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




The making of The Textured Tarot…

The making of The Textured Tarot…

I’m not always comfortable talking or writing about the process involved in the making of my card decks, because I don’t know how to articulate what I do: intuitive art. It’s not that I am criticising my cards in any way. I love them and am delighted to have brought them into the world. It’s more that each card deck journey is so intuitive in-the-moment that I often have no idea how I get to a completed card design, or why certain decisions are made (apart from the specific meaning of a card). After my tarot card research, I have a basic visual outline of what is needed and seem to know what I want to do without always having a finished picture in my head. I am kind of artistically layering the story (about each card) that is in my head. I don’t worry if the ideas aren’t flowing; they come when they are ready. Between these productive times, I am comfortable with my blankness, reflection, or churned up mind. I am confident that the art inspiration will come. Then, I get caught up in its waves and don’t recall how I got to my final destination…ha ha…: bliss..;)

I will try and expand a little more in the next few sections…

Preparation and process

Although I research a lot, I tend to spend minimal time preparing my actual art. There are no demo sketches, or journal plans. I really don’t work that way. It snags me up somewhat: I feel a turmoil of impatience to start the actual card design as my body feels primed to just start. I just know what I want to do. I catch glimpses of a look or feel of the card with a basic outline of what I want to convey: there is a spontaneous response to the words that I read.

I often forget to photograph the key stages of my tarot card work in progress because I get so caught up in the magic of it all. I create spontaneously with the information and materials that are available.

I try not to alter the final image created, but sometimes I make minor adjustments if something rubs with me for the wrong reasons, or I am concerned how my card will be perceived. Sometimes, a social media comment prompts a change. Although I am hermit-like, I don’t mind sharing the rustic side of my art in social media and am open to constructive feedback. My social media style is ‘rustic’ and I am okay with that now…

Limitations embraced!

I would describe my current work as mixed media, digitally collaged art. Plus, it is art created out of limitations of skill and space. I wholeheartedly embrace those limitations! I see them as my power tools!  You see, I am a self-taught artist who has no desire to create perfect fine art representations of Nature etc. I like to flirt with the edges of my limitations: that is where the gold is and where unique art finds a way onto the paper. Of course, I love to develop my skills, but only in the service of my imperfection. The quirkier the art, the better. I often find my best visual representation when creating my art through the eyes of the ‘beginners mind’. I embrace my random curiosity and my art-style evolves over time. My technique is not practicing until things are just right…I just do it! I know that I am inspired by my surroundings (like we all are). For the tarot approach, I was motivated by textile art exhibitions and feeling the pull to bring more needlework to my art process

Some of my limitations have been practical. Since moving to London, I have lived in small flats where work and everyday living combine. With only a small table, art trolley, laptop and printer as my craft area, I have become used to working in small spaces. That is where my Photoshop collaging started. I scan in my paintings and drawings and collate them digitally to utilise and arrange on my card designs. I don’t have room to keep/store all my paintings and drawing layers. I just keep my favourites.

A downside for my business, is that I have difficulty staying with a product once I have created it. What I mean by that is, the continued re-invention of presenting a product in different ways such as mugs, cushions, fridge magnets, calendars etc, or marketing doesn’t appeal to me. Once my project is done, I prefer it to stand alone and organically move out into the world. 

However, I might entertain the idea of digital prints of the tarot cards as there are always favourites that we relate to. But, I am usually catching the tail of another creative idea that distracts me from staying with one thing. 

Research of the tarot

I wanted to find out more detail and background. I bought many books (a few favourites are represented in the photo on the left). The majority of my reading was about the Rider Smith Waite tarot. I had settled on that because I wanted to create a deck from the perspective of a person, like me, who is relatively new to tarot.

I started with the Majors, followed by the Court cards and finished with the Pips. I would spend a day or two with each card and read across a range of texts to get a sense of the meaning behind the card and what felt true. I would look at the imagery of some tarot decks that I own. Sometimes, I did not understand the visuals, so it was important for me to try and create a deck I could easily connect with. A deck where I felt represented and that was inclusive of diversity and infused with Nature. I seem to struggle to connect with single-themed decks.

Viewing other decks, I remained open to noticing how they made me feel. Did I feel repulsion, attraction, emotion etc? I questioned why I responded in the way that I did. I was very much connecting with the feeling of each card, how it moved me. Then my own imagery would start to enter my head. It is important to me to inject kindness into all my card decks. We live in  a world where harsh criticism is normalised: which is toxic to wellbeing and meaningful connection.

The name ‘The Textured Tarot’ came to me after a visit to a textile exhibition. I wanted to convey the texture of materials and collaged art, against the backdrop of one’s complex textured life (the woven threads of life).

How did I work on the cards?

The cards are a combination of  drawing, painting, stitching and collaged fragments of digital imagery (from e.g. Wiki Commons, licensed stock photographs and online digital photography) that fitted with what was in my head. I quickly developed a flow with the work. I would digitally collate the layers (scanned in or from online) into Photoshop and then mix them around in layers. It was my continued intention to use collaged fragments of digital photographs mixed in with my own handmade work to create something totally new and original. I love how photography meets textiles and my artwork in the Textured Tarot. My other card decks are  made from a patchwork of my own handmade work. I will most likely return to that style next time.

I get super excited when collaging the layers together in Photoshop….adrenaline flushes through my bloodstream. I tend to keep going until the card feels completed. However, the details of the typography would be initiated after all the cards were finalised.

Unfortunately, after completing the Majors and Court cards, I hit a brick-wall. I was having health difficulties at the time and the volume of sewing  for my Etsy shop pouches and wraps made using my hands difficult. I spent many months not able to function well.  I was also grieving:(

So, now I had a new limitation to add into the mix: a limitation of functional ability!  Back then, I remember spending much of my time playing with acrylic paints on Yupo paper. I have used this art for the backs of my tarot decks and the box (nothing wasted).


For the Pips, I had to take a different route, or the deck would remain unfinished for a long time: I needed to embrace the pivot! So, I decided to simplify the imagery a little more, injecting a more contemporary feel (by recycling scanned images of previous machine-stitched textiles), combined with patchwork photography. I like the way the cards have a different feel (whilst still remaining harmonised by the recycled textile fragments and colour choices). The deck certainly reflects my journey through the tarot with its many ups and downs through  ebb and flow of life. I feel, the deck has ended up exactly as it is meant to be. I hope that the challenges and artistic approach facilitates your connection with the cards.

On the left here, you will see a video of how each piece of The Star collaged card was built. The two ‘jugs’ layers were merged in Photoshop to reduce the size of the file (they were made up of a mosaic of patterned fabric pieces). So, not all the stages are shown here in the video. I think it provides a general sense of how I put my artwork together.

The Booklet!

Writing is not within my comfort zone, but I understood how people appreciated a little guidance. I decided to work within my limitations again, without trying to be something I am not. I chose a simpler route by accumulating words and phrases that particularly stood out for me, as I researched across many books. Sometimes there was a conflict in the words and interpretations. I left them in as I trust the reader will know intuitively (and in relation to the other cards pulled) what each card is trying to communicate in-the-moment.

On some of the cards (particularly the Court cards), a few weaknesses of the Court card are highlighted towards the bottom. No personality is one-sided right? We are a paradox of complexities!

Structured graphic design is not a strength of mine. Familiarising myself with InDesign and thinking through layouts and typography etc is an ongoing struggle. I looked for simple solutions in how I present my work. Nothing more, nothing less than that. 

My (practical thinking) partner Paul is on hand to edit my written work. I tend to approach the writing in an overly self-critical way (he doesn’t edit my blogposts though!). I almost apologise for having a go at making a tarot deck: it must be that imposter syndrome again. He questions any negativity within the writing and gently coaches me to a shorter and more uplifting style. I trust that helps.

The Tuck-box

This is an extension from the booklet. I use a simple layout and try to describe the essence of what the deck is. I was not afraid to experiment with the background here. I must have created 5-6 different box background ideas (which is unusual for me). However, I will add that I went with my initial idea in the end.:)

Black and white signifies the dark and the windows of light with the never-ending grey of life…I love to see all the little faces in the tuck-box and on the back of the tarot cards. I don’t know how they got there, they just emerged through the layers of the artwork. The Yupo paper and acrylic ink paintings from last year was my background. I  then selected one section of interest, duplicated it four times or more as a mirror reflection and then turned it greyscale in Photoshop. Then I added a diamond shaped variegated wallpaper texture and a photograph of lace was over-laid over the top. Voila!

Anyway, I hope you think my blogpost is useful in some way. I have enjoyed reflecting my thoughts and putting them down here. My tarot deck is currently on pre-orders in my Etsy shop, but my first stock is due for delivery on 30th May 2018. I would like to thank all of you who trusted me and have supported my opportunity to release this deck into the world. Thank you for actively promoting my work time and time again. I am deeply honoured.

The Textured Tarot is eclectic, a bit rustic, unpolished, full of love for life and a deep respect for the human experience in all it’s manifestations. Onwards and upwards my friends!

This is a short video demonstrating the Majors and the Court cards. There has been some minor adjustments to some of the cards since, particularly The Hierophant, The Lovers and The Star. Enjoy…