed cards are now too small for the box.
Cardboard: an empty cornflakes box (this is pretty flimsy, don't recommend it, but it was SO easy to cut compared to the heavier book board which needs a heavy-duty X-acto-type knife).
Papers: outside - from the scrapbooking section of Michael's (a craft supply store chain); inside lid - plain old computer-weight red paper left over from some Christmas project.
Mistakes: more than for the first box. Mismeasured for the lid and had to make another one. See last picture, where the first lid fits like a kid wearing his dad's shoes. I was out of cat's paw paper so the second lid is striped, which luckily I prefer anyway! And I have a spare paw print lid for...?
Time to make: many more hours plus drying time.

Box #3 for the Tarot Nova
The original adorable very solid tuckbox for this one showed its face only AFTER I'd started on its replacement. It's a tricksy little deck.
Cardboard: a Walker's Oatcakes box, slightly sturdier than the cornflakes one
Paper: outside - photocopied the deck backs side by side for most of it. (DO NOT DO THIS! The ink rubs off when the paper gets damp from the glue. And then you have to cut out teeny-tiny matching bits from leftover paper, to glue over the whitey bits where the colour rubbed off.) Lid top - photocopy of tuckbox. Inside - sturdy nubby yellow from Michael's. 
Mistakes: see above
Time to make: a ridiculous amount plus drying time

In neighbourhood news ~ 

I finally have this in my backyard!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Planning with the Impressionist Tarot

Here's the card I chose from the Impressionist Tarot to represent the kind of summer I'd like to have. The idyllic Nine of Cups: waterside, al fresco dining, placid afternoons, boats, cottages. Ah, life is good!

Inspiration for this image came from two Claude Monet paintings: The Luncheon, 1873, and 
The Basin at Argenteuil, 1874.

All the paintings for this deck were drawn by Arturo Picca, inspired by various Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists. 
The other four cards were dealt randomly, with suggestions for:
My head (Air), my passionate energetic self (Fire), my heart (Water), and the work of my hands (Earth).

Here's how the whole spread looks...

Ideas for my mind (Air)
from the fiery Queen of Wands (the gung-ho hutzpah suit)
Inspired by an 1862 portrait entitled Lola de Valence by Edouard Manet.
Lola was part of the Spanish dance troupe, Lola Melea, which came to Paris to perform.
Manet was captivated by her fiery finesse.
I love her skirt; set up my sewing machine again?
Dress funkily! Don't be a chicken!
Read some historical novels set in Spain.
What's on a queen's menu when she dines al fresco?
Write down a list of tempting summery projects. Use a flamboyant ink in the pen.
Who do I know with a cottage or a boat? Can I invite myself? Maybe if I ask in a queenly fashion? 

Ideas for my passionate energetic self (Fire)
from the Nine of Pentacles (the "doing" suit)
Based on the painting Actress before the Mirror in her Dressing Room, by Edgar Degas 1879
She's getting ready for the stage. Stratford Festival! Book tickets online! Email that cheap B&B!
(Now that I think of it, Stratford sits on the Avon River. It has swans.
I bet they're just around the corner in my 9 of Cups!)
I love ballet. Go to see one! Google possibilities now! (Swan Lake?)
She seems to be putting the finishing touches on her performance ensemble. What unfinished projects that fired me up in the past can be revisited? I bet there's a dress or wall hanging in there,
just waiting to see the light of day!
Tai Chi! It's outdoors, it's sort of a dance! Wanna try it?

Ideas for my heart (Water)
from Death, Major XIII
Inspired by Vincent van Gogh's 1890 Wheatfield with Crows
The dreaded Death card, for my heart. Hmm.
Well, I LOVE crows, so they're not scary.
They're leaving - something, somewhere. Here's what I get from this Death card, for my ideal summer:
Acknowledge the lovely lakeside memories of past summers and fly onward.
Crows are carrion-eaters; they clean up dead messes. Good reminder to sweep up my emotional debris.
The summers of memory are behind me and cannot be recaptured BUT... I have new summer memories to make, and time's flying by. So get going! Follow those clever crows!

     Ideas to occupy my hands (Earth)
from the Two of Pentacles (the "doing" suit)
Based on Dancers Practicing at the Barre, 1877, by Edgar Degas
A match! Earthy tips from Pents, the Earth suit.
They're at a barre. I could go to a bar too. Meet friends there.
Go dancing. That one's already started; I began line dancing class last week. Maybe suggest a drink at a patio bar after class?
That sewing machine I talked about in the first card? Make one of these floaty-skirted dresses.
Talk to a neighbour over the fence.

This is a sumptuous art gallery of a deck; 78 framed prints. Have a look at the card backs... 

In neighbourhood news

I arrived home on Sunday night to find a manhunt taking place on my block. Guess I can cross that particular thrill off my bucket list.


Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Six Fairy Decks for Firefly Season

One of life's small pleasures - fireflies.
Watching and waiting in the warm of a dark yard, trying to predict where one may next appear. They don't seem a part of our matter-of-fact busy world. Too magical.
Last night I wondered if fireflies are really fairies? 

I asked each of the following 6 decks a question. You know how flighty and unpredictable the Fey can be; they each stayed around just long enough to give me one sentence!

Fairy decks:
1. Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz
2. Fairy Lights Tarot by Lucia Mattioli (review of this deck, trimmed, here)
3. Fairy Tarot by Antonio Lupatelli
4. The Fey Tarot by Mara Aghem & Riccardo Minetti
5. Tarot of the Sidhe by Emily Carding (post about trimming decks, including this one)
6. The Victorian Fairy Tarot by Gary Lippincott & Lunaea Weatherstone (review of this deck here)

1. Why do we no longer believe in them, especially here in North America?
Eight of Pentacles
You're all too busy building big important lives, accumulating things, climbing job ladders, messing about in the artificial online world. 

2. Are you sad that most of us can't see you as many did in days gone by?
Four of Swords
Not sad, exactly, but we hope this is only a resting phase and you'll come back to us when your heads aren't so busy.

3. Are you watching the human world?
King of Leaves (Swords/Air)
I've got my eye on you, Earthlings!

4. Are you afraid of us?
King of Chalices
No, we're afraid for you.

5. What would you like us to know?
Maker Nine (Pentacles/Earth)
We're still here, all around you; all you have to do is look.

6. Can you help us with this mess we're in?
XVI The Burning Oak (The Tower)
Not directly, but we see that things are heating up on Earth in a terrible way, and we'll offer advice if you ask nicely.

The last words go to The Heart of Faerie Oracle by Brian & Wendy Froud

Just when are you humans going to get your act together?


Novels about/starring/mentioning fairies:
The Chronicles of Faerie by O.R. Melling
The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

In neighbourhood news ~ 

Happy Canada Day, Everyone! 


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mismatch: Me and the Majors

Forgive the bad grammar. I needed all those MMMs.

I'm not a fan of the Major Arcana, and find Majors-only decks disappointing. The flaw is mine: I'm uncomfortable navigating in that glittering gallery of archetypes. Give me the everyday down-to-earth homey Minors any day.

People go about arranging the Majors in a variety of patterns. The most common way of sorting them, at least that I've read about, seems to be in 3 rows of 7, leaving aside the Fool. Writers make cases for what each row represents in the Fool's life journey, and also sometimes the links between cards vertically above and below each other in the layout. For instance 3 Empress - 10 Wheel - 17 Star.
The cards below are from the Smith-Waite Tarot Deck, Centennial Edition, in a tin. Served up on a crooked chair cushion in uneven light. But you get the idea.

I'm not here to refute anyone's theories.
What I am going to do is show you, in three Majors-only decks, the pivot-point cards where each row ends. Racing, taking a breather, the finish line, if you will.
These are Chariot 7, Temperance 14, and finally the World, 21.

No brilliant expositions, no new theories, no arguments. Just these images.
I leave the thinking to you.

The three decks from left to right are:
1) The Stolen Child Tarot (unglazed cardstock, OOP; she's working on completing this deck)
2) I Tarocchi Dell'Alba Dorata (large cards which don't appear so here, unglazed cardstock, OOP) 
3) Tarot for Cats (large size cards, OOP)

At the end of the first row of seven, the Chariots. Il Percorso translates to the Path, the Route. Interesting that in the final two cards the Chariot appears to be moving backwards, to the left.

Completing the second row, at number 14, is Temperance. L'Anima (The Soul). While most Temperance cards have water or liquids moving from one vessel to another, it's rare to find the characters actually under the water as we see here in the first two examples.

And finally, the Fool's Journey concludes at 21 with The World, or Il Labirinto, labyrinth or maze. Our cat presents the most conventional World card of the three.

It seemed a shame to leave these three unusual decks without showing you a few more cards. So here are the Hermit 9, and Moon 18, the first cards I look for when opening a new deck. Neither one is my year card or birth card - I just like them!

In neighbourhood news...

Ta-da! Introducing new shelves for tarot decks and books, their assembly courtesy of my darling and helpful daughter. Many of these decks were so relieved to finally get out from under all that other stuff.

A to M

and N to U

and finally, V to Z

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

I can't stand the idea of...

writing a blog post this weekend.

Why not?

My brain is drained.
It's too nice out.
My creative juicebox is empty.
I don't feel like it.
My muse is on strike.

In other words you're too lazy.

That's one way of putting it.

Just get to work.


Because you said so.


Five years ago, when you started this blog.

Well, I lied.

Fantastic Menagerie

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Pros & Cons of Aging, with the Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot

My birthday was this weekend. A reminder that I'm getting older, as if the mirror weren't enough.

I've started a list. The Cons are much easier to come up than the Pros. No surprise there.

Con #1
My upper arms have developed a life of their own.

Pro #1
No more shaving. There are so few hairs left growing on my legs that tweezers can handle it.

Con #2
I considered getting henna designs painted on my hands, but the age spots were multiplying faster than she could paint.

Pro #2
No one notices old women, so I can skip the eye liner.

Con #3
My pantyhose were bagging around my ankles. I bent down to fix them and realized that I wasn't wearing any.

Pro #3
Since I've retired from teaching kids, I can swear more.

I could go on, but I'm running out of Pros...

What deck for this topic?
The Tarot of the Crone came immediately to mind. However, its mood is serious, and this post will not be. I need a somewhat kooky one. Oh where is the Maxine Tarot when you need it?
The Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot? It's kooky, but I want humans for this post.
The sassy Vanessa Tarot? Too young.
The Housewives Tarot? Getting closer...

I've got it! The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot. If I ever had a "golden age" it's long gone!
OK Hollywood, tell me a story because that's what you do.

Once upon a time there was a woman who liked to think of herself as young and glamorous. But it was difficult for her to keep up that illusion because memories of how she'd looked in her prime, and nightmarish visions of what was yet to come, intruded on her peace of mind. And those dreams about gorillas didn't help...
"Maybe I should cut down on my drinking," she thought.

One day a fairy godmother appeared to her, bringing this instruction: Action!
"What kind of action?" the woman asked.
"My dear, do you not have friends who are aging gracefully? Look at them and you'll see that they, too, show signs of wear."
And with that, the Birth of Wands disappeared in a colourful pouf of smoke, only to be replaced by another Fairy Godmother, this one afloat in a sea of blossoms.
"Have you something to tell me too, Birth of Cups?"
"I have, Earthling. Each birthday is a time when your life takes its first step into the upcoming year. Rejoice in it! Think of the adventures! Drink wine, eat cake!" And the Birth of Cups Fairy floated up and away in a whirl of petals.
Drink more, not less? This was confusing. And the woman wondered why her Fairy Godmothers were naked when Cinderella's always showed up in a nice dress.

The woman then turned to her mirror, and saw, not a crone alone with her wrinkles, but a vibrant woman surrounded by friends. Apparently it was a Most Magical Mirror, since we've already established how saggy and baggy she and her friends were.
The next two cards offered these words of advice:
"Yes, a facelift is tempting. But expensive. And we've all heard the stories of what can go wrong."
"Start enjoying the life and the look you have, or you'll turn into a sour old woman with baggy clothes."

The final word goes to Alfred Hitchcock.
"Bloody hell, woman, quit fussing and get on with it." 


Monday, June 04, 2018

Testing, Testing: The Zillich Tarot

First: the generosity of the tarot community.
After Readers Studio, many people post pix of their haul of goodies from the Conference. Of course I watch these like an avaricious magpie. In many of the pix was a beautiful tin, a gift from US Games to the participants. I love those tins! And the artwork on this one looked fabulous; just had to have that deck. 

So here's what happened:
  • Wrote a friend to ask what the deck was.
  • Checked online sources - it wasn't available anywhere (probably because they gave them all away at RS).
  • Brilliant friend suggested I put out a plea to RS18 people for someone who might be willing to part with it.
  • Posted on Readers Studio FB page, offering to buy it from someone.
  • Before the day was out, had three offers to give it to me!
  • The lovely woman who sent it to me didn't want any money for postage (even though it's frightfully expensive from the US to Canada). She opted for a glass of wine next time we meet. How sweet (or dry) is that? And much friendlier than an impersonal exchange of cold hard cash. I'm looking forward to toasting her in the future!

The Zillich is a somewhat unconventional-looking deck, at least for someone whose comfort zone is Rider-Waite-Smith-based. But I am absolutely in love with these watercolours!
It's borderless (a plus for me) and the cards fill the tin right to the edges, unlike some of the other decks in US Games' series of decks in tins.

Hello, Zillich Tarot. Are you ready?
Prince of Wands We are indeed - all fired up and ready to go. Let's get things rolling; my fellow cards and I are ready to fly!

Your images lie off the beaten RWS tarot path. Do you anticipate non-Thoth readers having difficulties?
Three of Wands The virtue of a beautiful card is that a reader will always find something of value in the image, whether it's a familiar one or not. As you see here in this Three of Wands, we have the bold and bright mingling companionably with the more reticent blooms. Seeing into a card is for everyone, if they but choose to look with fresh eyes.

Your little white book says that your creator, Christine Zillich, is also a pianist. Is this her?
Eight of Wands We don't know, but this young woman is running free, either toward or away from something, or perhaps both. Commuting between the arts of music and drawing? I would say that having fingers in more than one artistic pie makes for a deeper pool of expressive experience to draw from.
On a lighter note, a musical scale runs from do (re, mi, fa, so, la, ti) to do. Eight notes, one for each wand?

Is it demeaning to you if I admit that I picked you for your colours, and not your smarts?
The Hermit IX We don't judge. Your reasons are yours alone, just as my thoughts belong to me. I will say that we welcome you, however you came to be with us. Our watercolour drawings may have drawn you in, but I believe that the quiet beauty of our soulfulness will keep you here.

Do you mind if I show people more of your gorgeous paintings?
The Moon XVIII  They are dreamy, aren't they? We're rather fond of them too. By all means, exhibit us.
And please remind your readers that, like the sting of a scorpion, too much staring at a computer screen can be dangerous. Real life may become confused with the illusions fed to us from the online world.
That's not very cheerful, Moon.
You're right; my apologies for the unwonted sidebar about the illusory qualities of the Moon. Please enjoy the rest of our gallery!

Thank you, Zillich Tarot, for coming in to talk with me today! 

In neighbourhood news

This weekend was our 40th annual Art in the Park, sponsored by the 100-year-strong Rotary Club. Volunteers run school bus shuttles from two parking lots every 10 minutes for two days, and give a little update on the charitable doings of the Rotarians while we enjoy the free ride. 
People boarding the buses are empty handed.
People offloading from the buses after a trip to the Park are not!

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