Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beginning TSII #454: The Gold Tipped

 Designing silver parade saddles has just about got to be my favorite model tackmaking job.  Using the i-kandis, which were so successful in TSII #447, Eleanor's Hexagon, makes it even more fun.  Here we are starting TSII #454, the next in line, with little to go on but the customer's wish for "full silvered" and my own wish for "a little touch of gold."  You see, I haven't yet gotten permission to do that, but already I'm off and running.

This is TSII  #447.  It was a trailbreaker in its day.  I've always wanted to use this technology again and intended to do so with all the parade saddles winning the 2009 Lottery.  Now that we are finally able to start work on them, it was sheer luck and a special pleasure to be able to personally visit this great saddle, recently, in September.
 Thank you, Eleanor.
We start by looking at a real saddle:
 This page is from a Bruce Lovins silver parade saddle catalog, a nicely produced reproduction which can be purchased from the source.  This particular design is called the Deluxe Parader.  I was inspired by my new-found ability to make the "4 tiny squares in 1" concha, used in the Deluxe.  What caught my eye was the gradually expanding line up the center of the serape (drape).  There must have been some inner guiding star that said, Make it gold!  So we go to the time-tested method of drawing a picture.  Years ago I had a standard drawing of a parade saddle to help me, but my patterns have evolved beyond that, and now each saddle gets its own.
You would not believe how much work is in one of these sheets, even at this early stage.  This is its second incarnation...  and it's got many more to go!   But rest assured, those little doohickies are the very ones that will be used in construction, if and when the thing ever settles into a final form.  I stick them on a face-up piece of tape, so re-arranging is merely a matter of prying them up and sticking them back down.  This also explains the ragged edges around the serape, which are Scotch tape remains.  In the drawing, colored pencil is used. 

A custom-made wooden anvil, or stamping block, is used for the stamping of the i-kandis.  It has pins and screws in it to hold up under the pressures and form centers for the various stamps.   My block is much used and dates at least as far back as my Louise Cottam saddle, which used the little star and ivy leaf in the lower right corner.  I much enjoy making my own tools... it must be where my customizing bones are.
The 4 pins near the center are the most recent, just put in for the 4-square concha.

At this point in the design process, most of the rough work is done, but many questions remain.  What color will the corona be?  If any?  What about the bridle?  I am not happy with the tapadero... can we improve it?  And WHICH drop to use!!! -- there are three different ones illustrated!!
From left to right: Squares, Triangles and Diamond.  They could all work -- that's the sweeping rush of creation, which spews out alternatives at a far greater rate than they can be digested or implemented.  Time must pass and the customer must be consulted before I can choose which one.

I know I promised a post on stable blankets, and I intend to still -- but this saddle has taken center stage.  I chose to let it.  At the moment of posting, it named itself.

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