Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crop Talk: trimming deck borders

WARNING! If the mere thought of cutting the edges from pristine tarot decks makes you feel like a defiler, quit this post now! May I suggest an alternative? It's a fun read, and no decks were harmed during its creation.

Why on earth would anyone take a brand new, clean-edged, maybe even gilded, perfect deck and begin lopping off its sides?

1) Lunacy
2) An urgent desire for a little craft project
3) Something to do while watching Edward Scissorhands
4) Enhanced reading
4) Aesthetics
5) Ease of handling

Here's the Crystal Visions before trimming. I just acquired this deck a few days ago, and it probably won't become one of my favourites (although of course you never know). All the females are 25-ish and shaped liked Barbie, so it's very difficult for me to identify with any of them. However, it reads easily, there's a pleasant fairy tale look to the artwork, and I like the colours.

The borders didn't seem to be contributing anything positive, so I decided to crop them and here's the result. The cards are better able to communicate with each other, and seem somehow more present.

Next up, the Druidcraft. These are large cards and my scanner would only take two of them at once; a lovely simple-to-use program called came to the rescue. This deck has two borders, a plain white outer one and a decorative green inner one; together they push the images far away from each other.

One option would be to simply cut off the white borders. I decided to trim off both borders, including the words at the bottom of the card. (I kept my original untouched deck in case I couldn't decipher the newly cropped cards!) I like how the landscapes meld into each other, creating a panoramic effect.

Now the AnnaK, Llewellyn's edition, which has slightly larger cards and borders than AnnaK's artist edition. I like that the colours are a bit brighter and clearer than in the original version.

Although the black borders are quite narrow, I opted to trim them off, making for easier handling. This is one of my go-to decks, so I don't need the card titles. This deck now feels more like a small flexible tool, and less like an engaging collection of coloured cards.

The Sidhe caused me quite some consternation. They are an opinionated bunch, and I wasn't at all sure they'd like me messing around with their boundaries. The cards are wide and a bit sticky, making them challenging to handle.

Well, they were highly indignant at first, and wouldn't speak to me for ages. I'm happy to say that they've now come down off their high horses and are once again voicing their opinions. (Don't tell them, but I may buy a third deck and trim off ALL the black. Sshh.) Cropping brought out the merging swoops, swells, and curves of the landscapes.

Two videos got me started on the how-tos of deck trimming: Donnaleigh's and TarotOracle's. Their styles and tools are very different. If the card stock is thin-to-medium and the edges of the images well-defined, I use scissors and the corner rounder pictured in the bowl at the top of this post.

Pop on your favourite movie, grab some scissors and a deck, and have fun!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pulling My Faves Part 1 - the Ace of Wands

I don't love every single card in every single deck. I have favourites. What kind of deck would emerge if I put together my favourites from among my collection?
Well, of course, the sizes wouldn't match. Nor would the card stock, or finish, or colour palette. Let's face it - it would look like a mess. And be impossible to shuffle smoothly.
But...every card in there would be a gem (at least to me!). Will the deck change over time? Probably.

I intended to present JUST ONE card in this post, but right away three beloved Aces jumped into my head. When I perused my scanned decks of course there were more that made the cut. They had to:

  • be engaging
  • have a sense of excitement or possibility, or both
  • make me think candidates for the Aces of Wands: the element of Fire. Drum roll, please!

Fantastic Menagerie

Circle of Life

The Fey
Victorian Fairy

At this rate I'm going to end up with a deck of favourites that contains 468 cards
We're going to need a bigger box.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Testing, Testing: The Cat's Eye Tarot

This is Baby; she's fifteen years old and her favourite thing is being petted by anyone who will take the time: me, total strangers, rambunctious little kids. She's one of the "sweet black and whites" as Debra Givin calls them in her suit of Cups.
Here's what we talk about, Baby and I.
Me: No barfing on my books, please.
Baby: (silence)
Me: I think I'll move these books off the floor.

Me: You have perfectly good water in your bowl in the kitchen.
Baby: (silence)
Me: Here, let me turn on the tap for you.
Me: Where the heck did I put that yarn?
Baby: (silence)

Score: Baby 3, Me 0

Cats have a reputation for being aloof. Some probably are but mine haven't been.
They don't need to be walked so they're an ideal pet for a lazy person like me.
You can leave them home alone and go off for a weekend. I like that about them.

Cats are agile, fluid, fast, and fun to watch. A little bit of the jungle right in your own home.
Debra Givin has been a cat vet for 22 years, so she knows a thing or two about them.

Hello, Cat's Eye Tarot. I have a few questions for you.

1. How can a cat's eye perspective help humans? 
Ten of Pentacles

We don't have jobs like you humans do, but manage to look after ourselves quite well nonetheless.

Some of us live indoors with our two-legged pets, and that kind of life comes with its share of responsibilities. Putting up with those scary small humans you call children, making do with foods that our humans think we'll like, chasing toys on command, staying fit with limited resources.

Outdoor cats fend for themselves by hunting for food, staying out of harm's way (traffic, dogs, opinionated territorial cats, rusty barbed wire fences), trying to keep clean in less-than-ideal circumstances, staying warm and dry in all weathers.

So go ahead and ask us about life management - we're experts.

  2. Can you be taken seriously, or are you too cute?  
Ten of Wands 

We can carry our share of the weight.
We're able to come up with dozens of plans and schemes, and we do our best to follow through.

We get all fired up with enthusiasm over a new project - whether it's searching out an elusive mouse haven or chasing the heck out of that jingly catnip toy.

Even though it occasionally seems that we've bitten off more than we can chew, we still get the job done no matter how slippery the subject.
3. The last meow is yours; what would you like us to know? 
King of Wands

We know when to give it a rest, when it's time to quit, when we've done all we can.
At the end of the day, you can rest easy knowing that we've exhausted the possibilities.

Your situation is in good paws.

Welcome to my shelf, Cat's Eye Tarot!
Hope you don't mind that I trimmed your borders.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Energy Extensions Part 3: using colours

I love colours, and sets of things.
Like this droolworthy macaron display in Budapest, from summer 2013.

And these glass gems (aka flat marbles) on the windowsill.
The gems' charms are many and their uses varied.
  • They come in handy as notes for music theory classes, and as game pieces.
  • When you submerge your fingers in them it's like plunging into a treasure chest .
  • You can pretend, as my little granddaughter does, that they are:
    • food
    • people
    • animals
    • money
  • They clink and slosh in your hands like glass waterfalls.
  • The sun pouring through them looks grand.

In this third segment on s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g the energies outwards from a central tarot card, I'm using the gem's colours to represent the energy in each card. The more heated or intense the energy the more saturated the colours. Calmer emotions, paler colours.

Here are three examples of the Four of Wands.

In this Four of Fire from the Wild Spirit Tarot, the energy is intense. This is hard work and it's not yet completed. There's a feeling of urgency coming from the woman, who seems to be concerned about someone or something to her right.

The colours are hot, sweaty, saturated, and serious.

Here's the central card, the Four of Wands from the Druidcraft; it exudes peacefulness, calm, order. A sense of completion. Everyone's gone inside for a rest.
Despite the fact that a fire burns under the canopy in this image, there's nothing hot-and-bothered about it. The work is done. Relax.

The colours are cool pale blues and greens, with a bit of intense gold connecting it to the Wild Spirit before it.

The third Four of Wands is from the Fantastic Menagerie.
As in the Druidcraft, the work is done. The mood is jubilant as the whole community celebrates. They aren't resting; they're whooping it up!

The colours are once again saturated and intense, but not with sweaty focused work. They are vibrant, cheerful, exuberant. Their connection to the Druidcraft before them is the clear stone flecked with gold - the reward for work well done.

Here are all three Fours side by side.
You can see the amount and type of energy shifting as the cards progress.
1) Working with Fire                           2) Fire and relaxation                   3) Dancing under the Sun's fire

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

A ducky take on lake living and the suit of Cups

I'm reluctantly back from a week of cottage life where the pace was slow, and the livin' was wi-fi-less. What could possibly take the place of all that quality time usually spent online? Well...

Frequent swims in the sandy-bottomed clear cool lake.

Reading, of course!
The Name of the WindLet Sleeping Vets Lie, and a revisit to Hogwarts: Year Six. Didn't get around to Agatha Christie.

Tea-drinking and snacking (frequent) and journalling (less diligent) while my suit dried on the line before the next dip.

Some tarot play. AnnaK is in the Baroque Bohemian Cats bag, and the Gaian was somewhere else in the cottage when I took this pic.

Ukulele practice. I'm appallingly clumsy on the uke, but it's a forgiving little instrument.

And then there were the ducks! A family group obligingly paddled by, poking around in the shallows in front of the cottage. Their antics were just too fetching to ignore. And so the watery new Suit of Ducks was hatched.
Here we have the Ace of Ducks (reversed). 
As Above, So (not) Below.

The Two of Ducks (also reversed). 
Practising for the synchronized swim team.

The Three of Ducks - usually a card of celebration with three friends raising their glasses in a toast. 
In this variation, we have three friends raising their ***es in a toast. 
Bottoms up!

The Five of Ducks. Typically a pensive image of someone gazing sadly at three overturned cups, not seeing the two upright goblets on offer.

And finally, the Queen of Ducks.
Rising above all the silliness going on in the pips.

Goodbye from Lake Avalon!