The shot above shows my living room in 2008, five years ago. The NAN cookies are arrayed on the strip near the ceiling: they are hung as high as they can get. Thus the measure of how prized they are: nothing higher. This picture was taken for my website back then, and while I did save the code, no one sees those pages once they're taken down. On this blog I have the opportunity to go back and revisit a little history.
P.S. The carousel horse is fibreglass, still in primer, draped in a rainbow serape, with my Smucker's Harness bellstring on his rump.
My first donation was a pair of halters for the 1995 show. They sold for $225 (!). That same auction I bought Ghirardelli, who went on to win my first NAN cookie, the silver one on the left, with which my collection begins. I think a future blogpost will deal with those 11 tack donations, as they are a story unto themselves.
I showed Ghir in harness. I don't have a picture of his winning entry, but here is one of my favorite shots of him.
This is actually a photograph from way back. The sleigh was originally a Dick Eighmey bobsleigh before I rebuilt the heck out of it and painted it red. The harness (again, not what he showed in) is one of my famous Red Team pair, adapted to single. The doll is buried under a robe I made from 3 ermine skins. And Ghirardelli today is in England, waiting for the Utterly Horses Hullaballoo to give him another chance at life. I don't want to surrender my cookie, but the horse needs someone who will work with him and show him. I have a feeling my showing days are largely past. However, I had great fun with this photo; notice the white streak on the sleigh front. It was snowing. :)The greenish-turquoise cookie is for the volunteers of 1999. Apologies for the out-of-focus; thanks to PhotoShop. From here on, the cookies would be of this smaller size, and the volunteers' would be of various colors. The next cookie, sculpted (again) by Minkiewicz, is painted gold on one side and purple on the other -- one of my favorites! It's for 2001. I was judging in those years.
The 2004 gold cookie in this admittedly-out-of-focus shot is my one-and-only true National Championship. It is the only time I ever personally won a NAN gold in competition. It was for Stone Decorator Light Breed Limited Run, and my beloved Solis, a maple woodgrain Stone Arab (one of 10) took it. The irrepressible Danielle Miller snagged a picture.
In retrospect it all went by so fast. This shot is misleading because it looks like the horse I'm holding won the prize. My horses are married (they are characters in an endless story) and I'm holding the husband of the horse who won. It's also possible that blue horse was competing too; I don't remember. The winner is the woodgrain on the table, with what looks like white mane and tail, although it's actually a pearly light foam color.
The next cookie, the copper one, is 2006. By now I was hoping I could get one of every shape cookie ever issued. Since each mold was used for two years I had a decent fighting chance.
It is not known who won these. For this reason, the cookies are not mounted on ny wall strip, but kept on my bookshelves, below the buffalo conga line. Find them in the lower left of this picture.
The black cookie, the first time I met with the tendency to paint the volunteers black, is 2008. As told above, 2008 was the year I received the central plaque. It's not exactly a cookie, but it certainly belongs in this collection. The silver one is also a 2008 and marks yet another variation in my collection. Although I didn't actually show the horse, I created the tack that was used to win this cookie.
I have Ann Bilon to thank for this gift.
Ann had ordered a TSII Parade set and gotten #428, "Bilon's Braided." It was created back in 2005, which just shows you the time frame of some of the hobby's work!! She qualified for NAN and showed in 2008 with an original finish horse in the Other Costume Light/Gaited Breeds class; it was a Stone Tennessee Walker I believe, a new mold at the time. She named him "Buckeye Boy." When it took silver she decided I should have the cookie; it was my work, as saddlemaker, that had won. I could hardly say no.
The black 2012 cookie marks the first time I was neither a judge nor a steward, but something totally different: the photographer!! And at least for now, I feel I've found my niche. How wonderful that I can be useful and happy in a necessary role that uses an artist's skills, but doesn't involve the stress of judging. The only problem is that black is just not my favorite cookie color. It adds nothing to my trophy strip.
Niki must have heard me. The red one, 2013, is truly fantastic, and gives my strip the eye-popping color it deserves. Only one question remains: What color will the volunteers get next? Looking over my entire collection, all 17 years of it, what color is missing? Blue? Purple? Orange? Pink?
Long live NAN!