Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites belong on Fridays, and today is...  not Friday.

In my defense, I have a really good reason for breaking my own blog rules.  This particular Favorite is at auction right now on eBay.  Bidding closes Wednesday, and I want to showcase this piece while it's still available.  By the time Friday rolls around, it will already be on its way to the lucky new owner!

That said, it's time to move on to the good stuff.  This amazing coal mining scene was made by the British artist, Jan Rusling.
Here's how she describes the scene:  A Miner has taken a break down the pit and sat down on the spare pit props, wiped his hands on a rag, opened his lunch tin and tucked into an apple. The pony, anticipating a tidbit has inched forward and leaned towards his co-worker. The man has, meanwhile after finishing the apple, taken up a cheese sandwich, taken a bite and now holds the anticipated apple core out to the pony.
Jan created this set in 2009 and has shown it four times resulting in a Supreme Championship, a Best in Show, a Reserve Championship and a Reserve to the Reserve honors.
The pony was originally a Breyer classic mustang stallion. His coat is marked and smutty from long days toiling in the mine.  The pony's tack was custom made using historic photographs as reference. The collar comes away in three pieces so it can easily removed.  The rest of the harness and bridle has three working buckles and is also removeable.  Because of the design of the tail, the crupper is not a complete ring and  kept in place by tacky wax. 
The coal cart is handmade and features proper train type wheels.  The cart rails are made of metal and have a slight metallic sheen.  There are small brass lamps on the floor and hooks on the upright props to hang the brass lamps and the canary. 
This scene depicts an earlier period of mining when there were no hard hats or safety lamps. The only 'safety' equipment was the canary in the cage which served as a gas detector.  Miners provided their own tools, including the timber for props which were cut 'in situ'.  
Like the cart and pony, the tools, canary and bird cage were hand made by Jan. 
The miner has fully articulated hands with which he can easily grasp objects  and is fully pose-able. The cheese sandwich, apple core and lamps were all been individually handmade, not shop bought.  tail but is kept in place by tacky wax. 
Many thanks to Jan for allowing me to share these photos of her amazing scene.  If you are interested in seeing more of Jan's work, I would highly recommend visiting her website.  It's not model horse related, but trust me, you will be impressed!


  1. This is the most amazing diorama I have ever seen. I would dearly love to have it, but.... I also have very much enjoyed the link to her website. Thank you for these wonderful things to take my mind off a difficult situation with a family member's health problems. I just love your interesting posts!!!
    Jo K

  2. Pretty sweet... I don't show model horses and I rather want it.

  3. SO fantastic.. I am in awe...

  4. Jan really is legendary when it comes to dioramas!

  5. That. Is. Fantastic. I agree, has to be the most amazing horse-related diorama I've seen, other than the Cobra mares photo that you published here which was virtually indistiguishable from a photo of real horses. Every detail is pitch-perfect. I think it really helps that the miner is so natural; I know it's hard to pose riders, so the fact that he's not mounted probably made that much easier. Thanks so much for sharing! (Off to check out her website)

  6. HOLY MOLEY!!! Wow. If I had one of those rocking horses (and I've duly noted that the new replicas are built to hold the weight of an average-sized adult), I think I would never leave the house. AWESOME!

    When I was a kid we used to get the F.A.O. Schwartz toy store catalog, and we also used to visit their flagship store in NYC. They sold (and may still sell, haven't looked lately) magnificent rocking horses on what I now know is a "safety stand" that looked just like these beauties. Naturally, I lusted after these things, but the $250? $300? more? price tag put them waaaaaay out of reach. That's probably the amount my parents spent on a whole year's worth of riding lessons for me so I'm not complaining, but BOY, did I want one!

    I'd still cheerfully order one up now. I didn't see the price list yet for the replicas (not Jan's restored or still completely antique ones, talk about mucho bucks) but I'm sure they are still ridiculously out of reach. Maybe when I hit the lottery I'll buy one for my grandkids but it will live at my house, LOL.

  7. I absolutely love all of the research and work that went into every last detail of this diorama. Wonderful!