Sunday, August 02, 2009

Graham writes about the new tarot display







I have today finished the new Tarot display. You will recall that the previous display was destroyed by the flood five years ago.

Creating displays from scratch is not as easy as you might expect, especially when you have no budget, but lack of funds can drive one to find more unusual solutions.

The first task was to find an empty space – this is getting more and more difficult but we soon decided that the gap under the scrying mirror cabinet would be ideal. Our new Tarot display would be in the ‘divination’ area – very appropriate. After measuring up the long narrow space Kerriann and I wandered into the workshop looking for inspiration which soon came in the form of a lovely old mahogany and glass frame that once sat on top of a mineral display in The Natural History Museum. This was the last of the display cases that were donated after the flood. After removing the old glass the frame was cut to size, re glued and new safety glass ordered. Kerriann picked up an MDF panel which we covered with black Velcro sheeting and a new ‘made to measure’ display case was born.

A duplicate Rider Waite was found in the archive and whilst I spent a couple of days laying the cards out Kerriann wrote the accompanying texts. We jiggled cards and text around until they fitted and in the end looked very impressive.

However, in line with modern trends, we wanted to make the display more interactive so we racked our brains for a method whereby visitors could select a tarot card and get an interpretation. The easiest way would be to provide a pack of cards but I am sure that cards would ‘disappear’ within days so a more secure method had to be devised. We looked at rotary card filing systems, at various methods of laminating and chaining cards and other methods involving brass eyelets and key rings but none were going to be easy.

Inspiration came again in the workshop!

Before the flood we had purchased an old coin operated fortune telling machine. One popped an old penny into the top and the weight of the coin dropping turned a mechanism that span a pointer over a dial from which your fortune would be read.

This machine had been badly damaged in the flood and was sitting in a corner of the workshop looking unloved – it was about to get a new lease of life. The water-damaged dial was removed and replaced with images of cards from the major arcana and the mechanism modified to accept modern coinage. A lick of paint, some wood polish and a drop of oil and she worked like new! Drop a 2p in the top, the pointer spins and eventually stops – Hey Presto! you have selected a tarot card. Purl Wise has provided interpretations for a panel adjacent to the new display which may even raise us some extra pennies (or 2ps)

Still to add is a laminated copy of 'The Fool's Journey' by Roger Pratt , our expert tarot reading friend in New York (always like to enhance our trans Atlantic relations).

Lets hope our visitors appreciate all the work that goes into our wonderful museum!

1 comment:

Selenia said...

What a wonderful diary, and what a magnificent museum! Thanks a lot for your great job an concern! Would love to visit the Miseum one day!