The gentle deck

The gentle deck - student project

Anne, this class was wonderful! Thank you for the time and thought you put into creating it and for sharing your process as well as such an important message on joy and self-love. Back when I was at a quite low point in my life (some five years ago or so), it was small craft projects that brought me some enjoyment and, eventually, that lead me back to art-making. While I was taking this class it made me think of those years, and how far I've come.

Anyway, I decided to create a "gentle deck" for myself—a place I can turn to especially when a sense of anxiety, overwhelm, or sadness is present. Even though life is a whole lot better now, some days are still tougher than others. I wanted to have small actionable items on my cards, but nothing too effortful. When I feel down and my energy is low, I know there are things that make me feel better. Therefore, I wanted to have these written down on the cards as gentle reminders of the little things in my everyday life that I find inspiring, joyful, and comforting.

So that's where my idea for the deck started. :-)


Here are the steps I took:


The gentle deck - image 1 - student project


1. As I said above, I set an intention around what I wished the deck to be about. I wanted to create something containing small, quite specific delightful actions / prompts that I could pursue any time and that wouldn't require a lot of time, resources, and energy. In essence, I wanted to celebrate the little things in my everyday life that I enjoy a lot but perhaps not always do as often as I'd like.

2. For the cards, I used whatever heavy-weight paper I could find and acrylic paint, black india ink and stabilo markers. I chose these paints and mark-making supplies because I seldom use them in my "normal" art-making, which is mostly all about watercolours. I also incorporated other supplies than regular brushes for the bold ink marks: skewer, cork, straw etc. All in all, I wanted to play and let loose and not stress about making these cards in a specific "style" if you know what I mean. :-) My work is often quite detail-oriented so I challenged myself to paint fast and embrace my messier side, which wasn't as easy as I thought. But I'm glad I did!



The gentle deck - image 2 - student project


3. For the box, I used a cardboard box (as I ate the last dates I realised the box they came in was perfect for this project!) and covered it with some fabric that I actually had bought during those challenging years. So, it was kind of nice to be able to use materials from my old crafting days and turn them into a meaningful project. I found some cute hearts as well that I glued to one side of the box as a reminder that these cards are all about embracing that gentle, heartfelt feeling.

4. For the brainstorming part, I accidentally opened up a random page in the "Start Where You Are" journal that a friend had gifted me. I hadn't filled out that page and as I looked at it realised it would be a great starting point for collecting ideas for what to write on my cards. The prompt said "List your sources of the following: happiness, love, courage, friendship, strength, laughter" and I intuitively wrote down whatever came to mind. It was quite a nice exercise.



The gentle deck - image 3 - student project


5. I cut my papers with a scissor into 7 cm x 5 cm rectangles and got around 50 cards all in all. Then I wrote down ideas inspired by my journaling on the backside and added small illustrations as well for fun. Lastly, I made a few gold ribbons to keep the cards neatly stacked and stored in the box.

6. I plan to use the cards on a weekly basis, whenever my intuition guides me to them or whenever I feel a bit down and would want a gentle pick-me-up. I think it would be nice to pick a card after a short meditation and/or journaling session. When I use the other decks I own in this way, I often find that the message on the card is just what I need to hear/see/feel at that moment. As you said, I, too, like to create a beautiful ritual around working with the deck.



The gentle deck - image 4 - student project


I loved taking this class and it was so nice to create something meaningful just for me. Thank you, Anne, once more and I wish you a wonderful start to the summer season. May your handcrafted decks inspire you along the way! :-)

x Salli



The gentle deck - image 5 - student project