Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Can't Focus" Sunday or "hey, want some more reference photos?"

I'm having a hard time focusing this sunday so of course, I'm hunting around for something else to think about.. SO......

I decided to show you some of my saddlseat reference photos.  My Friend Danille Hart got me thinking about this reference after she asked for it earlier this week.

These particular photos are specifically "Saddlebred" style Saddleseat.  I know that a lot of folks think that "Saddleseat" saddles and styles are all the same, but they are not.  Arabians, Morgans, Saddlebreds and Tennessee Walking horses all use their saddleseats differently and there are different styles of saddlseat saddles.  Also, believe it or not, different states even have a "culture" that is different from one another.  Since I live in Kentucky, I'm going to share the knowledge that I have gleaned from shows and saddlesat barns here.  This is a touchy subject with saddleseat people so please understand, I am not trying to be the VOICE of saddlseat for model horses.  These are just my observations and opinions.

Firstly, if you'll notice in the two shots that are first in line above, the saddleseat saddle does not fit, in any way, like a hunt seat saddle.  The modern saddleseat saddle was designed to allow the shoulder complete freedom.  The saddle sits behind the withers and behind the shoulder.   Any other placement is considered wrong for a saddlebred.

Second there are many different kinds of saddlseat saddles.  The Saddleseat folks local to Kentucky like the almost, entirely FLAT saddleast.  The "dippy-er" saddleseat saddles are used for Saddlebred equitation riders.

Third, laced reins are optional.  Some riders use a snaffle rein that is laced; Some folks use both the snaffle and pelham reins laced; Some use reins that are not laced at all.  There is no rule governing this so any are allowed.

Fourth: and this is what I have heard from hanging around saddlebred folk-  the preferred browband color is Red or maroon.  Yes, peple do use other colors but by and large what you'll see in the ring, the braids, browband and nosebands are either red or maroon.  There is no rule governing the color so any color is allowed.

Fifth- Like the Huntseat folks, the preferred color of tack is Havana Brown or dark brown.  A lot of times the tack looks black but that is the oil on the tack that is darkening it.

Some of the other photos above show the boots that the saddlebreds wear and a Cavesson set that I liked a lot at Friedmans booth during the Worlds Championship Horse show a few years ago.

Most of my photos above were taken at Premier Stables in Simpsonville, Ky.  My friend Robin Hudson was nice enough to show me around and allow me to snap photos to my hearts desire :-)

I do realize that the Arabians, Morgans and TWH folks have different opinions of what is correct for saddlseat so if you want to comment with any particular point, (or questions)please feel free.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Whats on my Workbench?

There is a thread on a Model Horse Hobby Forum that is in the "tackmaker section" called "whats on your workbench".  I think it's pretty much the best thread on the whole forum.  I love seeing other tackmaker's work and they inspire me to no end.  So... from left to right above:

My western pleasure saddle that I've temporarily put down until I get through the halter orders I took in Feb.  I intend to go back to it soon :-)

The next piece over is an OLD piece that I am going to redo.  It belongs to my friend Anna Tackett.  I have drug my feet on it because I can't decide if I'm going to keep the design of it as it is now, or completely revamp it so that it's more "correct" in my mind.  That is a constant struggle to me: Realistic or Artistic?  And because of that conflict, it's just kinda sat.

The Next Halter is for Robin Smith and I have some really fun ideas in mind for it :0)

The next piece is probably going to be a bitted kind of show bridle.  I think of Morgans or Saddlebreds or Warmbloods.  Since it's black, It'll a bit limited on how I can use it.

The next piece over was originally made to be the bridle to match the western saddle set but I've since changed my mind about it.  Eventually it'll be finished and sold.

The halter next to that is going to be a totally frivolous but fun sort of 4th of july halter.  No idea what I could use it for but I was very inspired by the blue dyed leather :-)

The reins over top of the halter are  set of reins I started, thinking they'd be a fun, quick project.. Nothing in my world is quick and easy.  I'm just kind of "like that".. so they'll sit and probably be the next piece for a giveaway.

And lastly are the bits and pieces for a braided bridle set for me.  I really love those colors and I had a great design in mind, but I've forgotten it now.. lol   Ah well. eventually though I'll finish all of those pieces.. I think...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Okie Rio Sized halter

Finished this over the weekend, in between dodging shoulder and back pain (sigh)..  I love halters on okie's stout little head. :-)

Friday, March 08, 2013

The fine art of giving your work away for free.

Alysheba at the Kentucky Horse Park

I've been thinking about this topic ever since I was contacted a few weeks ago by some people on a forum on Wikimedia.

A few months ago, Flickr changed and expanded their photo licensing and my flickr photos' license was changed from creative commons to creative commons commercial.  I did not realize this at the time, because I was still preoccupied with grief from losing my dad.  I did notice after a while, that my photos were occasionally getting more and more hits.  Once a month, my photos would shoot up to 1000 views and then would stay more steady the rest of the month.

Eventually when I clicked on the referring links from different search engines I figured out that my photos were being used in other places on the web. Sometimes with photographer credit, and sometimes not.

After putting all of this together, I checked the license on my photos and realized that the license had changed.  I changed it back to creative commons non-commercial and started saying yes to all of the requests to use my photos in sim games.  My thinking was that since I don't appear to be selling many photos I could at least have my photos used, with photographer credit, in the sim games.

The Newfoundland Stallion Godfrey

So this brings me to the emails I received from wikimedia.  They were asking permission to use my photos since I had set my license back to creative commons non commercial.  I was also sent a link to the discussion.

I was floored. 

All of my flickr photos were there and were being discussed as to whether or not wikimedia could keep them since my license was changed and since many of them had an obnoxious watermark across the front of them.  There is software out now that can erase the watermarks and some of the photos had had their watermarks removed.  At first I was a bit like..hruummppphh.. I was directed to the usage statement by wikimedia stating that If I allowed them to use my photos anyone could snag them and use them for any purpose.

I was at a crossroad.

Do I take that risk and waive my license and allow folks to use my photos however they see fit?

Do I keep my photos to myself and yank them off of wikimedia?

Heres what I decided and why:

1.  The file sizes that wikimedia and flickr have are not my large file sizes. They are a smaller resized version.  Although they could be used on a website, I believe that they wouldn't be so great in print.  I'm hoping that this leads to direct requests for my larger photos and therefore (hopefully!!!!) payment.

2. This discussion really helped my confidence.  They really wanted my photos.  I now look at them in a whole new way.  Maybe I am good enough afterall?

3. I have a lot of photos of rare breeds of horses thanks to the 2008 Festivale of the Rare equine and they would be used on wikimedia and wikipedia to illustrate what those breeds may look like. The photos could help those rare/almost extinct breeds if someone fell in love with the breed.

4.  I was not paid to take any of those photos.  I was in public, shooting my little head off with the camera for the sheer joy of it.  If I had been paid to take the photos the licensing would be a completely different matter.

5. Most importantly.  I can keep my photos to myself in obscurity, where no one has ever heard of me, or I can share my photos, get photography credit and raise awareness of my work in the world.  Doing so would go a long way to me eventually switching to doing art/photography full time.

The Akhal Teke Stallion Victory

Needless to say I am going to allow them to use my photos.  Not only that, but I joined wikimedia and I'm going to upload clean copies of my photos myself with the smaller filesize.  I also may upload more photos in the future if I get some interesting ones.  I think it will be nice to sort of give back to a project like that.  Hopefully it'll last. But if not, I tried and was a part of something.

Now lets talk about free miniature tack.

Top 10 at NAN 2012 - I made the tack, the entry is owned by a big supporter: Iva Kimmelman

I am very very very grateful to the hobbiests and the collectors that buy my tack.  I really am.  These people allow me to make things that I really enjoy making and are my biggest supporters.  They show my tack and they trust me to make them something really great and I appreciate it so much!

So once a year or so, I make something and give it away via lottery.  I think that is only fair - you support me so this is my way to repay your kindness.  Last year I think I did it twice and I will be giving at least one piece away this year.

And lastly, donating to live model horse shows.  I fully support shows in my region.  I know how hard it is to put on a show thanks to my friend Anna's wonderful shows.  She really worked hard and it's a thankless job sometime.  So If I go to a show I try really hard to donate 100% of a piece of tack.  The show holder can give it away or whatever, however they see fit.

In my mind occasionally giving something away for free is not a bad thing.  I do understand the opinion that one should never give their work away for free but I think the occasional exception is just fine and may sometimes be beneficial to your reputation.