Personalized Oblique Strategies Deck

After a year and a half gap I’ve decided to start writing about something that isn’t travel exploration. I’m switching over to exploring things that I’m making and things that inspire me, which will probably still include some traveling.

I’ve started taking note of things that come up at least twice from unrelated sources in my life. One thing that has come up many times is the Oblique Strategies deck created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in the 70s. There was always something a little too prescriptive for me about this, although the idea of having a deck to address creative block seemed like a great idea.

Journeys to somewhere reused for shuffling.

Journeys to somewhere reused for shuffling.

I’ve been playing around the with the idea of how much we know but we forget we know. Creative block is not the time in which I feel fantastic at pulling out forgotten knowledge but it is a great time for some extra self empowerment. I made myself a deck of cards of ideas I’ve had to shelve for the moment and things that inspire me. They become my own personal oblique strategies deck, an extra idea or lens in which to consider where I’m blocked. There’s an extra bonus of a good feeling in giving shelved ideas some space by recording them so they can be retrieved one day. Using permanent markers on slick card also means there’s a “shake it like a polaroid” moment as I wait for it to dry.

I’m using train tickets here because that’s what I had a large stack of sitting at home. I attempted to go to the local stationary store, but attempting to buy things after 6 pm in England is hopeless. The still open pound store had nothing useful. My first thought at upcycling was  using old business cards, but alas I left most of those in America. Any shuffle-able stiff card should work.

This lovely number that I use to hold the cards did come from a different pound store.

This lovely number that I use to hold the cards did come from a different pound store.

Last week was particularly stressful so I also explored the use of this self empowerment for anxiety related purposes. The act of writing down a list of things that calmed me down was calming. Now when I am too stressed to think of anything it’s a reflex to either pull a card or think of something calming to write down to think about.

For when I can't get to these things at the moment.

For when I can’t get to these things at the moment.

Then just for fun I made a deck of comfort foods that I enjoy, branching off from the fact that one of my relaxing cards was “comfort foods”. Not yet immediately useful but perhaps it will be one day when I can’t decide what to cook.

Who knows what other decks I will find useful to make one day. In the meantime, I’ll experiment with adding to my existing decks as I collect more train tickets.

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1 comment
  1. Carol Porter, Artist/Designer said:

    Hi RC: Please send me your return email. I have made a watercolor painting of a plant in Ecuador. I don’t know its name. Hope OK to paint your image? Would like send it. Let me know if copyright problems! Carolporterart@gmail.com

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