1. This past week, the second prototype decks with a new, improved colour palette were delivered from the printers – see the photo below. (We shot an unboxing video but we’re having technical difficulties with uploading it here, so please watch our Instagram for that to appear in the next couple of days.)
We’re all heart-eyes over how they turned out. There are a couple of tiny design tweaks still to make for the final version, but these decks are perfectly useable for syllabus testing. (The tweaks are: some black text has a weird yellow halo, so we’re changing its colour; the tuck box design needs to be scooched over 3 or 4 pixels; and the correct names from your backer survey responses need to be put on the acknowledgements card.) If you haven’t snagged yours yet, about 50 of the limited edition are still available to pre-order on Etsy.
2. 7!13 Books’ way-cool enormous mismatched Alleyman’s Tarot deck launched the day before yesterday, and they already wildly surpassed their funding goal! Our Dagaz card is part of this one-printing-only indie deck, alongside the stunning work of 79 other talented contemporary artists and designers, and cool designs from decades-old public-domain decks. Honestly, we’d be excited about this project’s concept even if our art wasn’t included, and we can’t wait to shuffle it and do our first readings with it. Check it out at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/713books/the-alleymans-tarot
3. The draft of the rune-meanings-and-pronunciation PDF remains available on GDocs while we collect feedback from colleagues and collaborators. We’d love to hear what you think! Meanwhile, the interdisciplinary syllabus is a bit more than half written.
4. I (Eira) took a much-needed break from writing to make batik divination cloths and help our collaborators with resin dice and coaster production. Pandemic lockdown conditions mean we don’t have photos of the finished resin products yet, but here are some work-in-progress photos of the batik, which was done using beeswax collected as it melted from candles on my household altar, organic cotton bandanas from my favourite fair trade dye house, and madder root extract. Madder was one of the natural dyes used in early medieval Scandinavia and has been used as a tiver to activate runes. In the process, I’ve learnt that my vintage dressmakers’ chalk doesn’t wash out anymore (sigh), and I’ll need to either use a chemical solvent to remove the wax stains from the cloths – or make them mimic old, soft oilcloth by thinly coating the whole thing. Follow along on Instagram!
(Republished from our 16 April 2021 Kickstarter update)
Republished from our 30 March 2021 Instagram post (link)
Inspired by the latest additions to our household altar (1), let’s talk about bind runes! Bind runes or rune-staves are ligatures of two or three runes in an inscription, which may have been done to save space, for decorative reasons, or in rare cases, with magical intent. Modern users of bind runes usually are using them for magical reasons after creating them themselves or choosing from a compendium like (2) Pennick’s Figure 35. In addition to the Elder & Younger Futharks and Anglosaxon Futhorc, our rune card deck includes several bind rune cards like those in (3) & (4). We also include a bind rune lesson in our syllabus.
(1) Antlers, fortuitous find at @bluejarantiques; bind rune wood burnings from @revnarunes and @2ravenzmetaphysical. L-R: Gibu Auja, c500 AD; Web of Wyrd, c1990s; health, joy, and protection Isa + Ingwaz with Thurisaz & Wunjo; “Eternal Love” Jera + Othala + Gebo; complex runestave similar to those in (2), to see clearly in spiritual matters.
(2) Figure 35, page 198 of Nigel Pennick’s _Rune Magic_ (1992)… we wish he disclosed his sources for these
(3) Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards for Gibu Auja (aka GAGAGA), earliest inscriptions c500 AD, and J-O-G, earliest source (2018 on prototype card – corrected! ) a 2009 Livejournal post
(4) Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards for two bind runes related to Isa + Ingwaz (with Wunjo and Thurisaz): Sol (Isa + Ingwaz without Wunjo & Thurisaz), and L-A-NG (Laguz + Ingwaz with Thurisaz and Ansuz).
(republished from our 28 March Instagram post https://www.instagram.com/p/CM-nFgRHr4n/ )
I spy with my little eye… our Dagaz card is part of @publishinggoblin @713books’ upcoming ALLEYMAN’S TAROT #kickstarter! We -love- the idea of a big collected tarot deck (2 sets of major arcana!), and we’re honoured to be featured alongside the stunning work of so many artists. #tarotcommunity #indietarotdeck #alleymanstarot
reblogged from our twitter post of 6 March 2021
Hey everyone! Look what arrived yesterday. (We’ll have prettier daylight photos than these quick cell-phone snaps soon, but we are so excited we couldn’t wait any longer to show you.)
So, all in all we’re delighted! We’ll be submitting the tweaked images for printing later this week, so we should have the second prototype in its custom tuck-box to show you in two to three weeks’ time. We promise we’ll get out the good camera for those photos.
We also have figured out the add-ons issue! Yes, we’re still going to have to do them manually, but if you wanted to add any extra backer rewards to your shipment, Eira can create a custom listing (with no additional shipping charge) for you in the new Mannaz&Wyrd Etsy shop. We’ll put a line item for that in our backer survey, which we delayed sending out until we had this wrinkle smoothed out. (Watch for that to hit your inboxes tomorrow.)
If you missed pledging for the crowdfunding campaign, you can pre-order all the backer rewards through the Etsy shop (although the resin items will only be available in other colourways, not the KS-exclusive gold-on-gold-on-gold). They’re a smidge more expensive, to cover Etsy’s fees, but still lower than our planned retail price.
We have also taken delivery of our mailer envelopes, and the bandana blanks and madder for the divination cloths. Ravishing Raven Handmade have received all their shipments of safety equipment (resin fumes are no joke, y’all) and raw materials, and are still polishing the polymer-clay masters they made as part of remaking the molds to ensure the dice will be bubble-free.
Finally, we received a couple more out-of-print and university-level reference books to help us fact-check our other sources, level up the quality of our syllabus, and make informed book recommendations.
(republished from our 25 Feb 2021 Kickstarter update)
To our wonderful backers and followers,
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Together we’re going to create an educational and divinatory rune card deck with more than the usual Elder Futhark, and a kickass teaching resource that inoculates young adults against recruitment by extremists. We are so excited to move into production and bring you Urd’s Snowflake Rune Cards, and the Urd’s Snowflake Syllabus & Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans, in summer of 2021! It hardly feels like a month has gone by, but what an exciting month it has been. For the record, we ended the crowdfunding campaign at 231% funded, with 54 backers and 163 project followers.
- We’ll be in touch soon with surveys to help us send out your backer rewards.
- This weekend, we’re navigating setting up our Etsy shop and a WordPress site. So much to learn! Last night we posted a synopsis of what we’ve learnt during the first couple of months of the project on the blog at mannazandwyrd.com. (Don’t mind the mess, we’re still fine-tuning the WP theme and figuring out workarounds for the small image size allowances.)
- Backers, if you missed out on choosing one of the late-breaking bonus rewards, shoot us a message and we’ll find a way to make it happen for you. Some of the unclaimed backer rewards will also be available for pre-order through our Etsy shop, starting next week, but at a slightly higher price to cover Etsy’s fees.
- We’re also still polishing the first draft of the syllabus and lesson plans, while building a small team of home-schoolers and professional educators to test it out once it’s ready, and make suggestions for improvement. (If you’re interested in being on that team, contact us!)
- We want to see our curriculum get lots of use, and use the feedback we get to improve both the syllabus and the cards for a bigger, better second edition – so keep spreading the word, and stay in touch on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Etsy, and our website for updates.
(republished from our 20 Feb 2021 campaign update on Kickstarter)
Thank you all.
As I write this, we are a scant ten hours from finishing our 30-day crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It has been a wild ride:
- The project idea came to Eira in December 2020, when she noticed that natural snowflakes and certain round rune-staves shared near-identical symmetry… and that a snowflake could be designed to contain every rune, not just from the Elder Futhark but also the Younger Futhark and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. What if a group of home-schooling lessons were created that explored a wide range of academic subjects (like, say, the chemical structure of water and how it dictates the crystallography of its frozen form) through the lens of the runes? What if, in exploring those subjects, the lessons also debunked the misinformation spread by extremists who have co-opted Norse mythology and symbolism as a way of grooming and indoctrinating teens and young adults? What if we were able to stop kids from falling down the wrong internet rabbithole, or help them climb back out, at the same time as using one of their interests as a hook to help them engage with their schoolwork? Well, we’d need to provide a resource like that for free. But how would we make sure artists and writers involved in the project were paid for their work? Well, maybe we could subsidize those costs by creating a series of products with the snowflake on it, and we could start with rune cards that could be used both alongside the lessons, and on their own as an oracle deck.
- Eira chatted with a few friends, refined the design and named it Urd’s Snowflake (after Urd’s Well, the location of the Norse myth in which the god Odin discovers the runes during a shamanic ritual), and began the textile artwork that would be the foundation of the first set of rune cards. Lee, an experienced runecaster who has already published several rune cheat-sheets, came on-board as a collaborator.
- We launched in mid-January as a #Make100 project, after only two weeks of lead time to construct our campaign and tap KS-savvy friends for advice. Make100 is a category that Kickstarter highlights every January, created specifically so first-time crowdfunders and fine craftspeople can fund-raise for a small, low-stakes, or experimental project. That style of campaign seemed like a perfect fit for the Urd’s Snowflake pilot project. A limited first edition of the rune cards, and a small selection of other backer rewards, would let us get a sense of whether people are interested and start developing a group of handmade items that might support the development and ongoing updates of the syllabus. If the interest continues, we hope eventually to create a bigger, better second edition of the cards with art by another artist and a companion book for wider release.
- We were chosen as a #ProjectWeLove by Kickstarter staff at the stage when they evaluated the draft project to ensure we were following all the rules. This turned out to be extremely helpful, because almost all our backers came to us through Kickstarter. (Next time we’ll have a much longer lead time and strong social media channels in place to help us be less reliant on KS’ algorithms showing our project to potential backers.)
- Eira quickly realized that her original plan, to make textile art for the back and front of every card, was too time consuming to allow work to proceed on other aspects of the project that needed immediate attention – like research to fact-check the cards’ text content, and work to write the syllabus. Fortunately, she had live-in helpers willing to give her a crash course in graphic design software, and a finished textile artwork that lent itself to that approach. We’re pretty pleased with the result.
- We found a wonderful playing-card printer whose work we’ve admired for other artists’ tarot and oracle decks: Make Playing Cards. Our first prototype deck has been printed and is currently en route.
- We had Ravishing Raven Handmade come aboard as collaborators, creating resin rune dice sets and runic-patterned resin coasters for us! RRH are late-teen LGBTQIA2S+ artists making resin, air-dry clay, hand-illustrated, and textile art for fellow witches, pagans, and gamers. One of their founders is Eira’s son, so even though their collective is almost as new as M&W, we’re confident that the quality of their work will meet our standards and they’ll have no trouble with our production deadlines with a little assistance from Eira. The first UV-resin prototypes from them are stunning, and they’re now using their pre-made molds to make polymer clay master dice that they’ll use to create silicone sprue molds for bubble-free production without any muss or fuss.
- We’re currently navigating the fun of setting up an Etsy shop and a WordPress site. So much to learn!
- We’re also still writing the first draft of the syllabus and lesson plans, while building a small team of home-schoolers and professional educators to test it out once it’s ready, and make suggestions for improvement. (If you’re interested, contact us!)
- We’ve had a lot of questions about our shipping costs, our ability to track shipments, and whether we can set up our rewards as add-ons. For this project, all physical objects are coming to Eira to be packed and shipped to our backers, which means we’re paying Canada Post’s rates for everything. Add-Ons are currently unavailable through Kickstarter itself, after its beta-testing period, and those campaigns offering add-ons seem to be doing so through services that work in tandem with KS’ platform. Using a fulfillment service like BackerKit that streamlines all that and does drop-shipping for us seemed like an unnecessarily large expense for a small pilot project, but will be worth looking into for the second edition.
The last two months have been a huge learning curve, and no doubt we’ll continue to figure things out as we go. We are so very grateful to our Kickstarter backers and project followers, and everyone in our communities who has encouraged us on our path so far. Together, we’re going to create a cool little rune deck (with linen cards and a custom tuck box!) and a kickass free teaching resource that inoculates students against recruitment by racists and fascists. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.