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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Grace Cards

My creativity proved useful in the Primary School classroom and children's clubs I run at Brooke Baptist Church in Norfolk...

Caroline Kent on the cards…

"I have always been interested in art and design and have enjoyed drawing and making things for many years. My passion for creating proved very useful in the context of the Primary School classroom and subsequently in the children's clubs I run at Brooke Baptist Church in Norfolk."

Grace Cards developed from the desire to provide the children at Church with an enjoyable Christian alternative to monster type collecting cards. Originally the cards were simply collecting cards for playing a game based on the journey's of the Apostle Paul. They had a scripture verse on one side and an abstract design or photo on the reverse.

Eventually I realised that modelling the cards on traditional playing cards would provide opportunities for many more games. After seeing how popular the cards were with the children I thought about producing a pack for sale.

Finding the cost of commercial printing prohibitive, I played around with ways of producing the cards on my desktop computer at home. Eventually I found that my inkjet printer would take the 240 gsm card which a local print firm were prepared to cut to A4 for me.

I used the Serif Page Plus 7 desk top publishing package to form the layout of the cards and imported my own photographs via a flat bed scanner. The most time consuming aspect of the cards was selecting the scripture verses and writing appropriate teaching points to go with each one.

Caroline Kent




back

Once printed in sheets of nine I covered both sides of each sheet with sticky-back plastic, making sure there were no bubbles. Each sheet of nine was then trimmed round the edges with scissors before finally being sliced with a hand guillotine into their final size. The reason for using such a laborious method is that it gives a very pleasing finish and feel to the cards. Sticky-back plastic tends to muck up machine cutters so it has to be done manually while machine lamination leaves an edge around each card if you do them separately (even more time consuming) or falls apart if you do whole sheets then chop them up. The durability of the cards has been proved by the children at my club. They have used and abused the cards as kids tend to do and they still look good. I hope, in the near future, to produce special edition packs which will follow photographic themes.

The cards are durable, attractive, instructive and able to be used for a variety of games. Modelled on traditional playing cards, in terms of suits and numbering, opened up the number of possible games considerably. Packs come complete with suggested instructions for playing a number of popular family games, such as Snap, Happy Families, Matching Pairs, all of which which enhance memory skills, problem solving skills, strategy and team playing. At the same time, they promote the Word of God.

 
Each handmade pack has 52 beautiful full colour playing cards, plus two extra blank cards in a tuck box with instructions.
Retail price = £8.99

Available direct from Caroline Kent
Review on this website.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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