Production update, e-Booklet, surveys and a note from Carmen
Big update here; for a TLDR, skip ahead to the section called “Summary of Current Status and Recent Events” below.
Some kickstarters have reached out to me in support of the challenges we’re facing in production. I want to thank you all for your patience and words of support in this process of production. It’s been a struggle between being a producer of a physical good (and being dead-set on maintaining the best possible quality for you!), COVID delays from our vendors, supply chain shortages, quality control challenges, and I myself getting COVID recently, for which I’m still in quarantine.
If you’ve written to me with a question, I want to assure you that I will get back to you, and that I appreciate your patience as I catch up. Since I have COVID, I am unable to maintain my previous pace of work. I am currently recovering and am slowly responding to you all. Right now, my main priority is getting quality control in line and resolving the remaining production challenges.
Some of you have produced physical goods before, and you know that producing this unique deck is no minor undertaking. We are all waiting eagerly for our beautiful tarot decks, and it is my main goal to get them into your hands, but I have to be clear: the timeline continues to be a challenge that is significantly out of my control as we continue having production issues with the printer. I am sharing more about that with you in this update, as has been my policy of transparency through this so far.
A little background on choosing our printer: after interviewing several printers across the world, we chose our Italy based printer because of their historic printing achievements, the quality of the materials they offer, their ability to gild in gold with a local partner, and finally, because they assured me they could execute my vision for a circular, double sided gold foil tarot deck.
During the process of choosing a printer, I was told by several that it is challenging to print double sided foil, with the level of detail of our designs, centered in a round card. It’s becoming clear that the crowdsourcing of that opinion was right: the printer has run into roadblocks, and they communicated to me in recently that they either cannot print the deck as we agreed to without sourcing different equipment, or they would need to change their proposed production method that produced the first Golden Eclipse prototype, which secured our selection of this printer.
The printer ordered the equipment for an alternative production method, but it’s more than a month late arriving, and they have been faced with emergencies on their side, which has resulted in them cancelling our check-ins and other meetings. The result is that I have very limited visibility on the current production, and I have not yet seen samples from the new production method. Where we last left it is that the quality of the decks being produced was not sufficient, and the printer had to throw out 600+ units due to damage caused by their machines during production. The original delivery date promised to me was for July 7th 2021.
I want you all to have this deck. I intend for you to have this deck. This process has greatly impacted Carmen and myself, along with our friends and family who have put a tremendous amount of creative energy and effort into birthing this project, and listened to us as we have been faced with all these production and material sourcing challenges. Most of all, it has impacted you, our Golden Eclipse community.
Summary of the Current Status & Recent Events
- The printer has been delayed due to COVID infections in their staff and other emergencies, and we are now nearly 4 months past the original delivery date promised to us by the printer
- In November ~600 units were thrown out by the printer due to damage from their machines, bringing production to a halt. This is following our first, small, 250 deck run which will not ship without the remainder of the production
- 5 random decks from the first batch supplied to us for QC have had production errors; 40% of the decks had visible defects and were rejected
- The printer has ordered new equipment to (hopefully) resolve the quality problems in production, but the equipment is late arriving
- Once the new equipment arrives, we’ll need to review a new prototype and sign off on it before resuming production, this will take a few weeks
- Today, December 2, we spoke with the printer and concluded that double-sided gold foil printing is no longer possible. It results in ~50% waste which is neither sustainable nor cost nor time effective. We will make design changes in order to support a high quality final result. To learn more about these changes, see below in “a look into the production process”
- Today, December 2, the printer also shared that they are experiencing major supply chain and material sourcing shortages. They do not have enough remaining material and are not sure they can quickly source the material needed to create our decks. This is a problem not unique to our project and many industries are affected by COVID
- We don’t have a firm delivery date yet, because of, well, everything above here--but when we do, I will be sure to give everyone a chance to update their shipping addresses
- HOLIDAY SHIPPING: It is with a heavy heart that I share we will not be able to deliver in time for the holidays and New Years this year. In October we hoped we would have enough decks in time to ship, but as the most recent batch was thrown out and production stopped, this goal is now out of reach
A Look into the Production Process & What Went Wrong
Our printer, based in Italy, goes through many steps to produce each tarot deck. Each tarot card requires the sheets of white paper to go through eight (8) runs in the printing machines, turning them black and highlighting their feature colors, adding gold foil, then die-cutting, and later, through a partner vendor, are lastly gilded on the edges.
The batch of 600 units that were disposed of for quality issues experienced a problem on the 8th pass, where all the sheets that make up the 600+ units came out damaged. Some of the types of damage that can occur are scratches, misalignment, overlapping, missing color, etc. A common problem is that the gold foil on both sides sets of a sensor that impacts alignment, paper-jams their machine, causing scratches and misprinting. This large error in production is what led to our printer deciding to reevaluate how they produce the deck, and resulted in the ordering of new printing equipment specifically to handle the Golden Eclipse project.
Today we explored options to have a successful print run while maintaining the quality and beauty of the deck, including small design changes if needed. These changes are likely to include a patterned and printed ink back rather than the existing design that requires precision, and eliminating two-sided gold foil, though the gold foil will still exist on the face of each card’s unique side.
Our focus is on the end game: beautiful, powerful decks in your hands!
Some of you have left comments asking about a companion booklet. The Golden Eclipse comes with a digital e-booklet that you can download as a .PDF.
The booklet is available in English, Spanish and Italian. It includes a lot of useful information on how to use your deck:
- How to read reversals with the Golden Eclipse Tarot
- How to connect with your tarot deck
- Description & keywords for the 7 kameas: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, Luna
- Major & Minor Arcana: Astrology correspondence, keywords for upright meaning and reversals
Surveys and Shipping
The surveys are still open and will remain so, and nothing has been shipped at this time.
Some backers have moved countries and are problem solving w/ Kickstarter on how to update their survey to change their countries; if you have had success doing this, please write me via Kickstarter to share how you resolved it so I can help our other kickstarters with this challenge. For newly international backers, I’ll help by taking note of your country change as backup information as you try to problem solve w/ Kickstarter on how to update your survey--just write me via Kickstarter.
As always, I will keep you updated as more information is available, though my updates will be a little less frequent until there is real progress to share about overcoming the quality issues we’re facing; I will continue being in communication with the printer and settling on a solution to reach our production goals as soon as possible.
I want to thank you again for your words of support and patience, and I wish you all a great December: that you remain healthy and enjoy this time with your friends, family and loved ones. Here’s to a smoother 2022!
This is Carmen. Normally this is just Marie here taking all the weight of this side of the project (from which i'm for ever thankful) but today I wanted to step up here to Thank You all for being so patience and supporting our project. Every time we get a bad news from the printers our first concern is how you would react and we know you have reasons to be disappointed, we are too. But you always react so well, we are so immensely thankful for your love and support.
The process of creation of the deck was deep and difficult, it took us 2 years and a half to have everything ready for the Kickstarter to drop.
After all of that, we thought the printing process would be the easier part but we were wrong (so wrong).
We want to create the most precious deck you will have in your hands and we want that experience to be real for you, so the printing process gets a little complicated with that in mind, and with Covid, quarantines, and with fires in the factory, and with delays from materials, etc. Sometimes it feels like everything happen to us... It feels surreal.
This project is our baby, and its been in the workings for so long we can't wait for all of you to have it in your hands and enjoy its magic.
So, again, Thank you so much and please send good vibes our way so the printing process ends soon and we can move on to the next step.
Hola a todas,
Soy Carmen :) Normalmente es Marie la que carga con todo el peso de este lado del proyecto (por lo cual estoy eternamente agradecida) pero hoy quería aparecer por aquí para agradeceros a todas por ser tan pacientes y apoyar nuestro proyecto. Cada vez que recibimos una mala noticia de los impresores, nuestra primera preocupación es cómo reaccionareis, sabemos que tenéis motivos para estar decepcionadas, nosotras también nos sentimos así. Pero siempre reaccionáis tan bien, estamos inmensamente agradecidas por vuestro amor y apoyo.
El proceso de creación de la baraja fue profundo y difícil, tardamos 2 años y medio en tener todo listo para que saliese el Kickstarter.
Después de todo eso, pensamos que el proceso de impresión sería la parte más fácil, pero estábamos equivocadas (y tan equivocadas).
Queremos crear la baraja más preciosa que hayáis tenido en vuestras manos y queremos que esa experiencia sea real para vosotras, por eso el proceso de impresión se complica un poco, bueno, entre eso y el Covid, cuarentenas, y con incendios en la fábrica, y con retrasos en los materiales, etc. A veces parece que todo nos pasa a nosotras... Es surrealista.
Este proyecto es nuestro bebé, y ha estado en proceso durante tanto tiempo que no podemos esperar a que todas lo tengáis en vuestras manos y podáis disfrutar de su magia.
De nuevo, muchas gracias y por favor enviadnos buenas vibraciones para que el proceso de impresión finalice pronto y podamos pasar al siguiente paso.