Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Over the [2017-2018] holidays a haunting thing happened, something that's only happened to me once before. In essence it is a Message from Beyond. I say "is" because these things happen outside of time, yet they are the essence of instantaneous. They go a far way towards convincing me Not of everlasting life or communication with the dead, but rather evidence that there is a Connection, on a level I am barely aware of and can't explain, with what can only be described as a Web or Network of all living beings and creatures, past, present and probably future, in a timeless and simultaneous presence.
I have wanted all my life to have some sort of paranormal experience -- me, the daughter of an engineer and the wife of a science professor! -- so I am proud of my two instances.
Each one has arrived in the form of a thought, a subliminal sense, a suspicion of a change in the status of someone I knew. The first time the someone was an author I'd never met, but read a lot. The second time it was a fellow model horse hobbyist whom I'd seldom met, but knew and had worked with.
Out on safari, canoeing in Florida, I don't always know what day it is. I can only guess that this latest occurrence happened a couple days before the New Year. I and my husband have done these trips for almost a decade now, paddling the rivers and lakes of central Florida, hiking and birdwatching all the while. With a mind full of species counts, bird identification questions, canoeing gear, navigation, weather, the state of one's muscles and dealing with river currents (not to mention attention paid to one's partner), I was days away from anything online. Only books are read on safari. It was with some surprise that I found myself wondering about one particular hobbyist. Out of hundreds that I knew, why would one old lady (not THAT old!), with whom I had no current business dealings, now be on my mind so???
The awareness was one of sadness, as though she had suddenly been smitten: as though she had died.
Jane Wagner? She's not old enough, man! Though accidents happen, Lor' knows; I know enough people, I suppose some of them are going to start kicking off, but I never thought it would be her.
Did Jane Wagner die??
The sense of awareness was quite specific. I promised myself I'd check out her FaceBook next chance I got. But safari is safari and it was 3 or 4 days before I could do so. We have a tablet that can be used in hotels, and so occasionally I check out my online life, with difficulty I confess. I know, I know, I'm dreadfully oldfashioned in my technology but we have known such success in our ways it's hard to change...
The same thing happened to me in 2011 on a March morning during spring break, when I was strolling along an East Coast beach. Out of nowhere, out of the sea it seemed, it occurred to me to wonder if Farley Mowat had died. A great sense of something came up over the horizon at me; the feeling of a distant, if very real, friend's passing (or awareness) was quite strong. In this case it was almost a week before I realized that my moment on the beach coincided with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, that killed so many and did so much damage. It had not been Farley after all (he died 3 years later, and 1 year before I found out). It had been, instead, a whole world of oceanic and northern interests that had been affected.
In the case of Jane Wagner I discovered that at the very same time I had first thought of her, her dog Bob had passed away.
"It was Bob!" I said out loud several times, wonderingly, hunched over the tablet in a hotel room, no doubt confusing my watersport partner.
"It was Bob!"
The more I think about it the more amazed I am by the power and presence of a single Jack Russell. Those who knew Bob, however, would not be surprised.
A Sorrow and yet so much a Connectedness that the sorrow is almost drowned out.
What have we lost, that this is so rare?
hailing frequencies open...
Thursday, December 14, 2017
The Marwari first. He initially appears in a table shot, his owner close by.
The horse's name turns out to be Boom Shakalaka, and yes, he did win the class. : )
The next day I was covering Foal classes. This is the CM Stock Foal table.
I'm including this shot, despite its obvious flaw, out of sheer equally-obvious love-madness.
I found out later he was quite old for a model, several decades. That would make him a custom on the Stock Horse Foal... if so, a rather drastic custom.
I was told, by his owner, who did him, but alas I'm not remembering; this was a year ago. It was a name I recognized, however.
Other news: Be sure and check out our website! and Tack Sales Information page. Most of our news fit to print is there. I have dreams of making Mechanical Hackamore(s) and a Western Saddle alongside others. Further out, I'm looking at Parade set restos.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody!
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Amazingly, all 4 artists are still practicing! To be sure, some things have changed in that 23-year span. Still on the subject of the horse, the material used for resincasts is now much lighter in weight, and casts more smoothly. The camera used is a digital not film. The software used to process these pictures makes it possible for me to instantly clean up her various bumps, scratches, nicks and scars. I've never shown her much, but she seemed so perfect for this saddle. This the fun part: putting together the pieces, making the vision come real.
The first mention of any part of this set occurs on Heather's blog of September 9, 2012: Drivel when she calls it 'a project bridle for me.' Another picture of the cheekstraps occurs in a post on Oct 17. It isn't until December 15th, 2012, that the saddle really starts: New Stuff. A post on Dec 23rd, Holidays is also long and heartfelt.
The year 2013 started off very well for the saddle, -- but then bogged down in March. A New Year's Day, 2013, post looks forward; New & Improved (Jan 20) has a great deal of background, talking about saddle reference books. January would see two more posts about it, on the 23rd and on the 26th: More in Progress is the first to show the green and black spots set along the border of a fender. In March Heather's tackmaking interest went into some halters. A brief look, Workbench (March 18) shows the saddle's current state (fenders and base plate done and bridle's headstall), but other interests would take over for the next 7 months. Some of them would later turn into a career in photography! and others, such as shooting pool, would grow to be major activities. Much was going on: a job change in July was only one major life evolution for her. (If only I had known: 2013 was a terrible year for me.) The next mention of the Silver Acorn is in October with Slow Progress. For the rest of the year, only a Dec 15 post mentions Facebook pictures of work on the shoulders of a pleasure saddle. My post is not going to reference many FB posts -- I'm still learning how to find them, let alone link to them!
That BreyerFest, 2014, was one of the two I've had to miss. Heather went but I did not. In hindsight it was the right move for me. How precious our time, our lives, our friends become...
On July 26 Heather did something new and artistic, uploading videos on YouTube of two of her saddles, the making of the California Mother Hubbard and current progress on the Silver Acorn. A link to the Acorn's is here. I would later see this video and be completely convinced I was not worthy to own such an artistic piece!, so professionally presented. There's even appropriate music!! Honestly this was the first time I'd seen such a thing...
In August of 2014, possibly inspired by BreyerFest, there was a huge blurt of progress. August had by far the highest number of posts (7) of any month of the year, and all but one are on the saddle. A good glimpse is In Progress (August 10th); an excellent close up is Saddle Silver (August 31st). All that was missing was the stirrups and some silver; it really seemed that finishing the Silver Acorn was within reach. Yet in September the siren song of photography surfaced. Through the rest of that year, it becomes clearer than ever that hers is a photographer's soul. More and more the posts are of lots of horse pictures. The saddle is mentioned briefly, but no pictures are shown.
No more work was done on it for the rest of 2014.
In 2015, in an April 8 post, the saddle receives a name: "Opus Saddle." No pictures are put up, but there is mention of more silver put on. On April 20 we get an Almost Done post. There's a very good shot; it looks finished but for the stirrups. Unfortunately the rest of 2015 was consumed in divorce. I watched anxiously from afar and wondered if I should speak to both participants, but in the end I could only contact Heather and profess my support. The summer of 2015 was also the summer of the Triple Crown and American Pharoah. From this time Heather's photographer career would flourish.
The following year, 2016, it's April 10th before the saddle is mentioned. I am certain that FaceBook rose into prominence (my own saga there would start the year before, in April 2015), and that had an impact on blogging. Heather went to BreyerFest in July and was tremendously inspired, as were we all; that was the year we were both photographers at NAN! In a fit of generosity I tried to have my photographer's stipend assigned to her, but this did not work out. I also did not realize she had entered horses and was showing as well as shooting...!
In a marvelous visit on July 18, I got to see her new house and studio. Thirty-two of her photos were posted to her FaceBook and she treated me to lunch. : ) In those 32 the Silver Acorn Opus is clearly depicted, and so was the rawhide braided bridle I wound up selling to Heather. You can't keep good braiding tackmakers apart. Heather Visit
On August 28, 2016, Heather posted the finale, Only Took Four Years. It had indeed been almost exactly 4 years! Like most big tack projects, that length of time included periods of intense progress and long periods of waiting and idleness. It was rightly a masterful Opus. For an artist whose output was limited (her website shows just 15 Western saddles between 2002 and 2013), it was an immense amount of work.
The next chapter in the life of this saddle was the Juried Exhibit at the Morlan Gallery, at Transylvania University in Lexington. The Exhibit started October 28 and ran til December 2, 2016, and was named Enough to Swear By. It featured exquisite miniatures from artists around the world. Talk about exposure! I had never dreamed some of those things existed, and though I could not attend in person I enjoyed web-browsing the various artists' sites. You gotta hand it to the Internet: it makes such things possible!
Heather showed her Hummingbird Silver Parade saddle, her Opus and a braided bridle she'd made for Anna Tackett. She said the two saddles were for sale. When I heard the price asked for the Opus (it broke four figures) my hopes took a nosedive. I had made up my mind to make an offer, but as so often happens, what was immensely expensive for me (more than I'd paid for any other saddle) was considerably lower than her price. Nonetheless I made the offer.
There would be very few more blog posts from Heather up to the present.
There was an exchange of calls in February 2017, and we must have worked our way back into contact and understanding, because my questions were answered and I had a path forward by then. I was greatly looking forward to BreyerFest this year. As readers of this blog will know, Heather was kind enough to let me purchase the Silver Acorn at last, in July. Here's my BreyerFest Loot picture:
Towards the end of my snowshoes-making, on October 4th, I started a green cross-stitch saddle blanket just for the Silver Acorn. I used Chris Armstrong's "Pinky Lee" pattern (which really IS pink) but cast in several shades of green. I tried to match and/or enhance the greens of Opus. Some of them were surprisingly dark; my choices were perhaps excessively bright, in compensation.
I am sure there is much more to the story of this fabulous saddle!!
Saturday, November 18, 2017
(Grammatically that should be "which is" but we're model horse people, so the horse is a who!)
When last seen, my buffalo collection numbered nine. There is a blog post about them: Buffalo Conga
This picture from it shows them in roughly the order in which Breyer released them. It's not quite correct because the White should be 4th from left, but otherwise it's correct:
I now have 4 of the #76, Breyer's Buffalo, sculpted by Chris Hess. This huge old mold was released from 1965 to 1991, one of the longest runs of any Breyer. Clearly my new buff, on the right, is a lighter version of the "early shaded" (second from right), just as the red-chestnut buffalo is a lighter version of the "later red," on the left.
My darkest and oldest (darkest head) has the equivalent of "eye whites," an outlining of the mouth and nostril:
Here's a side view of my oldest and darkest, showing the shading. Forgive the slight out-of-focus. Note the white stifle area:
A side view of my new light-brown from-BHR. Note the shading stripes on the shoulder, neck and head, and particularly the black nose and muzzle.
Chestnut Buffalo. I think of it as analogous to the cinnamon phase of the black bear.
I have since come across pictures of Karen Grimm's grey buffalo. I know these exist, and ID Your Breyer claims they are from the 1970s. Maybe some day I will have an opportunity. I'd rather come across a Woodgrain, but I know those are even rarer. Probably the future of my conga rests with repaints, and whatever weird decorator-inspired ideas Breyer can come up with...
Here's all ten:
And now for the Black Colt story!
We first heard of this guy in my Econlockhatchee post: http://timarustarii.blogspot.com/2016/01/
"I'm not normally a chinahead, but I collected these little Bone Chinas when I was a kid. I have about two dozen stashed away or standing on the curio shelves in the downstairs bathroom."
There you go.
This next photo shows both of those black foals, plus a number of my Bone Chinas. Tucked away for decades, these few enjoy a precarious exposure hanging on a downstairs wall. (My apologies for the dirt.) The yellowish glue on the standing black foal is 'shoe glue,' hot gun glue, a family standard for broken toys. The black mare to the left is their mother; there are 2 grey/whites, 3 bays and 1 pinto visible in addition to the 3 black Bone Chinas. They came in families of Stallion, Mare and Foal. If you want scale, the appaloosa in the right foreground is a Mini Whinny.
Bet you didn't know pizza-box center-discs were such useful platforms...!
The story of this black foal does begin in childhood. I played heartily with my little chinas in the back yard. We're talking roughly 1969 through 1975 here.
In 2005 or thereabouts, my father decided to replace a dying tree in the center of the back yard. As it happened, his son-in-law, my husband George, was there at the time. These two men were digging out the stump near where the old sand box used to be. George was cutting roots with his shovel, piercing down into the sandy earth. He had cut through them all, he says, when, finally pulling over the main trunk, he came upon the tiny body of a black colt.
"It was right underneath, and I'd just cut all its legs off and never realized it. It must have been placed there on purpose. I felt so sorry. It was as though I'd desecrated a shrine."
My own memory is he told me he heard the 'clink' of a sound that should not have sounded. Unfortunately no legs (or tail) could be recovered. Further research reveals the planting date of the old tree in the very early 60s. Although I have no memory of having placed a colt under a tree, it was entirely in character for me to dig and build horse houses in various landscapes. I would have been doing it in many places in the back yard and later did it in the fields out back, and also further-out fields. (Today one of those fields is the Dry Creek Trailhead of Boulder County.) For the record, I never knowingly left a horse outside; but then, stranger things have happened!
What have those little eyes seen, over the long years sleeping in the earth?
Far from catching up on my blogs, this just opens more of them. "One of my two greatest model horse stories ever" -- ?? The other is the story of GoldenEar. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.