Arcana Tarot Shop by Michele Jackson

I recently purchased a tarot shop. It was a great buy as it came fully stocked with an assortment of tarot decks ranging from the commonplace to collector’s decks. The store stock also included books, crystal balls, candles, Ouija boards, herbs, stones and all sorts of magical items. The building came with all display fixtures and the checkout counter intact and the seller even threw in the carpeting and furniture. My only concern as a businesswoman is the location, as it is a low traffic, residential area. But I didn’t buy it to make money – I bought it for the pleasure it gives me just owning it and having it to look at and daydream about. 

In case you haven’t guessed yet, this shop is a piece of art that resides on a bookshelf in my living room. It is one of a series of handmade tarot shops designed and hand-made by Arnell Ando. My shop measures 10 3/4 inches high, 15 1/4 inches wide and 9 3/4 inches from front to back*. The top is covered with a piece of clear Plexiglas so you can look inside easily. There are also large windows in the front of the shop for the same purpose. The door opens and closes and is realistic in every detail down to the crystal doorknob and small skeleton key on a key ring.

Two of the walls have floor to ceiling shelves. The shelves on the left hold jars of herbs and exotic, witchy ingredients like Unicorn Bark. The shelves along the back wall behind the counter hold books; tarot decks statuary, candles small pieces of art. There are even a couple of potted plants. There is art on the right side wall – three large framed pictures. There is a glass fronted display counter that holds more decks and tools. This is where the cash register and phone reside. The cash register is one of those big old-fashioned brass ones and the draw can be opened.

There is a table and chairs for folks who stop buy for a reading. There is a tea set for a nice chat and a cuppa on a slow day. The outside of the building is painted in various shades of blue and the inside walls have a dark blue wallpaper in a night sky pattern and a midnight blue carpet. There is even an umbrella holder inside the door. However, this holder is full of magic sticks and wands.

Outside there’s a striped awning for shade, and a wooden lawn chair where the store’s live-in cat curls up for his afternoon naps. There is a book on the arm, probably left there when the proprietress had to step back inside to help a customer.

The workmanship and detail in this piece of art are unbelievable. The smallest deck measures 1/4" X 1/4" X 3/4". The tiny jars are all painted and neatly labeled. The bead jars actually have tiny beads about the size of grains of sand. When making these shops Arnell takes meticulous care to make sure that everything is perfect. The shop is painted and sanded several times to ensure that it is smooth and even looking. All of the deck labels and book covers are centered. She even dyes upholstery to obtain a perfect match for the décor. The pictures and descriptions here do not begin to do this work justice. When you see it you can’t help but “ooohhhh and aaahhhh” over it. Since I live nearby I had the extra pleasure of having Arnell deliver the shop and set it up for me. And while I loved what she did, as soon as she left I moved everything around and made it my own.

This shop is a fertile field for the imagination just like a dollhouse or a toy fort. I see my shop as a place designed for spending lazy afternoons doing leisurely readings and sipping tea. At night it becomes a classroom where tarot and magick are taught. During the full moon, it becomes the local gathering place for a full moon ritual. And, during the dark moon, a few close friends gather to do private ritual work together.

Arnell Ando makes these shops on a special order basis. You let her know what color you prefer, and if there is a deck you want emphasized and she takes it from there. It takes Arnell two weeks of feverish work to make each shop. I cannot begin to imagine how many hours go into each one. I love to do collage work, but I do not relish working in the tiny scale that most of the pieces in this shop require. Arnell is a master of the collage and decoupage mediums and these shops are some of her best work.

These shops are collector’s items that are sure to bring you years of pleasure. It will become an heirloom like a favorite dollhouse, passed down from generation to generation. If you are looking for a unique gift for a tarot collector or for yourself, keep these shops in mind.

*Shop measurements are to the nearest quarter inch

You can see more images of my shop here.

You can see pictures of a shop under construction on Arnell's site.

You can see several other shops on Arnell's site as well.

Review and images ©Copyright 2001 Michele Jackson