Review by Sheri Harshberger
Quel Tarot by Kelley Kolberg, www.metarotiscapes.net
The Quel Tarot is a new, 22-card Majors deck created by artist Kelley Kolberg. Kelley is an artist who immersed herself in Tarot as part of her own healing process after experiencing a personal loss. She started creating Tarot cards featuring loved ones as a way of honoring and expressing her feelings for them, beginning with the friend she lost manifested as the King of Swords. This led to the creation of her Tarot of Friends and Familiar," which she features on her website, www.metarotiscapes.net. As would be expected when noting she has created a King of Swords, Kelley's plan is to create a 78-card deck.
The set comes with the deck, which is tied with a ribbon, and a little white booklet (LWB), packaged in a lined wooden box with a hinged lid. The top of the box features a triptych collage of three of her cards. The box and LWB are numbered, as this 22-card deck is being produced in a limited edition of 100. Kelley is currently working on Minors cards. You can follow her progress and offer suggestions/comments on her blog at http://klkolberg.wordpress.com/.
The cards are slightly wider than a traditional deck and the cards are a bit stiff, but easy to shuffle. The finish is glossy. The cards use the traditional titles, which are centered within silver ovals located in the bottom border of each card. The cards are also numbered with Roman Numerals starting with The Fool as 0, Strength as VIII and Justice as XI. The card images are bounded on all sides by a slim white border, and a dark linear border slightly within the image. The backs of the cards are reversal friendly and stunningly beautiful. You can see the backs of the cards in the image above. What is interesting is that looking at the backs in the box above, the orange/brown/gold parts on either side of the green, look like faces! I did not see that looking at the deck in my hands! Very cool!
The imagery of this deck is compelling. Through the publication of this deck, Kelley is sharing her very personal journey with us in its rawest form. Kelley uses a variety of styles to illustrate the cards. Some are vivid, bold and full of detail, others are softer and more flowing. Many of the cards have realistic heads, depicting the person to whom she is honoring in the card. All are spontaneous and honest, and that makes them very attractive. The more you look at these cards, the more you see and feel. Seeing the faces of Kelley's family and friends in the cards, makes it easier for us (and our clients) to see the faces of our own friends and family.
There are a lot of cards to talk about in this deck, like the 4-legged Emperor, but I am going to focus on three that I found particularly interesting. Strength depicts a person, composed blended into one that is not, and then into a crouching lioness. There is an almost double exposure effect that makes it look like the more composed face is grasping the shoulders of the person that is not. The colors move from cooler tans, blues and greens to warmer yellows, golds and oranges. There is so much energy in this card!
The World is a fractal-ish, and very fresh depiction of the woman in the center of the ring, with the ring being made up of many images of herself. We are our own gatekeepers! The Tower shows the morphing of a person from a mostly undefined state pouring into and becoming a defined one. This card resonates with me as I am on a diet right now and I feel my own deconstruction and reconstruction. Through colors and imagery, you feel a "secret handshake" with the cards. The more you look, the more you see.
The LWB contains an introduction to the Quel Tarot, card meanings, and a discussion of the versatility of the 3-Card Spread. She includes a personal example as the "Good Morning Spread."
I really like this deck and heartily recommend it to anyone interested in working with abstract imagery or a 22-card deck.