Lots of current pictures are on the TSII FaceBook page. This post has mostly historical pictures. At the end there is one current shot.
TSII #401 was ordered by Susan Rudnicki (today Hurst) in April of 1996. It was finished almost exactly a year later, having been started in February, and it was shipped April 24th, 1997. (All my records back then were handwritten.) The page in the Yellow Scrapbook for Koi & Water Lilies looks like this:
I had never tried fish-scale stamping before. I had never tried fish before; previous prism tape animals were horses, a peacock and a buffalo. (Prism tape = holographic film)
The design sheet also tells me this is the 77th Silver Parade Saddle the TSII has ever built. We are currently working on the 104th. The count started in 1979 with TSII #06... that's another story. :)
This page (below) must've been near the beginning of the design stage. I'm not even sure it is all my work. Susan Hurst requested the fish; she had gotten into koi ponds in a big way for her own home.
Susan sent me one of her resincasts, "Wall Street Trader," to make the Koi set with. While this was expensive it also was not rare. When you invest this much in a custom saddle you can afford it; and I cannot work to measurements -- there must be a body. The level of detail of a TSII saddle at this point meant I really had to have a body.
Another close up of the original #401:
Where does this saddle fit in the general sweep of TSII history? The 1990s saw the rise of Prism Tape Silver-taped sets. Starting with Karen Gerhardt's #243 in 1989 (Wizard's Vale), slowly at first (one in 1990, five in 1991, one in 1992) and in step with some Western saddles featuring Prism Tape, this colorful material manifested in my tack as the ultimate expression of beauty. It was the hottest technique I had yet found. The jewel-like flash and lightscatter properties of the prism tape were irresistable. Photos don't do them justice. They must be seen in person. From 1994 to the end of 1997, ten more were built, including my own Rainbow Brilliance (#400). In 1997 alone, five Prism Tape Parade Sets were built, as well as six other Western saddles (some of them very colorful) and one Portuguese saddle, my first. The first great wave of confidence following my marriage (1988) was at its height.
The saddle immediately before #401 was Rainbow Brilliance, which I kept for my own:
Another saddle to come out of 1997 was Eleanor Harvey's Ripple Wave silver-border. It was quite a year.
|Xanadu by Bouras wearing #401|
The result was documented with just one photo.
|Rammas Ichor / Ramses by Carol Howard wearing TSII #401|
You can find me in room 610 of the CHIN. Horse included, I'm thinking of asking $800 or best offer. The lion's share goes to Sue Peet.