I Present to You the Eightieth and Final Assemblage!


So like everyone else, I thought I was done with Tarot of Bones assemblages at the end of last year. Apparently not.

I’ve spent the past few weeks designing and laying out the final card files using the photos of the assemblages and background images (since the assemblages are not all at the same aspect ratio as the final cards). During the layout process, I began to feel more and more like I wanted the card back to also be an assemblage. It’s not that the illustration that I originally commissioned from Erin “Narumi” Prince of Lotus Lion wasn’t absolutely gorgeous; just the opposite!

But as the deck’s final appearance began to take form in my mind, I realized that I wanted all of the art to be assemblages, even the back. So over the past several days I created one final assemblage that I felt summed up the spirit of the deck.

I started with a wooden box–but not just any wooden box. It’s one of my many antique shop finds, an old smoked salmon box from before they were printed with Salish-style salmon designs. It had seen better days–the lid was coming off and was warped, the paint was faded and distressed. It was perfect.

It initially became involved in the Tarot of Bones when during the photography session back in April Sandra Buskirk took photos of various items–leather, feathers, wood and more–that I could use for the card backgrounds later on. The lid of this box was one of them, and ended up being one of my more commonly used textures during the layout process.

Later on, as I was casting about for the proper backboard for the card back assemblage, I came across the box again in my supply room. It was just about the size I wanted, and the color and texture were appropriate. So I brought it out, fixed the lid’s hinges, and began designing the assemblage.

I made sure all five sorts of bone represented in the Tarot of Bones–skulls, ribs, long bones, vertebrae, and jaws (teeth)–were also present in the assemblage. I also added in various natural materials that I’d used in other assemblages, from stones to moss to one very lovely scallop shell. While it thematically matches the other assemblages, unlike the others there will be no text on the card back, making it easier to distinguish front from back.

So I think now I can officially (again) say that all of the Tarot of Bones assemblages are complete! I’ll be taking it with me to Seattle on Friday along with the last few assemblages that need their photos redone, and hopefully by early next week all the layout will be complete and I can start prepping the files to send them to the printer.

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