Friday, April 3, 2020

Aljamila's journey

Earlier this year, I attended a NaMoPaiMo prepping party at Ilona and Katja Himmelmann's home in Gauangelloch, Germany.
photo by Helena Ruppert
I brought a bunch of party favors... 
 and came home with a new pony...
photo by Kim Brandner
and a pile of NaMoPaiMo donations.
Every single item was amazing, but one was truly precious. This is only stablemate scale copy of Jasmin Ruhland's Soraya sculpture.
Despite the rough casting quality, I knew I had been entrusted with a tiny treasure. I promised Jasmin I would find her a worthy home.
I take the prizing part of NaMoPaiMo very seriously. It's important to me that prizes go where they will be appreciated, and I spend a lot of time working on matches. In this case, however, the choice was obvious. 

Right from the start, Stephanie Blaylock has been one of NaMoPaiMo's most generous supporters. Her contributions to the NaMoPaiMo community in terms of enthusiasm, knowledge sharing are medallion painting are unmatched, and she is the first person to win Breyer's Best Customs Contest with a NaMoPaiMo model. Additionally, Arabians are her favorite breed, stablemate is her preferred scale and she has an in with one of the best restoration artists in the hobby.  I could not imagine a better home for the mini Soraya.

I made the hand-off in person during BreyerWest.
Stephanie sent little Soraya to her friend and prep artist extraordinaire, Charlotte Donahue, for some much needed restoration. The first thing Charlotte did was to put tiny pins in each of her tiny legs. In addition to straightening her legs, this also made them a lot stronger. 
 She then leveled the bottoms of her hooves and added mare parts.
Since Mini Soraya's mane and tail details were almost non-existent, Charlotte - who is famous for her gorgeous manes and tails - resculpted them entirely. This was done in sections to allow each area to cure without being smooshed.
Little by little...
the new mane...
and tail...
became a reality.
With that done, it was time to move on to the ears. These had been made with lots of Super Glue/baking soda. As she carved and shaped them, she found large holes/gaps in their structure. Sometimes when super glue is applied to thick layers of baking soda, it does not penetrate thoroughly, leaving holes that compromise strength and long-term durability. It's better to apply the baking soda in thin layers and then apply the super glue. In this case, Charlotte decided it would be best to remake the ears from scratch.
Finally, it was this for a layer of primer. This first layer is very thin. Its purpose is to allow Charlotte to see the places that need attention without destroying details. 
As is usually the case, there were a lot of areas that still needed attention! 
Charlotte fixed those, primed her again and sent her back to Stephanie.
Stephanie got to work on her almost immediately. 
Flea-bitten grey is one of Stephanie's signature colors. I was so happy she chose it for little Soraya.
Less than three months after I carried her home from Europe in my riding helmet, the only mini Soraya is ready for the show ring!
 Her name is Aljamila.
She's gorgeous! 
Thank you to Jasmin Ruhland for trusting me with the only mini Soraya. I think we can all agree that I found her the best possible home.

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