It’s been 5 months since I last wrote a blog post. I was ‘not okay’…
Allowing oneself to step aside from the distraction of routine life can reveal the truth of who you are with more clarity. This can be liberating, disappointing, humbling, and strengthening at the same time: the complex messy nature of the human experience with all its paradoxes. This was sharpened by my missed miscarriage the week of the Brexit vote and then the rise and rise of Donald Trump.
In June 2016, I halted the completion of my third card deck (Life Design Cards). I had designed 33 cards but my creative appetite had withered away. No wonder, I see now that the cards are a personal development tool. I was in personal maintenance (survival) mode.
So, I took time out of my business life to literally knit myself back together, one stitch at a time. With a ball of unraveled wool from an old knitted jumper, I needed to repurpose my life plan. I didn’t rush anything. Each day was about allowing and surrendering to what was in the moment. With time, the maker sparks within me reignited….Firstly, I made simple nature-themed illustrations to post on my Instagram feed (#beleaves). Then I started to sew…
It didn’t happen quite like that. Initially, I wanted to completely break free from my art and move in a different direction. I am not sure why. I spent weeks looking at possible career changes, but nothing felt right. Then I gradually realised that I was already in the right place with my choice of vocational direction: the fog began to clear. I reflected on my courage and bravery to transition in 2012 from a secure NHS career to an artist. Not an easy path, but an authentic one. I remembered who I was.
I began to design and make beautiful pouches and wraps that could house oracle and tarot decks. I found a British shirt design company that would provide me high-quality fabric remnants to line the inside of my creations. I was enjoying the process of designing, implementing, and selling again. In the future, I plan to design the fabrics too.
I started to notice the comments of encouragement about my art and crafts from people in my online world. Their kind words actually began to sink in and penetrate through the armour of my heart. I cried regularly as I read the little messages. Every single one mattered. Their words, patience, tolerance, and gestures literally cracked my heart open: to feel again. There is so much unconditional love and kindness out there and I will be forever grateful.
My previously designed oracle cards created the environment for the love to blossom; people could feel their magic, power, and kindness. Their love reflected back to me through a community that understands my art and my intentions. How can I do anything else but honour my process and my deep desire to be an artist and maker? No matter how small, I make a difference in some people's lives.
So, I decided to return to the Life Design cards with a fresh perspective. They appeared different to me this time; more resonant, more nuanced, more delicious, particularly against the backdrop of our political climate. They are my small gesture of hope in how to move forward and make improvements in our lives without becoming too overwhelmed or exhausted.
In June 2016, it was not their time to be born. Their true expression had not been revealed to me until January of this year. Against a backdrop of visionary planning, I found them helpful to work through ideas and coping methods for the road ahead. I could even see their value in groups. A tangible act for incremental changes when our world is rapidly changing before our eyes.
I now have 49 cards and a guidebook. An order has been made at the printers. They are due to be launched in early March 2017. I love them now. They are an eclectic mix to reflect a personal journey of many aspects of the human experience. The guidebook, as well as descriptors for each card, show 5 novel uses for the cards in a more seasonal or numerically ordered way. They also work well as an oracle to use on their own or incorporated with other decks.
So what are they?
The Life Design Cards are a personal development companion: whether as an oracle or a numerically structured tool. They tap into your intuitive wisdom and aim to provide support and guidance to make incremental improvements in your life.
The Life Design Cards have a web-like focus: similar to a spider's web that spreads the load, catches things, makes connections, and is strong, light, and repairable. The more steps that are made, the more connections and resilience a web has.
They also weave in the different energies of the seasons.
Overview of the deck:
The twelve design steps (1-12) are inspired by permaculture design and are about observing where you are, being aware of where you want to end up, and identifying the steps to get you there.
The twelve permaculture principles (13-24) act as a lens to view your subject, with the possibility of sparking fresh ideas or insights.
The third set of twelve cards (25-36) is an eclectic mix of ideas and activities that align with the seasons. They add another layer of meaning to weave within the design steps and permaculture principles.
The final set of cards (37-48) is inspired by the twelve astrological signs of psychological processes that are common to us all. They take into account our common humanity and the seasonal changes in our personality. They serve as a broader perspective to the other cards within the deck.
The last card (49) is a Nature note.
What is permaculture?
Permaculture is a Nature-inspired, holistic, solutions-based design system anchored around cooperation and connections to help create abundance and harmony within human habitats. The initial 24 cards apply this methodology to personal sustainability.
So, they are a deck of cards that look at the bigger plan whilst also homing in on the details, with realistic actionable steps and attention to wellbeing. I am sure I will write more about them in future blog posts.
They will be launched in my Etsy store Whimsy of Nature within the next two weeks. There will also be a few web-like pouches available that complement the deck. If you would like to be notified of their launch then follow me on IG or FB or sign up here on my website.
Thank you again for being on this journey with me and I look forward to the adventure with you in 2017.