Thursday, December 29, 2011

Work in Progress - yet another Tarot deck ...

Thought I'd share a sketch for a work in progress. I was invited to participate in another Tarot deck (one of my secret obsessions). This project had TWO added inducements ...

Firstly: the theme is Steampunk. Imagine the "modern" world as if science had stopped in the Victorian age. What sort of contraptions would we be getting about the planet on? How would we dress? What would our cities look like? While I'm not completely obsessed with steampunk, let's say I'm ... intrigued. There *are* people out there who are completely obsessed (google "steampunk", select images, and prepare to have your mind blown). But for now, this level of obsession will do for me.

Secondly: we're doing the *whole* deck ~ not just the Major Arcana. For folks unfamiliar with Tarot, the Major Arcana are like the face cards in a regular deck. Kings, Queens, that sort of thing. For this project we're also doing the Minor Arcana, or the numbered cards as well. Yay! And yikes! That's a LOT of cards! Good thing we've got a big group on this one.

The usual "suits" in a Tarot deck are Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles (or Coins). Since this deck is steampunk, Cups have stayed Cups, although my vote was for beakers. Wands have become Walking Sticks. Swords have become Daggers. Personally I thought Umbrellas would be cooler, but people didn't think they were menacing enough. Obviously they don't live in Vancouver. Pentacles/Coins have become Gears. Which is pretty darn cool. I put my name in for the Page of Gears.

Eons ago when I bought my first Tarot deck (at 18?), a friend who read Tarot cards suggested that I choose a "signifier" card for myself ~ something that would represent me in the world. She suggested that since I was too young to be represented by one of the queens (a card better suited to more mature women), that I choose one of the Page cards. I read all the definitions in the teeny tiny book that came with my cards and I chose the Page of Pentacles. Okay ... so it had *pen* right in the name, so that was a plus, but (according to the teeny tiny book) it also represents a young person on a quest to gain knowledge or learn a skill, and I had (at 18) just started an apprenticeship in printing, so it seemed to fit me nicely. Pentacles are also an earth suit, and my Zodiac sign is also an earth sign. Let's just say that if you're going to throw your hat into the divination ring, you might as well go with the flow. I should (of course) stick a whoppingly huge disclaimer on this whole thing by saying that I don't actually "believe" this stuff ... I'm far too practical for that. But my friends who do would pat my hand and say: Of course you're skeptical, dear, you're a Virgo. And there's no comeback for that, is there?

Above is one of the sketches I made for the final drawing. I should explain that his/her weirdly placed hand will be holding a giant gear/cog. The final Page of Gears is 97% complete ... I'm just struggling with the face. I'm working in about seven layers of gesso, paint and Caran d'Ache crayons on the figure, which is a good thing and a bad thing. Bad because so much texture is making it tricky to get the features right. Good because if I mess it up, I just scrape off the layers and start again. Which I've done four times already. I think I'm just going to set this card aside and move on to ...

My second card! Yes, with 78 cards to produce, it was inevitable seconds would be available. Since the organizer very kindly gave me the Page of Gears as I requested, I told her I'd take any random card she needed to complete the deck, and she gave me the Seven of Daggers. Oooooh ... sounds dangerous! After spending a few hours yesterday trolling the net for a) card interpretations and b) examples of other Sevens of Swords, I'm well on my way with ideas for this one. I'm having so much fun with this that I can't wait to see the completed deck.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Ooooo! You know my love of the Tarot. This project sounds really cool. I just read my first steampunk novel (Boneshaker) a couple of months ago for my book club and have been intrigued by the social phenomenon of the Steampunk community ever since.

Did you go to Journalfest in Oct? I've been meaning to ask you...