The world’s most famous Magic: The Gathering card just came to life: Florida woman and experienced paper artist Marisa Freese has hand-crafted the legendary Black Lotus card as a life-size, painted paper sculpture in a sealed glass case – all as a gift for her boyfriend.
Freese shared photos of her remarkable MTG Black Lotus project in the Magic The Gathering Rocks My World Facebook group last Friday, to general impressed reactions and cries of ‘take my money’ from the assembled MTG fans.
It came as a copy of the MTG 30th anniversary reprint Black Lotus sold for over $5,000 at auction – as ever, Magic fans seem to have Lotuses on the brain. Naturally, we contacted Freese to find out more.
“The construction took about a day to complete,” she tells Wargamer.
“I did a few prototypes before coming up with the final product. I’m a paper artist, so I decided I’d use mostly paper in the creation of the lotus.”
According to Freese, the entire project took a full day’s work, as well as just over $70 (£58) worth of materials – though the cloche (or domed glass case) was the most costly part by far.
The beneficiary of her hard work? Freese’s partner. “The idea to create the lotus came from my boyfriend,” she tells us; “He mentioned how it would be cool to have a lotus modeled after the card.” Lucky chap!
The Black Lotus’ stem is fixed into the case floor with wire, while the petals and central pod are all crafted paper, glued carefully into place.
“First I researched lotus flowers in photographs and designed a pattern for the petals,” Freese explains. “I cut the petals out of black medium cardstock paper, then carefully painted them to get the blue sheen.”
After that, it took a series of stages, using varying different techniques of paper ‘quilling’ (twisting long strips of paper into coils to create intricate shapes) – as well as a small amount of drilling and “a lot of hot glue”, says Freese.
A fixture on the MTG reserved list of un-reprintable classic cards; a member of the infamous MTG power nine group of ultra-rare cards; holder of the number one spot on our list of the most expensive MTG cards ever; and enshrined on the MTG banlist for almost every format, Black Lotus is easily the most iconic MTG card ever – you can track its history by watching Rhystic Studies’ video above.
Freese tells us this isn’t the only Magic-inspired craft project she’s taken on, though: “I’ve made other MTG art for him over the last few years.”
“I specialize in paper quilling so I made him each [mana] symbol in this technique. I also made him some ornaments for his Christmas tree.”
For all her work making her partner this elusive little mana-producing flower (and mana symbols for every MTG color), Freese herself prefers MTG land cards. “I enjoy collecting the land cards for their beautiful art,” she says – but MTG life gain also has a place in her heart.
Some of my favorite cards come from a deck I have that I created years ago,” she adds: “Soulmender, Staff of Sun Magus, Purity, and Felidar Sovereign. Love me some life gain.”
Like painting miniatures or any other craft hobby, paper quilling is a skill you can spend years learning and improving – but if you want to follow in Freese’s footsteps, this video by HandiWorks is as good a place as any to start:
Elsewhere in Magic: The Gathering news, fans played MTG in the crowd at a death metal concert (again), and we’ve named some of the most exciting Lost Caverns of Ixalan reprints to look forward to in the forthcoming set.
To keep up with the cream of the crop in Magic, check out our up to date MTG release schedule and our guides to the best MTG Arena decks and the best MTG cards ever. You can also get a bunch of free packs and cosmetics with our full list of MTG Arena codes.