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:

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