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Alta's Avatar
Alta  Alta is offline
Golden Silvery Dionna
Join Date: 06 Aug 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 27,056

I could not agree more with lark, as she wrote above.
I too only work on with RWS tradition decks. They satisfy me and, like lark, there are no longer enough hours of my time left to delve into other systems.
The deck is lovely, it is warm and welcoming and to me, very insightful.

I also comment that I welcomed and enjoyed reading Jeanette's balanced view of Mr Jensen's review, and the others which followed.
Top   #431
baba-prague's Avatar
baba-prague  baba-prague is offline
Join Date: 24 Nov 2002
Location: Prague, wonderful Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 7,626

I think a lot has already been said, but just to throw in my bit, as I read this review last night. The impression I got was that the "barbs" were really aimed at US Games more than at Kat. However, one was in a sense used to criticise the other. Of course I understand the point that was being made about RWS reproductions, but is it really "either or" that spending goes on those or new decks? I don't think things are that simple.

The piece about the use of implied child labour was disturbing as I think a remark like this really needs to be backed up with some research. It may be true, but then again, it may not. I wonder if Mr Jensen really knows? Certainly most of the large publishers (the vast majority) now print in China so it is by no means something that only US Games chooses to do. I also assume that Kat would have had no say either way - so to imply that she is somehow exploiting anyone just doesn't make sense to me.

Of course, it's good in theory to see an opinionated review from someone with so much experience - that in itself is welcome. But perhaps this makes the rather catty parts of it even more questionable. Surely there would have been some way in which he could have made his points without being quite so ***** rude? If he is experienced he must know that it's one thing to be critical, it's another to try to be hurtful.

edited to add - I entirely understand the fact that many people feel that all tarot has to be of a certain type, and serious in terms of esotericism. I respect that, but I actually don't agree with it. I think tarot works in many ways for different people. There is no one "true tarot" and work that seems decorative and in some way frivolous to some may in fact work beautifully for others. There is room for aesthetics, and fun and fantasy and imagination in tarot, as well as seriousness and history and estoericism surely? I honestly don't think we need to choose one or the other.

I wonder if reviewers like this may forget (or not care) that they are not talking about the work of some rich and renowned artist with PR people to protect him/her. To successfully produce a deck is often an intensely demanding and rather isolated experience - it takes some individual determination and commitment to get to the end (and NO, using a computer - if you do the work properly - does not make it simple. It's the same as any other tool, using it well is demanding and time-consuming). If deck designers were simply out to make as much money as possible, I think there might be easier methods!

We have found, once again, that we personally cannot do a good deck - collage, computer or otherwise, in under around 4000 hours of work - I think other good decks are probably in that same range in terms of effort. That's no way to riches, but maybe it has a value that is equal but different to RWS reproductions. Give us a bit of a break Mr Jensen!

edited to say - okay, perhaps I am being catty here, but I say it with good humour. I was just going to gently suggest that Kat might like to write a review of Mr Jensen's "Tarot of the Ayrshire Witches"? BIG GRIN. (you can find it via tarotgarden of course).
Top   #432
retrokat's Avatar
retrokat  retrokat is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2002
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 570

You guys are so nice to me (and funny as well!).

I won't let it get to me. I've had great support from so many people I DO respect that such bitchiness from someone who's a legend-in-his-own-lunchhbox isn't going to get me too down.

On a cheerier note, I'm getting ready for the Faire. I don't think ANY of you live in my home state (or even country, mostly) but if you know anyone who does, this event might be of interest. Balingup's such a beautiful little town, and their annual Medieval Canivale is always great fun:
Top   #433
Kath's Avatar
Kath  Kath is offline
Join Date: 18 Jul 2002
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 292
Regarding RWS clones

The majority of decks these days are RWS clones. Why? Who knows. But, speaking for myself, I prefer RWS clone decks, because they are familiar to me. I can pick up a RWS clone deck and read with it straight away. I donít feel that I need in-depth study before I even contemplate shuffling. I donít need to learn a new system. I like the familiarity within the new (if that makes sense).

I think the Golden Tarot is exquisite, and itís on my wish list. If Kat had published her original version, would I be as keen to own it? I donít know. Probably not (although I think that version is lovely too). I would feel that I couldnít really read with it, that it didnít Ďfití. I know Iíd have to spend many hours studying it, and run the risk of not understanding.

I know that makes me sound like a stick-in-the-mud. Iím not really And Iím not disparaging non RWS clones. But for me, I prefer the clones. I may find myself admiring the artwork of non RWS clones, but I know that I would have trouble reading with them.

As for Mr Jensenís review; each to his own I guess. But snide comments about what US Games should be doing were quite unnecessary.

But Iíd like to ask Kat, would you consider publishing your original version of the Golden Tarot? Some of the cards are so different to the new version, I think it would make a very interesting comparative study.
Top   #434
retrokat's Avatar
retrokat  retrokat is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2002
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 570

Thanks for your kind words, Kath. The old version was pretty bodgy, and only done at screen res. It looks OK printed out, but not anywhere near commercial quality (anyone who has the crappy German pirate version will attest to that).

I've left the old version on my site for just that reason - for comparative study.

To remake it at a printable resolution would take a great deal of work, and wouldn be very unlikely to be commercially viable. If I had the time, I'd rather put it to working on my next deck, which I'm very keen to do. I was hoping to get started on that over this 2 week vacation, but have been spending all my time with private web students and clients. Despite what some people think, authoring tarot decks is NOT a very profitable way to spend one's time
Top   #435
tao51's Avatar
tao51  tao51 is offline
Join Date: 10 Jun 2004
Location: On the ancient winds
Posts: 4,913

Then I am glad that I have a beautiful version. The deck is both beautiful and intuitive. The book has insight that is not present in other books. When I do a live reading the querent tends to oooh and ahhhh. Your next deck will have alot to compete. This is one of my regulars.--Tao
Top   #436
augursWell's Avatar
augursWell  augursWell is offline
Join Date: 29 Apr 2002
Location: Being Here Now, Where The Circle Dissolves.
Posts: 434

Greetings Kat,

I just purchased this deck last night, went to the bookstore specifically to buy it since I had seen it there some weeks before. I tend to research my tarot purchases nowadays due to some disappointing purchases in the past. Luckily they still had it.

Anyway, I found this thread here and was surprised to find all of this controversy about precisely those reasons why I *DID* buy the deck: the beautifully done and manufactured box (China is doing quite well lately, still a ways to go, and frankly if the manufacturing was done there I doubt anyone else could have done it as well), the gilt edged cards, the expansive trip through Medieval and Rennassiance art, the familiar symbolism of the cards, and the very reasonable price as well as a book in the box. It never occurred to me that it was a RWS clone, and was somehow less because of that, as so many decks borrow from that tradition anyhow.

I find this quote from K. Frank Jensen the most telling about the difference of opinion here:

There is nothing added to the concept of tarot. It is not an improvement of the genuine Waite-Smith Tarot which it takes its basis from. It is not a new and original artistic interpretation; it is just an exercise in computer artistry. It doesnít make sense. It is not "useful."
The thing is, finding hundreds of images from Medieval and Rennassiance art that communicate the concepts of Tarot, albeit one tradition(RWS), is somehow not useful? Being able t work with gilt-edged cards, a beautiful gold backing, and artwork from Masters of Medieval art is somehow not useful? Having symbols on the cards which are in some cases not even on the original RWS deck is somehow not useful?

Mr. Jensen's problem is with USGames and it seems to me that he found the perfect example, in his view, of those problems in the Golden Tarot. His references to your book are ridiculous since most companion books to decks are like yours. ditto on internet promotion, most decks are promoted this way if they want any sort of success.

For my point of view on this, Thanks for a great deck.
Top   #437
retrokat's Avatar
retrokat  retrokat is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2002
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 570
Golden Tarot site back up

Sorry to those of you who have been trying to visit my site for the past 2 weeks and not been able to.

The problem with my host has been sorted out - they weren't billing me, and FOUR of my domains expired before I could get them to sort out the problem

Anyways, it's fixed now and the site's back online:
Top   #438
RedMaple's Avatar
RedMaple  RedMaple is offline
Join Date: 10 Aug 2004
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 886
Beautiful Deck

Thank you, Kat, for this beautiful deck. I just bought it today -- had no intention of doing so, but there it was on the shelf and all my resolve disappeared. There were several women in the shop who asked me to open it so they could see it also, and we all spent time handling the cards and oohing and aahing over them. Everyone seemed able to "read" them right away, and as always, everyone had favorites.

It seems to me that if someone has a grudge against RWS clones, then they should just write an article stating that, and refrain from reviewing decks that they cannot possible see outside their prejudice.

Kat, ignore the ugly review. Your deck is beautiful, and already well-loved. I haven't read with it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

I have never really liked computer art and most collage work leaves me cold, but your cards are magical and poetic.
Top   #439
BrigantiaTarot  BrigantiaTarot is offline
Join Date: 03 Jan 2004
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Posts: 8
Smile any chance of a longer book?

Still loving reading with the deck--and I love being able to get the sources for collage elements from the book...But it would be so very nice to have a longer, separate book about the symbolism of this deck in particular! I usually find a meaning for myself but I'm curious what both the design and symbolic background is for you, Kat...And I get asked a lot when I show people the deck! I can say what works for me about a card, but sometimes people want to know why x is in y place *really*!

Top   #440



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