Sunday, June 17, 2012

It started with a simple toy.. 


This toy... this toy horse, a long treasured dearly loved favorite of my childhood, I can't even remember where I got it from, maybe it was one of those machines that make a toy, you chose between a car, a horse, a dog or whatever, put in your 50 cents and pushed the button, prayed it worked, and then if it did, viola.. a toy!!! I played with this all the time, if it was one that had a rider, well, I didn't care, I didn't want the rider, I wanted the horse!
Its been with me for nearly 50 of my 55 years.  I'll want it in my casket when I die, seriously. But I have looked at it, inspired by it, wishing I had the talent to sculpt it, thinking 'oh if it could be a china'; oh and for those who aren't sure what I mean by 'china' its in the context of a kiln fired product, like dinnerware for instance. Well, back to what's important.
Over the years, thanks to Joanie Berkwitz of Pour Horse Pottery and Kristina Lucas-Francis, formerly of Pour Horse Pottery and now Lucas-Francis Studio,  I have learned to make molds and cast for artist to produce their sculptures on earthenware ceramic.  Over the years, a good friend, Pat Sinnott helped keep me going, she'd give me a good talking too if I was ready to give up. I have done some of Pats horses,  her mule, "Harlan" and her little pony "Little Mama". Thank you Pat for being there when there were so many times I was ready to give up.
And over the years, that toy, that little black horse,  just kept saying 'someday'.

The last few years, I have had the privilege to work with Kristina Lucas Francis, her talent amazes me, she can talk and sculpt at the same time, I can't even chew gum and walk... but I approached her a couple of years ago for a commission and showed her my little black horse.  I really don't know what she thought of me bringing basically a toy to use as inspiration.  But we batted around ideas, many ideas. I have learned and am still learning the hard way what will work and what won't with mold making and casting in earthenware. I wanted something I could do any type of  realistic horse pattern, any horse color, I didn't want constraints of 'that breed doesn't come in a color or pattern like that'.. so I wanted a mustang, a wild child of nature, and what I wanted was a mature horse that's been around, a small little compact powerhouse horse, not a show horse.  So, please welcome "Silverheels"...

And then other ideas started emerging,  what about an appaloosa, the rattail sparse mane appaloosas of old, tho I know there are plenty of present day appaloosas like that, he'd be fun wouldn't he? Would he? Tho I know some people are not much fans of them, the lack of mane and tail sometimes is not very attractive.. but its endearing...
So.. welcome Ratrod!!! Born from Silverheels.

  And the idea of the appaloosa also was because the first horse my husband owned was a small buckskin rattail appaloosa, a 60's era appaloosa, small compact, a bit swayback, and with an attitude, not really a bad attitude but he was one who like to test you. When we came up with the appaloosa, it just reminded me so much of Socks, that I did the first casting and color to represent Socks, he lived to the ripe old age of 33, this little horse was a part of our lives for 30 years.. it just seemed so fitting. If my scanner worked, I'd scan a photo of Socks, but alas.. no scanner.

Another view.  So, as a tribute to Socks, Ratrod will be go into production in the buckskin color after Breyerfest.  

I'll be offering some studio choice colors at Breyerfest, and a sample of the OF (original finish) color will be on display. I plan on only producing about 12 or 15 in the buckskin.  And the price will be $400 and that includes shipping. Now.. the markings may change, because in hindsight, I put two white socks on Socks' back legs, he actually only had one on the left rear... oops...
In hindsight, actually Ratrod resembles more of the pose of the little black horse, and yet how different he looks to Silverheels, same pose, just different accessories...  Silverheels will be in production later this year.
Both of these pieces push my mold making abilities, very different to design versus a horse that is just standing, so I'm pushing my limits with mold making and they will also push my glazing abilities.. 


And, I am never alone in the studio.. my two new Labrador Retriever pups are my constant company, they are getting so big.. Boo and Coco... 4 months old and Coco already weighs 43 pounds and Boo is 38 pounds... they are going to be big boys...


And if you want to see Kristina's talent.. here is her website:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Working on explanding the family.. again.. by two..

We've talked about it off and on over the years, but projects and money and just not the right time has put it off, but its time now.. time to add some new life in our lives. We are in the market now for adding Labrador Retrievers again into our lives. My husband and I just love the breed, I don't know why, its hard to explain, but its funny how when I have talked to people that have had purebreds, plus rescues in their lives, they invaribly say.. 'someday I would love to get another purebred .. whatever breed they mention... With us, it is Labs. And you know how they say there has always been one special one.. with us it was the first Lab I got when I was 16, that was way back in 1973, a full blood, Field Trail bred black Lab. Sadie.. my mom nicknamed her Sexy Sadie.. Sorry for the odd looking photo, its hard taking photos thru glass, I didn't want to disturb the frame.
And today, it dawned on me as I type this.. she's been gone 25 years now today. She was 14. But such an impact she had on us; smart, funny, energetic, and as the saying goes, I didn't know what I had.. well I did actually, that's why she is missed so much. And years ago, back in 1996 we purchased two Labradors from a breeder in Lawrenceburg Kentucky, they were nice dogs, but just didn't quite measure up to Sadie. I don't think we had unrealistic expectations that they'd be as good as her, but retrieving and enjoying a good swim was not in their makeup. I do miss them.

Over the years we've lived here in Kentucky, 27 years now, we have had our share of mixed breed dogs come and go, strays that people just dumped on our property when they were small puppies, we took them in and let them enjoy their lives here. We still have two, Toby and Spinner, they are getting up in age, Toby is 7 and Spin is 9, they still have alot of play in them tho.

So, now we decided the time is right, we have the space here for sure, plenty of land, plus I know how labs love being out on the woods, our labs always loved going out on the trailrides with us. So.. the hunt is on. I have been looking on the net, got some great leads and advice from some people to. So, as time goes on, there may be a pitter patter of 8 little feet sometime this year. We wouldn't object to something a bit older than a pup, I know some don't make the cut as field trial dogs, they are fully trained, but not cut out for that, like some horses are cut out for the show ring.. nice horses, but its not their cup of tea.
I remember a quote from the TV series "Becker"; 'the heart wants what the heart wants'.. and in my heart, its a Lab.
And a short update regarding the clinkies.. I do have some goodies to be available soon, plus a brand new project I'm finishing up the mold for.. teaser photos to be posted in the future.
This one is a Addi V. Callahan I'm just about finished with...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year.. 2012 already???

Where did 2011 go?? Time flies and alot of projects behind me now, and many ahead of me. Time passes so fast now, when I was a teen, time just crept along at a snails pace it seemed, now decades later it is just way too fast. I have so many ideas in my head of ceramic projects I want to do and will do, its just I need to get organized.
It does help that I feel so much better, I had my appendix removed right before Christmas. Tho it was not like the textbook appendicitis that people hear about. Mine was more a dull pain in my side, for months, just this pulling sensation and like a 'thumb' pressing on my innards. Thats the only way to describe how it felt, plus sciatic nerve pain in that right hip and leg pain, so much so, I hated to walk. I had so many tests, and I almost decided to cancel the CT scan scheduled. I know it sounds insane, but I was getting downright mad that everything was coming out fine, thankfully, but I knew I wasn't fine.. and started thinking maybe my doctor and my husband as well, thought I was imagining it. Finally the CT scan showed a funky appendix. And did have a bit a concern, because the word 'cancer' even entered the conversation because of how it looked on the CT scan. So, had it removed, biopsied and all is fine.. whew... when I went in for the followup appointment with the surgeon the other day, she even showed me photos of the appendix before she removed it.. ewe!!
Well, its a difference of night and day how I feel. Tho lifting anything heavy is still a bit restricted until I fully heal inside. Plus I have been taking a B12 supplement and what a tremendous difference that makes too, energy now.. energy I haven't felt in years!!
I am looking forward to seeing what gets accomplished in 2012, projects I am really looking forward to.
Finally has some snow the other day, one of those 'white out' conditions for a few minutes and then the sun shines.. crazy...
Well, here's to 2012 and a better year for all us..

Friday, August 12, 2011

Well.. its done.. well almost....

Well, its done.. its functional.. it still has some small things to get it really finished, like I came up a bit short on the wood for trim around the windows, I need to get more paint to do some touch ups, I haven't decided what I will do to fill in around the base of the building.. day lillies, lattice, or a rock garden type of thing.. rocks are so plentiful here.. And the statue of Mary is getting new paint.
But now I'm finally working in the studio. I can say now, 'I'll be in the studio if you need me'. That sounds so much better than, "I'll be in the basement" doesn't it.
A little tour now:
Looking inside, my kiln, potter wheel stowed away on a shelf, molds and the greenware drying area

I haven't quite decided what the back wall cabinet and shelves yet.. probably my spot to do the last detail work, and yes, that chaise lounge is there to stay, what a difference having something comfortable to sit in makes, especially cleaning greenware. And it is easily moved from one side to the other.

In this photo, you can see the airbrush booth, well lit..
And in the back corner is when I plan on doing the casting..
Above all this is a loft for storage, the only items that will remain in the basement will be the rubber production molds and the plaster storage, I don't need them out there all the time, so I figure to just keep them when the temp and humidity are not an issue.
And I purchased a Shinco Mini Split Heat Pump to have A/C and heat, and its worked just great, humidity is a major problem here.
Right now, the set up seems to work, but who knows, in two weeks, I'll probably change it all around..

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What.. you want to build a what???

I have been around.. just been busy. I have been working downstairs in my basement on ceramic horses since about 1993, and when I finally got the courage to seriously approach my husband about building a studio, the look was priceless. And after explaining to him why I need to do this, he went along with it. I decided to not look back when I'm 70 years old and ask myself "Why didn't you build a studio when you had the chance."
Well... its almost done. A 12x16 Do it Yourself (and test your marriage vows) Shed.. aka. studio. I could say its been fun, well, that's not quite the truth, its been WORK!!! Of course the only person whose lost any weight with this whole endeavor has been my husband.. me, well, not so lucky. Of course, I wouldn't want to be sweating like he does. And I think its safe to say, this is probably a once in a lifetime project on this scale. The option of buying one of those prebuilts was not an option, and actually my husband and I are people that really would rather just do it ourselves. I will have it insulated, and also have a 3/4 ton heat pump for heat and a/c. Here in the woods, there is no way we could exist without the air conditioning, the humidity here is horrendous. But here is a photo, I have more done since I snapped this, but I still have some windows to install on the other side, hopefully by Breyerfest 2011, I'll be moving in to it...

Monday, January 17, 2011

My BOYCC Fund Begins

If all goes well with Gort the Kiln this boy will be listed to eBay later this week. I am so excited to get a chance to go to California in May for the Bring Out Your Chinas Convention. I still want to tweak for few things before I put on the final glaze. I think Sarah MB really captured the snarly look of a Shetland Pony. I remember having run ins with them in my younger years, and it in odd way, the snarly lip even captures my husbands horses' attitude, he will do that sometimes, its like 'no more carrots???' lay his ears back and even curl that lip. Luckily it never goes farther than that, but it reminds of a temper tantrum. So, his color was used on this "Otto".
I have a couple of others I am working on as part of my BOYCC Fund.. I will be listing an Addi V/Hude Jitterbug too. And some others. Below is a photo of Scout.. in his winter coat, like Otto.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Old people.. young horses....

Yesterday.. we took the day off and went to a different area to ride, put the two horses in the trailer and off we went to Clear Creek, near Morehead KY, a little over an hour away. We've been there a couple of times already, but this was the first time with Cheyenne. He's like Rocky, only smaller, he sets the pace and definitely a leader. For his small stature, he proved himself a real climber, and pretty much unflappable.

The main trail we wanted to ride on was basically along top of a ridge, but to get there, there is basically a goat trail that you zig zag to the top, no spooky horses or riders faint of heart. The top view is really breathtaking, tho the camera doesn't really show how nice it is. That lake in the photo is where the truck is parked.

We got to the top, Gary dug out the map, tho on this trail there aren't any other trails to get confused with, but he likes to know where we're going regardless.
We came to this rock formation.. and rode along side of it, then the trail takes you to the top of it.. lets just say, this when I found how good Cheyenne can leap, tho he was very careful picking his way thru. I wish I'd take a photo of the trail up the rock formation. Glad the easyboots have a rubber sole. I know it doesn't look that imposing.. it was pretty neat tho, we rode along side of it for a while, then to the top.Our goal on the ride was to see the Furnace Arch.. we didn't make it this far last time, I wish I'd taken more photos.. next time...we definitely want to do this again.
We rode a bit further, then came to three other trails.. hmm.. now what.. well, the main trail continued on ontop of the ridge, then there was a regular county access road, then two other maintanence roads, locked from motorized use, horses or foot travel were fine.. well, OK.. lets take the road less traveled.. we went onto the maintanence road, and it made a nice break for us and the horses, and it ended up getting us right back were we needed to be to get down the hill again, zigzag down the hill back to the truck, and after 3 hours of riding, the boys were still ready to go.
But we weren't..
We did take a one last photo at the lake before we unsaddle and take care of the boys. Funny we fuss with them, make sure they have water and hay, before we feed ourselves.
Then the drive home.. Stanton is located in a river valley.. so to get home we have to go over one mountain.. down into the river valley and then up that far mountain to our home...long day, tired people.. but it was worth it...