This is the first in a series of reviews of wonderful decks produced via self-publication. The mainstream tarot publishers (US Games, Llewellyn, Lo Scarabeo, Red Wheel Weiser, Inner Traditions, etc.) produce many great decks, but there are also many decks that never make the mainstream cut for whatever reason. Common reasons for turndowns are "not within our marketing niche", "too many decks in this genre", "too dark for our audience", "we don't accept collage decks", etc.
My collection is full of both mainstream offerings and valiant dark-horse self-publication efforts. I can't conceive of my collection minus the Storyteller , the Blue Moon , the Rock 'n Roll, the Blue Rose , the Tarot of the Crone or the Mary-El just to name a few. When an artist believes in his/her creation and can't find a mainstream publisher they always have the option of self-publication. Personally, though I applaud the many gold nuggets published by the big name publishers, I am delighted to see that tarot artists are turning to self-publication as a means of realizing their artistic dreams and sharing those dreams with their tarot public when the mainstream does not share their vision.
The Toscano Tarot is a superb deck. For those of you who are wondering, the name is derived from the fact that many images in the deck are taken from the Toscano mail order catalog, which offers art for both the home and the garden. I am not ashamed to say that I own several pieces a la Toscano. The catalogue is an eclectic offering for one's home and habitat, as is the deck. The Toscano Tarot is based on the Inspiration Tarot template and harkens back to the work of great collagists such as Arnell Ando, Michele Jackson and Paula Gibby.
Some of my favorite cards are the Hierophant (the three monkeys and the Cheshire Cat create a striking ensemble), Death (is anyone who knows me surprised with this choice?), the Moon (and I own both the Moon mirror from Toscano shown in the card and companion wolves), the World (whom I believe is Gaia as produced by the Church of All Worlds) and the 9 of Cups with its ecstatic Buddha.
This deck is both a joy to look at and a joy with which to read. Whether or not you are familiar with the Toscano catalog, if you are a tarotist who appreciates well-done collage decks I am confident you will enjoy this offering.
The Toscano deck is not for sale, but Kimberly Fordham will make color copies of the images available for the cost of the copies and the time she invests in them. The cost for a set of uncut sheets plus shipping is $37, which does not include a box or bag. Kimberly will also provide a bag or box for an additional five dollars. I have both the bag and the box and recommend both as money well spent. The presentation of this deck is a fabulous accent to any décor, much like many of the Toscano offerings.
Contact Kimberly (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information .