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Information About Ian Cards

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What Are They?

Ian Cards are the most amazing, intriguing and beautiful playing cards in the world.

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Why Are They Called Ian Cards?

Because I make them and my name is Ian.

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How Are Ian Cards Made?

All Ian Cards start out as normal, regular playing cards. As it happens, I use 'Bicycle' brand poker-size cards made by the United Stated Playing Card Company (USPCC).

I cut a design into the card and then apply a series of folds. There is NO GLUE OR ADHESIVE involved. I never cut any part of the card and then glue or stick it back together. Every card can, in theory, be unfolded back to its original form, although some parts of the card may be cut away altogether during the process.

Sometimes, the initial cutting / slitting is done by a machine process (I do not provide any details about this so please don't ask). Sometimes, for bespoke designs, I cut the cards by hand. In all cases, I do the folding and finishing by hand

In technical terms, Ian Cards are examples of kirigami. Origami = folding. Kirigami = slitting and folding.

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How Many Times Have You Cut Yourself?

This question is often paired with 'Do you still have all your fingers left?'. The fact is, I have so far never cut myself while making an Ian Card and yes, I do in fact still have all my fingers intact. Whether this should be attributed to skill, care and craftsmanship or dumb luck is open to debate. My close friends favour the 'dumb luck' theory.

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What's The History Behind Them?

People have been cutting unusual designs into playing cards for a long time. There's a design known as 'The Trapdoor Card' that has been around since time immemorial.

As far as I know, the person who pioneered kirigami with playing cards is my friend and mentor Angus Lavery. You can find him on Facebook (he's the Angus Lavery based in Wells, Somerset). His email address is 'impossible-cardsx@outlook.com' but you have to take out the x. Just remove the x and you'll be fine.

Angus is writing a book explaining many of the kirigami cards techiques that he uses. I expect this will be the finest book of its kind ever written. He also has some intriguing card designs for sale, so you should contact him and ask what he is currently selling..

Angus gave me one lesson many years ago, in the 1990s, and I have developed my interest in kirigami cards ever since. I was able to build on Angus's pioneering work in at least a couple of ways. (1) I was able to create my designs using a computer graphics program, 'Corel Draw', which meant I could reproduce each design consistently. (2) I devised a way to successfully transfer these designs on to cards so that I could cut them by hand (normal printing doesn't work).

Some of my designs are based on the ideas of Angus Lavery. However, I had to model my own versions of these ideas in Corel and I have also adapted and modified them significantly since Angus gave me my 'beginner' lesson! Every design has gone through countless small refinements and revisions. Sometimes, even a minute adjustment of 1mm can transform a design or make it more practical.

When I had to cut each card individually by hand, there was no way to sell them on a commercially viable basis. Each card took a long time to make, and very few people would be willing to pay the amount I would have had to charge.
I therefore went looking for a way to get the cutting done by machine. None of the solutions you might think would work actually do. I know, because I tried them all. I consulted specialists and experts all over the world for about TWELVE YEARS (no joke) before I discovered a way to get it done. I do not disclose any details about this, so please don't ask.

Now that many of the cards can be cut by machine, I can sell them commercially. Please note that the cards are still folded and finished by hand.

Any other questions: see the Contact page.

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