Tuesday, March 25, 2014
When I look at this saddle today I see much history; but most of all, I see a friend. This friend helped me overcome the logjam of working on this saddle in a new and refreshing way. She went above and beyond any call of duty, and positively outdid herself in helping me finish it. I really cannot emphasize enough how much Ann Bilon must share the credit for finally concluding one of the TSII's most long-drawn out projects. Thank you Ann!!!
As documented elsewhere, that Alborozo spent so much time on my bench I started to fall in love with him. This is the secret of tack making: you bond with the horse. It can be lightly or deeply, but there is a connection established, which forever afterwards will be present in the piece of tack and in that horse. I have him now, and his name is SnowHammer, in memory of the snows of New York and the beautiful house on Lake Seneca. He is, umm, waiting to be freed from carrying this saddle, which he is now heartily tired of...
The finishing of this piece accelerated after the blanket came in. All I had left to do was the serapes and the latigo-strap covers. The serapes took a day; the covers -- very fancy keepers in real life -- took a couple of days. Designing them was a challenge, since I still wasn't completely sure of how they worked in full scale. What you see here are actually clip-ons! pieces intended to snap onto the tied-up cinch latigo strap. There was no other way to achieve the detail demanded... the saddle could not have been fastened on if the cinch strap had to pass multiple times through such an elaborate keeper as well as have such a fancy tip. Leather at that scale would not have bourne the stresses involved. Such was my reasoning.
The serape was the absolute last part to be created -- two halves sewn together, with the seam under the back skirts of the saddle. Such colorful serapes have been used here at the TSII since the earliest of days!! 1979 -- and they all really did come from Mexico -- Nogales, south from Tucson, where I often visit my parents. It was grandparents in the days of original acquisition, up through the middle 80s... The reference pictures clearly show a colorful Mexican serape, as do many other instances of California parade saddles.
What is next for the TSII? The number of trips does not seem to be going down: I just went to MAR last weekend, and the now-typical summer trip to Colorado and Kansas is set. I'll be able to stick my head in at Springamathing!! My donation to this year's NAN Auction has already been made: not a piece of tack, but a Meadowbrook cart kit by Michelle Huskins ("The Wood Wiz") and a copy of the Guide. I feel my next duty really is to the remaining 6 Lottery winners: 2 Western saddles, 2 parade sets and 1 parade bridle, and 1 hitched-horsehair bridle & bc set. In the way of things, that single parade bridle will probably, in the fullness of time, morph into a complete saddle... that was only to be expected... Somewhere in there, commensurate with the desires of the artist, will come various auction pieces and trades. Also somewhere in the next year should come another printing of the Guide... if it does not become available online!! That's a decision I have not made yet, but for the first time, I admit the possibility.
In conclusion, this little tack shop will carry on much as it has in the past. Look for horses to be put up for sale: I have a friend's collection to disperse as well as some of my own. Look for future electronic offerings of a tutorial sort. The dream of more pieces as well as another book is alive.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
The local hobbyists couldn't manage a weekend off. Our only time to get together was the very day I flew in. I am thankful that it all worked out. Chris Armstrong, Pat McDonald, Debi Roff, and Lauren from Phoenix all showed up (plus Allen) and we had a fine time. In addition to the camel, there were three model horses and a pile of tack.
Mini Time Machine on Camp Lowell road -- a museum of miniatures!! (Squeal!!) Along with a Stone ISH and one of my own cross stitch blankets -- none other than Mint O'odham, which has its own blog post. mint o'odham
(I know, I'm one of those crazy people who actually name their saddle blankets... ) The blanket and horse donation happened later, after I got home.
Meanwhile, there was this camel...
It's not like we don't have any reference for those.
Chris hasn't cast him yet -- he's not finished. But plans are afoot. I all but promised I wanted one. I did that silly thing, that one thing that indicates falling-in-love, and that nearly always results in a sale, sometime in future: I named him.
Other TSII news:
As of March 2, the Clyde Goehring Saddle is not finished yet. I have 4 days to work on it before I vanish yet again for twelve days. There just seem to be a lot of trips in my life! I anticipate completion, and starting on the next customer (Anja Schmidt) "in the fulness of time." Which is to say, much slower than I'd prefer!! but at least it's not years. At this point we're looking at the last two weeks of March. If apologies for inconvenience can be accepted after more than 5 years of delays, they are offered. On the good side, when I showed the Goehring on Carrick to the museum staff, they were suitably impressed.
I think it put in a good word.