Many folks that make miniatures have "mentors" or "Idols" - folks that they look up to that do the same things that they do but seem to do them a little bit better.
One of my miniature tackmaking mentors is Susan Bensema Young. Susan has been making miniatures for 25 years or more and it definitely shows. When I was starting out(even now!) in making miniature tack I would gaze at her website wanting so bad to own one of her pieces. At the time though, I knew I couldn't afford it, so I would just sit with simmering jealousy at her beautiful creations.
Then as I got better and more confident in my craft I actually introduced myself to Susan one year at Breyerfest. We were interrupted by Kathleen Bond who showed Susan how she made a woven star on her Real saddles. I was SO LUCKY to be able to sit there in the midst of two seasoned tackmakers that I just shut my mouth and appreciated what I was seeing.
Another year came at Breyerfest and I was determined to again "visit" with Susan if only to buy her book this time. To my delight, when she saw me again, the first words out of her mouth were 'You've improved!" I was on cloud 9.
Since then susan and I have become fast friends. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. All of the knots, saddlemaking and silversmithing are just a poor attempt by me to be as good as her. I have found though, that the more I know, the more I realized I have SO MUCH to learn and the more I admire Susan.
This is especially poignant for me right now, while I am teaching myself "interweaves" on a turks head knot.
IF you know susan's work already, you are probably nodding your head by now in agreement. If you don't, I suggest you take a few moments to meander to her website to see the brilliance that is Susan's work. All of those beautiful Knots that you see on her miniature tack are indeed miniature woven knots. Not painted, woven. Her skill is unsurpassed by anyone in the equine miniaturist hobby. Even if you don't much care for or understand the Equine miniaturist hobby, you will appreciate what Susan has accomplished and recognize her influence on my work.
Yesterday, Saturday, I felt better than I have in quite some time. I'm hoping that this good health will continue through today so that I can keep teaching myself woven knots with interweaves. It feels really good to be back in the studio again. I've missed it.