Thursday, April 12, 2018

Altering Tarot Cards

I've been altering some of my tarot decks. Not all of my decks will get de-bordered but there are some decks that I just don't enjoy using, usually because they're too big for me to handle easily.  Bear in mind I will not alter most of my out of print, collectable, signed or self printed by the artist decks. After de-bording a few I've come to realize I also didn't connect because the white border washed out the artwork.  The following will be photos of some decks I altered.

This is the first deck I played with.  It's a vintage Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) laser printed.  I laser printed it on heavy card stock because I needed something back in 2005 that I could easily carry for study of the images while I was working on my master's thesis.  I'm thinking of carving a rubber block with a pattern I can hand stamp onto the backs. I did experiment with coloring the edges; here I experimented with using very thin stroke with a sponge brush with bronze acrylic paint.  The mistake I made was in trying to do all the edges of one side of the deck in one swipe, the paint ,although dry-brushed, bled around the edges. Fortunately since it's a copy of a vintage deck the bleeding adds to an aged look. So in order to avoid this issue with a deck I'd actually like to read with I took the time to watch some YouTube videos of tarotists who successfully trimmed and edged their decks.

Back in 2007 I bought this Llewelyn deck. I found the artwork gorgeous but it was so big I couldn't easily handle the cards and so I never could connect with it.  I figured this deck was a good one to be my first trim and edge. In the upper left of the photo, atop the organza bag I laid a trimmed card over an untrimmed title card to compare the difference in size.  Bottom left you can see just how lovely the artwork is and how beautifully it stands out without borders. Bottom right you can compare a trimmed back to an untrimmed back  Top right I stood the cards so you could see the edge treatment I did.  I use a copper colored "Brilliance" brand stamp pad, gently running the edges of each card one by one over the pad to distribute the ink.  It's lovely but the stamp pad was an older one so there are faded spots.  I will redo the edges with a new copper Brilliance stamp pad that I just bought at Michael's (with a 50% off coupon - thank you).  

I used a Fiskers paper trimmer that uses a razor blade, I didn't care for it because the cards would slip around to I bought a guillotine Fiskers trimmer that has a bar to firmly hold down the cards as I chop off their sides...I used it on the next deck trim...

...and it worked beautifully! The edges are near perfect squared and can be easily shuffled. The deck is a standard sized mass market newer RWS and I love them trimmed.  The trimmed size is just a tad larger than Scarabeo mini decks and so much easier to handle than the standard tarot size, Plus the artwork just pops without borders to box in the archetypes. I silvered the edges using a giant chisel tip "Craftsmart" water based marker from Michael's. These markers work very well for edging the cards as the large chisel tip is much like the cloth pads of stamp pads. And the color is works very well with the ubiquitous plaid RWS backs.  

Now I know I said that I wouldn't alter out of print (OOP) decks but I love the Sharman Caselli deck and wanted one trimmed to I could love it even more.  Since I didn't want to jack up my well cared for deck from the OOP complete tarot kit I did an eBay search for a used Sharman Caselli and ended up buying an OOP kit because it was cheap, used, in so-so condition so no longer collectable.  And it gave me an already opened black and white deck that I could feel free to color (I never could bring myself to open the one that came in my kit).  It is so obvious in these trimmed cards just how much the white borders wash out the gorgeous artwork of this deck. I can't believe how it was possible to love this deck even more! You can compare the difference in size with the black and white sample shown with these.  I don't know if it was the thicker card stock of this deck but the trimming was harder than the RWS and the edges aren't as squared but I won't be riffling this deck anyway.  Oh the size of the trimmed deck is similar to the U.S. Games pocket decks, maybe a tad larger.  

So I've started the next projects.  The generic "Tarot Cards" with pips are giant and perfect for doing mixed media artworks on.  I've scuffed and gessoed the backs of the major arcana.  I will be doing mixed media artworks on those backs leaving the fronts untouched (mostly) I'll post those projects in progress in my blog "Phare-Camp Fine Art"  I've started the trimming of the Druidcraft Tarot and am photographing the altering of this deck as I go.  My next post here will be all about that.  I thought I was going to Trim and Edge the mini Marseille but since I like to use it for playing solitaire I'm only going to edge it.  I just have to decide what color to use...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Random Deck of the Day 3/20/2017

Today I added a couple of new decks to the deck of the day jar. Then I mixed it all up and pulled out a random paper and it just happened to be for one of the new decks. The deck today is the mini version of the "Secret Tarot."

The cards I pulled are the Knave (Page) of Cups, the 9 of Swords and the 5 of Wands.

Above is my study; it includes my stream of consciousness and key words from the LWB, Paul Foster Case book "The Tarot: Key to the Wisdom of the Ages" and Mary Greer's "Tarot for Yourself."

The Story 
He loves her dearly but she lacks confidence and doesn't believe she deserves love. She worries about imagined conflicts in the relationship. She holds herself back from receiving his love.

What the Cards Say to Me 
Recent conflict that came up in the women's circle were petty games that are of no consequence. It blew up out of proportion and we made a bigger deal of it than was necessary. Be chill Patti, watch and tame your own reactions, don't get sucked into contributing to pettiness, games and power plays.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

When Sick in Bed You Play with Your Tarot Kits

So I had the flu...I was miserably too sick to do anything active and too bored to sit still. So naturally I pulled tarot kits from the bookcase right next to my bed and played with those while reading the books that came with them. Of course being bed meant I had only a lap tray to put cards on so I used the mini Sharman-Caselli deck that came in my nifty "The Tarot Box."

 The very nice Tarot Box

 The clever packaging and flip top of the Tarot Box. See how the divider neatly organizes the deck, book and puzzle pieces for quality storage.

The useful book and miniature Sharman-Burke - Caselli deck. The ball point pen gives good reference of the size of the useful items in this kit. 

The not so useful puzzle pieces are supposed to fit together to create a spread surface but it's too difficult to use because the colors are the same on both sides so it's really hard to figure out which pieces go with each other and once you get it together it's too clunky to use as a reading surface. They would have been a lot more useful (and probably cheaper) to have used a printed handkerchief or plain violet or black handkerchief neatly folded with in the box in the slot they used for the useless puzzle.

I worked from the book that came with my "The Complete Tarot Pack" it came with two full size decks; one full color and the other simple line art for coloring your own deck. It also came with a book. The larger book contains most of the text from the Tarot Box book with better pictures, larger type and exercises to enhance your learning. The book that came with the Tarot Box has more spreads to play around with. Since I was stuck in bed I got through the book in a couple of days.

 I like that the book starts you off with the minors. Most start with the majors and I've found in trying to read a book on tarot I often get bored down i the majors.  While going through each suite there were mini exercises with just the suite. I didn't record those, I did record the first spread with all the suites (no majors). It was the ubiquitous Celtic cross spread. I worked so much with that spread as a novice in my teens that I've come to dislike it. I prefer to simply lay the cards out in a line so I can see the linear story...anyway...

This is how I recorded my academic perusal.

The next exercise came after study of the majors. It was a star spread with majors only. I found this spread to be a bit more fun than the Celtic cross. 

This is my academic study of the spread.

The final exercise was using the entire deck in a horseshoe spread. I don't mind this one because it's linear within the curve so easy to see the story and if I need clarifiers than it's easy to line them beneath the card I pulled them for. 

And of course here's my academic study of the spread I pulled.

In the past I was using the mini deck for playing solitaire. I loved the artwork but I hadn't tried to read with it. I've found with these exercises that the deck doesn't jibe with me so much in a reading. This may just be because of the small size and I may later find that working with the full size deck is wonderful. Until then I still have many kits that I haven't worked with yet so I'll continue study from my cozy bed even though I'm very well now. I've found that:
1. it's very comfortable
2. it's freedom from television
3. it's conveniently right next to my tarot collection bookcase
4. it's neutral territory with the cats so they peacefully cuddle with me and keep my feet warm.

The book I started after this was from a newly released kit called Tarot Made Easy.

This kit comes with Barbera Moore's book Your Tarot Your Way and a lovely Waite-Smith based tarot deck by artist Eugene Smith. It has a lot more quick and easy exercises that are excellent learning devices. In the next few days I'll post some of the exercises I've done so far with this very nice kit.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Old Deck

I was gifted this vintage Tarot deck by my friend Rachel. It was the working deck of another friend (and Rachel's bff) who crossed over late last year.  I cherish this gift and will probably never put it in order as I feel like my friends are with me while I'm working with it.

After significant research (hard search) I discovered that this deck was developed and published by Frankie Albano and is referred to as the Albano Deck or sometimes the White Tarot Deck. I call it the Golden Sun Tarot as to me that's the most obvious name for it. In my head/heart it's Angel's Tarot.

 I did my first three card general (no question) reading with the deck. 

Page one was my stream of consciousness impressions 

Page two is book info and the star section is my interpretation.

Basically if I don't choose well I will not fare well...and to stop being so lazy...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tarot Tuesday Random Daily Deck Reading: Tablus Mundi Colores Arcus

Today I pulled one of Tabula Mundi decks from my deck jar, thinking I wasn't ready to read with that deck I put it back and pulled another deck paper from the jar and it was the other Tabula Mundi deck! Ok so I can take a hint...

I decided since it's a new deck that's rather content heavy that I'd make today "Tarot Tuesday" and do a deeper study with a three card spread using the Colored Arcus; the newly released color version of the deck.

All the cards I pulled came up reversed. I pulled the three of cups, the six of swords and Art (Temperance in the RWS style decks).

In the first page I did stream of consciousness study with each card and started with the companion book Book M: Liber Mundi. 

On the second page I continued study with the companion book. I added study with Rachel Pollack's classic book Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom and ended with my summation.

I think the universe is still addressing my decision to give up on trying to get a teaching position. I have to accept my mourning of the sacrifice of that dream I worked so hard for. Embrace it and express it so I can let go... I need to make room in my heart so I can move on and focus on my career as an artist. Especially since it's going to be rough going after being out of the gallery scene for too many years. I've got to get the world to remember that I am an established, experienced and highly knowledgeable artist and at my age the work is going to feel like starting over... And basically I am starting over...

Random Deck Reading: Book of Shadows Tarot

I pulled a reading using both decks from the Book of Shadows Tarot.
The kit came with the deck As Above V1, and a companion book with space for the deck So Below V2 which was published a year later. I think Lo Scarabeo made a mistake with the first deck. The card stock is thicker than in the second deck making it very difficult to shuffle the two decks together. They should have anticipated that readers would naturally want to read with the two decks together. I think I'll buy a lone version of the first deck, I bet the second editions are on the same card stock as V2. Any way I did manage to get the two decks mixed together and pulled a reading.
 The cards pulled in order were the page of wands from deck 2, the five of water from deck 1 and the world reversed from deck 2.
As usual I did a stream of consciousness study of the cards and the companion book. The book by the way did really well for the first deck but falls way short on the second deck. The first deck info is nicely acedemic for the first half then the second half comes of as half assed. They really didn't put a lot of effort into what could have been a very significant set.

I think this reading is speaking to me about my decision to give up on trying find a teaching position so I can focus more on my career as an artist. There is a lot of empowerment in being decisive but it also means sacrificing a lot of financial freedom. I think the five of water and the reversed world are telling me to make a plan. Things are going to be tough but I'm going in the right direction. I just need to direct a lot of energy to prepare and execute. Especially since I'm not quite ready to hit the gallery and exhibit circuit. There's been a lot of construction on my house and I can't feel comfortable creating and working until my home and studio are back in order. So first projects, and perfect for the waning stages of the moon, is to purge all the extraneous stuff that's accumulated over the past twenty five years. Then during the waxing days of the moon I'll organize and plan so that come 1st of the year I can finally come back out into the world and show off my great works...

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Random Daily Reading: The Complete Tarot Kit Thoth Deck

The deck I pulled today is the Thoth deck from The Complete Tarot Kit put out by U.S. Games. It's a pretty nifty kit with two mini decks, RWS & Thoth.

It also comes with a tarot reading journal and a Guide book. 
That guide book by the way is in no way a piece of fluff like most companion books tend to be. It's not as in depth as DuQuette but it's definitely more helpful a guide than most. The kit also comes with the prerequisite printed Celtic cross layout sheet and an odd cheat sheet designed to fold like a table card but since it's printed on both sides half the cheats will be hidden inside. Better to use it accordion folded, if you need it.

 The cards pulled were the emperor, the moon and the queen of cups.

Here's my stream of consciousness and companion book study. 
I find it interesting how the cards I pulled spoke to what I was thinking of earlier in the day yet had forgotten. While shopping at target for dry and paper goods I stopped to admire the Christmas card display. Which set me to thinking that I still hadn't come up with a design for this year's hand printed holiday cards. So I looked closer to get ideas. While looking I thought there were so many pretty ones I wish I could copy all the ones I like.  Then I thought well Patti you could just hand watercolor paint several different images on cards instead of printing one image over and over... the idea went to the back of my mind and I went back to my shopping. 

So the emperor is telling me time to get to it, start that project. The moon is saying that it would be good for practice but it's going to require some time, a lot and the queen is telling me it's creative time, the ideas are good and it will help me to feel the joy of the season of giving as i create these gifts of miniature art to mail to friends and family.