Capricious is pleased to announce that we now carry Amy von Harrington’s wonderful little hand made decks of tarot cards! I had a moment to ask her a few questions, so if you dare, read on into the future!
First, Amy gave me a small brief of the project, explaining that there are 78 cards in the deck, and that they are “…all important pieces in the tale of a spiritual path. Whether reading or just thumbing through, the tarot deck is a comforting companion, especially when it fits in your pocket, for when you’re on the go. The tarot symbolizes spiritual/philosophical/social ideas as wildly deep as the grandest of canyons. With so many decks and so little time, this one visually focuses on carnal desires, gluttonous visions, demons in kid gloves, and western dreamscapes, while maintaining a traditional integrity. Although small, this deck packs the punch of progressive positivity.”
Now some Q & A
When did you first become interested in tarot?
I got my first deck before I could drive. I still have it and it is my main deck. Rider-waite style. Although I have four decks now. One is an oracle deck. It has a different number of cards and functions differently.
What gave you the idea to create your own deck of cards?
I love the tarot and find reading the cards and about them comforting. My summer reading has been inclusive of things around Buddhism and Alejandro Jodorowsky. He has studied and written about tarot and I just had the epiphany. I am a quantity collagist and was waiting for a project. And I was all like “duh” I love the number 78, collages made mini (pocket size) and I am leaning towards projects that are more pragmatic than just pretty in a waste bin. Or as a re-gift. I think more folks should look to the tarot. It is not magic, but good philosophies and reminders. As my friend Daniel once said of Jesus, “He just told people to be cool”; at least that is how I remember it as going down. And so says the tarot. Making the deck became a fast obsession and was the best thing I did all summer. Sorry girls. I love them. Ladies and the cards.
How long did it take you to design the deck?
I collage fast and intuitively. Although I spent months before having cut out many pieces. Like all the dolls, hands, genitals, meats and pies were cut and ready in my collage cache. They are all cut and paste style. So that made it faster. But in total it took about a month of constructing the 79 collages. One was remade, I realized after I got it back that it was not right. but I also read a lot and it took a while to get them produced and then all are hand inked and stamped which takes about a week to dry. So, sumer of 2010. Some are still drying and getting kissed. Each and every one. Why not. I like to pretend that I am an exploited factory worker and pee in my pants for fun.
Did you follow a contrived design aesthetic when constructing the four suits? Or were they just a collection of your various collages?
The four suits are cups, swords, wands, and pentacles. They are the meat and potatoes of the tarot deck. They are the detailed explanations that flesh out the path of the major arcanum. My suits may look a bit different but really follow tradition. So:
The sword is about intellect which is reflected by the mouths and eyes. The thinking mind and the mouth piece to carry out the ideas. It is an airy suit so all the scapes are in the open.
The cups are about emotional energy and relationships. Water is connected with the suit, so each scape is on the water and are numbered with genitals.
The pentacles are about living matters, money, home, and career. This suit takes place within interior spaces. It is about consuming and materiality so cookies, coins and drinks can be found to number the cards.
And the wands are about psychic, sexual, and creative energy. This suit is more abstract with mostly patterns and a bit of all the other things. Genitals, arms, food.
-The four overlap in certain ways, but each have a signature to help them fall into suit. All the lessons that the cards offer are contingent upon how they relate with the rest of the deck, hence the reoccurring themes.
Do you have any advice for the folks out there wanting to teach themselves tarot?
Practice reading. Engage with the deck. Read about the cards. And pull a card at a time, It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or spread.
a great book: “the way of the tarot” by jodorowsky and costa
browse the decks, and this site is great for at-a-glance info
Thank you, Amy, for answering all these questions and letting Capricious carry your cards! For more info on Amy’s work, visit her website at http://www.vonharrington.com/ . And for your own tarot deck (just $20!), come to Capricious Bookshop, located at 80 South 6th St., between Bedford and Berry, and open Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm!
Posted by: Jessica Olm