Spring, Spring, is a wonderful thing...

If only Spring would arrive, right? 

It seem strange that we're still in the midst of snow and ice and a bitter, bitter wind.

And perhaps, it would not be hugely conducive to thinking about what a Spring Artefact edition might look like...

...but then again, I've seemingly had that in hand for a good few months, although only realised it a couple of weeks ago.

Let me explain...


I was lucky enough to travel out to Amsterdam last year to do some work with the lovely, clever people at 180 on the Western Union Pass Program.

(for every pass in the UEFA Europa League, Western Union will fund a day of education - over the next three seasons, they're looking to provide a million days of education to young people around the world.  It's a brilliant project, and one I'm proud to have helped a little along the way.)

Having never been to Amsterdam before, I decided there was only one thing to bring back.

No, not that.


I've always been fascinated by the Tulipmania bubble since I read Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, by Charles Mackay, a book of 'popular follies', written in 1841.

It details various different events where what seems like an illogical delusion passes through society.  The South Sea Bubble, Alchemy, Crusades and what have you.  Mainly it's the stuff on Economic bubbles it's still famous for.

James Surowiecki's book "The Wisdom of Crowds" draws its title and bearing from it, though I'm now trying to remember whether I've actually read that, or just think I have because so many other around me have... that'd be ironic.


Mackay recounts that in 1636, tulip bulbs (specifically rare and beautiful ones) began to significantly increase in price in Dutch society. 

There was futures market on tulips, and people would offer staggering amounts of money for fields of bulbs without knowing exactly how they'd turn out. They were hoping for wondrous colours, delightful patterns, stunning varieties...

Why?  Because in existing European flower stocks, there was nothing that could offer the vibrancy in colour of tulips. 


Because they produced blooms the likes of which European gentry had never seen before, tulips were a luxury item. 

A status symbol, a display of wealth and taste, as The Rolling Stones might have phrased it.

Then abruptly, of course, the market collapsed. 


People who'd invested fortunes, even their houses, in tulip bulbs were left holding probably what I bought in a bag in Amsterdam airport for 18 Euros.


It seems strange, of course, that so many people should invest so much in the potential outcome of what colour flowers would emerge from bulbs.

But it is in homage to that folly that I present the idea for the Spring Edition Artefact Cards...


*...mild whooping, occasional cheers...*


Here's a picture from my garden:


Those are just some of the tulips that have started poking through the ground in the last couple of weeks, and on closer inspection the leaves are displaying different characteristics, so I'm pretty sure that they're all a mix of different varieties.

And different varieties is what many of you fine folks have been asking for, because having different coloured cards in a box would be useful sometimes for different sections of projects.

So here's the deal.

The tulips in my garden will determine the colours of the mixed Spring Artefact Cards. 

We'll match a pantone colour to them, and if it works might even take a little stylistic design from them (that really depends on what we find when they emerge.

The first one through will be the first colour we choose, the second one will be the second, and so on.

Because I've no idea how many different ones we'll get, I'm going to set the minimum we pick at three, and the maximum at six. 

If we have three colours, both of the two boxes in the Spring Edition will have 30 cards of that colour, if there are six, we'll do two different boxes, each with a different three colours.

So there you have it. 

You don't have to bet your house on the outcome, but if you want to follow the weekly progress, sign up to the mailing list here, and I'll start Tulip Watch.

It'll make a change from snow watch, eh?


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