Ace of Spades Across Playing Cards

I see so many Bicycle decks with gorgeous illustrations and themes for the Ace of Spades, but my collection is a bit quieter. I used to buy a few playing cards every Christmas when Mr. Somerville was still trading, but he closed his shop five years ago and I only get new playing cards occasionally.

The closest I come to a Bicycle deck is my ultra cheap Jumbo Playing Cards. They aren’t printed very well and the finish isn’t good but I bought them to use for hand drawing titles on from the system used in the Playing Card Oracles deck so I could have an non-illustrated pip deck with those titles. In that system, the Ace of Spades is Terra Incognita.


I bypassed the illustrated decks I own, and most of my historical decks have interesting Ace of Spades cards. Even the quiet ones they’ve managed to make interesting. My quietest one is the Civil War Illuminated deck which has shiny gold foil.



Lastly, I have three Patience decks or Solitaire decks as we call them in North America.


The Tudor Rose deck was published to commemorate the coronation of Elizabeth II and is still in print—lovely cards. I find it so interesting how different artists and designers handle the pips in playing cards. It’s never boring to see that flare of design.





May the Mojo Hand Protect You

This looks quite auspicious. I managed to go back to sleep this morning after waking early. I might credit working a digital jigsaw of the Animalis Os Fortuna deck and Megan’s other deck the Azúcar Bone Oracle from a picture on her Etsy site. I always like to work jigsaws of decks while I wait for them. I wanted both decks but could only afford one, therefore I puzzle it.

Besides, who does not like a photograph of a deck with props and/or attendant figures? My thing, everybody sing. And I had to pull out a tray in the program to get all the coloured bits sorted and in place. Now I just have the joy of connecting those black and white patterns. Such a lovely deck of pattern and line. I had to stop because even with a tendon cuff this hurts my hand after a while but I did a bit which was joyous.

(Click to enlarge)


ACE OF SPADES – Protection from the mojo hand


The Six of Wands means victory to me, my favourite being the one that cemented this archetype in my mind, dear old Bertie on the Six of Wands in the Victoria Regina deck. Honours and perhaps successful team effort too.

The mojo hand is a hoodoo symbol. It’s like a charm you carry, the fire forming a ring of protection I expect from bad ju-ju. A friend of mine in South Africa is living where they are having riots and what they term “xenophobic” violence these past days. It’s pretty frightening as it seems to have gotten out of hand and people are being killed.

I offer up the mojo hand for her along with thoughts of victory over violence. My city isn’t burning, imagine how it would feel if yours was?



Play Architecture with Wood Laminate in the Auditorium

Daily Draw June 12th, 2012

I am starting my official study after the Jokers with the Spades suit. The publisher arranged the deck from Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9 etc., so I shall keep to that order. Spades are the suit with the theme of Modernism.

A. Aalto – Experiment with Laminated Wood

Alvar Aalto reminds me of Charles Eames, in that he worked with his artist/designer wife Aino Marsio much like Eames did with his wife Ray. He was older than Eames and was definitely an influence on him. Alvar and his first wife were both architects but often focused on decorative arts and design. For me, interior design is a vital part of architecture anyway, the support furniture, lighting, and decorative objects of a home make the whole package, an idea that comes from the world of Frank Lloyd Wright and Rennie Mackintosh; a very twentieth century idea to my mind.

Aalto did a number of interesting chairs with laminated veneers and moulded plywood. He designed the first cantilevered chair to use laminated wood for instance. Cantilevered chairs have no back legs but rely on the material for support. We are so used to seeing this sort of thing in the Ikea catalogue but imagine how revolutionary the idea was in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He did a series of interesting stools as well. He and his first wife also designed vases in glass with organic shapes and they are still being manufactured today in a variety of colours.

One of his early and most famous buildings is the Paimio Sanatorium that he won the commission for in a design contest in 1929. The building was completed in 1933, and he designed a chair called Armchair 41, which is now called the Paimio armchair since it was featured in the sanatorium. He and Aino designed all the furniture and interiors of the building, including specially designed lamps, cupboards, and non-splash wash basins. It is full of light and has balconies for fresh air, always important for treating tuberculosis. It is now a hospital and Finland is attempting to have it declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

He didn’t like man-made materials like steel, although he used them initially because that was the style of the time, the machine world was the rage. It’s strange how the Arts and Craft movement became passé and people started to worship production lines and tubular steel. I suppose this is the way it is with generations. Aalto decided to forget the trend and take nature as inspiration and this evolved into using wood and experimenting with wood laminate.

Alvar Aalto and three other Finnish gentlemen started a company called Artek in 1935 which is still in business and creating new products and designs, and some of their original furniture is still in production or can be ordered by special request. These pieces are like icons of design in our world.

I also like Aalto’s design for the library in Vyborg, Russia which was completed in 1935. He designed special light fixtures, and futuristic skylights that really set the rooms off. Unfortunately the building was damaged in World War II and then left to ruin by Soviet authorities, but thankfully it wasn’t demolished and a huge restoration was undertaken after the Soviet regime fell and it is now listed as a historical site. The building was such a structural wreck that efforts to restore it are ongoing. The inside of the building is more impressive than the outside and it is particularly known for a wooden ceiling in the auditorium that looked like an undulating wave, and was built for its acoustic properties, but was destroyed. Some day it will be fully restored.

There is a book called Alvar Aalto Library in Vyborg : Saving a Modern Masterpiece that is out-of-print but can be scrounged up for a hefty price, and it describes the restoration and is published by the same firm that published these playing cards, the Rakennustieto in Finland. There are 400 images and drawings in this book, and if it was less expensive I’d love to have it.

I love this “Siena” fabric Alvar Aalto designed in 1954. It is still available in a white-on-white and a blue-on-white colourway from Artek, and just as fresh as current designs. It reminds me of a quilt layout I once wanted to use and I have seen antique blue and white quilts in a similar pattern.

You can do a search to see his other buildings and designs, I simply highlighted a few. There are a number of books on Aalto houses, buildings, and design work available and in-print. What an interesting man with so much work!

He really fits the character as the ultimate Ace, the highest ideal, the Ace of Spades.

Ace It To Me

Daily Draw January 11th, 2012



Here is the new deck trying out its colours.

It’s been a while since I’ve done cartomancy with any regularity and the meaning of these three is drifting around at the periphery of remembrance. I think the Ace is a neutral card and the 7 of Clubs might be bad. The 6 of Hearts is good but I can’t remember why.

The book is needed….yes, the 6 of Hearts is a good card for promise in the future; good things are coming with personal and professional relationships. I’ve been wondering lately if I might get a job this year, so you never know. I feel that although I can’t think how the opportunity might come. I have an affirmation about it so it might just roll into my life.

Aha, now the Ace is neutral and because the apex is pointing up it means the end of circumstances and a conclusion. It also means actual death, but like Death in Tarot it can open up to mere transition. In this case I feel this is correct; I am leaving yesterday behind. Again, this might be related to work, some sort of transition into the working world. Change is something I am working on in many aspects of my life.

And the 7 of Clubs – it isn’t bad but I have had it before and it means sexual gratification. This one always stumps me, but perhaps the future changes will simply improve sexual gratification for me? That makes sense since many of the changes I see for my future are involved with healing the body.

In any case, I think I am getting a heads-up about changes and endings coming. The 6 of Hearts is a whopper for that and particularly here beside the Ace.