Tanya Teibtner is no stranger to Tarot cards. Her previous set, Tarot de Marseille, was completed after getting her Bachelor's degree in 2020 and served as a way to help keep her work flowing while embarking on her freelance career. Now she's back with a second set, which has pushed her design skills even further.
There's more to Mystic Garden Tarot, though, than serving as a way for Tanya to build her skill set. It was also a chance to create a more diverse set of cards than her previous deck, which was based on the standard Italian pack. "I saw the missing representation of diverse skin colours in the Marseille deck and went for it," she tells Creative Boom. "I've been reading Tarot on my personal journey to understand myself and heal."
Mystic Garden Tarot finds a different source of inspiration, the famous Rider-Waite Tarot set. Known for being user-friendly for beginners, the set is famous for its storytelling illustrations featuring various characters and symbols. And it was these illustrations that provided the basis for a broader project framing.
"The Mystic Garden Tarot cards have got traditional rounded corners, a self-reading manual and come in a handy card deck size to carry around easily," says Tanya. "Also, I finally got the opportunity to plan an exhibition for the inauguration of my deck in Hamburg at Raum für Illustration. This elevated my experience of my Tarot journey beyond my expectations and resulted in my first solo show!"
Given that Tarot de Marseille and the Rider-Waite Tarot decks have histories that have been traced back for centuries, it was important for Tanya to get to know each deck by reading about them. "For the Mystic Garden Tarot, I read about the Rider-Waite deck in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot" by Rachel Pollack," she reveals.
She adds: "Whilst learning about the deck, my admiration and respect grew towards the author and the illustrator. Its symbolism, design, colours, numbering and titles are deeply connected and well thought out. Everything has a meaning and purpose. I will likely continue learning about Tarot for the rest of my life."
Both of Tanya's sets include a diverse skin colour palette based on the same colour combination. This purposeful decision was taken to redress the imbalance of the source material, which depicts white figures and is predominantly Eurocentric.
"I was missing a contemporary version of this deck with a modern world view which includes and represents readers nowadays," Tanya adds. "People are supposed to feel understood and empowered by reading the Tarot."
Given that Tarot decks have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years, Tanya also had to think outside the box when finding fresh angles on the familiar illustrations. A challenge it sounds like she relished. "Designing the Tarot decks has kept me fresh, curious and motivated.
"I had to find solutions for truthfully interpreting the cards' symbolism and storytelling. I wanted to create several skin colours based on a reduced colour palette to archive a balanced aesthetic and find my way when redesigning them while staying close to the rules of the card's original interpretations.
"The designing process was simple as soon as I was equipped with knowledge. The complexity lay in the cards themselves and, therefore, in the research. And the fact that the card deck contains 78 illustrations!"
Mystic Garden Tarot is available to buy now from Tanya's website.