The Two of Pentacles is is a tarot card that we always enjoy designing because there are so many possibilities for conveying the broad idea of juggling a lot of things at once!
We knew almost immediately that we wanted to show a cat in a harlequin costume (a jester would have been another possibility but we felt that was best kept for The Fool). These harlequin costumes are a bit of a nightmare to make as it involves Corinne, our lovely French seamstress and couturier, in stitching together tiny pieces of vintage silk (you can “meet” Corinne in our video here). In this case we used mostly silk from vintage kimonos for their richness of colour and texture.
We found, to our slight dismay, that once dressed, this was a hard model to pose – the harlequin costume tends to be quite stiff so we had a bit of a challenge to achieve a dynamic look. We ended up by balancing the figure on a piece of wood and then screwing the “feet” into place to achieve movement in the overall look.
Once all that was done and we had our photos, we then had to decide just what he was juggling. We tried various options then remembered we have a wonderful Victorian juggler puppet who lives in his own wooden box. We tried his wooden juggling balls and they were perfect. The fact that they are hand painted gives a rich feeling that feels authentic.
The picture we chose to base part of the background on (it’s a 17th century landscape by Philips Koninck – though considerably changed by us) is a nod to the ship that is seen behind the Two of Pentacles figure in the original Rider Waite Smith tarot deck.
Now that the card is finished, we will be going on to recreate this scene for The Bohemian Cats’ Theatre Book. We’re excited to see how that turns out and will of course be showing it here when it’s done.