Friday, April 26, 2013
This beauty is none other than the Aqua Gaming Set made by Shannon Granger of Riversong Saddlery!
When I saw it I just lusted after it. I'd seen Shannon's work before, in the hands of other discriminating model tack collectors (y'know, if they collect model tack they must be discriminating!) and admired her sense of proportion. Many model saddles look like lumps. A few manage to look like miniatures. Detail is king, and a good part of that detail, besides crisp edges, beautiful tooling and correct hardware, is proportion: getting the sizes of the parts right, and their relation to one another. Shannon's saddles really attain that much-desired description: "it looks like a real saddle only smaller." My own saddles have not always done this.
For one thing, at first I thought the horn was too small. But then I realized real saddles have these little horns. My own model saddles just have large horns, something probably from pride as much as skill. (Makes you reflect upon the large-headed big-eyed baby phenomenon.)
I decided I had to have the Aqua Set, though with some trepidation. Surely others would want this just as much as I. The way color was intregrated into the set was something I can really appreciate, executed with dash and verve: not too much, not too little. I was in a circumstance where I wasn't making much tack, so I chose to collect instead. Difficult choice, but I've always wanted a Granger. I could afford only one. When the set was actually in my hands, I spotted a tiny error: the flower centers on the front corners shouldn't have been painted blue. But then I started thinking about the Navajo injunction against perfection in handiwork. They believed perfection was an affront to the spirits. If Shannon had painted every center it would be too gaudy. Imperfect? Fine by me.
This third shot is a lesson in PhotoShop. Even though I took out a great deal of blue in the first two pix, I didn't take enough.
Embarrassingly, the horse doesn't have a name. I'm taking her (mine's a her) with me to Colorado and points west. Maybe she'll find her destiny. Certainly I'll work on getting a better blanket! I tried this set on everybody, but a plain white pad and this horse worked the best by far.
More than half my tack collection is other people's tack. What's really interesting is that this color combination on a Western saddle, natural undyed paired with a turquoise or aqua seat, is already represented in my collection. It must be one of those things, like cranberries with white chocolate. Here is my Susan Taylor gaming saddle, one of two Taylors I own.
Also I have made, myself, at least one saddle in this color combo, TSII #416, back in 2000. It was built for Elizabeth Bouras. Today it is in the hands of (I think) Colette Robertson.
This is, of course, a digital photo of a film photo. That's my carpet behind the top corner. Yes, I have a scanner, but it's been unused for many years; I'd have to seriously sit down with it and my computer guru. I dragged this photo out of my scrapbooks. I have scads of scrapbooks (yes, that is the correct term). Only time will tell whether they'll ever get published.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
These beasties have been under construction for several weeks. It's not their fault that my tackmaking this spring has been slowed down to nearly a full stop. Only recently, and through a lot of hard work!! have I been able to make any progress at all. Many parts of these reins had to be done three times over to get them right! For instance, d'you remember the twist?
(No, that is not a dance question!)
Another part I had to do three times over was the central button in the groups, a Pineapple with a single Interweave. Sounds simple, but it wasn't. I was so out of practice I forgot my own recipes and procedures, and it took 3 tries to 'rediscover' normal. The first try the core was too big; the second, I used the wrong thread... Cores to these are merely three half hitches of a smaller gauge thread, something I'd forgotten.
I'm gonna continue to call them crazy buttons...
I rarely use them, despite their being fun and interesting. The last time I did was on a pair of reins for K. Smith, in 2007. Before that, I have only used them on my own Malaguena's FiB RiB [fully braided rawhide bridle], and that because it was a mere doubling; I didn't know how to do interweaves then.
On one of these turnback buttons, the long ones next to the bit, I had to rebraid the dark brown after the white was finished. This was the first time I'd tried such a trick: pulling out the dark brown without disturbing the existing white button. Amazingly, it worked.
Let's take a look at the full scale version of what these reins are a portrait of:
More pictures are on my website.
This is the first bridle I've made where the reins have wear leathers on the turnback loops. I confess the picture color didn't come out quite right, and the wear leathers are not really so bright orange. They're actually much more subdued and natural-colored, like the reins themselves. I used very thin skiver and hand-sewed them in place.
A reminder: I will be visiting family and friends in Kansas and Colorado from May 2 to June 17. If there aren't any blog posts for May and June that's why. If I could make tons of tack on trips I would, but my history is against me. I find it difficult to sell copies of the Guide when I'm on the road, so your patience is appreciated. I look forward to returning with plenty of travel tales! (sorry, no canoe this time!)
And I'm looking forward to NAN, and beyond it, BreyerFest!!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Over the first weekend in April my husband and I went on a 4-day much-needed "getaway" vacation, having lost our normal spring break to circumstances beyond our control. We decided to go canoeing in North Carolina.
|New River satellite boat launch on the Chowan|
|Mouth of the Sarem off the Chowan|
|Typical bank of the Sarem|
This shot shows a normal stretch of the side creek bank. We might see Nutria or squirrels, and we do see many kinds of birds: Yellow rumped Warblers, Chickadees, Titmice, Kinglets, Downy Woodpeckers, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks.
On the third day, we choose to paddle the Scuppernong River, starting one mile below Columbia Visitor Center (the Red Wolf Visitor Center) and then turning up one of its sidecreeks, named First Creek. We got deeper and deeper into the forest, and the stream got smaller and smaller. One never knows what will stop you: a fallen log, a beaver dam, a bush growing in the stream. Yesterday it was a beaver dam. Today, after 5 hours (we measure canoeing by hours, not miles), it was a fallen log, and what a huge one: it spanned from bank to bank. There was no possibility of going further. Almost without thinking, I pulled out my horse, who had been traveling all this time in his Pony Pocket tucked in the bow (thank you Lori!!!!), stripped off his blanket and put him on the log. He can swim, he's waterproof.
Oh, gotta get this, gotta get this one...
Pretty good for a guy who never shot a horse before!
The story ends with this more prosaic shot, showing what the typical daytime canoe trip view is (at least for the stern paddler). We went back and picked up the horse, and made our way home. I guess it proves I'd rather play with Rinker, even when he's not finished. He does not need to be perfect, only to be there.
I still haven't ever seen a horse like him.
And we arrived home rested, refreshed and ready once more to take on the world.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The paper pattern (with the paper clip) is, of course, from Chris Anderson's excellent book/CD of saddle blanket patterns.
And isn't that the cutest little pincushion--!!?? It's supposed to be a tomato. It's filled with fine sand. Got it from my own mom.
The neat thing about a blanket kit like this is I can carry it anywhere. It rides in the bottom of the backpack, and believe me, it's travelled. This box has been to Europe, to Florida, to Colorado, to Arizona. I sat in Philadelphia Airport working on the Mint O'odham blanket with this thing. What it's taught me is the value of an isolated, portable piece of tack: one that is socially acceptable... oh those loaded words!
I've made a lot of blankets over the years this way.
You may notice some small progress being made on the Clyde Goehring breastcollar. Here is a better Sneak Peek: