Dystopia and a Key

Years ago in 1991, someone I knew told me an arresting dream they’d had. I don’t totally remember it, but it was about terrible suffering and catastrophe. Most of the people in the dream were in trance like states with one or two raising the alarm. The dream impressed me as apocalyptic and I made an acrylic painting taking off from the dream. The painting now reminds me of the huge number of migrants fleeing war and persecution and it reminds me of the effects of climate change we’re already seeing and that some are having trouble acknowledging.

For a while now I’ve wanted to make the painting into a card deck, since I love card decks. It’s the opposite of Mirrors of the Heart favourable deck that I made in 1994. Recently, I’ve had the courage to move forward with the idea. I say courage because for a while I told myself that I shouldn’t put out images of the dark parts of life. But I’ve decided otherwise because I believe we can’t deal with trouble unless we first of all face it. So, I’m calling the deck Wake Up–The House is on Fire and the Water’s Rising!

To create the deck, I’ve taken many photos of the work, zeroing in on different groups and faces and cropping the images. The deck will have 25 small square cards, including one title card and all, except one, are scenes of extreme suffering. I also wanted to create one card not in the original painting that could symbolize what it would take to wake up. But since it’s beyond me to know what might allow that in different people, the idea of a key came to mind–a key to awakening that could mean different things to different people. The key image is one of the cards and I’m also putting it on the back of each card. I’ll be sending it off to Moo for printing and will let you know how it turns out.

Here’s the whole painting plus two of the cards, including the key.

 

 

Mirrors Card Deck Reprinted

This week my auspicious card deck, Mirrors of the Heart, has returned from the printer. It’s on thicker card stock with matte lamination. This time it’s black and white like the original linos. And, I’ve added a back to each card–a linocut of two birds. I’ve put the deck up in my etsy shop.

Popularity

This week, after years of selling the original printings of the card deck I made in 1994, it sold out in my etsy shop.  Mirrors of the Heart has been the most popular item I’ve ever made. And, as an artist who has sold a modest amount of work in my life, it’s been an amazing experience to send work across the continent and overseas. I’m now looking into getting the cards reprinted and will let you know how that goes.

Now all I’m left with are extra cards that do not make up complete decks. These are ones I set aside when I found printing glitches in other cards. I’ve been hand colouring some of these with non-toxic permanent markers. Here are some I’ve grouped in sets of 4 for my shop.

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Back From the Printer

The 21 Heart Salute miniature cards are back from the printer. I’m very happy with the way they turned out.

Here’s photos of some of them. As I mentioned, I’ve put the deck in my etsy shop as well.

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21 Heart Salute

As I continue to reconsider some of the prints I made 20 to 40 years ago, I have realized that this work is part of a process of rescuing my younger self.  As part of that, I have returned to a miniature card deck I made in 1995, a year after I made the larger deck, Mirrors of the Heart.

The 1995 deck is also on the theme of hearts. In making the card deck, I played with the phrase “21 gun salute” and turned it into A 21 Heart Salute. I then listed as many phrases that included the word heart I could think of and came up with 21 of my favourites. Some are phrases widely used like “heart felt” or “kind hearted.” And some I made up like “fountain of heart” or “heart song.”

I carved the deck out of a rubber-like material that was softer than linoleum but that produced clean edges. And I printed a few of these decks in 1995 with stamping ink that produced faint images. A few years ago, I reprinted them in violet but found I don’t have a complete set of these.

So I decided to hand print them properly, this time in red oil based relief printing ink. And I found I enjoyed this reminder of earlier printing. This, even though the actual burnishing of the blocks was always my least favourite part of the printing process. However, pulling the paper off the inked block was and still is a joy because of the surprise of seeing the  image reproduced in reverse.

I’m including a photo of some of the 1 1/2″ x 3″ blocks and their prints laid out to dry.  These are on my highly sophisticated drying area—a foam core board on the floor with part of my shell collection used to hold the prints from moving in the breeze.

The last week or so, I’ve scanned the prints, cropped the images and sent them to an online printer for reproduction. I’ll let you know how they turn out when I get them back. I plan to list them in my etsy shop.

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Mirrors of the Heart Page

Finally, this week I did something I’ve been planning to do for a while.  I created a page about the most popular art work I’ve done–my card deck, Mirrors of the Heart.  It’s made of linocuts I created in 1994 and had offset printed. There are other images from the deck in the Mirrors category.

Celebration card from Mirrors of the Heart card deck, ©1994, Lily S. May
Celebration card from Mirrors of the Heart card deck, ©1994, Lily S. May