02 September 2015

Colourful playing cards

Last year I was painting the Colour Dictionary, and with a book fair coming up, I wondered how to "capitalise" on this creation ... as if explaining what it is, and maybe "why do this?", wasn't enough to be getting on with during the day. Still, as well as educating the public, the aim of a book fair is to sell books and at least cover your costs, so, what to do that complements or augments the Colour Dictionary?

Feeding into this is the small question of how to set up the table. To keep it simple, I'm thinking of using the dictionary as the centrepiece, in a protective clamshell box that I have yet to make for it, but feel reasonably confident about, having been to a box-making workshop not so long ago. 
Box making workshop with Young Kim at Morley College, July
What sort of colourful (and possibly saleable) book-objects can join it?

Thinking of how to package these objects, whatever they may be (collections of painted sheets of paper?) got me thinking of different types of boxes, including those with book-like proportions ... such as boxes that playing cards come in.

Ah, playing cards ... usually their backs are all the same pattern, but what if each one in the deck had a different colour on the back, or rather, a different shade, closely related shades ... and the colours were randomly distributed ... would other players be able to remember which subtle nuance indicated the ace of spades or the ten of clubs, say?
I found two used decks of cards and painted the backs white, sanded them, and planned to apply colours to both decks at once, to save on paint mixing time - going from blue to purple to red to orange to yellow to green. Without trying it, and remembering the process of painting the dictionary, it seems that six colours doesn't make for a lot of close shades.

In the end (or rather, the beginning...) I painted just one deck, used two colours of blue and two of green, and just kept mixing a bit of something and hoped it would result in 52 different shades.
The excitement was in getting the cards off the newspaper (they were held on by little tubes of masking tape) and laying them out - 
Testing the idea on my drawing group, we all seemed to play with the "colour chips" than to consider the cards as playing cards - a different sort of game -
Can't wait to try other "segues" of colour!

I'm a bit fixated on using old decks of cards, but new ones are probably easier to get, so I'll try a new deck next time that time permits.


Kathleen Loomis said...

what a great idea!

I flash onto our collection of old decks of cards (we used to play bridge a lot, plus solitaire in pre-computer days) in the living room desk. Must be a dozen or more decks, most of them in pretty dicey condition. I think they probably want to be art.

Several years ago I got into a couple of group projects where we sewed onto decks of cards. Maybe revisit that???

magsramsay said...

As one of the people privileged to see and handle them, I can vouch how seductive they are in their subtle variations.