The making of The Hermit Card. The Bohemian Cats' Theatre Tarot
Anthropomorphic cats,  Bohemian Cats,  Bohemian Cats' Theatre Tarot,  Cat Illustrators,  Cat Tarot

Making an inspiring Hermit – shining a light in the forest.

For The Hermit card in the new Bohemian Cats’ Theatre Tarot, we wanted quite a spectacular look. Sometimes this card can be, in visual terms, a bit predictable so we wanted to add richness and also enhance the meaning for our rather distinctive cat tarot.

A figure cloaked and holding a lantern. How could we set about making that as beautiful – and beautifully meaningful – as possible?

We decided that we would design an embroidery for the cloak that would not only add visually, but also help to convey the significance of this card, which is about spiritual introspection, contemplation and a search for deeper meaning in life. 

The original picture from an "emblem book". We added the original text from this to the embroidery for the book scene, but did an embroidery without this for the card scene as the writing would be so small on a card.
Above, you can see some of our test embroideries that we did using various colours of silk as try-outs. On the left is our final embroidery, with just a glimpse in the shot of the 19th century handmade clasp that we recovered and re-used for our Hermit's cloak.

Rerum Sapientia custos means “Wisdom is the guardian of all things” – very appropriate for The Hermit.

Rerum Sapientia Custos
Optima gestarum rerum sapientia custos,
Aeternis condens fortia facta libris.

“By Wisedome, things which passe away

Are best preserved from decay.”
Gabriel Rollenhagen (1583-1619)


You can see another image using this saying and motif here.

We raided our garden and the field behind our house to find beautiful old branches, which were then used to build the hermit's forest.
Behind the scenes, the making of The Bohemian Cats Theatre Tarot.
Setting up the pose for the photograph. We used a fine, pure linen for the tunic and made the little cord belt. We light using studio photographic lights but also, very often, real candles to get the warm and natural light we are looking for.
The final card for The Bohemian Cats' Theatre Tarot. As ever please note that the copyright notice will not be on the printed cards. It is just there to protect our images, which should not be copied without permission please. It's fine to share the link of course and it helps us when you do. Thanks!

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