The Inside Out: Part Two

Outside the Box

As I said, all of the work that went into creating the box that I described in my last entry was done without regard for practical production methods or affordability. Producing even a single copy for an edition is slow, difficult, and extremely unforgiving work. So now that I’ve made a pure expression, how do I turn it into something people can actually buy at an easily affordable price? I’ve been struggling for quite a while now to come up with a more reasonable overall solution that can be produced in less time and with less effort.

I’ve tried to find ways to simplify or speed up the production process with as little alteration to the concept as possible, but I’ve found that to be a pretty useless approach to the problem. At some point, it becomes obvious that a better solution may be to simply abandon what was once held so dear, and come up with something entirely different.


That pathway led me to try a solution that gives up a lot of the conceptual design in favor of a printed deck in a simple tuck box that any decent commercial printer can easily produce. But without the whole “Viewing Process” approach in place, I found I was left without an entry point into the project, and no more “looking out from within.” In other words, I found myself outside the box, looking down at an ordinary a deck of cards. Everything was turned inside-out. With that in mind, I pulled the landscape design that had been printed on the inside of the original box, and applied it to the outside of a new, simple tuck-box, along with some suitable labeling. I also did some re-formatting and produced a simple stapled black & white copier version of the the book that can be produced more easily, without the Japanese-style hand sewn binding and careful margins of the original. Unfortunately, eleven volumes of anything, even an ultra-simplified version with wire staples, still takes (not surprisingly) eleven times longer to construct than the single accompanying little white book that you’ll find with pretty much every commercial tarot deck production that you’ll ever see.



So here I am, with a simplified box and an unremarkable set of eleven books, that still take several hours of labor to produce.
What do I do now??
Where does that leave me???

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Beatrice leads Dante the poet on a tour of the Heavens. They begin on the surface of the Earth, and rise through the various concentric spheres of the heavens that hold the moon, the sun, the planets and the stars, until they reach the topmost sphere that surrounds everything else, the Primum Mobile. From there, they look outward, and find themselves looking inward, into the Sphere of the Empyrean, which surrounds a series of concentric spheres which hold the various circles of angels, surrounding a blinding point of light at the center. (Something about this seems familiar…)

I’m not sure, but I think this means it’s time to go back to the original design, and to make sure that a pure expression of the Big Idea happens, before it dissipates in favor of a simplified, affordable version of the work. That can always follow later.

One thought on “The Inside Out: Part Two

  1. Debra says:

    I see the dilemma and have no idea what to think. I can say that thanks to your explanation I better understand how the experience of the split box prototype conveys the sense of both inside/outside and helical cycles.


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