Thursday, March 29, 2018

It's Just Too Old

Most, if not all, too old for showing.

I was thrilled in February of this year, thanks to the inspiration of the NaMoPaiMo Event, to have finally finished my "Utopia" resin. Putting on the English tack, that was made specifically for him over a decade ago, felt great and I was excited for his official studio photo shoot.

He came out wonderful! I was so happy with his color and the saddle truly did look marvelous! Being absolutely thrilled, and dare I say, even feeling as giddy as I remember when I was a kid, I popped the photos up on Facebook to share with the event group. Many lovely comments came in, but one stood out and still resonates with me as I pen these thoughts today. "Oh, that's an old one!"

Yes, I suppose the "Utopia" resin is an old one. I'm embarrassed that it has taken me well over a decade to even GET to painting him for my own personal collection. I have many "old" ones in the stock room that have yet to even be thought of for painting. Just not enough time to paint them all. But where did the time go? How did so many of these pieces, that were so sought after and "hot", become so "out of fashion" so quickly? Where have we been? Where are we going? What has time done to our hobby?

Between the realization my "Utopia" was indeed too old, to a recent blog post by Sarah Minkiewicz-Bruenig, to a shared experience with my own younger cousin at a live show, I too, have begun to stop and question what is happening in our hobby and where this is all leading us.

Now please understand, I have no solid answers to any of this. I'm an old boat trying to stay afloat in new waters that seem to change as quickly as the wind. This old boat knows what the green ribbon epoxy feels like in the hands and how utterly impossible it is to sculpt with. I know of the promise Milliput brought to young customizers back in the day, but it too failed us and our needs. Firing up a stablemate's appendages with a candle flame in order to move it is now a tale of folklore.

"Did you REALLY do that to customize?" Yes. And, collecting ten dollars for a model was just as hard as trying to collect $375 for a blank stock horse resin today. That part seems to have stayed the same. I doubt one will feel as if they have enough for their acquisitions. Too many horses, not enough money. That will never change, no matter how much the horses are, but it's the "where we are heading with our attitudes" that make me take pause.

Where ARE we headed? I questioned this fully after I took my younger cousin to her first model horse show. She never came back.

First enormous customizing attempt.
Circa 1986 Stock Horse Stallion.

The Green Ribbon Epoxy
was all I had back in 86.

My young cousin fell in love with my models and a few of the newer Breyers I had in storage became hers. That spring we got her new stable residents named, gendered, and assigned breeds all for the start of a show career. She dove into all of this happily and couldn't wait to attend her first novice show. I was thrilled.

On the morning of the show I presented her with a new model. He was a surprise and I couldn't wait to gift her the most beautiful Man O War #47 mold I had ever seen. He was attained in a body box from a friend and he was certainly prettier than the one I attained in 1987 as a child. His chestnut color had so much shading and the light spots were just perfect! Some worker at the factory the day he was made was in the zone having one hell of a good day.

It was love at first sight!

Man O War #47 from the 1970s-80s

As the day progressed I sensed her disappointment. Shows can be disappointing when the steeds aren't in the top three, but she wasn't even close to 10th place. She had new stuff and the breed assignments seemed spot on. I quickly realized that there was no way in hell she could even place with her stable of new horses. How could a novice show against a OOAK Peter Stone OF? A Breyerfest model has no chance against a Breyer special run of 20.

Even though the novice tables at this particular event were always smack dab in front of my repair table I never paid attention to what was ON those tables. Amazing OOAK pieces, specials and highly collectable factory pieces all being shown by children. Their tables were filled with amazing collections and it was obvious that a young shower, just like a seasoned shower, had to pay to play.

What was worse was that there were no new connections made. All these young model horse lovers and she made not one connection. I had hoped she would, but competition in the novice ring is as fierce as in the Open ring and everyone was far too busy with show strings to make new connections. I understand that, but it still saddened me. Looking back I have to wonder what we were thinking bringing a Man O' War to a show. But he was beautiful and back in the day we all couldn't WAIT to connect with someone, ANYONE who loved model horses just like us.

Man O' War didn't even make it into the ring that day. I suggested she just enjoy him at home. He stood zero chance against the selection of OFs in the Thoroughbred class at this event. In reality though, he stands zero chance anywhere in today's hobby. A beautiful piece that has no chance because, let's face it, even with his beautiful coat he has zero fashion sense in today's world.

Where do these horses go to show? How many beautiful but "unfashionable" pieces stand in collections? How many other young potential collectors and showers have decided to just give up because they just couldn't afford to keep up and they haven't made real solid connections in the hobby? What brought us to this "keeping up" stage of our hobby? Where are we going and who is driving?

I'm afraid I have no answers. I only have this feeling that somehow something is missing. It has all changed right before our eyes. The excitement of seeing a blank Moody "Utopia" resin for sale has been pushed aside for the excitement of newer resins that will one day, perhaps even by next month, be pushed aside for the newest of the new resins. The days of just loving a model cause it resonated with you in your heart, as my Utopia had for decades, seems to be I dare say....vanishing. I realize its changing drastically every February when our community comes together during NaMoPaiMo and we collectively celebrate our love of model horses.

What one needs to know is that your February in NaMoPaiMo was how us veterans enjoyed our hobby. That was our normal. That feeling of togetherness and artistic exploration, no matter what the skill level, was always vibrant and healthy. And in today's world that ends on March 1st.

Perhaps these old eyes just can't see that all this change is all just a natural progress. It happens all around us daily. Maybe our hobby lost it's innocence and grew up and now all we can do is visit our childhood rooms every February. I honestly don't know, but I can tell you for certain that we are all missing out on something great.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Old Fashioned Porcelain

China painted porcelain box

For an artist in love with china there is nothing like an old fashioned piece of porcelain. Better yet, nothing like getting to paint up that old piece of blank porcelain.

This particular "first tooth" box required about six firings to get the finished look. That's quite a bit of electricity to be honest and one of the many reasons why hand painted china's can get pricy. It's a layering process that requires special pigments and oils. I prefer to use lavender oil when painting. It's smooth and holds the color well. This time around I chose to color the entire piece, including the inside, so the white of the baby tooth stands out once it's placed inside.

I hope the recipients find it to be a timeless keepsake all around.

Deciding to put the
baby's name on lid or side.

Painting the gold on
is the best part!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Firing Up The Kiln

Limerick Custom Glazed
Currently up for Offers

During the month of February and the NaMo activities in the equine model industry I felt very compelled to paint up my bisque earthenware Limerick. Up until that point I wasn't ready. So much uncertainty in laying down the special paints for glazing. So much worry while firing the kiln. So many hours getting the piece just right. Many hours means many firings when using overgrazing techniques.

I'm happy to say though that the uncertainty, the worry and the hours all came together nicely. I'm thrilled to share the finished glazed Limerick with you!

Offers being taken until this Friday, March 30, 2018 9:00 PM (Est).