I created the Madam Clara character as part of a year-long project leading up to the Salem Witches Ball on Halloween many years ago. I have always been fascinated with the dark and mysterious world of antique carnival and circus imagery. I wanted to create an experiential costume that was based on a vintage penny arcade fortune teller (the old lady in the glass box) and I wanted to dispense single fortune cards to bring the experience full circle. Being it was in Salem, authenticity was very important to me, so I researched the subject of tarot tirelessly, but I also felt somehow guided in the creation of the deck, which became a true labor of love for me. The fortunes needed to be genuine to the cards, but I wanted them to be mysterious and also a little kitschy. Once the fascination of the research swept me up with inspiration, I kept going. I have since created several decks in the niche of this very specific style. And, I have expanded to create complementary artwork and accessories with the same aesthetic. Long live the dark carnival!