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