Tarot Tuesday – The Crafty Magician

Tarot Tuesday is a weekly feature in which Kelly talks about how tarot cards can be useful for artists and crafters. You can find a list of decks she has in this post if you’d like to request that a certain one be used to show the art in that deck.

Artists, crafters, anyone who has ever said, “I’m going to learn how to do this thing!” and then gone out and done the thing… we are all Magicians. I know, I know! I just told you a couple of weeks ago that we’re all Fools. This is the next chapter in that story, in which the Fool is determined to make something of themself!

The card in the picture above is from The Robin Wood Tarot (affiliate link) and I love how The Magician is depicted. A lot of the more traditional decks have this guy standing in front of a table full of stuff, wand raised high above his head in a clenched fist, lemniscate floating over his head… and I’m just asking myself, “Is he going to hit the table? Does he even know that thing is floating over his head?” I love the balance of things in the Robin Wood illustration, as well as the look of confidence and determination on The Magician’s face.

The Magician is very much about creative energy! I didn’t include him in the Crafty Robin Wood Cards because I was focusing on cards that immediately bring handcrafting to mind when you look at them. He may not look like a knitter, stitcher, or woodworker, but The Magician has a lot to teach us about craftwork. I invite you to let The Magician be your crafting inspiration this week.

This card encourages us to go ahead and get started! Trust that you have the skills and tools you need. So often, I’m afraid of how something will turn out when I try it for the first time. I can read about it, watch videos, even get someone else to show me how they do it, and I’m still scared until I see it comes out okay.

Just between you and me (and everybody else who is reading), I get really uncomfortable when people tell me how talented I am. I know they mean it as a compliment, but “talent” refers to a natural aptitude for things. Part of me feels like they wouldn’t think I was so talented if they saw how hard I had to work to get an adequate result, much less a really good result. (I’m not alone in this. Stories say Michelangelo burned many practice sketches and drawings because people attributed his skill as an artist to a divine gift. If they saw the practice, they’d know it was a skill he worked for. It would be mundane.) Another part of me thinks of how many times I’ve heard people say, “I wish I could do that, but…” As we’ve talked about before, different people have different talents and ability levels, and that is a feature in the species, not a flaw. Not everyone will be able to do everything, I don’t care how many happy fortune cookie clichés your friends who didn’t have trouble learning a skill throw at you. Still, it seems many people give up too easily when their early creative attempts don’t match the work of someone who has been doing it for years. Talent is just a starting point. It takes investing time and energy into developing skill to get really good.

The Magician is card number one. He comes immediately after card zero – The Fool – in a story that takes twenty-two cards to tell. He is not the be-all and end-all of creative journeys. The truth is, he’s just got a little bit of skill. What he really has is confidence and passion! He’s ready to take his knowledge, tools, and little bit of skill and start doing something with them.

If you’ve never done something before, there’s a good chance your results will be crap. Learn from your crap. Where did it go wrong, and what can be changed? If it didn’t really “go wrong”, it just didn’t turn out right, maybe you just need to become more familiar and comfortable with doing it. Get your inner Magician to help you.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” — Steven Furtick


Yes, we have a one time “pay what you wish” option.

Wow! The free cat alphabet pattern we released yesterday got a lot of attention! (It did on Twitter and Instagram, anyway. You’d think there would be cat lovers on Facebook, but maybe not?) It was downloaded over 30 times by the end of the day, and it looks like it introduced a couple of you to our other patterns, as well. Yay for cats!

We were asked if we have an option for someone who wants to show their appreciation for a free pattern or a tutorial that has helped them but isn’t ready to make the commitment to ongoing patronage. We’d love to have you as a patron – whether you choose $1, $5, or more to support our work – but it is an ongoing relationship, rather than a one time donation. We understand not everyone who wants to can make that commitment right now.

If you look over on the right sidebar, this link will now sit under the patron information. Whether it’s because you can’t make the financial commitment right now, or because you don’t particularly want to be part of the artist/patron relationship but have enjoyed our content, we appreciate that you want to show your thanks for our work. Think of it as a tip jar, and put in any amount you wish. Thank you for supporting artists and crafters!

Free Stitching Pattern – Cat Alphabet

It always get comments when I stitch something in cat letters, and we’ve been asked about the pattern more than once. You can now download our cat alphabet pattern for free on Craftsy! If you can’t immediately think of things to stitch your name on in cat letters, try replacing the letters in a sampler with cats.

Each cat letter is eight stitches tall, which is less than one inch when stitched on 14-count Aida cloth. They’re beginner friendly… you just need to be able to do a running stitch or backstitch. They kind of look like they’re doing yoga, don’t they? You can stitch them in any color of thread you like. You could even stitch a rainbow of cats, or an ombre feline chorus!

I saw a picture of similar cat letters, but no amount of searching or getting others to help search turned up a pattern, so I had to make one of my own. We’re really happy to be able to take the time to make a pattern available to everyone, which is possible due to the generous support of our patrons. Become a patron to keep tutorials and free patterns coming, get some nifty patron perks, and even “set free” paid patterns as we reach support milestones.

Tarot Tuesday – Looking at the Cards for Color Inspiration

Tarot Tuesday is a weekly feature in which Kelly talks about how tarot cards can be useful for artists and crafters. You can find a list of decks she has in this post if you’d like to request that a certain one be used to show the art in that deck.

I’m going to tell you what one of my weak points is as an artist. (We all have ‘em, and you don’t get better by not admitting there’s room to improve.) I’m not very good at telling a color story. I understand analogous and complementary colors, and I’ve used split complements to find a good accent color for something before. I know how to match colors. I’m just not good at telling a story with them.

Color and motif play important roles in how I interpret tarot cards. This is something you can use in your creative projects without having any intention of ever using the cards for readings. You are bound by the limits of your deck, though. Black and white or simple, minimalist decks aren’t going to be of much help here. If you follow Craftypodes on Twitter, you may have seen me mention the H. R. Giger tarot deck a few days ago. I’m not going to suggest using that one for what we’re talking about today. Not at all.

With a deck full of colorful art, you can pull cards out and look at them for color inspiration. Let’s look at a couple of Queens from the Robin Wood Tarot (affiliate link).

Swords are the suit associated with the element of air, and cups are associated with water. You know that now, of course, because I just told you. But what if I had simply asked which element you thought each one would be associated with? The gowns the queens are wearing tell you everything you need to know!

I love how the Queen of Swords’ gown shows three different fabrics illustrating her connection to Air. There’s the blue sky with clouds as the main fabric, the white background with butterflies as an accent, and the dark starry night lining that you can see inside her sleeve. If I sewed clothes and wanted something with a spring or summer feel, this card might inspire me to do something other than tulips or sunflowers.

The Queen of Cups shows us you can dress in a way that says “under the sea” without dressing as the Little Mermaid. Only the trim on her gown has an ocean motif. The rest is all about color. I would immediately think of blue and green for water, but she’s wearing sea green and a medium lavender with just little bits of blue accents.

I’ve also been spending some time lately with the Revelations Tarot by Zach Wong (another affiliate link), and I love how he used color in his illustrations. One of the really interesting things about this deck is that each card is illustrated so that you see one thing if the card is upright and another if it is reversed. I really love the art!

If you’re trying to put together a color palette for a project, looking through tarot cards can give you some ideas. Some of the cups cards in this deck are mostly blues and greens, but here we see a very blue and purple Three of Cups, as well as Four of Cups with lots of yellow and orange jumping out from the green, blue, and purple.

A lot of the pentacles cards are in combinations of dark green, brown, and gold. Very earthy colors, which makes sense because this is the suit associated with Earth. Then you see a card like the Four of Pentacles! Somehow, even though I’d use gold as an accent for purple, it just doesn’t occur to me to use purple as an accent for gold.

The colors used in the art for a tarot deck are often closely related to the theme of the deck. Some deck themes are about content, such as angels or cats. Other decks stick closely to the traditional images but with a variety of styles of art. Choosing a deck with art that resonates with you will make it easier to feel creatively inspired by the cards.


Tarot Tuesday – Crafty Robin Wood Cards

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday! It’s almost like I’m looking for reasons to put my hexie pincushion in posts, isn’t it? I swear I’m not. I just think it looks good next to nearly anything.

We talked about The Fool last week, how The Fool’s journey is our journey, and how The Fool encourages us to try new things because we want to try them – not because we already know we’ll be succesful at them. That’s very relevant to crafty folks. There’s always a new technique to learn or a new project to attempt, even if you do stick to one craft.

This week’s post was supposed to be about the most crafty cards in the deck. The thing is, I picked the cards out of my main deck, The Robin Wood Tarot (affiliate link), and then started looking at some of my other decks… and it just didn’t work. Since all of the decks I have are based on the Rider-Waite system the cards have the same meanings across decks. Remember what I’ve told you before, though, about the meanings of the cards. They are ambiguous by design. Each card can be interpreted to apply to pretty much any situation so that it brings your attention to things you already know but just may not be consciously thinking about.

That gives artists a lot of wiggle room in how they interpret the cards for illustration. Cards in some decks immediately make you think of arts and crafts more than those same cards do in other decks. Imagery can have a powerful effect on how you read the cards.  We’ll pull out some of those other decks again when we talk more about the relationship between tarot and visual arts. Today, let’s look at my picks for the most crafty cards in the Robin Wood deck.

Major Arcana card number 3 – The Empress

The Empress is the archetype maternal figure. She can spin yarn, darn socks, cook a meal, comfort a sick child, and wash the laundry before you get out of bed for the day. It also kind of makes her the Queen of Crafts. In some contexts, this card can point to beginning a creative project.

A lot of tarot imagery – especially in decks that are easy to get started with –  is heavily based on traditional images of family and home. Everyone has an Empress aspect to themself, though. It’s not just about crafty moms.

Minor Arcana cards 3 and 8 of Pentacles

It’s really the suit of wands that is usually read as the “creative” suit. It’s all about passion, inspiration, and creative energy. I just don’t get a particularly crafty feel from those cards in the Robin Wood deck. (They are very fiery and passionate!) The suit of pentacles is about career and finances. What I love about  the pentacles in this deck is that it is clearly work that you love to do. The traditional images are artisans and craftsmen, but some decks still seem to portray them as doing what they do because it’s their job to do it. The colors and attention to detail in the Robin Wood deck make me think of artisans doing what they do as a labor of love.

These two cards especially get that message across to me. The 3 of Pentacles is about attention to detail and doing a job well. The 8 of Pentacles is about finding your work rewarding in both financial and personal ways.

If you use a different deck and have seen some really crafty cards in it, share with us in the comments. You can also ask me to use a different deck in a future post if you’d like to see some of the other artwork. There’s a list of decks I have and samples of the card art in our first Tarot Tuesday post.



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