Planchette Coasters: An Anecdote
Her hand on my shoulder, her gaze at my laptop. Her voice, hesitant. "I don't like the teeth."
"But the teeth are the best part!" I exclaim, having spent hours on the teeth alone.
"The bat's kinda cool."
"Yeah, but, the bat's only there to frame the teeth." But I knew she was right. The teeth were the worst.
We've wanted to bring a whole line of wooden coasters to the store, ever since we released our first one in the 2018 Autumn DETC box. Coasters are just cool. They're unique, great to photograph AND they're actually useful. While designing that one, our long-time wood manufacturer Juniper & Ivy supplied us with a whole range of woods and colors. We were super excited at all of the possibilities and kept that idea in our back pocket ever since.
But sometimes responsibilities get in the way of dreams. And when we finally brought the coasters to the store, we wanted to do the project right. There's nothing more disappointing than doing a scaled-back product release. Like inviting people over for spaghetti, but when they show up, you've just got, like, a bowl of meatballs. It's tasty, but it ain't no meal.
Flash forward to the end of 2019, after we'd spent countless hours designing things for our own curated boxes and for an endless string of client projects. We sat down and mapped out what projects we really wanted to work on for ourselves. The planchette coasters obviously got plopped on the top of that list, just underneath sleep forever and eat more candy.
So it was time to design.
I had already done a Witch meets Hereditary inspired planchette for the Autumn box, so I thought it would be neat to base designs on different kinds of magics. Well, different aesthetics of magic. Juli wanted one of the aesthetics to be a garden witch, which, with her collection of succulents, crystals, and uncanny ability to just kind of know things, she basically is. Easy yes.
I wanted to do kind of a gothy, Sabrina after dark, Haute Macabre kind of vibe. And I thought a circus tent fortune teller vibe would be fun.
I started with this idea, partially because two of the color choices Juniper & Ivy offered were blue and purple. And I definitely wanted to get in on that. The design came pretty quickly. I threw in some astrological symbols, a handful of Eyes of Providence, a nod to palmistry, and some other good stuff. I honestly got it done so fast that I got cocky and thought I could rip through the other designs in no time.
Ugh. I went for Sabrina next. I don't know where my head was at, but I veered pretty hard from our favorite Greendale witch. It was maybe more the Lost Boys meets The Craft. Bat? Check. Ouija Board font? Check. Weird moon phases? Check. And you know what else are cool AND creepy? AND are used as a currency for wishes in one of Juli and I's favorite book series? Teeth. I spent hours on these teeth.
I struggled and never came close to finishing this. Juli vetoed it thankfully. Adding teeth to designs is now a running joke.
Next I got to turning our recent Tea Is Magic enamel pin design into a logo for our store. You've likely seen it pop up as our new profile pic here and there. I kind of envisioned the designs around the center of this to look like bone carvings, and maybe we'd make it white. Instead we made it black. Plot twist!
And then I spun my wheels on a garden design. I had a lot of false starts and I just didn't know what to do. Luckily, Juli & I are great at collaborating. I printed out a bunch of small planchette shapes, since she likes to work small, and she doodled on them for me. We're great at getting each other to think outside our respective boxes. As soon as I saw what she was getting at, I shouted at her, "I've got it!" She said it was rude to shout, but I had already buried my nose in Photoshop so I couldn't hear her.
And I did have it. Mostly. I made some awesome floral crap on the outsides, then tried to add some geometry to the inside to add that nerdy magic symbolism that I like. And, yikes. I made something that looked like a Cylon crossed with those things that hold up the center of a pizza box. It looked kind of neat, but definitely didn't mesh with the flowers. Mental note: work on a line of Cylon-inspired wooden coasters.
After an hour of muttering wildly to my laptop, I figured out the rest of the design that you know and love. And it was off to the presses.
Thanks again to our friends at Juniper & Ivy who take two amazing things-our design, and wood-and bring them together.
And thanks to all of you who've liked, commented on, and encouraged this project. But especially to those of you who have purchased. Cha-ching.