May 2014



It wasn't our best month regarding playing cards. Joop wanted to attend the opening of the new exhibition at the National Playing Card Museum in Turnhout, Belgium. The exhibition was about the Great War (WW I) on playing cards and the "vernissage" started at 8 PM. The drive usually takes close to 2 hours, so Joop left the house at 5 PM. However, a truck had caused a massive accident just south of Amsterdam and at 6:30 he was glad to get out of the traffic jam at a nearby exit, still a little north of the accident, turn around and head back for home. Oh well, he'll get a second chance to see the exhibition during the Collector's Day at the museum on June 14. Hopefully Miriam will be able to come along then too.
The weather had its moments this month and we had to get some work done in the garden. Buying new plants and planting them took up a lot of our spare time. Although she still has off-days, Miriam is slowly improving and we can see or entertain friends more often. So we didn't follow the complete offer on Ebay nor that of the Dutch auction site and Joop visited only two local flea markets. No catches at the flea markets and outbid on most of the interesting auctions, so the offer to choose from this month was limited, in quantity as well as quality.

It has led to a rather poor short list, with only one (1) antique deck and a limited number of modern ones, of which the best one couldn't be shown here. It's the latest "Pagan" deck by Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits from the Uusi Studio. However, we don't show decks twice on our site. Because it is part of a series of 6 decks and we already show 3 of them in the ART&CARDS section, the Pagan deck can be seen there and you'll have to settle with the second best here.

Since a few years we have been helping to fund projects with playing cards on Kickstarter, a website where artistic, cultural and social projects are "crowd funded".  The above mentioned series by Uusi is one of "our" projects and the chosen deck for this month is another one. The deck was conceived and realized by Connie Lim, a young designer with a love for fashion. The deck took a while from subscribtion as a backer until production by the USPCC, but it arrived this month.
Connie Lim is a fashion illustrator and designer. She started illustrating back in 2006 in the early days of her time at Art Center Pasadena, where she attended a fashion illustration class. We'll let Connie tell us about the deck, but will add some notes here and there too.

On Kickstarter this deck was described as "54 Hand Drawn Card Illustrations Inspired by Fashion" and Connie Lim explains: "my goal with this project is to create a beautiful deck of cards that is at once intensely personal and an accessible, shareable story. Each individual card is a different drawing that I created reflecting a time and period on my journey. The artwork is meant to be held, studied, exchanged and played with. Some say that a piece of art isnít made real until it is put out into the world -- this work is a tangible telling of my story, intimately realized in the palm of your hand."

The deck gives the feeling of looking at a coffee table book rather than a deck of cards. And that's what Connie had in mind.

"The deck is primarily art-focused. Although functional, the cards are still mainly a vehicle to convey the illustrations (apologies to all die-hard card collectors and aficionados -- though I'm learning so much about your beautiful world). Each illustration is based purely on my thoughts and feelings towards the suits and numbers. They are a personal reflection of my journey at the time of illustrating them, and I hope they can speak to you in some way as you are on yours".



Functionality requires fast recognition by players and there are a few features that slow that down. Now that you've had a chance to see the pip cards, you'll also have seen that some cards are not that functional, as the number almost disappears in the design. Also the chosen color for the red suit signs and pips is rather dark. In real it's closer to black than on these scans and it requires taking a better look at the shape. The use of dark red is also a bit odd, as the red details in the drawings in those suits are printed in a brighter red.

A final word from Connie:
I am fascinated by fashion, and it was through the class that I started my Fashion Playing Cards project. In working on the series, I found an outlet to both express and evoke emotions through my drawings, which had up to then seemed little more than the sum of individual lines on a page. The impact of that realization meant the project never left the back of my mind, even as my studies and then freelance work took me away from completing what I had started. But having stepped back from it and grown as an artist in the past few years, completing the cards has become an apt parallel for my journey as an illustrator: the changing drawings encapsulate how my technique and perspective have evolved. Unfinished drawings ask to be finished. Similarly, I am drawn to the need to finish this series, to conclude the chapter of my life it helped launch so many years ago."


The jokers were probably meant to form a diptych. The idea of one holding the strings and the other being the puppet is clever, but the calibrating of the designs could have been done better.

The 2 extra cards have 2 printed sides and cannot be used with the deck. They have Connie's signature and info on one side and text and the design for the special stamp on the other side.

The deck was published in a limited edition of 3500 and was supposed to come with a special metal luxury box.
That box was delayed and backers received extra decks in regular tuck boxes as compensation.
We're not sure if the special boxes were ever delivered, we haven't heard from Connie since the publication.