Artists: Ideas for 3-D?


Not strictly tarot deck creation, but I thought I might pick more artistic tips here, possibly from those familiar with common Tarot symbolism? Basically, I was considering making "magickal tools" - as envisaged by the golden dawn, e.g. daggers, chalices, wands etc.

Now, I can "draw" these (reasonably well) on the computer screen, but was wondering about simple (easy!) techniques for transferring ideas into three dimensions. Part of the problem is the diversity of objects? I don't e.g. have a forge(!), lathe or extensive workshop facilities, just basic tools... and modest ability! So I was thinking: maybe working in wood, maybe modifying existing objects (knives, goblets) Maybe even "sculpting" some sort of heat-cured polymer???

There is also the question of transferring symbols to (not always!) flat surfaces. I was thinking... Letraset (or variants) maybe? Perhaps "incusing" (punching) soft (polymer) surfaces, prior to hardening? I could cope with simple geometric figures but I do wonder where one would find Hebrew alphabets etc. (computer fonts are one thing, but!) I can e.g. produce fairly high quality b/w or colour printing on an inkjet, but that's about my limit. Maybe I should sponsor a "struggling artist"? :D

Any general ideas or book references would be indeed helpful :)


P.S. These are only personal "one-offs" - I'm not thinking mass production! })


You mean (gasp!) REAL reality as opposed to virtual reality? Oops. Well, maybe a couple of tips. The wand I have, which is sort of interestingly curvy and has served me for about 30 years now, was simply a piece of soft pine board about two feet long and 1x2, that I just kept whittling at with a knife until the wand beneath came up.

You can create pretty good transfer characters with some very interesting effects using a laser printer, clear label paper (comes in 8-1/2 by 11 sheets from your local seller or Paper Direct), and foil. You print the sheets, then run them through the laser printer a second time with the foil on top, and it sticks to the black parts. The resulting characters are, surprisingly, fairly stable, though they will wear off over time, and you can cut and stick the labels to any (well, almost any) flat surface.

Knives - well, they're a different ball of string. If you've got a fairly large Ren fair near you, it's worth going and taking a look at some of what's on sale, and talking to the craftspeople about what types of modifications you (or they) could make. Otherwise, hit your local knife shop and talk there. The blade should, frankly, be left alone unless you want to think about how you might do some etching, but the hilts of a good knife are generally removable, and that gives you a template to work from for adding, enhancing, or remaking.

I'm looking forward to seeing what some of the other tips are.


Here are my suggestions, though they are colored by my own preference for natural, simple, or even primitive ritual objects. I also like metal if it's done well, though in my experience, many people put off or even frightened by metal, especially iron. Materials are very important and have different spiritual "personalities" so if you're making something as a gift, be sure you know what that person is comfortable with.
Personally, I don't care for sticks covered in dyed leather and feathers, giant quartz crystals gobbed with polymer clay, knives that look like the cover of a fantasy novel, or cups encrusted with shells and glass blobs. (Now that I've offended some people..)

I have my own set of forged iron suit symbols: a small heavy bowl, a twisted spike, some bells, and an antique Chinese fisherman's knife (I've forged one of these, but I bought the antique one for ritual use).

I still collect and use many unaltered natural ritual objects: turtle shells, various sticks and thorns, bones, many stones, etc.

If you have a bench grinder, you can make your own knife blade by grinding and sanding the metal cold, no heating necessary. Even bladesmiths who work with pattern-welded steel do this - they forge the blank, then grind it to shape. If the blade is not for constant or heavy use, try a strip of 1" wide x 1/8" thick mild steel from the hardware store. You can grind it any shape you like and make whatever kind of handle you want - wood, antler, etc. High-carbon steel (used for hot-forged knives) and stainless steel (used for table knives) is difficult to work and requires heat treating.

If you like metal, copper rod, wire, and sheet are very easy to work with a small hammer, jeweler's pliers and saw, and a small propane torch. You hammer and work the metal cold, then anneal (heat) it to soften it again, let it cool, then keep working. I worked copper for a few years before I started blacksmithing, using scrap electrical wire for spirals, wirewraps, etc. and medium-weight sheet for bowls, cone bells, cutout ornaments etc.



Thanks BOTH for your thoughts :)

Yeah, I see some knives are sold with the suggestion that you can modify them with FIMO <shrug> which appears to be (as I speculate) some sort of oven-ready polymer in various colours. A detachable (or even plastic) handle can removed or built over etc. I'll have to look around - the commercial names for such things seem to vary considerably with geographic location. I might have a look around the local art shop and perhaps simply "having a go" myself! :)


Yeah, we did some of that at school and I used to dabble in a bit of (radio) "chassis-bashing" as a kid - Dad was into HAM radio in those bygone days! The thing now is a lack of availibility of raw materials. We have almost NO stores locally which basic stuff - even sheet metal. Almost everything is pre-packaged or for a DIY kitchen upgrade market etc. I blame the UK "changing rooms" programs... }) Cool (or hot) hobby though!