Kickstarter: Strigiformes Owl Bicycle Playing Cards by Renee LeCompte

Strigiformes Playing Cards is a fully custom deck of playing cards featuring original illustrations of owls meticulously designed by Renee LeCompte. With the help of Will Roya of Playing Card Decks, the deck is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. On the collaboration, Will told Kardify,
Renee tried to fund this deck last year. I really like her art and she had done a deck before, but did not get enough support to make this owl deck happen.  I reached out to her and asked how I could help her out, whether it just be financially to help make the deck happen or to be more involved. I slowly ended up being more involved and made some suggestions on updating the art, printer, etc. and we eventually decided that I would run the campaign.

The deck features fully custom hand-illustrated courts, pips, jokers, aces, and a custom back. 17 owl species have been carefully selected for each suit, from the amusing burrowing owl to the regal Eurasian eagle owl. On the design, Renee explained,
When I first started designing the deck, I knew I wanted to incorporate some tarot symbolism in the court elements, as traditional playing card symbology wouldn't translate well into owls. And thus began the first step of corresponding playing card suits to tarot suits. I went with: Clubs to Wands, Hearts to Cups, Diamonds to Pentacles and Spades to Swords.

Tarot's symbols are used in royalty as well - every king has a sword, a royal staff, a holy chalice.  The only symbol that didn't quite fit was the pentacle, more often associated with religion than royalty. Renee continued,
So for the diamonds, I had the owls hold a globus cruciger, making the cross portion into a bird's outspread wings. Each other suit got its respective symbol.  One more thing - why do the Spades hold scimitars? I did some research, and found that scimitars were used on horseback - an ideal type of sword to be used in motion. Of course, an owl would always use their sword while in motion, so their weapon of choice became a scimitar.

The king and queen owls of each suit also received a halo instead of a crown, denoting their royalty. Also, the trees in the background have their own small meaning, as Renee made a personal association of the suits with seasons (Clubs - Spring, Hearts - Summer,  Diamonds - Fall and Spades - Winter). As for the Aces, as they represent new beginnings, and also endings in Tarot.  According to Renee,
The Ace of Clubs was a bit special, as the suit is associated with fire, so I made an owlish phoenix emerging anew from flame.  The Ace of Spades was special as well, with it's own symbology as the death card.  So that owl holds the skull of a bird, showing its role as a killer and its comfort with death.
Already funded, Strigiformes Owl Bicycle Playing Cards are now available on Kickstarter. Pledge starts at $9.

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