Posted tagged ‘playing card collection’

I Exist, Therefore I Scan Freely Wearing a Bowler Hat

August 14, 2017

I’ve been playing around today examining my new Existentialist Playing Cards or Exist Playing Cards as is printed on the title card. The bowler hat is a reference to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot which I studied in high school but missed the reference here until I looked it up, thinking instead that it might refer to a René Magritte painting which depicts a man with a bowler hat. Beckett features in the Clubs suit in caricature and in several quotes on the Clubs pips.


I scanned several more cards for my database but here is a sample of a few cards and the back with numerous bowler hats.


The colours are wonderful in this, I can see where you could pick a card or two and use them as impetus for artwork. Yes, Camus would like you to use a bunch of gold green shades and paint a reptile. Of course he does. I think Rita put a lot of thought into the organization of this and the stream of colour families in each suit.

The Court Cards have caricatures of the three philosophers quoted in the pip cards with a name tag on each that says “Hello my name is ______”, and each has an additional famous quote in a speech ballon.

The pip cards have quotations on them from Ace to Ten:

SPADES: Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers.
HEARTS: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Simone de Beauvoir, Gabriel Marcel.
CLUBS: Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka.
DIAMONDS: Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Tillich, Martin Heidegger.

Existentialists brought in emotion and the whole human experience rather than just reason and rationality to philosophy. They felt conventional philosophy was too distanced and abstract from human experience. They were very, very big on being free and authentic.

And wearing bowler hats.



New Tarot Cupboards

March 28, 2017

I’m into my tenth day of trying to organize my bedroom. I have one tiny half rack I’m using for clothes in the walk-in closet, and the rest is all craft, art supplies and doll or dollhouse stuff. Yeah, I’ve got MY priorities straight.

These are flat-pack pantries or wardrobes. These are fairly light and hold a lot with the extra wire racks I put on the shelves. I had one extra shelf cut for each cupboard and still they are filled up.


Now I have to organize and put away the mess at the end of my bed. I have ordered a nice wooden blanket box in a “chocolate cherry” stain but that won’t be here for weeks. My quilts are reeking of plastic after being stored for 2 years or so in a Rubbermaid plastic bin. Never again. I’ve washed the ones I can, but the quilt tops can’t be washed so I’ll try to air them out in other ways.

I can actually get to my decks now and I found I had room to display my tarot bags facing toward the front—so pretty. I JUST had room for all the boxes too. While reorganizing the decks, I got rid of two so I’m still under 400 at 399 decks. I couldn’t fit my postcard collection in the cupboards, so they’ve gone into the closet for now. I wondered while looking at some of these decks why I bought them but I think the Internet has a lot to do with fuelling the purchase of stuff.

My next task is to enter my four new decks in my database. I received the 72 Names of God deck by Orna Ben-Shoshan yesterday and I really love it, it has such depth in information and artwork.

Ace of Spades Across Playing Cards

November 24, 2016

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.




A Revisit and Overview of Database Monday

November 12, 2016

Database Monday is a category where I post about card decks and use the scans from my digital visual database to discuss them, perhaps adding a few personal notes and updates. Memory is a strange thing, I thought I’d done about twelve of these, but when I looked I discovered I had done twenty-eights posts on the subject, starting two years ago.

My last post was on October 29, 2015, over a year ago. Selling our old house and moving across the country, and home renovations swamped me, but several categories on this blog are subjects or exercises I’m fond of, so I made a list of the decks I have posted for Database Monday thus far. I remember duplicating a couple of them last year so I’ve now made a complete list so I’m organized when I start up again.


1) Lord of the Rings Tarot – Oct. 29, 2015
2) The Healing Deck (Zerner and Farber) – Oct. 12, 2015
3) Kazanlar Tarot – Sept. 3, 2015
4) Victoria Regina Tarot – Aug. 10, 2015
5) The Answer Deck – June 22, 2015
6) Javanne Tarot – June 15, 2015
7) Nature’s Wisdom Oracle – June 8, 2015
8) Tarot Francais des Fleurs (tarock deck) – June 2, 2015
9) Bird Cards – May 25, 2015
10) Silenus Tarot – May 18, 2015
11) The Mystic Rubaiyat – May 11, 2015
12) The Art of Japan Knowledge Cards – May 4, 2015
13) The Tarot of Vampyres (Ian Daniels) – April 27, 2015
14) Ancient Minchiate Etruria – April 20, 2015
15) The Essential Meditations Deck – April 13, 2015
16) Birds of China Playing Cards – April 8, 2015
17) British Wild Flowers Card Game – Mar. 30, 2015
18) Energy Healing Oracle – Mar. 24, 2015
19) The Secret Language of Color Cards – Mar. 16, 2015
20) Vacchetta Tarot (digitally coloured and printed) – Mar. 3, 2015
21) Black and White Photography Postcards – Feb. 9, 2015
22) Animal Playing Cards (published by WWF) – Feb. 2, 2015
23) The Circle Deck – Jan, 26, 2015
24) The Transformational Tarot – Jan 20, 2015
25) Buddha Discovery Deck – Jan 6, 2015
26) Bird Signs – Dec. 20, 2014
27) Creature Teacher Cards – Dec. 16, 2014
28) Robert E. Lee: Strategies for Leadership – Dec. 8, 2014

Here’s to further examination of the 398 card decks I own in the upcoming weeks and months. I do like to look at my cards.




Database for the Birds

April 8, 2015

Here I am, living proof that on a really, really bad day you can pull something better up.

In a terrible funk of disappointment and pain yesterday I was wasting time online for succour and I looked to my right on this desk and saw my package of the Birds of China Playing Cards. Actually, these were printed in China, but they include birds from all over the world.

Four years ago I had started a list to identify each bird. I got stuck and asked a couple of questions on a birding forum, but I realized that I couldn’t expect them to go through the whole deck with me, so then I bought two full-colour, wonderful books.

Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide
by Birdlife International/Audubon
Dorling Kindersley Publishers

Extreme Birds: The World’s Most Extraordinary and Bizarre Birds
By Dominic Couzens


These were extremely helpful along with online searches, but I was stuck with 10 cards unidentified. There they sat, and sat, and sat for years. Yesterday I pulled my sheet and cards out, made extra notes, and went through my books. I identified three more, and through some often frustrating online searches using continual re-wording I found six more.

It cheered me up enormously.

I was stuck on the last one so posted a picture to get some help. One fellow suggested it was a Honeyeater which I had on my list but couldn’t find an exact match. However, after he said that I searched again and discovered it!

The final card, the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) formerly known as (Xanthomyza phrygia).



The yellow detailing on the card is not as vivid (which I found with a few of these cards) but that is definitely the bird.

And while I’m here, I’ll post from my database as well. It is SO neat to find good playing cards, and these required some time because of the Chinese titling and lack of identification but I persevered and will now type it all up to keep with the cards, thus facilitating explorations on daily draws.

BirdsofChinaPlaying Cards

Some nice examples of the illustrations on these cards.


I thought I’d never find that chap on the 9 of spades but I found him yesterday and he is a Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) to be exact.

Now you know, everybody sing!

Of pardalotes and potoos,
Antbirds and oxpeckers,
Trogons, minivets, and logrunners
Barbets and buff-banded rails
Sitting in the sun
Under enormous sky

And a small image of the cards with the insert I typed up, complete with suit symbols. Now I can fold this up and put it in the box with the cards. (Except it doesn’t fit as the cards are so tight in the box, rats.)






Database Snapping and Singing

February 2, 2015

I had forgotten how much I liked the artwork on the Animal Playing Cards published by Terra Toys. It looks like these were a fundraiser for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF.) My friend Steve gave them to me, and he does terrific vector illustrations too, so it seems apt that it came from him. I do like playing cards!


This is a playing card deck showing vector-based illustrations of endangered species as listed by the World Wildlife Fund – UK. Although there was no insert in the box specifying what animal was on each card I have been able to track them down either through the WWF list online or by searching for animal characteristics. All the animals are endangered, and the animals in the suits are based on Ocean, Sky, Desert, and Forest.


For one card, the Alligator Snapping Turtle on the 10 of Clubs, I found the exact photograph online from which the digital sketch was done. On the 9 of Spades it looked like a chimpanzee but after looking at photographs online, there is another species related to the chimp in the genus Pan called the Bonobo or the Pygmy Chimpanzee; this Pan paniscus has the tufty hair on the head like the animal on the card, so I think it is a Bonobo.

I got a kick out of learning that, and of course once I’d learned that I saw mention of Bonobos everywhere in a whirl of synchronicity. Read my post from 2011 on that here.

You can’t beat a good deck of playing cards. Everybody sing.



Illusions and Windows

July 13, 2012

Daily Draw July 13th, 2012

Huh, I just noticed it was Friday the 13th. Yesterday I had a Windows meltdown that took about five hours to sort out. In the end, Windows chewed up my card database and deleted everything from the folder. Fortunately I had backed it up in April so I copied the files back. I only lost one deck entry in the end, so now I’m working on putting the six new decks in and ditching the Mary-El Tarot from the database. Then I will make sure to immediately back it all up on a stick.

I spent the day finishing some earrings and packaging them up to mail tomorrow. Now that’s done I feel I can relax and enjoy the weekend.

For today I am just going to post a bit of eye candy from the database. This is the Illusions in Art Contemporary deck of playing cards. Click to enlarge.