Hi Danielle! I am so happy to be doing this interview with you. I have been following your Starchild deck on instagram for awhile now, and I am so glad we have gotten to know each other since then. I was not aware of your blog until recently, so I had no idea you were coming out with another deck! The first one is so beautiful, but I am really loving this new deck. It must take a lot of time and dedication to creating not only one but two decks. Is this your main focus now? How long was the process of creating this deck?
Hi Ally! Thank YOU so much for asking me to do this interview. I absolutely love your work and products, and its an honor to be able to connect with you.
Creating the Starchild tarot took me a few years to complete -- the cards themselves took just over two years, and the book an extra year or so. I first started creating the images back in 2010, and from there I sort of immersed myself in making prints (not knowing they would eventually turn into my own deck). I had always planned on illustrating and painting my own deck (which is something I still plan on doing), but with my work in graphic design, the digital approach made the process effortless. I loved the convenience of being able to create worlds out of my simple photographs, and characters from shots of friends and family members. I am currently revising the Starchild tarot for its second edition, and am also creating the Moonchild tarot (the shadow companion to the Starchild), and an oracle deck with another writer. I'm also creating a line of tarot spread mats that can be used with all tarot decks. These come with accompanying instructions, and are themed for specific purposes. For example, there is a shadow work spread, chakra spread, star seed spread and a higher self spread. I am sure I will also come up with more as I continue to create new images.
I don't know if you are familiar with be a Nettles Mountain Dream Tarot? This is what first attracted me to your deck because both decks use photography. I love photography in tarot decks! Your version is the more cosmic, dreamy and ethereal tarot. What are the different mediums you use to create the images besides photography? I imagine there are many layers to your work.
I also love Bea Nettle's tarot deck -- it is actually one of my favorites ( I seem to have a great love for vintage & retro decks). Be a nettle also inspired me a lot when I was in art school studying film and photography. With my own decks, photography is always a huge component of the work, along with digital editing and illustration. With the background images, I incorporate shots from locations I have visited throughout my travels and day-to-day explorations near my home. For the models themselves, the majority are from photographs I have taken of friends, along with images that have been sent to me from various light workers, and models I have connected with over the past few years. I also use a drawing tablet for illustrating or actually painting in parts of the images (for clothing, hair, or added details).
Did you always have in mind to create a deck, or was this something that came to you during your many years of working with different art forms?
I always wanted to create my own tarot deck since I was a young teenager. I initially started off with a blank tarot that I had bought from a local new age shop, but never got around to finishing it. When I first started creating digital versions, these were simply made as prints. For instance, I had a print of the moon that featured my best friend Ali, the Chariot, with an image of my brother, and other major arcana images. The symbolism and visuals for many of the star child cards were intuitively designed -- I was aware of the overall meanings of the cards, but certain concepts were definitely added. These added definitions were meant to go beyond traditional interpretations, in a sense, shifting our perceptions of reading in a new way.
I saw that your first deck ever was the aquarius deck, and so was mine! Over the years I have collected many decks, and although I have my favorites now, that one will always hold a special place in my heart as well. What are some of your favorite decks?
The decks I use the most, and feel the most connected to are: The Aquarian Tarot, The Thoth Tarot, Tarot of a Moongarden, Mountain Dream Tarot, The Goddess Tarot, Osho Zen Tarot, and the Motherpeace Tarot.
What type of camera do you use to capture all the images for your art? Do you work mainly with digital formats or do you still use dil,? There is something special about old film, and you seem to have captured that same essence in your deck.
I have a few different cameras that I love to use. I have an old Polaroid SX-70, a Nikon FE2, and a Canon G10. I am planning on buying a new digital camera very soon, although my Canon works wonderfully for simple point and shoot. I have used both formats for creating the images so far. For the Moonchild Tarot, I am going to be using analog for the most part. What drew me to photography and collecting antique cabinet card photos goes back to my childhood. My great grandparents owned a photography studio and shop, and so their basement was always full of old goodies and relics. I remember sorting through the darkroom equipment and bellows cameras, thinking I was unearthing pieces of ancient history. It wasn't until I actually found a bunch of old photographs and albums, complete with hauntingly beautiful images, that I fell in love with photography. I remember thinking double exposures were ghosts, and that I was being given a glimpse into the paranormal. There is definitely a magical-eerie essence that comes from those old film styles that can't be fully replicated (although I will continue to try and do so)
I also see that you are from Vancouver Island. I have seen so many beautiful photographs from there. How does the nature and beauty that surrounds you inspire your work? I know that a lot of your images are based on nature and animals, is this because of your time spent on the island? I imagine it to be such a magical place to live.
It is such a wonderful place to live. I feel like most of my inspiration comes from my surroundings, and here on the coast, there are a lot of beautiful beaches, forests, mountains, and sacred locations. I go hiking and exploring pretty often, and its crazy how interacting with animals has also become a normal occurrence. You have to be watchful of wolves, cougars, and bears when you are out in the middle of nowhere (although I have yet to see a cougar).
Is there anything else you are working on that you can tell us about? I would love to know a little more about your upcoming deck (as would a lot of our readers!)
I can't say too much about the Oracle deck, but with the Moonchild tarot, I am continuously so excited to work on this project and share new images here and there. The cards will look like antique cabinet card photographs, with corresponding key words where the text & tittles would normally be. The Major arcana's will be much more elaborate than the minors, and I will be using pentacles instead of crystals this time. Back in January, I posted a brief explanation on my blog. I described the Moonchild as an homage and a mix of the following:
the devine feminine, magic & spiritualism, art nouveau & art deco, vintage photography & film, ancient egyptian mysticism & motifs, historical roma and esoterica.
It will be a complementary yet contrasting deck to the star child tarot, which is much more cosmic and otherworldly, whereas the Moonchild tarot will be more grounded within the elements and occult powers associated with the earth (as above, so below). It touches on Goddess moon magic, the ancient mystery schools and shadow work.