What a silly title for a blog article! Well, bear with me, because hopefully by the end of my musings it will make sense—or not. My mind rarely functions within normal (what the hell is normal, anyway) parameters these days, and I'm okay with that.
My friend Carla recently turned me on to a blog by Spirit Cloth. In a recent entry she mused, "Nine works so well for framing, because it has a center." Something in my spirit started to sing. Pieces of the puzzle that I've been holding for the last 5 years, the last 20 years, maybe even longer, all of a sudden aren't just random bits that I'm sure have potential but I just can't see it, suddenly they're starting to fit together. It's exciting. It's invigorating. And aspects of it are mildly terrifying, too.
I've been tinkering around with the idea of tarot tiles for several years, now. I've even got some bisqued. Then what? That's always where I got stuck; what do I do with them? Smaller ones might be pretty cool pendants, and yes, after this weekend's art show, I'll be turning to that muse and seeing where we go. Larger ones could be desk ornaments or altar tiles or hung for wall art. Yes, lots of potential, but I always felt it was close, yet no cigar.
Then I read the quote about nine. Now, you have to understand that the numerologist in me also did a happy dance when I read that. The number nine is three 3s. It lifts the energy of three—which is very creative and optimistic, but not the most responsible of the single digits—up to a place where it's philosophical and enigmatic. I've always had a bit of a love affair with 9's energy... but I digress.
Let's hop back to the tarot (see how my mind works; it's no wonder I'm a list maker, it's the only way I ever get anything done). I do a reading called the Hero's Journey reading. Now, the Hero's Journey is the template of any story, when you break it down to its components. Your life is the same; you are the hero of your own story. This tarot card reading helps you to understand where you are in your own saga, so that you can deal with the different aspects in a more empowered and positive way. This is how you learn what this phase of your life is meant to be teaching your spirit.
The Hero's Journey is usually twelve steps, although I have seen diagrams of it only being eight. Returning back to the quote about nine having a center, well, we're the center of our own story. How well would that work for tarot tile murals?! Needless to say, I can't wait to get started. Don't worry. I'll be sure to include you as they progress!
Several years ago I had this idea to draw a tarot card in the morning and then let that be my theme of the day. Of course, that's not a new idea, people have been doing it for eons and there are several books on the matter. I messed around enough with the exercise that a book of my own was born (I have a contract with LLewellyn, and I'm currently in the middle of writing it, publication should be next year). However, my book isn't what this post is about.
I guess it's not really about the tarot, either, although that's probably the closest theme. See, back in the 1990s when I was living in England and working the folk festivals, I 'met' the Soul Cards, created by Deborah Koff-Chapin. I loved the free and organic movement in the images, and also the fact that they didn't have a LWB (little white book) that told you the definition of the cards. You were meant to let them speak to your soul. In those days I was an oracle junkie, and of course, I had to have them—both sets.
Fast forward to three years ago, when I was trying to find my muse and ignite a fire under her. My thoughts returned to the Soul Cards. What if, as well as drawing a tarot card and letting it be the theme of the day, I also drew a Soul Card, and let it be the theme of the mask or wall-art I was going to make that day. Oh, I had good intentions, but it wasn't until this morning that I actually got out the two decks, shuffled them together, and thoughtfully drew a card.
I was pleased with the result. In the past, when I've done readings with these decks, people have had an aversion to this card. They said it looked full of anguish, like someone screaming, perhaps in pain or turmoil.. I've always thought it looked like someone singing—but then, I've known since grade school that I didn't see the world through the same eyes as most other folks!
It's also pretty fitting for my mood, too. I'm tired. I'm tired of the weather. I'm ready for warmth. I'm ready for sun. I'm ready to have the studio doors open, rather than burning the propane heater.
I'm ready for more successes coming out of the kiln, too. I've got one glaze that doesn't even want to adhere to greenware, another that seems to bubble and froth and run everywhere when it's fired, and I'm not competent or experienced enough to know what is amiss and how to correct it. I thought that by purchasing commercial dipping glazes I might have avoided the need for a bunch of test tiles and experimentation but I guess I was wrong. Maybe it's the clay body. Maybe because they're Amaco glazes but not an Amaco clay body they're not compatible, but then, most of them were fine with Kentucky Mudworks clay previously. Sigh. I'm so pleased we did invest in the smaller kiln. Now at least there's a faster turnover, a quicker learning curve, and I've got the chance of pulling some successes out fairly frequently. I think these turned out rather well, don't you?