Sunday, December 02, 2012

Real Fast!

I have been doing a lot of "family" things due to the holiday and not a lot of finished things.  I'm drawing more and slowly working on a western pleasure saddle but nothing to really show off..

Hope that you all had a great holiday!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Existential Floodgate

It's been a while since I REALLY posted. I mean REALLY just let fly what was rattling around in my crazy brain so I'm going to let fly tonight.

Ok, Firstly you can see two posts down I finished Ann B's braided reins.  I think they're the finest I've done to date.  I'm super pleased with them.  Poor Ann though, I haven't shipped them yet.  I am very forgetful now (more on that later) and I haven't gotten my stuff together enough to ship them.  They are at work, On  my desk, waiting for me to remember to bring a box from home. or to find a box there at work.. sorry ANN!!!!

Secondly, I finished up Robin Smith's black and gold bridle.  I'm fairly pleased with it as well.  Robin was nice enough to send one of my older bridles, the matching one in brown in fact, to me to repair a piece on the caveson.  It was invaluable in making the new one.  I have in fact not made a double bridle since about 2006. I was super rusty.  The learning curve, or ramp up curve was quite steep but as always Robin is very patient with my crazy butt and allowed me to finish it in my own time with no pressure. That is awesome.  Robin is a long time friend and customer of mine and I'm very grateful for her :-)

It took me 17 Crown pieces to finally cut one that was good enough to use.  It took me at least 20 reins before I was able to make one laced snaffle rein.  Only to figure out I had made it too long.  I can't even begin to tell you how many feet of 1/16th leather it took me to make the lacing for the reins.  I had to skyve it down very close and then cut it in half.  The Browbands and nosebands on those bridles are real gold wire.  So the pressure to make it right with very few mistakes was high considering the price of gold right now.

On the black bridle, all of the buckles are roller buckles with the exception of the lipstrap buckle.  That would've just been too bulky.

As I was making that black bridle, it dawned on me that I need to teach some other people how I make tack.  As I get older, and weirder and life gets much more busy and different, I realize that I may not be able to do this forever.  So if someone wants to come and learn how to do some stuff, you're welcome to.  Just clear a weekend with me and I'd be happy to have ya.

Speaking of teaching folks, I am lucky enough to have a very talented apprentice (so to speak.)  Her name is Danielle Hart and she's more talented than I ever though about being.  She also has the luxury of time right now and she is zipping through learning knots.  I taught her how to make the western turks head knots western show halters with real silver and they are just as nice as mine.  That was a hard thing to do since I considered my work rather unique but I realized that the hobby has room for a few people that do braidwork and work in silver.

In fact, I feel like the hobby has taken a leap forward with tack and I need to catch up! LOL!

For the first time since I started making tack, I currently have no backlog.  I don't know what I'm going to do with myself but I have a braided bridle in mind that I want to make, and have wanted to make for a long time.  Pictures to come when I actually start on it!  It will have a hand made bit.  One of my goals for the near future is to move forward with working in silver and perfecting my western saddles a bit more.

With a loved one's death, when one is my age (40 +) one starts to re-evaulate their life.  I'm no different.  I realize that I am no where near where I want to be in life when it comes to my art.  I have started drawing again and I plan to start painting again.  And my drawings are cartoony and have backslid from  when I was in my 20's doing hyper realistic graphite and the immense amount of caffiene that I inhale makes it hard to focus.. but I want to move forward with that.

In saying that, I do NOT intend to stop making miniatures.  In fact, I think that my miniatures have a place in the world and the more I work on them, the better they get and the better my skills in all realms get.  I realize now that I don't have to be one kind of artist or another. I can be me, and do photography, and paint and make miniatures.  They're all an expression and an extension of what little talent I have.  I've decided to stop defining myself based on what I thought in the past.  Or How I was raised, or treated or even what I've become to date.  I want something different and I will achieve it.  It may be now, it may be after I'm elderly. I don't care. I just want to get there eventually.

Work has been very busy. Very.  If you don't know already, I am a network engineer for a wonderful company.  A company literally full of rock stars in their IT department.  Everyone in that department is excellent at what they do. There are no slackers or bad apples there.  Everyone has talent there.  Everyone strives to be better and our managers do everything in their power to make doing these things easier and shield us from company politics.  In return they expect us to live up to our potential.  That is the hard part. The "busy" part.

In the world of computers, servers, internet etc there are millions of things to know and learn.  You can't just learn one thing and rest.  That is impossible if you want to stay employed and "current".  I am trying to learn how to balance my drive to be an artist with my need to reward the people that I work for with hard work and learning everything that I can.  It is not an easy path.  There are days I want to quit because it's so hard and I'm so tired....  but I'm proud they allow me to play with their toys and their servers.  I'm proud to be a part of that team and be a part of what they do.  I won't even go into the part where I'm a woman in a predominately male field.. So I can't just quit...

I'm also a mom to a really smart little boy and I'm married to a man who can tell the difference between french provincial and modern art and they deserve time now too.

I am now on the other side of grief for the most part.  I cried today watching the Yves Saint Lurant documentary that is told by his life Long partner Pierre.  it was therapudic... and made me a bit nostalgic and helped me to realize that I'm better emotionally than I was.

I have also put on a good 30lbs in the last year.  Which is so irritating to me because I worked so long to be a healthier weight and I had kept it off for 3 years.  Depression and grief triggered my binge eating disorder and now I'm overweight again.  In the last two weeks though I've been better about excercising and I'm almost back to being internally motiviated to walk my 3.4 miles again and not eating pizza 4 times a week.. lol

I'm very into documentary about artists, and geniuses of any kind.  I'm inspired by their vision and it helps me to move forward.  I highly suggest the "Art 21" PBS Series as well as the "Craft in America" PBS Series.  So inspirational..

Maybe I'm a tad dillusional to think that I have anything in common with people that I would consider working artists, but I am working on that too.  I'm working on thinking and realizing that what I do is art, regardless as to what any kind of establishment would think.  it is. I make it for no other reason than to please people and to make it as perfect as I can. At the very least I am a fine craftsperson.  I am going to make the world realize that we tackmakers are artists and that what we create is real, art.  Just as legit as doll houses or diroramas or anything else that is seen as a more traditional craft.

So yeah, I'm trying to change the world... heheheeh

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Long week and not a lot to show for it.

I've been really sick this week with some kind of flu or virus.  It started out as a stomach "thing' and went quickly into a sinus and respiratory infection.  Bleah.  Anthony was out of town Starting Thursday so it was just me and RJ.  Poor Rj was bored out of his mind with a mom that couldn't play but he was an exceptional little boy and caused me no issues.

I had one rein for Robin S. bridle complete when I realized it was way too long.  so I have to start over there... Like I said.. not a lot to sho for thi sweek.. Hopefully next week will be better..

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sneak peeks..

Reins for Ann B.

Bridle I'm working on for myself.  I made the buckles, keepers and the knots. (Those are woven knots, NOT beads)

Bridle I'm working on for myself.  I made the buckles, keepers and the knots. (Those are woven knots, NOT beads)

Robin S's double bridle in progress

Work has been a lot more demanding lately which is a bittersweet thing.  YEsterday, Oct 16th I felt better than I had in a long time.  Just a general overall, I feel better than average kind of day.  Which is the first time I've felt that way in about a year and a half.

Tonight I'm tired, so I'm just sitting and relaxing and recharging.. more studio work this weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Work getting in the way of my Fun!

Work has been very very busy and very intense.  I'm really tired most nights when I come home.  I do try to spend some time in the studio, no matter how short.  Now more than ever I need the comfort of creating things. 

Above is Robin S. 's double bridle in progress.  I'm working on the cavesson now.  The gold on the browband is real gold filled wire.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Busy Busy and Some More Busy!

Hucks Connection V

Marhaabah and JA Urbino

JA Urbino

Half Arabian Costume Class winner
My weekends and weeks have been packed.  More Packed than I like and much busier than I really can keep up with.. but such is life.  THE above photos are from the 2012 Arabian Celebration held here in Louisville, KY last weekend.  It was a thrill to see the horses local again!

I am currently wrestling with my first double bridle in a long long time.. it'll be black and it is for a long time customer..

Last week anthony was out of town so I didn't get anything done in the studio at all.... but I finally had a breakthrough at about 8pm tonight so hopefully the rest will come together a bit easier..

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weekend with a Friend

This past weekend I have the Privilege to spend a few days with Morgen Kilbourn.  In case you live under a rock and are unaware of this really talented lady, Morgen is a Sculptor of equine art.  During Breyerfest this past year, Robin Hudson and I decided to try to persuade Morgen to sculpt a saddlebred of some sort.  Luckily for Us, Morgen Entered the American Academy of Equine Art's Juried Art show and won so Morgen had a reason to come to KY and visit.

Morgen and I have always gotten along via email and she was nice enough to trade a Hazel resin for a couple of bridles with braidwork..  Then last year, 2011, Morgen allowed me to hang out with her when I was at Breyerfest by myself.  This was poignant to me because of the Loss of my dad.  Morgen also lost a parent last year so she knew what I was going through.  We were a bit kismet...  MOrgen will always have a special place in my heart.

Anyway, Morgen drove in last thursday and we spent last Friday and Saturday together.  I want to emphasize how rare this is for me.  I am sickly, moody, introverted critter most of the time.  People rarely are invited to my house, let alone invited to stay a couple of days.  MOrgen was the Perfect house guest and I hope that the night poor RJ's in intercom was muted and resulted in screaming and crying won't scar her for life.!

We spent last friday at Premier Stables and then Willowbank Saddlebred Farm.  In the evening we went to the Art Reception for the AAEA in Georgetown where Morgen won a Prize for best sculpture.

Then saturday I treated her to a non-Breyerfest tour of the Ky Horse park. (We also went to an Irish Draught show but there were only about 6 -8 horses and it wasn't much of a show that day)

I think I wore her out as well as myself.  There was a sickly night on my part due to some weird food at the art reception but luckily Anthony Saved the Day and Morgen was nice enough to not be upset  when I had to RUN to the bathroom and then pass out in bed. (caviar apparently doesn't agree with me)

I sent Morgen home with about 20 Gig of saddlebred photos and hopefully some fond memories.  I know that I will hope that Morgen visits a lot more because I had a wonderful time.

Above are a few photos from our adventures. I'm still getting to know my camera so some things didn't turn out as colorful as I would have wanted.. going to have to read the manual I guess..

On the tack front, I have repaired an older bridle owned by Robin Smith that she's shown with for a long time.  I think it's literally lasted almost ten years without breaking and the buckle that only broke due to wear and use.   I've replaced it with some thicker, tougher but still elegant leather so hopefully it will never break again.  I've also just started on another bridle that will be like that one except in black leather instead.

This weekend is the Arabian Celebration at the Ky Fair and Expo center.. and I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I can't WAIT to see that!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Real Fast! Ann B's Reins

Even though the connectors were made with the same artificial sinew, they turned out lighter because they were so much thinner.  These reins taught me that I could come up with new designs with the thinner braids and I have just The project in mind...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Drivel and change

Ann B's reins and knots that didn't make the cut

Ann B's Reins in progress and a project bridle for me.

Chelsea N's reining saddle set, in the box almost ready to go.

Ann B's reins in progress

Sahara Kitty in the studio.  She's my tack thief!
I've been ruminating a lot about my life.  At my age apparently people change their lives.  I understand why now.  So much has happened to me mentally and emotionally.  Lots of leaps and bound forward.  I finally like the direction I'm moving in, although I'm at the beginning of the path...

Anyway, lots happening in the studio but I'm staying absolutely focused on the two orders that I need to complete before I start to indulge my creativity some more... but these will probably be my best rein set and double bridles yet!  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lemme Just bombard you with photos while I'm at it...

The First halter up there is on my Peter Stone Design a Horse arabian.  I bought him specifically for photographing arabian show halters.  His attitude really sets him off I think.

The next photo down is of a breastcollar that I made to match a bridle that I ended up not using at all at NAN.  I'm going to keep it for now though.

The rest of the photos are of various pieces of tack while they're still at my house.  Soon they will be sent to their new owners.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Real fast.....

Bridle for the Utterly Horses Hullabaloo

Bridle for the Utterly Horses Hullabaloo

Halter for Mary B.

Halter for Mary B.

Halter for Mary b
I swear I've been busy.  Got the Donation for the Utterly Horses Hullabaloo (in ENGLAND!) done and shipped.  And Just last night I finished up the First of my order backlog - a Western Show Halter for a Victrix on my Valor. (the halter is very adjustable).

I am like thisclose to finishing up the breastcollar for the Chelsea Nichols Saddle.  I had to readjust it a bit after I found that it was just too short..

Next Up is a slew of Arabian Show Halters.

Also, I'm working on a blog article about showing your Model horse Saddlebred in Saddle Seat (it is two words).  Hopefully this will clear up any misconceptions or maybe add to them.. I dunno. that post will take me a while to complete though.

My NAN Photos from 2012 have all been uploaded to my photo website: and I'm working towards uploading my 2010 NAN photos as well.

This year at breyerfest I spent a lot of time with different people so I didn't get to get out and photograph a whole lot of things. (and it was desperately hot).

I also went to the 2012 Shelbyville Horse Show Last weekend and shot a few photos there.

More soon when I get a chance to breathe!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breyerfest "loot"

Left to right: Top row: Halter plates, Robin Clark Bit, Small (awesome!) classic western tree: Second Row Hammered Wired Buckles, Carol Williams Bridle with original CW Bit; Carol Williams bit; halter plates

Glossy bay Stone Morgan modeling my new parade set.

OOAK Stone Performance Horse

One of 10 Braided Mane Stone ISH
Before I fall happliy asleep here, I want to writ about how wonderful this Breyerfest/NAN has been.  I think that I have been showing long enough, and coming to Breyerfest Long enough to actually call many people "Friends".  This year, most of those "Friends" were here in Lexington, KY and I had time to sit and talk to many of them.  I truly feel like I belong to this hobby.  LIke I have a place in it and maybe I've made some kind of Small impact.  I've been given the sweetest little gifts of praise from many people and the gift of them allowing me to connect with them.  They also have given me tips, and hints, and been open with me about their methods of making tack and innovations.  I hope that I gave enough in return. :-)

I'm sad to say that Susan Taylor has stated that her hands are no longer allowing her to make tack, so she is liquidating her inventory.  I wandered into her hotel room tonight to see what she had and wandered back out shortly afterwards with new "Treasures" for my own Tack Collection. ( I collect tack as well as make it because I know the time and effort that goes into it".

The first picture above is my "loot" from her room.  Two Precious Bits hand made out of real silver by Carol Williams of .  I have been a long time admirer of Carol's skill and workmanship with tack.  She was a tackmaker before she was a sculptor and her fantastic talent shows through her tack pieces.  I am going to make braided bridles on those bits and I hope that I do them justice.

The Robin Clark (Sister of Ginger Ryals) bits are a rare find now a days.  Robin no longer makes them and hasn't in quite some time.  I acquired more of Robin's bits when she sold out about 10 years ago but I never had any of this kind. (the parade set bit was one of her creations)

The hammered silver wire buckles I bought because I've never been able to make them myself.  NOt because I can't, but because I rarely think about doing so and these are already made.  I think that I aquired a renewed appreciation for things that would save me time after I made my parade set.

The classic sized western saddle tree I bought because I've long wanted to make a classic scale (1/12th) western pleasure set and eventually a parade set.

The second picture down is of the New Morgan mold being produced by the Peter Stone company.  Morgan horses are one of the Breeds of horses that I really love and this guy really just screams morgan to me.  He's also in a nice, "normal" morgan color and I love a glossy model..

The Next picture is a Peter Stone Performance horse with a customized mane and tail as well as a lovely factory paint job.  He is a one of a kind piece.  I have a new eye for "performance" showing so I think he'll fit right in.

The fourth picture down is a Peter stone Ideal Stock Horse Mold with a braided mane and a customized tail.  He also has a lovely paint horse paint job in a nice "conservative" Bay pinto.  I'm thinking english trail with him and maybe whatever else I can come up with.  He also will make a nice halter horse.  He is a one of 10 run.

My "Breyer loot" is wrapped up still but I'll be shooting pictures after I Get home tomorrow.  I really bought a lot more this year than I have in several years

Today Anthony Brought RJ to his First Breyerfest and we really wore him out.  He saw a lot of horses but as usual his favorite things were the birds.  Sometimes a kid just like what he likes and no amount of outside influence will change that. (Trust me, I know.)  So we spent time out by the "Man O War" Statue to see the ducks and geese that in habit the fountain and the little pond near it.

I didn't shoot as many photos of horses this year as I usually do because I was spending time with friends but I still shot a lot of photos.  Unfortunately the Jousting was held inside the indoor arena so my pictures are awful.  For some reason I thought that the jousting would be held outside and that I would be able to get some decent action shots. Not so I'm afraid...  I got some photos of the horses and the "knights" but it was not at all like I pictured in my head. (Course.. what is? LOL)

Well, it's time for me to crawl into bed.. as I tweak photos I'll post more...