After my "pow wow' with Susan, I've been rabid for braiding bridles. I've even seriously entertained the idea of making a life sized braided rawhide or braided leather bridle.. or at least a half size. Granted, I'm only a 4 or 5 knot trick pony (which is totally a just drop in the bucket) but I've seen some bridles that are made with the 5 knots that I know.
The year I entered the Kentucky state fair with one of my miniature saddles, I was beaten badly by some native american artifacts made in leather. I had no chance whatsoever.. but I didn't know at the time. I think that next year I may make a leather braided bridle and enter it in the fair. I may have a shot then.. LOL! I should mention that the Kentucky State fair is HUGE and runs about two weeks. There are a ton of classes to enter, from fish tanks to quilt making to doll houses etc.. maybe my saddle was just in the wrong section.. I dunno.. I do love the fair though..
Ok. back to rawhide braiding. My all time favorite is of course Luis Ortega. He learned from a 104 year old Californian Native American. I found may beautiful things braided by him when I was researching my bridles for the Mother Hubbard Sets.
Modern Rawhide Braiders make everything from Quirts to bridles and breast collars and some even include custom silver. It has dawned on me for sure that eventually I may have to make my own real sized bit for my real sized braided bridle.. but I'm not sure if anthony would allow me to have a forge in the garage.. he balks at a kiln.. I would think that large open flame would be his limit..hehehehe
Some of the modern rawhide braiders that I've admired over the last couple of weeks are;
And of course, Gail Hought who's books I learned to interweave from. I daydream of having an "in person" class with Gail someday since I really know nothing about making bridles in real size...
There is a guy locally who makes braided bridles so I'd like to eventually talk with him about it too.. I *think* he gives classes..
The progress with my own black braided bridle has been a bit slow, but I've learned a tremendous amount. I really am SOOO gung ho to work on it but Munchkin is Sick today so my miniature braiding will have to wait.. :-)