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Kappa “Tarot Cards”

This post is long-overdue, but I made a point to do it, better late than never.

For our KKG recruitment bid day, the theme was “Bohemian tea party,” and I received a special request for some Kappa themed tarot cards.  Tarot cards are an intricate set, which special roles and meanings for each card, so I had to take a scaled down approach.  The cards I made cannot be “read,” and they don’t really have accompanying meanings for each image.  Instead I tried to emulate the look and feel of tarot card images.

The main KKG symbols are the owl, the key, and the fleur-de-lis.  But we also have other symbols, like the iris and the sapphire.  I used these and the Greek letters, including my own chapter’s Zeta Pi.  Then I went a step further, using a little creative license to come up with some more.  For example, the keyhole came from the key, and the feather stems from the owl.  The fleur-de-lis is a mythical flower, but said to be a stylized version of the lily, so I made one of those.  So I stretched the limits of our symbols to get a substantial body of cards.  (Only just now did I realize I forgot to make one of the iris.)

To create each card I used simple 3×5 blank (on both sides) index cards.  You can get these very cheap, maybe a pack for a dollar.  I then took a handful and trimmed the corners off of each one, cutting them into rounded corners.

I unified the images by having a blue cool-tone color theme.  I also used the same watercolor and salt technique for the backgrounds of all the cards.  I quickly did random washes with different shades of blue and violet stippled onto the wet surface, followed by a sprinkling of table salt.  It’s a very unpredictable method, but very rewarding when it produces lovely results.  In addition to using table salt, I also added extra drips of water on some of the cards, while on others I used paper towels to dab the washes and selectively remove color.  All of the methods combined creates the feeling of marble.  It also reminds me of the look of a watercolor artist I greatly admire, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

This project was done under a time crunch, so I purposely didn’t spend too long on each card.  I tried to adapt a rapid assembly line creation process.  The drawings had to be simple yet elegant.  I used a lot of gold paint as well as some glitter to accent the cards.  As mentioned before, my primary medium was watercolors, but I also used black Staedtler pens to outline things.  I used a little bit of white crayon in some areas, to repel the watercolor washes.

While I was on a schedule to create these, I am really glad I took the project on.  Putting my perfectionistic tendencies aside and trying to adopt a more rapid and random technique was actually pretty fun.  The final deck of cards are pretty to look at and make a nice collection mounted together on the wall.


Clay Owls

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma.  This brings with it an instant love of owls, keys, and fleur-de-lis.  Our chapter also happens to be pretty crafty.  We like to have craft nights where some of the girls get together and do craft projects.

Our most recent craft project was making miniature owls out of baking clay.  We were inspired by a picture of clay owls based on the owls of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  I’m not sure who created the owls in the picture which originally inspired us, so I’m hesitant to post the picture without giving credit.  I can however direct you to similar clay owls I’ve found on Etsy (two shops).

Here are some owls by GryphOriginals of Etsy.

Then there are clay owls by Calicoowls of Etsy.

We figured these looked like they would be pretty easy to make.  They were so adorable we couldn’t resist.  So I bought some plain white Sculpey baking clay.  We shaped the clay into little balls and added some details with our fingernails and the back tips of paintbrushes.  Then we baked them and painted them with acrylic paint.  The end result is pretty adorable.  I’ll share some pictures, but I didn’t get pictures of everyone’s work, and not everyone painted their owlies.

The owls my sisters and I made.

Owl with an Edge

The following painting is a project I did for my Little Sister of KKG.  At the time I made it, I couldn’t make this post for fear the surprise would be ruined.  Now that the cat’s out of the bag and I have some time on my hands, I’m free to share it with you.

The owl is the symbolic creature of KKG.  Red is my Little’s favorite color.  So, with black to evoke night, I painted this barn owl in black, white and red.  It’s painted on stretched canvas with acrylic paint, and it took surprisingly little time.  I’m guessing under eight hours, though I wasn’t keeping track.

The nature of the red paint gives it a violent look, though I was trying to avoid this connotation.  I hoped to evoke more of a serene and mysterious feeling.  I’m happy with the finished product, though I struggled to get the feet right.  I guess bird feet are just always awkward. 😛

I also scratched into the wet paint of the background, trying out a technique I learned from a classmate.  I think it adds a modern edge to the painting.

Crystal Kappa Earrings

Modern Fleur-de-Lis Necklace

Antique Charm Necklace

Green Fleur-de-Lis Necklace

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