A guest post shared by Jennifer. (Psst: Jennifer’s Nomad Tarot Kickstarter ends tomorrow!)
Hello! I’m Jennifer, I’m an artist, illustrator, educator, mother, and traveling nomad.
I’m American, but am currently living and working in the UK. I’m the creator and illustrator of The Nomad Tarot, which I’m currently relaunching through a Kickstarter Campaign. I wanted to share a little bit about what led me to create the deck, and why I’m creating a new edition.
I always begin my creative process with tons of research, and am inspired by a pretty wide (and wild) range of material from scientific journals to botanical gardens to poetry. I am drawn to both high-tech and low-fi materials, processes, and ideas. The history, layered imagery, and ties into traditions of folk healing, witchcraft, and other religions made Tarot a natural draw for me.
I had friends who read the cards and for years they were just always around at parties, dinners, and lazy sunny afternoons in the park. I never really identified as a reader myself, but always really enjoyed using them as a lightly fun way, like a horoscope or a palm reading.
I had an art show booked in 2014 and randomly decided to start looking into the Tarot, and illustrating the Major Arcana as large silkscreen prints. After about six months of research and development of my own interpretations, I became obsessed with having the entire deck in my hands, and illustrated the remaining cards. I really only set out initially to create the deck I wanted to use- with imagery drawn from my life, from the specific things that are inspirational and evocative to me- and I have to admit I’m still amazed every time a stranger wants to use it as well. So I initially began the Nomad Tarot project looking at it from the point of view of an illustrator, but in the past five years they’ve really become a part of my everyday life, and now I frequently do readings for myself and friends, have lectured on Tarot, and have sold this deck to customers all over the world.
I have to admit I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to Tarot. I’m not a super-experienced reader who has felt a connection to this tradition for years, I found my way here mainly through the art first and then have fallen in love with the spiritual aspect of Tarot. Since I created the Nomad Tarot I’ve definitely deepened my practice. I now try to really connect with the cards several times a week, both as a reader- as someone looking for that connection to Universal energy- and also as the creator of this deck- to keep checking in and making notes about how the cards are working and feeling, so I can make slight improvements to them to improve their use.
So when I began this journey with the Nomad Tarot nearly five years ago, I just created the deck I wanted to use.
I was new to Tarot, didn’t have a lot of experience reading, and I think that really influenced the type of deck I created. I wanted something that felt modern and fresh, that would appeal to people like me- who had dipped their toes into the Tarot pool but hadn’t really connected with a deck yet or maybe even felt slightly offput by some of the more typical and traditional Tarot imagery. So I used imagery drawn from my life, and drawn from my specific interpretations of the cards that were mostly very personal.
I’m interested in creating a new edition of the deck because after actually working with it for five years, I have a lot of new insights and small changes that will improve the Nomad Tarot for readers everywhere.
There are some cards that made complete sense in my head, but after receiving tons of feedback from customers, they’re not responding to them in the way I’d intended- and I can see slight shifts that will improve their clarity and the ease of using this deck. I think the biggest improvement for this relaunch will be in the guidebook, however. I am working with a professional Tarot reader, Sara Galactica, to add new insights and make it both more specific by including way more information about using the Nomad Tarot, as well as including a lot of general ideas about how to use the Tarot as a tool for self-knowledge and realization. It’s going to be worlds better, with beautiful full-colour photographs, more ideas for spreads to use, and inspirational words from Sara. I can’t wait to get it into my hands!
If you don’t yet have the deck, please consider supporting the campaign and buy one through Kickstarter!
There are also some options in there for items like limited-edition screenprints and the new edition of the Nomad Guide to the Tarot, for those who already have the deck but still want to help us get it out to a wider audience. And of course, word of mouth is the most important way to support an indie deck. The success of this deck so far has always depended on the tight-knit community of tarot fans, who have shared it, gifted it, and used it in their readings for years.
You can also follow @thenomadtarot on Instagram, and tag pictures of the deck if you’ve already purchased one with #nomadtarot. The more pictures we have out there the more people will fall in love with and want to support the project!
If the funding goal is met, the deck will be available through Two Sides Tarot (Australia), Little Red Tarot (UK), and Altar PDX (USA).
Jennifer Dranttel is an artist, illustrator, and educator currently living and working in the UK. She has undergraduate degrees in Architecture, Graphic Design, and Printmaking, and her MFA in Fibers from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Her work has been shown as part of the 2015 National Printmaking Exhibition, The 2016 “Diplomacy by Design” showcase at the US White House, and at New York and Paris Fashion weeks.