Episode 003: The Pixie and the Dead Waite

 

In 1910, a London publishing company debuted what would become the most popular tarot deck of all time: the Rider Waite. But it wasn't Rider or Waite who designed the deck. The Rider Waite was illustrated by a woman, whose name never made it onto the packaging—or into history.

This is the story of two artists who designed popular tarot decks: one filled with art nouveau symbolism and the cats of famed stage actresses, the other packed with New Wave musicians like David Bowie and Debbie Harry. This is the story of two women—born 101 years apart.

 Amanda Stilwell holds a canvas patch of "The Sun," one of the tarot cards designed by Pamela Colman Smith in 1909.

Amanda Stilwell holds a canvas patch of "The Sun," one of the tarot cards designed by Pamela Colman Smith in 1909.

 Pamela Colman Smith at age 34. This image was taken by an unknown photographer in circa 1912, two years after her tarot deck was published.

Pamela Colman Smith at age 34. This image was taken by an unknown photographer in circa 1912, two years after her tarot deck was published.

CREDITS

Thank you to Amanda Stilwell of LastCraft for talking with me. You can find LastCraft online and on Instagram. A big thank you to Cher Vincent for making this episode happen! Logo by Vichcraft Design Studio. Music by Mesmerists