A card deck inspired by an extinct tribe

Taos couple create symbolic Sandwater Children art

by Laura Bulkin
Posted 7/3/20

Daniela Huber comes from Switzerland, and Adrian Fuller from New York.

They first met on a rooftop in Goa, India; reconnected in California; traveled to Mexico and Salt Lake City together, and now live here in Taos. Ten months ago, they started working on a project which would tell the story of an extinct tribe called the Sandwater Children.

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A card deck inspired by an extinct tribe

Taos couple create symbolic Sandwater Children art

Posted

Daniela Huber comes from Switzerland, and Adrian Fuller from New York.

They first met on a rooftop in Goa, India; reconnected in California; traveled to Mexico and Salt Lake City together, and now live here in Taos. Ten months ago, they started working on a project which would tell the story of an extinct tribe called the Sandwater Children.

As writers, tattoo artists, musicians and fabricators, they poured all their creativity into this project and came up with a 95-card deck and a 164-page book. They published about a month ago, at the same time as their son, Atticus, was born here at Holy Cross Hospital.

"We were considering going back to Switzerland to have the baby. But then I came to New Mexico, and before I even reached Taos, I knew it would be the place," said Huber. "It was the mountain, the light and the colors. I knew it was where I wanted to become a mother and where we could create. The inspiration source to finish our project was here, in the Taos light. So I called Adrian and told him: 'We're moving to Taos.'

"It's hard to explain it rationally. I would say the universe brought us here. It was like coming home. We found a little studio, moved in and from then on worked hard every day. We found a community and friends right away. We founded a writer's circle and Adrian started working at the World Cup. Today it seems like we've been here forever. I want to build a house here. And I've never said that before."

"I'd always wanted to live in New Mexico," said Fuller. "Daniela gave me new deadlines every week! She was determined to have the Sandwater Children born before the baby."

The artwork on the deck itself is delicate, exquisite and powerful. "We just channeled it," said Fuller. "The idea started growing in Mexico, and unfolded in New Mexico. Whenever we talked about our cards, an additional aspect showed itself until the whole story was complete. We are the Sandwater Children.

"All the cards stand for things we've done, and that's how we created the symbols. I made the masculine ones, Daniela the feminine, and together we did the neutral ones. We would talk about each card, and then I'd write the description. She did the line work, and I did the colors. All of it was teamwork. It's usually very hard to make a project with another artist, but for us it flowed very naturally. We both trusted each other completely."

We asked them about the original Sandwater Children.

"They are us," said Fuller.

"We are them," said Huber. "They are an extinct tribe, who believed that the meaning of life is life itself. So they orientate themselves among 81 symbols, which stand for experiences one has in a fulfilled life. Their whole tradition is very animistic and spiritual, and maybe also quite hedonistic. Also, although there are masculine and feminine cards, the characters and figures don't have a gender. The Sandwater Children believed that masculinity and femininity are not restricted to gender. That's a really important aspect, too, I believe."

"Because they embraced life to the fullest, you can't pull a 'wrong' card," said Fuller. "Every card shows something that is worth embracing and living. I guess that's the most important aspect of these cards."

During quarantine, they are still busy and creative. "We can never have enough time for all the projects we want to do. We've started working on a Sandwater Children Calendar, two children's books and a collection of postcards, just to name a few," said Huber.

"Also we've just had a baby, so we can't really complain about being bored," added Fuller. "We do have a hard time with social distancing though. We're very social people and we miss our tribe. We do readings in front of studio 107-B every Saturday. That's where you can buy our cards, and also at the World Cup and online on our website.

"We have more shops, sites, podcasts and galleries lined up, but it's all a little slow because of our baby, Atticus Wolf. By the way, we think he did all the work! We started when he was conceived, and published two weeks before he was born."

For more information, email sandwaterchildren@gmail.com or visit thesandwaterchildren.com.

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