Sunday, September 20, 2020

Emergency kittens + Fraggle

I keep thinking, "This it it. We have reached the bottom. It's going to start getting better now."

Then, of course, it gets worse. 

Friday night was really rough, but on Saturday the universe - in the form of Bobbie Allen -  has gifted me with a whole carload of emergency kittens.
These kittens were born to the feral barn cat Bobbie and her husband inherited when they bought their new home last year. 
They are sweet and perfect and Bobbie would love to keep them, but no one - except, perhaps, Stephanie Blaylock - needs nine cats.
So Bobbie is delivering three of her pandemic kittens to friends in Arizona. The other two are along for the ride, in hopes that they'll also find homes.
But wait, it gets better.
Bobbie also brought her best rooster, Fraggle.
Look at him!
This made my entire week!
Fraggle is not adoptable, but two of these little jailbirds are. 
If you would like a pandemic kitten delivered to you door and you live somewhere between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Phoenix Arizona, hit me up. There's still time to make this happen!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Mini-Tack revisited

There weren't a lot of model horse tack options when I was a kid. Everything was made handmade from yarn, felt and rubber bands or came with a horse.

Then I discovered Mini-Tack.
Or perhaps I should say, I discovered the Mini-Tack catalog. Although my best friend and I spent hours poring over the small, black and white photos and starring the items we wanted the most, neither of us ever managed to place an order.
Still, I dreamed about that tack for years.
Last week, some forty years after the fact, I finally received a box full of Mini-Tack. 
Look at these saddles!
If I'm not mistaken, this is H-B 416 Western saddle, pleasure type, H-B 415 Bridle with roping reins and H-B 435 saddle bags.
At the time it was ordered - which appears to be 1977 - this saddle cost $5.95. The saddle bags were an additional $.98.
The bridle was $1.95.
Here's the English set. This is comprised of H-B 405 English saddle with saddle pad and H-B 410 Snaffle bridle. 
The saddle construction is essentially two piece of leather glue together with an attached saddle pad and girth. This cost $2.95.
The bridle is made of what feels like calf lace and sports big handmade buckles. It sold for $1.95.
There saddle and bridle are part of H-B 436, the "Race horse outfit." 
This set also included four shipping boots... 
and a cooler. The price for all of this was $5.95.
I also got a H-B 420 Leather halter. This should have come with a lead strap, but forty three years is a long time. Things get lost.
The blanket is item H-B 401. Both it and the halter were priced at $1.95.
There was also a second halter in the box. While I have no doubt that it's the same vintage as the rest of the tack, I suspect it was built by a different tack maker. Instead of calf lace, it's made from hand cut strips of soft leather and is sewn, rather than glued together. 
Thank you to Kristina Lucas Francis for sending this box my way. I am really happy to own these pieces of hobby history.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Jennifer Show Road Trip, part three

Here's the final installment in Sommer Prosser's series about her 2019 Jennifer Show experience. If you've enjoyed these posts, be sure to check out her blog. It's been dormant for a while, but pandemics have a way of changing things. I'm looking forward to a lot more posts from Sommer in the future!

The Jennifer Show Road Trip: Part Three

by Sommer Prosser

Continuing down that long and winding road - I know, I know it's hard to imagine further than your living room right now - but last year about this time I was on my last leg home from Colorado. Because it was a long trip we broke it into two days, and if you review the map from the first post, you'll see that I made a "loop" with the trip back going through Santa Fe.

It's amazing that I had never visited Santa Fe. It's an art mecca, but also only a day's drive away from Phoenix. What finally drove me there, however, was my friend Mariah's recommendation to visit a very unusual art exhibit of sorts called "Meow Wolf". 

Have a picnic by the giant spider!
Also in the parking lot.
Meow Wolf is very hard to describe. Basically, take an abandoned bowling alley, give a bunch of artists some money from George R.R. Martin (yes the Game of Thrones guy) and see what happens. I had a rough idea of what was inside thanks to photos shared by Mariah back when it first opened, but my friends had no clue what was in store.

Mariah and I met working at a place called "Sunbelt Studios" that worked on some wild projects (themed interiors and the like) so this was especially interesting for us. Since then, Mariah has gone on to paint murals and portraits and I make plastic pony art, but once upon a time we were making all kinds of wacky stuff ourselves that was sort of along these lines. For example, when Tostitos wanted to drop a giant tortilla chip into a bowl of dip for New Year's for the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ, who do you call for this?  Yes, that was a real job the company handled for a while.

Meow Wolf reminded me of what might have happened if they had given the staff free rein and invited us to do whatever we felt like at Sunbelt Studios twenty-ish years ago. We did "weird" stuff all the time there, but unfortunately, being a team for hire, the things we created were never our own. It was an absolute blast, but the idea of being able to go our own way made my brain buzz with the possibilities. There are things that one artist can't create alone, but when you get a group with different talents together, you'd be amazed at what can develop.

I'm not going to show everything start to finish - because I'd love for all of you to see it someday for yourselves and I don't want to ruin all the surprises inside.
Anyway, while Meow Wolf is closed right now due to Covid. It is very "hands on" in nature which was awesome in the Before Times. Please do immediately go see it the second this pandemic clears up.

There's a TON more neat stuff inside - and it has a "story" kind of like an Escape Room, but there's no goal or rush to get out. You're meant to explore at leisure. It has a cafe (outside of the art area) and a room for visitors to try "art-ing" on their own. Make sure you budget enough time to actually enjoy!

I was so inspired that I seriously would like to pursue working for this company some day.  And who knows? With plans to expand, including a planned upcoming location in Phoenix, I'll be keeping a close eye on this art collective.

When we got home the next day, I was able to pull out all my "loot" from the show and found that I didn't do so bad after all!  Here are a few of the obligatory "loot pics." This is a model horse blog, and I know what you guys are here for!  
The Jennifer Show was great, but what was even more meaningful was just spending time traveling with my "crew" of friends, Kory, Maggie, Laura, Lauren, and all the out of town friends that we met up with at the show. That's what I'm missing most of all right now. I can't wait to see all of you again when this pandemic is over! 

And who knows, maybe once it's safe again, our crew can host a big blowout show of our own here in Arizona?  If we do, I hope to see you there! Just never forget: Travel to the pony show NOW with the people you care about, because you don't know what the future might hold. 

The Jennifer Show Road Trip, part two

The Jennifer Show Road Trip: Part Two

by Sommer Prosser

Continuing on the anniversary of The Jennifer Show, and reminiscing about the "before times" when several people could pile into a car and all breathe on each other without possibly hospitalizing your bestie, here's Part Two of the 2019 Jennifer Show Road Trip: 'Zonie Edition.

We settled into the hotel and had dinner at a local place within walking distance. Our hotel was great that way, with restaurants an easy walk away. (Ahh, remember restaurants? Arizona has had them open since May, but I haven't been since March due to an abundance of caution.)

Breakfast with a goat skeleton. (*It made noise too.)
We had safely delivered the Goat Skeleton to Laura Skillern, and the next two days were spent in the show hall. There's not much to say there! Just beautiful horses all around. Most of the this post is simply "eye candy" from the show:
I love this resin so much!  One of my favorite WB sculpts with a great paint job.
I gave my "Love" to this frolicking Clyde. 
Laura Skillern's "goat rescue" Performance entry.
Another view
Such an amazing realistic team roping setup by Hanna Bear!
Amanda Brock judging
Too cute!
BIG classes
My stuff didn't exactly sweep the show, and I'm sad to say that I did not win a mini Anise prize model. Here's pics of some horses that I painted that were at the show:
Some of my friends did pretty well, too! Lauren Hoeffer made sure the Longears class was well represented. I did bring my own contribution - I managed to paint one "Rimrock" resin in black bay to show him off. 
Laura and Lauren (Desert Fish Studios) sweeping the Custom Mini division.
Maggie's china division winners.
Lauren Hoeffer's lovely paintwork on this exotic baby.
"Rimrock" my one Longears contribution at TJS.
However, to my utter surprise, the "Zephyr" medallion that I painted on a lark was the best performing model that I brought! He did extremely well in the Medallion Mayhem show!  So did my own Mustang medallion, "Rogue." The Zephyr medallion went on to do great in the Thornrose class, and so did my Tasheki medallion, too! I didn't consider myself a "medallion painter" at all, so this was a shock to me. Now I'm all in on medallions, with a huge upcoming order from Studio Thornrose!
I'm going to leave this post as just "eye candy" pics for everyone to enjoy, and do a third post with the trip home plus "loot pics". I especially liked seeing so much of Carol Williams' amazing paint work up close and in person. Chris Flint (then Chris Cook) introduced me to Carol when I was a kid at my first horse show and they were both extremely kind and helpful to the goofy kid that I was back then. I'm so happy to see both are still doing well, as two of the longest standing and most respected members of the hobby. 
And, while I didn't win any Mini Anise resin prizes, I didn't exactly leave empty handed!
photo by Beth McCarley
photo by Beth McCarley