Wednesday, November 17, 2004

and another one - with close-up too

Incidentally, with the close-up you can see one of the problems of using these very old original pieces - their condition deteriorates and we often have a lot of work to do to "restore" them digitally before we can use anything. I began with the playing card images, as I thought they'd be of immediate interest to tarot people. But some of the others are even more lovely. I'll try to get round to showing more. For now though, we've just had quite a large order from a REALLY nice shop here and have to deliver (by midnight - how very Prague!) so will be running off soon. Queen and King Queen and King

Some amazingly beautiful, original Art Nouveau pieces

We found some original Art Nouveau (1895) prints some months back - and bought as many as we could. Recently I've been scanning them and thought I should show a few. So - some beautiful playing card images (this is half the set on the print we have). Glorious. Queen and King

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Farewell canary!

Well, the canary found a home - the best home you can imagine too. An illustrator - a woman with children - whose last canary DIED OF OLD AGE WHEN IT WAS OVER FIFTEEN YEARS OLD! I can tell you, our canary could not WAIT to pack its bags. We donated cage, food and all the rest too - and canary went off with never a backward glance - fickle bird. I'll miss her (we think it was a girl canary) but on the other hand, living in a design studio was not ideal - too many places to get into trouble. I'm so pleased we found the right home. As for the illustrator? Well, now there is a whole other story. I'll be posting more on this next year :-) Another good day.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

A plunge into the Gothic - a trio of devils

We went off to a local antiquarian bookshop to try to buy some more of the original Art Nouveau plates they were selling some time back. Extraordinary, beautiful things, I must post some - they now being put to good use by us - a couple are really inspirational for See of Logos. They had none there today, but we did find a very evocative old book with really GOOD photos and prints of Gothic (in the historical sense) wooden statues and reliefs from Krakow (oh - I just heard a friend is planning to begin a farmhouse cheese-making business in Krakow, which seems exciting - but I digress). Anyway, unbelievable carvings. They have such humanity and expressiveness. Here are some devils from this book - pretty splendid and spooky - not to mention bizarre. I love this period of work - especially when it's as well done as this. Oddly enough the last few days have been ridiculously good work-wise. A couple of really interesting book proposals came in, we had a very good meeting with a lovely illustrator here who we finally tracked down (having spotted her delicate, interesting work in a gallery), and some really splendid design ideas from Anna. Oh - plus we finally seem to have found a decent distributor here - someone who will get our work into the kinds of shops that visitors go to (and that sparked off another idea for a book too). Odd how you get these very fruitful periods. Oh - and TWO good, glossy magazines are running competitions around BBCsts - more of that later maybe. It's great really - though lots of work sending off the relevant information etc too. devil devil2 devil3

Monday, November 1, 2004

Ooh - the Court Pate Maker - what a grand title to have!

Just sending someone details of how to get here, I came across the site for the house (now hotel) next door. What a GREAT history. I would date our house to around the same - early 17th century - but don't know the full details. I wonder how I could go about finding out? Prague houses have such fantastic (almost literally) pasts.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

AT collaborative card

All work copyright - please ask us first if you want to use it in any way. Finally done! I have sent this in to the forum, but thought it would be nice to show it here - and at better resolution. It's great to use this image in some form. We worked on it for a ridiculously long time originally (the actual panel is significantly different so needed a lot of work to change it but still make it look and feel authentic) and intended it for Tarot of Prague. But we didn't use it in the end (most final Tarot of Prague cards went through at least three or four versions - which at the time was a hard process). But I always loved the basic theme of the women, lions and wands - so at last it takes on a life of its own. AT Three of Wands Description Three women stride out, each holding a wand wrapped lavishly in rich green leaves. By their sides walk two lions. The picture is one of calm and confidence - these women know where they are going. Above this scene is a decorated panel with many elements including baskets filled with the fruits of harvest. In the centre is a picture of three tree trunks intertwining, while in their leaves there are two doves. Symbolism Confidence and the ability to be visionary about what you want to achieve sometimes requires strength - the strength that the juxtaposition of woman and lion immediately reminds us of. But it can also take a gentle determination as well. The ability to see opportunities in a broad context and to make things happen does not mean that you should be aggressive. The more peaceful approach that the doves symbolise may actually take you much further. The fact that we used an Egyptian theme in this card is in some ways simple serendipity - we love these ceramic panels, which catch a style that is somewhere between Art Nouveau and Art Deco - a time when Egyptian themes were particularly loved. However, the Egyptian reference is also one that immediately reverberates with many images that most of us now associate with tarot. So somewhere in this card, Thoth may perhaps be present as a benign influence? Card Meaning Looking to the next stage with self-assurance, good planning and a sense that anything is possible. Walk forward with calm confidence - you'll succeed. Artistic Media Adapted from a set of tiles photographed (actually for Tarot of Prague orginally) at the Cafe Imperial (which may have a certain ironic aptness to this card?) in Prague''s "New Town" district. We had to do very considerable redrawing of women and lions in order to show three women - without distorting or changing the two lions, this was by far the hardnest part of the card technically. The panel above is less changed but did need to be redrawn to show three tree trunks. We also changed colours both for stylistic consistency and also to make it more obvious that these are while doves - symbols of peace. All photographs are ours - in this case they were great fun to do as we had a steady stream of people going in and out of the cafe curiously watching proceedings!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Not a sketch, but a "taster"

(cross-posted to See of Logos community) We've begun to work in earnest on See of Logos imagery. This isn't a sketch, it's just a piece that we may use - but it gives a good flavour of the deck I think. (reminder that all work is copyright - and all that stuff) electric scream

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Life becomes fun (again)

Travis comes in to discuss writing the next book (a graphic novel) for us. LOTS of interesting things in common, most noticeably a love of Herzog and Kinsky, not to mention Svankmajer. This project will be much more bizarre and strange than anything we've tackled so far - and perhaps an ideal companion project for See of Logos. Travis may be a good writer to use. His novel is seemingly punky, odd and opinionated and perhaps this is what we need (maybe I should read it? Now there's a thought): Hope so. He goes off with a dog-eared copy of a book that he needs to read for the project, and several Herzog DVDs. Then an email arrives from Rachel to say that she has just been on cable tv and used Tarot of Prague (which she says good things about again). The show sounds cheesy but a laugh – with perhaps an element of unintended seriousness? Anyway, the idea of Rachel sitting in a shopping mall being filmed giving readings with Tarot of Prague really pleases us. I want that tape! Diane Wilkes reviews Tarot of Prague second edition (and does not mention Knight of Cups! Which in some ways I quite like as usually people home in on that change). Nice, sensitive review, as one would expect from Diane: The canary continues to be in love with Edith Piaff and sings along with her in pure Parisian style. We wonder where to obtain bird skeletons in a “sound” way (a walk in the park perhaps?) We don’t mention any of this to the canary… We make glorious stamp images from The Great Felinsky and the Hairless Guard Cat. I try to persuade Alex to do an interview for a reviewer and he – as always – refuses flat and tells me to speak on his behalf. Doing PR for Alex is laughably difficult. But in a way I like that he is so UN-branded about himself - unlike almost everyone now. And we finally arrange to go to Frankfurt Book Fair in a fortnight with our printers. Though my friend in Frankfurt (the only German I know who speaks English with a distinct Belfast accent) turns out to be suddenly off doing a high-powered post-grad business degree in Boston – as of last month. Will I ever get to have a drink with him again? But for a day, this is good. I love it when life flips around fast like this.

An urban heroine in the making

Thanks to Eve for this link. I know everyone is passing it to everyone else (note the nearly 2000 comments - is that some kind of LJ record?), but I just have to join in. Utter brilliance - the funniest, warmest, BEST way of dealing with crazy fundamentalist fanatics I have ever read. Enjoy it! Then get out there and sing show tunes!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Okay, one more, Lord Felix

He is on the front page of the website - but here is a preview. Beautiful Felix

Printing, printing, printing - and redesigning the website

Finally, I am taking a deep breath and redoing the websites. The orginal BBCats tarot website was done in a rush, and largely by a friend, and I've never been too keen on it. It doesn't really show off the cards that well. So - as the book needs a site, seems like a good time to do all. First draft of the site went up yesterday (but not linked in to anything) and looks, well, okay. Over the weekend I will think more what I really want - and also get hold of some more of the book images, which so far I have not wanted to touch during pre-press. Anyway, all mundane stuff in a way (although I am actually looking forward to a bit of web design after all this time) but maybe keeps me on the ground during this next phase. It's funny, the book was always just supposed to be something quick after the deck - really just to show off the images in large size. But it's become a whole different thing - a big project in its own right. I'm glad, I like the story and the humour and the fact that the picture are lush. For now, here is a quick re-take of the Four of Pentacles. In the book he is Purrla's cross guardian (anyone bringing up Purrla could be excused for being a bit cross, she's a very showy little kitty indeed). The addition of the portrait was Alex's idea and it cracks me up every time I see it. I LOVE it! (awfully tempting to use this one in the large-size version of the cards too - assuming they get done). performance

Thursday, September 9, 2004

LOTS of pictures from the book - small for now.

Well - we begin printing next Monday (REAL nail-biting stuff) and I had to make a lot of small jpegs for a UK book magazine (it's supplied to bookshops) that has decided to feature us for November! So - a good opportunity to post some here. Usual disclaimer - they are BIG in the book, so you are seeing them at something like 1/12th to 1/20th of reality (what am I saying? Actually, it's a much smaller fraction than that of the real size). But it gives an idea. You'll see some of the characters from the cards reused (bet you didn't know that the Queen of Wands has a somewhat evil twin sister?! - they are Alex's homage to Gormanghast.) and some that are entirely new. Note that in the puppet scene, Death is now the happy bride of The Devil - it seemed a little inappropriate to do that for the version of this picture that was used for The Eight of Pentacles - but in the book, why not? I love both those puppets. As our Prague puppeteer contact said to us "The Evil characters always make the best puppets". Such is life... I am really happy to have done this book. Partly because it is such a surprise. It somehow went from a teeny project into a great huge one - but worth it as it's turned out. Anyway - here they are, and more behind the cut: performance ball garden nightgossip performance puppets twins

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Angelic monkeys

I'll soon have lots of our own new visuals to show, but for now, too busy producing them. So for now, here are some old (1930s) Czech puppets that we love. Sorry, the image (used with permission by the way) is not the best, as the photo was not that good in the first place. But aren't they great? Good monkeys or evil apes do you think? Hard to judge isn't it? angelic monkeys

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Another scene from the book

theatre is Cesky Krumlov table is covered in a 19th century velvet patchwork owned by a friend in Suffolk, England Dragon is Czech, from a puppet museum Joker costume is 1920s, from Bohemia birds are from a Chinese screen chest is 15th century, from the Strahov monastery lion discs adapted from some we found on a door in Prague and so on and so on - crazy stuff in a way. We are like visual magpies. joker joker all Not nearly as large and detailed as in reality I'm afraid (this is only about one eighth size) but it gives a good flavour.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Wonderful books

Just put this link on another journal and realised that I should also have it here. Wonderful, beautifully produced books - real literature, not commercial stuff (hence Howard, who runs this publishing company, is not a rich man!) We are too locked up in the studio now to really be in any way even a peripheral part of this scene (plus, well, when it comes down to it an Irish woman with a Russian man is a combination that even here tends to be viewed with a certain surprise among expats - more of this at some point no doubt). But, these are lovely books.

Monday, August 2, 2004

The first review

I think it's good (okay, it's good) but of course I immediately focus on the remark about the typos and want to hide under a blankdt somewhere. I must stop being so anxious. I also MUST find a decent editor here - the book went through two editors (both of whom were supposed to have experience) and still this. Oh well, I will stop fretting and try to focus on the nice bits!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Endicott Studio

I assume almost everyone reading this knows Endicott? But then again, perhaps not? So, here is the link to their Journal of Mythic Arts Summer Edition: Quite a lot of "magical" art irritates me, I have to say. Nowadays so much of it is a bit weak and woolly and not up to the standard of weird beauty that people like Kay Nielson set. But... Endicott is an unusually critical, intellectual voice - and all the more beautiful and enchanting for that.

Friday, July 23, 2004

A cat tailor in Japan?

We have spent so much effort on reassuring people that we do NOT actually dress up cats... and then I find this! CATPRIN, a tailor for cats. Ever imagined dressing up your lovely cat into a fabulous beauty? You don't have to dress her everyday, in fact she might not feel comfortable with a dress on for days. Just dress her up only on special occasions like her birthday, takes a photo and that should leave you lots of memories and fantasies. I mean, does this cat look amused? I think not. unamused cat and as for this poor baby - how embarrassing is that? unamused cat2

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The cards, and a spread or two

as promised. The spreads were really me playing around, rather than asking any definite questions - although as I say, I did have to struggle a bit as the deck is somewhat determined to throw up the same cards repeatedly in spite of much shuffling. I can never make up my mind in these situations about whether there is a perfectly rational explanation or not - and in some ways one way or the other it doesn't really concern me. When I have some time tomorrow I may sit down and do a more serious spread though. First, here is a close-upcloseup Two Celtic Crosses behind the cut: spread 2 spread 3

Friday, July 16, 2004

The first reading with the deck

A quick post, as we are about to meet with a Belarusian artist who does interesting, challenging work, but I asked the deck what it wanted to tell me about itself and the answer (three card spread was): Four of Wands Five of Wands Two of Cups I think that just about sums up the story of the making. It is our big step in establishing our studio independently - of doing what we really want, albeit risky. It has been a struggle - we have had two serious incidents during the making of the deck - the guy attempting to get us to sign away our ownership of the images, and the crazy "web stalker" person who made it their business to send nasty threatening email, more conflict than I would ever have expected over what is essentially a very gentle and almost airy piece of work. But, we got through all and reached the point of happily celebrating by, as we always say, "sticking together". It's the strongest of collaborations. Salut to that! A nice, concise and happy reading, and a satisfying story of the deck.

I have a full Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot deck in my hands!

Alex walked in having been with the bookbinder and the women who do all the collation. He wanted to show them himself how the boxes should be folded etc - and just properly meet the women themselves. We were told that the decks would arrive Monday and the sets a couple of days later. BUT! Now all will be here on Monday! The BBCats will be born properly at 12.00 midday on Monday. Or has it just been born? I'm not sure exactly. Because Alex just handed me one complete deck. It is - real! Really, really, real and here. The cards are, I don't know, I can't judge yet. I want someone else to see it as fast as possible. To me they seem very vivid little pictures - they work better than I expected. But I need a second opinion! Seeing all the cards together is different - NOT like seeing them on the web. Oh my goodness. What a day! Alex is on the phone to the printer right now. Lots of happiness and mutual congratulations. ____ edited to add - we will have to do the supersized (very small run) version you know. There is so much detail packed in - it isn't vital, but it would be amazing to do a very large version in which you can see all this. The Page of Cups holds a cup with a golden sailing ship on it - at this size you can only see that with a magnifying glass. But then, maybe that is also part of the charm? The print is so sharp that perhaps we should advise a magnifying glass examination? I am half joking - I think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Tarot of Prague study group

For quite some time now there has been a Tarot of Prague study group on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum ( and yet I've said nothing about it here. Maybe it's time to, but I'm not sure how to put it exactly. What I really want to say is how amazing and privileged and exciting it feels to see/hear people discuss each card image. It's rare for an artist/designer/illustrator to get that much feedback about individual images - tarot is wonderful for the way in which people do LOOK at the images. I'm learning so much from this study group. So I want to acknowledge that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Strangely silent?

If anyone out there is wondering where I've gone to (okay, no-one even noticed I expect) then the answer is across the studio (four steps) to work with Alex on his machine - we are doing a final "dummy" of the picture book. Sort of half-made pictures at this point, but easily enough to see how it's all going to look. What has got me completely hooked is how WELL it's turning out. I imagined the picture book as being a secondary thing to the deck, but in fact it has taken on a whole life. It is just wonderful to break the format of the deck and see this complete world emerge. The fun of being able to see behind the frames - and work on big scenes. The panoramas feel like working cinemascope or something - SPACE! It is also turning out to be a very funny book - I hoped for that but didn't quite believe that text and pictures would work so well together. There are several scenes that originally felt like "plot vehicles" but which are now full of their own weird happenings. I have become very fond of the sad ginger Prince Scratch - he does NOT get the girl, but Alex says that he deserves to really. She in fact marries the lovable rogue (Danski Danny Boy tabby in his first starring role). So - another meeting with the guy doing the text tomorrow (I sort of blocked it out, and he actually crafted it - he is a published novelist and can write in a way that I just can't). Oh - I think I'm in love with the Bohemian Cats. I've wanted to do a book like this for years. Pictures to come - but not for a week or so.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Too busy to post much today, but here is one for the Kuba fan club (his "show name" is Odysseus). If you want an "ahhhh" moment, do take a look at the kitten gallery too...

Sunday, July 4, 2004

The magician who had no fingers

This feels like an odd, transitional time. A deck takes us - we've discovered on the basis of two - a whole year of what feels at times like quite considerable sacrifice. We work seven days a week from around 10.00 in the morning until around 10.00 at night (literally) and for the ten or eleven months it takes to complete a deck at this pace, we focus hugely. Once it's finished, all sorts of things begin to flood in. I've had the most remarkable dreams (my mind emptying out the unused pictures?) and I begin to have time to think about experiences that I have put aside for a year. So - the magician with no fingers. This is what I saw on an ordinary tube train on an ordinary evening (early evening) in London a few years ago. It was so strange, and at the time had such an odd atmosphere of unreality about it, that this is the first time I've thought to ask - does anyone else know of this guy? Has anyone else seen him? He was a scrawny magician who got on the tube train and started to perform cliched tricks. He had a handkerchief from which he pulled objects (I cannot for the life of me remember what, and you'll understand why in a moment). He had long hair, wore a tail-coat (I told you, all very cliched) and had - here comes yet another stereotype - incredible piercing blue eyes. He did the tricks with a remarkable elegance, almost graceful. But, as he pulled the handkerchief away with a flourish, he showed his hands, and he had no fingers. Just stumps. It looked not at all like a congenital defect but as though someone had actually amputated the fingers. It was so horrific and so unexpected that I just sat there. I remember that I could almost feel and see the air thickening. Then he left the carriage. That's the end of the story. Does anyone else know who this man was. Is he still in London? I'll be honest and say that at the time the phrase that went through my head was "by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes". I found him fundamentally terrifying, but I'm not sure why (I am certainly not afraid of disability, one old friend of mine is quite severely disabled and I find his company both charming and relaxing). So what was going on? You tell me. I didn't dream it, it happened. I'd just like to know more.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Box is done and at the printers

and... to my amazement, Tarot of Prague gets into the top 10,000 on Amazon. I expect it will be there for all of a day, but it's still GREAT! I never expected to get much lower than 60-70,000 or something, and that would have been quite respectable. I know that Amazon listings are notoriously vague and in some ways quirky (there is quite a lot of luck involved) but anyway, I am happy. SO - back to the box. This is the kit box, not the deck box. It stars Kuba, Lotte's dad (no we aren't absolutely sure how to spell "Kuba" either). In real life Kuba has a problem - he has sired so many of the Siberians in this country (well, look at him, what a GUY) that he is related to most of the girl-cats and no longer has any "clients". Isn't that a sad story? Anyway, here he is, still breaking hearts on our box: box

Sunday, June 27, 2004

This morning

We get our first press mention (on the web, it's been out in print for a week or so): Czech is in an odd frame of mind - we won against Denmark (you should have HEARD the celebrations last night) but our government has collapsed (I use "our" - which shocked my mother the other day - she can't believe that I am beginning to think of Czech as home). Iraq was "handed over" in the oddest ceremony I've ever seen. Was it just me, or did Paul Bremmer look incredibly nervous? Very weird - no doubt we will (or do I mean won't?) hear more. It is raining - again. Will it ever stop? Lotte reaches the grand old age of ONE. We plan to celebrate by buying her a steak - she is a red-meat cat. Strangely does not like fish, chicken and so on, but adores beef - and fresh grass and greenery of all sorts. I suppose it's healthy.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

The Seven of Swords - sneaky guy...

Seven of Swords Seven of Swords detail The quote that sort of goes with this - Colette is my all time heroine: I am indebted to the cat for a particular kind of honourable deceit, for a greater control over myself, for a characteristic aversion to brutal sounds, and for the need to keep silent for long periods of time. Colette

Oh - and by the way, our government just collapsed

I haven't really taken this in. It's been expected for days though. Poor Spidla, I liked him. He was that rare thing, a poor politician - lives in a small flat and pounds around the streets jogging. I think he may have been a little too idealistic for his own good - something you certainly cannot say of our President, Klaus, who will now appoint a new Prime Minister. Oh dear, oh well, it will all work out fine I suppose. Now that we are in the EU it keeps things more stable anyway - and Czechs are a pretty calm lot.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Knight of Cups rides forth...

With one blue eye, one yellow, and an awful lot of flowers on his costume. This is "Knight as Dreamer" - incredibly lovely, but impossible to bring him down to earth. Castles in the air... Knight of Cups Knight of Cups Oh - copyright, copyright. These are copyright so please ask before using them (the human domestic servants of any cats included are exempt from this of course)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Just a girl in a red dress dancing

This evening there was a tremendous, but brief, thunderstorm. The rain poured off the roofs so hard that it looked like rivers, but we didn't mind as just as it started we reached our very favourite restaurant - family-run Spanish with great fish - and were able to watch it all from inside, with the waiters laughing. When we left, the air was so clear it almost hurt - you know the way it can be just after torrential rain? The clouds had gone lemon-coloured in the very last sunlight and all you could hear was swifts screaming. Walking home we looked up at St. Nicholas Church tower as something scarlet moved suddenly. It was a girl - high up, leaning against the balustrade - and dancing. She wore a bright red dress and waved her arms in the air as though she was conducting the whole crazily beautiful city. Some final rays of sunshine hit her and lit her up, and she threw her arms up in the air in sheer joy. Yes, I know she could have been high, or a bit drunk, or a show-off or simply crazy, but it looked as if - and I believe - she was just high with the happiness of being here on such a glorious, perfect evening. I love this city.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Borders, a disclaimer :-)

By the way, recently when I reduce these cards the inside gold line on the border gets very heavy - in reality it isn't like that, it's very fine. Must work out why this suddenly keeps happening.

The World - starring a cat you may recognise...

Because to a cat, joy worth dancing about is having TWO gilded feather-sticks. World World closeup

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Hermit, for Diana and everyone

Sorry. I forgot to post this having said I would days ago - whoops, apologies. Hermit Hermit closeup

The Knight of Wands

Gorgeous, hugely admired, a real heartbreaker, but, like the blossom or the dandelion heads, he's gone with a puff of wind... Knight of wands Throwing caution to the winds (er, hmm, kind of) here is a close-up Knight of wands

Cesky Krumlov goes back to the 1600s

Interesting little article (below). If we weren't so totally up to our ears we would go - though I'd guess all the hotels will be booked anyway by now. I found the piece about the "deal with the devil" interesting. The Castle has the weirdest atmosphere. One AT (Aeclectic tarot forum - person told me that she visited, but then ran away in terror. It IS an odd place. If you remember our Five of Swords, there is a strange wall painting from the Castle that we first used in the sketches card (but we left it out of the final - sorry) - it features the Devil. Why was that put high up on the first courtyard I wonder? Here is the card - now minus the devil: Wheel Here is the devil picture - yes, it really is an original from the renaissance. Very odd isn't it? Devil Anyway, the festival looks very jolly and quite romantic and not terribly Gothic. This winter, when all the tourists have gone away again, we'll go back to Cesky Krumlov and do some more photography. As it is, half the cards feature parts of the town :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Chariot is redone! Yes!

I am happy - we said we would do it if we could, and we did (well, no, Alex did). It was the very first card we completed and it just never felt as together as the others. Now it's much nicer - and has one of those weird Renaissance chariot pictures in the background (the ones where everything but the kitchen sink was on the chariot? Oh - I'll post it tomorrow). Okay - off to watch a movie. Lots of posting to do tomorrow - including a Hermit for the_Bateleur. So pleased that we are nearly ready to go to print. Even though we still have eight cards to finalise (but that can be done while the first sheets are printing). Weird way to work, but well, why not. Now all I need is to finish the book (don't laugh, I am only half-joking - well it's 99% all there, but needs its final edit).

Friday, June 11, 2004

The Wheel of Fortune

With a corner of one of the wonderful photographs of Libor Svacek (which he sold us the rights to - beautiful stuff). This is set in the red bedroom at Cesky Krumlov Palace. Does it make sense? It's hard to see the details here (Alex thinks it's very hard to see enough at this size, but I think it's okay) We wanted a subtle Wheel of Fortune - something with some drama though. Wheel

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Queen of Wands

With the traditional black cat as bodyguard (we still need to do a little bit of work on him - just some tweaking). A lot going on - and the rain pouring down all the time. It feels like working in an aquarium. The river is rising alarmingly but everyone says it is okay as they have done something to the dams upstream and so we can't get floods again. I hope this is right and not just wishful thinking. Anyway, a lot done today including picking up our new stamp for the outside of the parcels. It is beautiful. I will try to scan it and show it. We will have an awful lot of mailing to do when the deck comes out so I want the parcels to be decorated this time. Other things. I have had another meeting with the guy writing our picture book. This time we had a dummy to talk around and I'm getting convinced he will do a great job. Okay, it's a small amount of words but they need to be funny and witty and sweet and edgy all at the same time - we don't ask much! Oh - and I want to take a trip to Transylvania. But much travelling coming up so will it be possible for us to fit that in too? Back to our beautiful queen. Oh - more news first though. We finally got permission to use the fabulous photos of Mr Svacek, the photographer who specialises in Cesky Krumlov. Nice man too - we will work more with him. It means we have these fantastic photos of the Baroque theatre - This theatre was closed (due to changes in theatrical fashion) in the late 18th century - they simply shut the door with everything still there, incredible but absolutely true - so when it was reopened in mid 20th century it was like a time-capsule. It is one of the most thrilling places I have ever been. We also have photos of the MAD Baroque Masquerade Hall and the Magical Hall of Mirrors (if a woman looks in the mirror there she will never age by a day BUT... there is a snag (of course)) Whoops - I'm rambling. Okay - first the Queen in the Baroque Theatre: Queen of Wands

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A trip to our local antique textiles shop

It is still (just) possible to find amazing things here. We just stopped into our favourite antique textiles shop, only to find a full 1920s Pierrot/Jester/Clown costume. We bought it and will use it. It's out of period but on the other hand the Masquerade Hall that we are about to use has many wall paintings - which ARE genuinely Baroque - that look more modern than this. I think with some work, this will look amazing (work including that I have to find out how to starch and iron a four-layer lace ruff colour). Here is a scan of a corner of the fabric: Clown costume The woman who runs it also loaded us up with a heap of free antique lace, silks and ribbons - saying that they were all slightly damaged so she can't sell them. Remarkable really. We will of course take her some postcards for now - and cards later (the embroidered panel on the front of our "Diva's" costume is from the same shop).

Monday, May 24, 2004

Cards - new beginnings and a happy home life

Apart from the brush with the mad vengeful deck "designer" person (and I've got to admit to being relieved as well as outraged when I realised she is attacking people other us) this week has been exciting in some rather more positive ways. The Tarot of Prague is reprinted!!! Yey! I will put up a photo soon (and I am trying to sort out our listings on Amazon which seem a bit of a mess - the deck has vanished again - never mind, it will settle down). We had a good burst of doing new cards - and somehow they all seem to be happy ones. A friend is trying to persuade us to do a collaborative project - not sure about that one, but nice to be asked as she is a well-known designer. We were asked (again - last time we didn't have enough) to submit work for a new Chinese design magazine - which seems quite good quality. Anyway, on balance a good week, though with some nasty moments. Thanks again to all here who helped with MVDD - as s/he shall be known from now on. Ace of Swords Two more cards behind the cut: Ace of Cups Ten of Cups

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Three of Pentacles - l'Opera!

This for my friend fiammablu who I hope will find it funny. I'd love to know what this Diva-puss is singing... Diva! a closeup (the shadowing maybe still needs a little work): Diva!

The King of Wands

A real showman - he's a non-conformist tabby who just loves to be the centre of attention - and in fact expects to be. He's sitting in the surreal Masquerade Hall at Cesky Krumlov Castle - this is a ballroom in which everyone, even Death, is invited to the masqerade - King of Wands a close-up King of Wands closeup

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Nine of Swords

If you fly too close to the sun, you may end up plunging into the sea... A nightmarish quality to this card, which we didn't want to soften too much. Yes, I know it's cats, but the tarot needs always to be about life - all aspects of it - including the parts that wake you in the wee small hours of the morning and leave you sitting there shaking in anxiety. I think even cats have those moments - and as for people? - well, we all have them don't we? Nine of Swords On second thoughts, I think the close-up of Icarus and Daedalus is needed: Icarus and Daedalus