Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playing with clay

I'm a stay at home mom. It was my choice not to return to the workforce after my kids were born and it's not a decision I've regretted. However, I do miss bringing home a paycheck. My little tack business has gone a long way to fill that void, and as such, I tend to take it very seriously. I try to work on orders every day, especially during the hours when my kids are in school. However, sometimes things come up and I get a better offer. Happily for me, today was one of those days.Rather than stay home and work on that marathon harness (sorry, Lisa!), I packed up some tools and horses and headed to my friend Regan's house. She had a rare day off work and had invited me to come over and for a "play in the clay" day. She has been working on an original clay sculpture for almost a year. It's nearing completion but progress has stalled, due to lack of time and general exhaustion.
One of the things Regan hadn't tackled yet was the horse's feet. From the fetlocks down, this sculpture was just big, puddles of clay. Now, I like hooves. They seem to be one of the few horse parts that I just "get". Regan told me I could make play with the sculpture to my heart's content, so I decided to give her ankles and hooves. You're looking at the results! Obviously these are nowhere near done, but they are so much more done then they were when I started. I wish I had snapped a "before" picture to record the difference. I've done a fair amount of customizing, but this was the first time I've ever worked on a clay sculpture and it was so much fun. I think I need one of my own!
This is the horse I brought with me to work on.It's a Veiled resin by Linda York that I bought as a project horse a while back. Someone had painted her and then cut off her head and set it back on at a different angle. The customizing hadn't been done very neatly, so I'd re-decapitated her reattached the head. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of it. She looked better because I did it neatly, but the head/neck connection was still not right. It seemed pretty obvious she was going to have to lose her head again, but I wasn't ready to face that at the time. I hid her on far end of the project shelf and didn't touch her again until today. I showed Regan what I was up to and she helped by digging up some reference pictures of Saddlebreds. I marked the area that needed to be removed and cut her head off for the third time (poor Veiled!). Here she is with the head disconnected but held in place to check to check alignment.And this is what she looks like now. I think it's an improvement. If I decide differently tomorrow, I guess I can always get the hacksaw out again...
One last fun picture of some of Regan's other projects along with my headless Saddlebred. I really do enjoy working with other hobbyists. I always learn something and it's so helpful to have another set of eyes to keep me from making the same mistakes over and over.


  1. Ok, you're going to think I'm a moron but I can't seem to find the post where I asked about plastic v. resin (forgot to check follow-up email box). So please help me: what is the difference? Plastic = hollow, resin = solid? Also, I've caught onto a lot of the acronyms you all use (LSQ had me stumped for a while :-), but can't get ISH. ??? Thanks!

  2. Generally speaking--plastic=made by a large commercial manufacturer like Breyer or Stone and resin=sculpted and produced by an individual. Both types of models are plastic but it's different types of plastic. Typically the mass produced models are made with steel injection molds that cost tens of thousands of dollars and last for decades. Resin molds can be made at home and typically yield less than one hundred pieces (sometimes a lot less). In addition to lower mold costs, resins also retain a lot more of the original sculpture's fine details.

    Does that make any sense at all?

    Oh, before I forget--ISH refers to the Ideal Stock Horse mold produced by the Peter Stone company. Just to confuse matters, this mold is a (slight) rework of Carol William's Rio Rondo QH1 resin. That resin was the most successful of the early artist resins marketed to the model horse hobby. I don't remember the exact years of production but I was in college so... early 1990's maybe?

    It's too bad you don't live closer. You could come over and we could spend the whole day gabbing about real and model horses.


  3. Thanks! :-) I know I'm bombarding you with questions, so I apologize. Can't help it, I'm a curious-natured person and have an insatiable desire for knowledge of all things equine. I just emailed the photo you published of the "small portion" of your friend's unbelievably vast model horse collection to my family. They are very nice about putting up with mom's horse obsession but I like to remind them that a) I'm certainly not alone, and b) our decorating could be even more "horse centric" than it already is! Hubby grumbled a bit about the cost of my Mother's Day Zenyatta - little does he know, eh? ;-)

    I think it's fantastic that you found a way to support your hobby while providing income at the same time. And now you've got a REAL one to play with! My budget is such that I can't even swing lessons right now. Thank goodness for my dear friend who likes a riding buddy and has two horses, both of whom direly need exercise. I only get to go once a week but it feeds the addiction.

    I would absolutely love to get together with you, if only to hear about your adventures traveling on the A-circuit. What a job to have had!!! I adore tack, too... pore over every page of the Dover catalog to see what's new... my friend laughs at me because I can always suggest a product when she's wondering what to do.

    Don't know quite how I escaped knowing about the serious model horse collecting/showing world til now, but I'm trying to catch up. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Oh,oh! It's so funny that you mentioned Dover like that because yesterday I went to the new Dover store in Parker! It opened earlier this summer but I hadn't made it out that way yet. SO awesome--just like visiting a catalog! Being the dork I am, I brought my camera and took pictures. They will probably go up today since I don't have anything else to share!

  5. *Jealous* !!! We have exactly ONE real English tack store here in all of STL. We used to have two, but the older (and better/way cooler) one folded a few years ago, to my extreme disappointment. Guess the local market can only go so far and Internet sales did them in. No hope of Dover coming here, alas. I visit the tiny branch establishment of the regular place that's left at our big horse facility down the street, but that's not too exciting. The Bit of Britain store at the WEG was HEAVEN, though prices were over-the-top! Still saw plenty of people staggering around with armloads of loot... lots of people with plenty of dough at that event, let me tell you.

  6. Awesome job with the hooves! I'm working on a sculpture in clay, but I'm saving the legs because I tend to struggle with them. It's so cool that you can sculpt AND make gorgeous tack.