Inspirational Card Deck Swap...

Posted by Kristin on Thursday, April 4, 2013.

....or learning to let go

In January, in a spurt of crazy, I signed up to participate in Jessica Brogan's Inspirational Card Deck Swap.  To participate, all I had to do was take a deck of cards and alter them in some creative way and include an inspirational quote on each one.  I would mail my completed deck to Jessica and she would mix them all up and I would receive a deck of cards created by 52 different artists (and 52 different wonderful souls would receive my cards as part of their decks).  I thought I could do this.  How hard could decorating small cards be?  Especially when given almost three months to do it in.

It was hard.  I procrastinated because I couldn't figure out what to do with my cards.  On the day they were due to be postmarked, I sat down to begin.  And it was a disaster.  I covered all my cards in paper, adhering it to the cards using an aerosol glue.  Since it was cold outside (and dark) I did this on my kitchen table.  Which is extremely close to my gas furnace.  After I sprayed everything down, I read the warnings on the can that told me in no uncertain terms that I would blow myself up if used near any sort of flame, including small pilot lights.  Luckily, I'm still here but I switched to a permanent craft glue stick just to be safe.

Then I started to paint.  I thought every card had to be its own little painting.  So as I created my little not-quite-masterpieces, all my paper that I had risked my life to glue down started to peel off.  Completely.  so now I had bare playing cards and curly sheets of paper covered in paint.

At this point I decided to quit.  My paintings weren't good enough to give to others.  My paper was falling off.  I was at the deadline.  So I messaged Jessica trying to drop out.  Gluing paper to playing cards was obviously beyond my skill set and I was too embarrassed to send these to anyone but the garbage men. 

But she wouldn't let me.  She gave me advice on how to glue my paper down (double sided tape) and offered to help me through the process.  I finally found out about her tutorial video and I watched that.  And I learned that I needed to let go.  I needed to let go of aiming for perfection and then getting upset when I didn't reach it.  I needed to let go of worrying what others would think of my cards.  So I let go.  And every card I created after that turned out beautifully.  I gave up on trying to create mini paintings and instead covered every single card in yellow paint.  I then used torn paper and stamps to create my inspirational cards.  And I love them all.

Here is my process...

These are my first few cards.  I had envisioned a sky and sea life themed set.  This didn't get that far after every single card fell apart and this is where I tried to quit.

I then switched to color pencil.  If there wasn't any wet paint to ruin my glue, I thought everything would stay together.  It did stay together.  But want to know what takes a very, very, very long time?  Coloring close to 50 individual pictures with pencil.  I gave up after five. 

This is my Janet Hill inspired set.  Visit her works at  All of her paintings have a sense of vintage whimsy.  So I did dresses on dress forms.  This was pretty easy but I ran out of dress ideas.  So I quit after five here as well.

Here is my last ditch effort.  At this point I didn't care.  I still wanted them to be pretty, but I gave up on trying to form perfect little pictures.  And this is also when it all clicked and came together....

I will be mailing my cards off after all.  And I can't wait to see what I receive! 

And a huge thank you to Jessica who helped me through this process by being supportive and reminding us all to just let go....

2 Responses to Inspirational Card Deck Swap...

  1. Anonymous

    They turned out so beautifully! congratulations!

  2. Kristin

    Thank you Laly!

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