The Original Life Design Cards Kickstarter 2022

The Original Life Design Cards Kickstarter 2022

My website and blog posting may have been quiet this past year, but I have been busy creating in the background. After a difficult few years of navigating a persistent health concern, I am starting to return to a more regular rhythm of life. Holistically managing a health concern with little effective management within the NHS has felt like a full-time job.

Back to the point of my blog post here today. In 2019 I had to withdraw my Life Design cards from the sale (see the previous blog post). I could have made some amendments back then and put the deck back in my Etsy shop. But, I was mortified that my referencing of the permaculture part of the deck was not adequate enough for a particular permaculture designer. Out of the feeling of humiliation, I parked the deck.

I decided to create an entirely new version that encompassed more general sustainability and environmental pointers and still a coaching deck of sorts. Life Design cards 2.0 was born from that, and you can see examples of it here. However, the deck did not seem to register with my audience quite as well as the original deck. So, I have not re-ordered any more print runs of LDC 2.0 for the time being.

So what changed?

What was happening was a steady trickle of people enquiring if I would re-print the original deck. This was still occurring up until recently. So, I decided to review the deck again. To my surprise, I realised what I needed to change did not affect the overall emphasis of the deck. I took out specific references to the Permaculture Design Tool being like a web (first 1-12 cards) and substituted coaching prompts instead (which are very similar). Just to be on the safe side, I also decided to use my own words to describe the twelve permaculture principles (cards 13-24) while referencing their origins within the accompanying booklet.

I always saw myself as a facilitator of the message of how great permaculture is and how it can be modified to self-improvement. I fly the flag and always reference the system. I just felt a bit sick to my stomach that I had created irk for one of the designers, and it was never my intention.

Anyway, I am past that now and composted all the icky feelings around it, and I still love permaculture and want to include it in my deck. So, The Original Life Design Cards are back with editing to the booklet copy and the twelve permaculture headings. I have slightly altered some of the visuals. Still, fundamentally the deck is highly similar to the original and hopefully fills the void for people that would like a copy of the original deck in their lives.

What now?

The Kickstarter campaign is planned for March 20th, 2022. I have a landing page on my website here providing further information. There is an invitation to register your email to gain a sense of the number of people interested in supporting the deck. This helps me work out the funding pledge and not overestimate it.

I will continue to update you on my progress but do register your interest here and follow me on Instagram or Facebook on @lisamcloughlinart #lifedesigncards.

Thank you for your continued support of my work. I am so pleased many of you are still with me despite my fading from view.

Bye-bye for now,

Lisa xxx

Scrubs wash-bag sewing instructions

Scrubs wash-bag sewing instructions

Finding a way to help in a crisis

We are in unprecedented times! I have heard and seen this written every day for weeks… I am not going to write about it. There is so much already out there. Times are hard and times are softened with love and caring.

Four weeks into the UK lockdown, I have found a rhythm to my day. Apart from giving donations, clapping for care workers, and signing up to volunteer locally, I have been looking for an activity to help that will utilise my recent experience and skills.

So, I decided to try and help make scrubs wash-bags for NHS staff (and care homes and social care) in my community. It makes sense because I have spent a few years making and selling oracle and tarot bags.

As I don’t have the benefit and speed of an overlocker sewing machine, I was looking for a pattern that made a wash-bag less prone to fraying, double-drawstring, easy to make with a domestic sewing machine and suitable for multiple washes at 60 degrees. I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for.

So, I made up my own pattern!  So, without further ado, I am posting the link here in case there is anybody else that would benefit from some guidance. It’s just a little gesture, but, every little bit helps…

Stay safe and well….

Link to Scrubs Wash-bag by Lisa McLoughlin Art

Here’s the link to the Scrubs Wash-bag.

Why a new Life Design card deck?

Why a new Life Design card deck?

So what’s going on?

I’m on the brink of launching a re-work of the Life Design cards. I didn’t think this would happen as I was feeling uncomfortable about the circumstances around the decision to re-make it.

After all, the First Edition deck was beautiful, accessible, and connected with my customer base. I love the fact that it is a problem-solving deck that can function independently or blended with other card decks for a different perspective.

”So why did I withdraw it?

On the face of it, it was not the most cost-effective deck. Having a booklet and differing colours/patterns at the back of the cards made the printing cost much higher than the other cards I have created. It also divided into four different visual styles, which did not help to create a cohesive looking format. On reflection, its instructions for use and numbering were needlessly complex to follow.

But, alas, these were not the reasons I took the product from the market. It was for a much more personally upsetting reason.
About ten years ago, I had undergone a two-week training in Permaculture Design. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and had fun applying the principles to my daily life and garden design. With a background in coaching, I could see how the questions raised within Permaculture could be used in many aspects of life. So, I was inspired to incorporate the principles and tools into a card deck that would find a new audience.

So, I added the twelve design-web anchor points and Permaculture Principles into a newly formed deck along with 24 additional prompts. I tried to honour the original design web-tool by numbering it in a specific order and created spread ideas around the tool (cards 1-12) and Permaculture Principles (cards 13-24). I referenced the origin of my Permaculture web-tool at the back of the enclosed booklet: linking it to a number referencing system in the title of the relevant booklet section.

One day last year, I received a ‘heavy-handed’  email from the publishers of the Permaculture web-tool creator, instructing me to stop selling immediately and to enter into negotiation about a way forward. The email implied I was someone who had deliberately stolen the author’s work for my benefit (it was also cc’d to a host of other people). My referencing was not of a standard they expected.

What happened after?

I have a history of social anxiety disorder, which creates a sense of fear of judgment from authority figures. There is no way on earth I would have intentionally created this harm to another or actively brought this humiliating experience upon myself. I naively thought I was referencing her work and applying it in a new format. Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, I see what a stupid fool I was to think that. I also completely understand their point of view.

However, I could not escape my perceived harshness of the tone. I was unable to view Permaculture in the same positive light as I had before. Earthcare, Peoplecare, Fairshare had a hollow sound to me for some time afterward. So, I shrunk away from view for a while, licking my wounds, reflecting and pondering what to do next.

Although a workable solution of a way forward was suggested, I did not want to be tied by another party or feel I would have to continue to compensate in the future financially. I want to retain my independence as an artist. I also do not want to create anything from a place of disapproval. It is mortifying to a sensitive person like me! So, I decided to take the deck out of print permanently and move on.

But, email requests for the deck kept trickling in. I remember some warm and beautiful email exchanges when I attempted to explain what had happened. People could understand that it was human error on my part but that all was not lost. There was much more to this deck than twelve cards. They planted the seed for me to gather the confidence to find a way through.
With time, I could see a way forward. I still wanted a thread of the Permaculture Principles to run through it and have done my best to interpret them (for a personal development card deck) with references on every card. I also wanted to remove the twelve-step Design-web tool. After all, the tool was unnecessarily complicating the deck format. When I deconstructed it, it was the headings that many of us use every day (like rest, reflect, obstacles, etc.) I also had many more personal prompts within the rest of the deck, plus a few extras I had collected on the way. So, mixing all the cards into a random fashion made it behave more like a regular deck and took away the strict numerical order that the tool placed on the deck. After all, who keeps a card deck in their exact order? Card decks are to be mixed up and random.

The New Life Design Deck 2.0

I include new visual themes that we are all collectively dealing with in difficult times. So, the Life Design Cards 2.0 is a new deck to reflect these times and evolves into something much more expansive. It is a collection of all that I am, based on experience, skills, and knowledge accumulated over time. I think the new deck is now much better than the old one. It is a grown-up version with a cohesive vision that incorporates Nature, Permaculture, Environmental topics, and the vulnerabilities of being human within a problem-solving deck no matter what subject you wish to investigate. My visual representations are a small aspect of what each card can mean to a person. They provide a visual narrative to help the cards sit well together. They look fresh, and I see myself reflected in them.

So, I hope you can forgive me for messing up. I hope this new deck reflects my intention to create cards that are kind and realistic and that fit nicely within the other three decks I have designed.

Onwards and upwards!

The Full Heat Of The Sun…

The Full Heat Of The Sun…

Photograph of an Oil on Tarpaulin by Hughie O’Donoghue RA from Summer Exhibition 2019.


I never thought I would get this post written. During the ebb and flow of my work, I have distanced myself from my website for a while now. So much so, that I now no longer know how to create blogposts properly (as there have been so many updates to Divi software where they change things for change sake: not necessarliy intuitively which is what I rely on). It’s a frustrating feeling that I am not keeping up with the times.

What’s going on?

It’s quite simple really… I seem to have lost my creative art ‘Mojo’ for the first time in years and I am feeling a little lost with how to push on through it. I have been so fortunate in that my previous creations (card decks) have tapped into a well of inspirational energy and have been created from a place of ease. Even sharing the, sometimes awkward, process felt reasonably comfortable on IG and Facebook. Not any more. I am conscious that I am hiding most of my new work (not that there is alot of it!) ….In fact, I have been hiding my art more and more these past few years. I am not sure what to do about it.

I feel I am letting myself and others down.

I tried an adventure into Textile Art but became frustrated and a little bored at the slowness of progression and the continual need to change the needle and thread etc. It was beginning to feel like the wrong direction, at huge expense. Though I do feel what I have learned will serve me well some time.

The more I do and see art the more intimidated I get at being self-taught ….and the more frustrated I get when I can’t seem to create something equally amazing and fantastic. The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. I have my own creative space, but it is restricted, so I can’t experiment with big volume, big mess and big ideas (just in case I have them….not yet!). I am too shy to create art in public spaces. So I knit comfortably with creatives in public instead.

My art has to have meaning, so I don’t feel able to create for arts sake. Recently, I have sat with a blank page for days on end. I am procrastinating all the time! These past few years, I seem to have picked up a few extra traumatic wounds around being an artist….the odd difficult experience, encounter, and harsh words has left its imprint on me to the detriment of me seeing and appreciating the mainly positive experience and opportunity I have been gifted these past few years.

I want to create art my own way, at my own pace, but personally feel continually under the shadow of needing to make money. I would do art for free….really I would….We can live modestly on my husbands salary….But I want more beautiful experiences and be surrounded by more beautiful things and Nature. I love spending money that I have made making art….but I am stuck connecting being an artist with the want… I self-sabotage all the time! I am a paradox of wanting my cake and eat it…..I feel guilty knowing the difficult lives for many people in the world… I feel despair at the way we humans are destroying the planet….I feel it all to the point of overwhelm. I confess, I sometimes give up hope that we can make a difference. I try to do what I can. For example, I have chosen not to fly since 2003….but people around me are repeatedly flying all over the world and return with exotic stories and adventure and I feel a little more ‘dull’ each time…. Yet, something within me doesn’t feel comfortable flying on holiday just to keep up with others…..I am often content with the simplest of pleasures. I am digressing, sorry….

What am I doing now?

In the last few weeks, I have found a small way into my art through the excitement of creating acrylic art for our flat. I have become a little obsessed with colour, hue, value, intensity, tints and tones etc. I have no particular experience in this medium, but its something about creating art with no price-tag, introducing juicy bright colours (when I am usually of a muted palette) and flying by the seat of my pants making it up as I go along… I have some of the creative sparks back and some element of flow…but it won’t be enough to sustain me in the longer run and we have a small flat with limited wall space! Also, they are more abstract which can be a challenge for my fabulous husband to embrace in our scared space! Ha! Ha!


In conclusion

I thought I would just update you as to where I am up to in this life as an artist: just being honest and not necessarily looking for advice… Thank you for reading and thank you for continuing to buy my card decks! 


Onwards and upwards