Coordinated by Shelley Carter
This deck was created only a few miles from where I was living at
that time and Shelley Carter is a dear friend and colleague. I just
wanted to make my biases clear right at the beginning of this review. I
was only privy occasionally to the trials, inspiration and manifestation
of this magnificent deck but I leave it to the reader to imagine the
excitement and strife of pulling a whole community together to create a
tarot deck! Elora is well known in Ontario and among artisan circles
across North American to be an art-rich community. It’s a beautiful
place to visit and indeed thousands of tourists flock there every year
to hike along the gorge and visit the multitude of galleries and shops
lining the streets of this lovely town. It is a magical place and
perfect for a back drop to the creation of a tarot deck.
If for no other reason than the fact that a whole community of 65
artists were brought together by an extraordinary Tarotist to create
this deck, as a collector you must have a copy on your shelf. That is
truly its soul and magnificence.
A Royal Couple You Would Love to Have as Friends
What I love most about the deck itself is the fact that it was
created by 65 different artists. Each card is done in a truly unique
style and every Tarotist will have their favourites! Many of the artists
used multimedia materials to create their renditions such as the Fool
card by Eric Allen Montgomery. He brings “found object assemblages”. He “is fascinated by the memories equally triggered by society’s cast offs and coveted treasures”
(Quote taken from the accompanying book). But like all Tarotists of
course I have my favourites such as Rick Worthington’s painting in oil
of the Empress and Arlene Saunder’s watercolour painting of the Emperor.
This is a Royal couple you would like to have for friends. They have
delightfully constellated all their aspects of greatness, warmth,
kindness and parentage.
The Lovers depicts two women in a soft embrace, The Hermit depicts
Van Gogh, and The High Priestess is a collage including a photo of a
real and beautiful young woman sitting in what appears to be in the
woods at night cautioning the viewer to hush. I don’t have enough room
to point to every card but these are only a few of the highlights that
are original, appropriate and inspirational.
Pip Cards Thoughtfully Depicted
The pip cards are all just as colourfully and thoughtfully depicted:
The 8 Swords depicts a young woman sitting with what looks to be a
cocktail in front of her, the swords represented by the swizzle sticks
scattered on the surface in front of her; the 3 Cups depicts three women
in shadow passing water from one cup to another in three circles of
bright orange and red suggesting a campfire; 5 Pentacles is a delightful
painting depicting a close up of an aging person (woman?) in the
foreground who looks blind and is clearly isolated from the people
gathered on church steps in the background. Some of the pips are
difficult to describe and may be even more difficult to associate to the
Tarot but that’s where a future book on this deck will come in handy!
Physically the deck is larger than usual, brilliantly coloured and
well laminated for long use. It comes in a sturdy box which is held
closed by a small circle of Velcro. The book respectfully gives tribute
to each artist and describes materials used along with a brief
description of each card’s meaning. This deck however, calls for a much
more comprehensive book to be written and I have a feeling (with enough
urging on all our parts!) Shelley will be doing just that in the future.
I for one would love to know the rationale behind each artists’
interpretation of the card, the process of bringing a community together
to do this project as I’m sure there are other Tarotists in the world
who would love to do just that.
I give this deck a must have for any Tarotist looking for something
different, something that took an enormous amount of energy and synergy
to create and would not surprise me to learn in the future has become a
true classic both inside and outside Tarotist circles.
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