VAMP: The Theda Bara Tarot
VAMP:the Theda Bara Tarot, a 78 card tarot deck combining images of Theda Bara with the tarot poetry of Matteo Boiardo and PD Ouspensky
Theda Bara was a huge, huge star of the silent film era.
She was the first Vamp of the silver screen, scandalising the censors and delighting her fans. She starred in over forty films and everyone knew her name.
Sadly only three of these films survive today, the majority being lost in a fire at Fox Studios in 1937. Consequently, she is little known today, and lacks the recognition she deserves.
VAMP: the Theda Bara Tarot is a 78 card tarot deck with all cards featuring a different image of Theda Bara.
“Theda was well versed on all religions. However, closest to her heart was her crystal ball, the Ouija Board, Tarot Cards and the spirits around her. She felt that her karma was from a former life. “ – Joan Craig, author of ‘Theda Bara, My Mentor: Under The Wing Of Hollywood’s First Femme Fatale’
Each card combines an image of Theda Bara with specific text for that card. All text is hand written by me using a nib pen and ink, scanned and then merged with the Theda image to create the card.
All card names and numbers are hand written in a text of my own design inspired by the art deco period.
For the major arcana, the text is taken from ‘The Symbolism of the Tarot’ by PD Ouspensky published in 1913. This book consists of pen pictures describing a journey through the 22 cards of the majors.
For the VAMP majors, snippets of this text can be seen intertwined with the image so that only certain words can be seen, and I have found that depending on the question, different words make themselves apparent to me.
For the minor arcana, the text is taken from the 15th century tarot poetry of Count Matteo Boiardo. He proposed a 78 card tarot deck with the minors being split into suits based on the Four Passions of Fear, Jealousy, Hope and Love. The VAMP tarot deck uses these minors which are well suited to the themes of Theda’s films dealing with such passions and emotions.
Boiardo wrote a three-line poem for each card, and these are shown in their entirety on each minor card in the deck. As with the majors, all text is handwritten by myself using pen and ink, and in a chancery cursive style that was developed in Italy in the 15th century as well.
The poem for the court cards are based on historical, mythical or biblical figures that would have been familiar to 15th century audiences. These are explained in the accompanying book.
The poems for the minor pip cards deal directly with the relevant passion, and are not linked to people as with the court cards.
The majors can be read in the traditional manner, as the imagery of each card will be familiar to tarot readers. The text adds an additional element to aid the reader.
The minors are based on the four suits of Fear, Jealousy, Hope and Love. These can be read by either matching each card to it’s corresponding equivalent in the traditional minors of Swords, Wands, Coins and Cups. Or, by using the Boiardo system of the four passions scale combined with the relevant poem.
The accompanying book will describe all the cards and show the Ouspensky and Boiardo text in their entirety with notes on how to read the cards.
The VAMP tarot deck consists of 78 cards at the standard size of 120mm x 70mm. The standard deck is printed on 305g card stock and the deluxe version is printed on high quality 340g black core card stock.
Different card stocks were considered and test decks made. These were then tested by a number of tarot readers at my monthly tarot group meetup. It was this group of experienced tarot users who decided which was the best card stock to use.
The standard deck comes in a glossy printed tuck box. The deluxe version comes in a two-part rigid box.
The accompanying book is a perfect bound A5 book over 100 pages long. It is fully illustrated and contains:
- Background to the deck
- Information about Theda Bara, PD Ouspensky and Matteo Boiardo
- Illustrations of all 78 cards
- For the majors, the writings of Ouspensky in their entirety for each card
- For the minor cards an explanation of the Boiardo suits and how these can be read by themselves or by matching them to swords, wands, coins and cups instead.
- For the minor court cards, an explanation of the historical/mythical allegory of the Boiardo poems.
- Boiardo tarot poems in their entirety.
The rewards are:
1. POSTCARD - £10
A postcard of the Magician card with a hand-written thank you using the same ink and chancery cursive script that can be seen on the cards. Your name in the book as a thank you for helping make the deck a reality. Sent to anywhere in the world with free shipping.
2. T-SHIRT - £25
T-Shirts are available in unisex sizes Small (36 inch chest) to XXXL (55 inch chest) on 100% cotton t-shirts. Only in black (of course). Choice of Fool, Magician, High Priestess, Devil and Emperor cards. You will be sent a questionnaire when the kickstarter finishes to choose your size and design. Your name in the book as a thank you for helping make the deck a reality. Also available as an addon to other rewards at a reduced cost of £22.
3. JUST THE DECK - £39
This reward is for one standard VAMP 78 card tarot deck printed on 305g card stock in a printed tuck box. No booklet or anything else….just the deck. Your name in the book as a thank you for helping make the deck a reality. Free shipping in the UK, but shipping costs apply elsewhere.
4. DECK AND BOOK - £55
This is the standard DECK as above plus the accompanying A5 perfect bound book. Your name in the book as a thank you for helping make the deck a reality. Free shipping in the UK, but shipping costs apply elsewhere.
5. DELUXE LIMITED EDITION - £80
Deluxe edition limited to 500 copies, and never to be re-released. Includes:
- VAMP 78 card tarot deck upgraded from standard deck on thicker high quality 340g black core card stock, and with the box upgraded from a tuck box to a printed rigid two part box.
- Very excited that this includes a beautiful luxurious satin tarot bag hand crafted exclusively by the talented Ania M.
- Signed, numbered and wax sealed limited edition certificate.
- Signed copy of the 100+ page A5 perfect bound book.
- Three postcards featuring the Magician, the World and the High Priestess cards from the deck printed on high quality 400g stock
- A limited edition numbered, signed and dated fine art A5 giclee print of the FOOL card printed on Hahnemuhle PHOTO RAG paper.
Your name in the book as a thank you for helping make the deck a reality.
FREE SHIPPING IN UK
To date – all design work completed and suppliers selected.
Mid September- mid October – Kickstarter funding period
Mid October- end November – Rewards printed and packing supplies obtained.
First week December – Rewards shipped in plenty of time to arrive before Christmas.
For UK addresses, there is free shipping on all rewards.
For overseas backers, you will need to pay for the shipping as shown for your area in the rewards section. Unfortunately, international shipping is expensive, but I have kept the prices as low as possible.
Please also note you may be liable for customs fees or duties in your country, and you will be responsible for these.
Jook Art is a daughter/father art collaboration. Katie is a professional photographer and digital artist. Steve is a traditional photographer, calligrapher and printmaker. He is also a bit of a luddite, so Katie does all the techy stuff for him.
Steve got his first tarot deck in 1984. Like many it was the 1JJ Swiss deck. This started his fascination with all things tarot, particularly the history, art and symbolism of the tarot.
As an artist and lover of the tarot, he always wanted to create his own deck, but this never came to fruition as he felt he didn't have anything new or fresh to contribute. Then in 2014 he discovered the Victorian photographic process of wet plate collodion and realised this was the medium he needed to create a unique tarot deck. As part of this he researched thousands of Victorian and Edwardian photographs, and collected/saved the ones that reminded him of tarot card images. After a while he noticed that he had collected dozens of Theda Bara photographs; many more times more than anyone else.
Before that, Steve had been vaguely aware of Theda Bara, but did not know that much about her. He read all the books and articles he could find about her, watched all her surviving films and generally found out everything he could.
This then became a personal challenge to create a deck of major cards featuring images of Theda Bara with images than made sense to the specific card (eg strength card with a lion). And this is how the idea started and became a labour of love.
All images, text and music in the cards and the kickstarter video are free from copyright due to the date they were first published being more than 90 years.
The VAMP tarot deck and cards are my copyright.
Risks and challenges
The deck and box have been fully completed. A test version of the deck has been received from the printer and checked and approved by a group of tarot readers. All is ready to go to print if successful.
All other rewards have been completed and suppliers chosen.
Everything is completed and ready to go to print. All that is needed is the finance for the print run.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)