When I first re-kindled my interest in Tarot a little over a year ago, one of the things I was most drawn to was the art. The variety of styles, decks and systems is so expansive and there is always a new deck or theme coming out. I toyed with the idea of making my own deck at one point (and maybe I will, one day) though what I was really interested to explore was making tapestries of all the Major Arcana.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with tarot, here is a very brief and admittedly oversimplified overview of the practice. Using a deck of cards, each with an assigned meaning, one focuses energy into the deck and draws cards in an effort to get a hint as to what the Universe may have in store for you. In the Raider-Waite-Smith system (one of the most readily identifiable), decks are comprised of 4 suites, each with Ace through 10 (the Minor Arcana) and 21 cards representing major lie events or themes (the Major Arcana).
As an important side note, the artist of what is commonly known as the Raider-Waite tarot tradition was a woman of color named Pamela Coleman-Smith. You can read more about her here, and I highly recommend diving into her history. She is a fascinating historical figure and we should do all we can to keep her from being erased. To this end, I did look up the copy rights related to her deck prior to beginning my project and learned that I could use the cards as a model since the deck was published in 1909 and anything published prior to 1920 is considered public domain.
So, I got started by searching for images of the cards in the Major Arcana and started with the Fool, the first of the deck but actually numbered “0”. Here is my completed first version (I gave it to my dad for his 70th birthday).
I thought I would do a better job documenting the making of the Magician, the second Major Arcana card, numbered “1” and here it is 🙂
Next steps include tracing over the color sections so that each color is in a single square. That square will correspond with a single stitch. Then I will start the crochet process and add in the stitch counts per color per row. Hopefully that will make more sense as I show you the process!