Sunday, October 11, 2020

TSII #457: Order History

Creating the second Clyde Goehring Mexican silver parade saddle, TSII #457, took a year.  But the murky roots of this very special tack order stretch back a good deal longer, more than a decade.  It's a story with fairy-tale elements:  patronage of hand-crafted arts by high-ranking officials, incredibly developed artistic skills, redirection of intent (twice!) and expensive rare metals. There was the losing of irreplaceable hand-made parts and then finding them (twice!), a blanket knitted by an outsider and then, at the finish, daring a deadly scourge to deliver model tack in person!  When you add in the snowshoes and the 25th anniversary party, the yarn just about hits perfection.

But in the end it's merely two old dear friends and some very long-delayed dreams.

This post examines how the order of this saddle came to be.   I didn't realize it would cover so much ground when I started, but this is worth writing up.  The next post will showcase the marvelous delivery and have more pictures of #457, including close-ups, on a number of horses.

To begin at a reasonable beginning, here's TSII #447, built twelve years ago, in 2008, for this same customer: 

At the time I had recently (2006) made some Peruvian Paso sets, and my friend was taken with them.  How could I get one, she asked.  I entered her in my lists, but somehow the order morphed into a Silver Parade saddle.  Change of intent!  Looking back, I think this was because of the pioneering nature of the ikandi (iron-on) method attempted.  This patron was known to encourage my most daring forays into new ground, and she answered the call to support the new technology.  Her faith was justified:  All future Silver Saddles made by me would use this method.  It was perfect for what I had envisioned, and a real breakthrough for the highly specialized field of model Parade sets.

In 2009 I drew my last tack Lottery (15 orders) and Sue Stewart won the Clyde Goehring Mexican saddle.  It would take me until 2014 to finish it.  This was TSII #451.

Elsewhere in this blog you can read about the Clyde Goehring I and its thirteen posts:  Clyde Goehring done at last!

When she saw it, my friend fell in love all over again, and brought up the fact she was still waiting on her Peruvian set, on the books since the completion of #447.  This must have been at 2015's BreyerFest.  (BreyerFest was wonderful.  She had been my roommate there for years, but 2015 was when I started selling her horses for the week,... very successfully.)  I asked:  Given only one, which of the two do you prefer?  She chose the Mexican.  (Change of intent.)  I made a mental note.  At that point I had the rest of the Lottery winners to get through, including a massive Star Wars set, and I'd already been seriously delayed by three very difficult times of my life, 2010 & 2014 for health and 2013 for mother-in-law.

Somehow those 15 orders expanded to about 30 what with short orders, repairs, refurbishes and trades.  (Change of intent again.)  The Star Wars set was finished in 2017.  This was TSII #456, the saddle made right before Goehring II.

I really have made only 6 saddles in the past 6 years!!  But what incredible pieces...  

After Star Wars the prevailing wisdom set in:  I would take no more orders.  I had taken orders for the first third of my career, 1979 to 1990.  I took Lottery orders for the second third, 1990 to 2009.  For the last third, I would do as I pleased.  I would build only what I wanted to, for whom I wanted, and auction them instead of setting the price ahead of time, which typically resulted in a low wage.  But I still had this one grandfathered-in order, a commitment made more special by the nature of the relationship and the length of time she'd waited.

A surprising number of my high-roller saddles have gone to only 2 people, of which she is one.  (Colette Robertson is the other.  Colette owns the first Goehring set today.)  It is a privilege indeed to be supported by such collectors.

In 2017 my friend held a 25th Anniversary party in October and invited me and my husband.  At that point I'd finished the Star Wars and swung into something completely different, surely by reaction:  miniature wickerwork,

and miniature snowshoes.

The chosen metal for this second round at modeling the Clyde Goehring saddle was Argentium.  I had used sterling silver on the first.  Argentium is a manmade alloy of silver and Germanium.  The addition of a small amount of Germanium much delays the tarnishing, as well as making the metal more workable.  It's easier to cut and polishes nicer; it just feels better to work with.

I managed to carve out a bit for #457 in time to take it to the party.  This very first part to be finished was hand delivered! 

Attending the party meant a long car journey into an unfamiliar city at night, and nearly burned out my faithful navigator husband.  I also took my snowshoes -- what artist does not want to show off their fresh work?  In a stunt bordering on true idiocy, I grabbed a flimsy container for the snowshoes, one whose lid could easily come off. When I opened up the box at the party, only one snowshoe was there.  Sickening does not begin to describe it.  I went all the way back to the parking lot before finding the lost snowshoe in the car.  Thoughtless excitement does not make for effective showing-off.

In an eerie parallel, three years later my customer would lose track of this one-of-a-kind bit.  I don't think thoughtlessness was the culprit here.  Hard work -- writing a major book under deadline -- had resulted in major clutter.  Hurrah for cleaning -- she found it in the end.

Tackwise for the TSII, 2018 and 2019 were taken up with restorations (#378, #401 and #89, and #269's bridle), braided headgear pieces (KH2 Hackamore, Roby Canyon hackamore, L2 and L3 mecates and hackamores) and with a new passion, National Model Painting Month!  (Brasenose, Ambolena and Marimba.)  Not to mention falling completely in love with Akhal Tekes and their tack, and developing and making 2 Akhal Teke presentation sets (2018 thru 2020).  This started with Brasenose and is still going on today.

Yes those are real emeralds,... although I had to PhotoShop them here to make them stand out.

But towards the end of 2019, having endured what seemed like a year of things breaking and having to replace them (my camera, my computer, our beloved car...), I started in on #457 in late September.
Had someone told me I should be deeply grateful that I was able to replace all those things, instead of being annoyed,... that I could not be doing that sort of thing a year from then,...  I would not have believed them.
No. 457 was off to a good start.

1 comment:

  1. I love the fairy tail quality of the story. The journey of making a piece is often quite magical.