Wednesday, July 19, 2017
You will note amazingly few of the BreyerFest tent pieces (Speical Runs): I only wanted two. Am I really that insane, since it's obvious I can afford them if I want them?? Hah! One of a tackmaker's tough choices is what to do when Breyer releases a new mold in a different color, after you've already bonded with an earlier one. I've already bonded with my bay Harley D Zip. (Great color, hand chosen, hard to get.) Having drawn the matte buckskin for my Surprise model, I felt I did not want him. In addition, mane, tail and gender changes do not necessarily make a new model, not from a tackmaking point of view... and my shelf space is not limitless. Of course I thought the other colors were lovely, and I may change my mind in the future, but for now...
The red halter, worn here by Kaalee/Jezail, is clearly meant for the Marwari. Kudos to Jody Power of Jaapi halters, by the way, for consistently coming up with a halter design for Breyer's theme each year -- she nailed it this time!!!
Speaking of Breyerhistorydiva, she is responsible for me desiring my only Zodiacal series horse, the infamous Lobster Butt.
The Perlino came looking for me, not the other way around. But I had always wanted one. When the seller unwrapped him and I saw the peculiar finish of his coat - neither glossy nor matte, but somewhere in between, a fantastic semi-gloss - I went and counted my money. Yea, it happens like that sometimes! Pricey he was, and remains (except for the saddle) my most expensive piece this year. But I love him dearly and do not regret it. Perhaps I needed the saw-him, fell-in-love, &-bought-in-minutes experience, and to prove I am not always staid or restrained...
Hartlands clearly dominated this year's take. I came home with 6 Hartlands and 5 Breyers (and one of those Breyers was an elephant). Yes, this little guy is a Hartland: He was released in 1989 by Hartland Collectibles, the very first resincast sold by a plastics molding company. According to Gail Fitch, approximately 150 exist. Prior to 1989 (and for much afterwards), resincasts were exclusively the domain of private sculpting and casting artists, who usually painted them as well.
Here's more of my BHR take. Talk about a bargain: they were $1 a head. Just because the paint had bubbled a bit...! I took the opportunity to handpick all three. I've always admired this color.
Speaking of bargains, take a look at these two remarkable finds. These are Regal Series 11" Hartlands, and both of them were released only in 1967.
Yes, alas, something terrible must've happened to that Arab stallion on the right. He is the Superb issue #9916 in Red Bay. 'Superb' meant the model was glossed. All those little spots are paint flecks, which I am hoping I can remove; but the legs are another matter. Still, conferring with model vets gives me hope. I am thankful his sheer beauty was enough to save him. Sometimes people don't know what they have; I paid $5 for him.
Why am I so quick to grab such a doleful case? Take a look at what I already own. The red on the right I've named Prince King Kamehameha, and his necklace is his symbol of authority; he's the ruler of all my Hartlands. I got him in 1979 from a neighbor family, who had obtained him on a US Army base in Germany(!). That means I've had him for 39 years.... and in all that time, I've never seen another like him...
Put together, it becomes apparent the new one is a bit darker than Prince King, especially in the face.
But I have found my next breed to fall in love with, and it's the Akhal Teke. Nearly 2 years ago, at Region X Regionals in 2015, I photographed a Sarah Rose Khan. I was so impressed by his conformation and all the details of the spine. Then when Sarah released the Mini Khan, I had to get one. (Collecting the mini Roses has been a great pleasure!) In other adventures, I hired Jenn Danza to repair some ears in 2016; I thus had drawn to my notice what a good painter she was. She's right in my own state of Pennsylvania! I decided to plump for this horse, and the deal was struck. I was to pick him up at BFest this year; and he was worth the wait. Jenn had fulfilled my wishes to perfection.
Thank you Jenn.
Blankets. There had to be some, eh? I got lucky and was able to talk a seller into splitting the Eve and Claus set. I also got lucky with my Karen Grimm/BHR purchases; this Stone Morgan was hers and I got him for the blanket. There were 2 Stone blankets of Karen's available but I already had the red-edged one; this one is rarer. Thanks again to Heather Wells for all the work she is doing with the Grimm estate...!
And finally, my big ticket purchase for the year was a Western saddle. This deal has been in the works for at least a year as well. Heather has done blogs and videos on the making of this piece.
It did indeed take her 4 years to finish. Her final blog post of this saddle is at http://desertnightcreations.blogspot.com/2016/08/only-took-four-years.html
She had this saddle, plus other pieces, displayed at the Morlan Gallery (Transylvania University, KY) exhibit "Enough to Swear By," in the fall/winter of 2016, which was all about miniatures by famous artists. At that time I made an offer. No one else apparently made an offer. To make a long story short, that's how I got lucky this BreyerFest!
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Also, I used a much simpler cushion. Miniature upholstery, despite being that blog's main offering, is not my forte.
This chair was finished so quickly that no pictures exist of doing the entire lower half, nor of finishing out the top rim. This is where I caught up:
Clipping the stem ends would've been even more fun if my nippers had been SHARP. As it was I used scissors along with them.
Instead of merely gluing my sinew standing ends, I tried to bury them, as is proper in rawhide braiding. This is a shot of where the needle had to go to thread a standing end. It looks simple but the needle tip just about jammed into the seat binding.
Leaving the legs for a moment, the seat binding, two rows of 3-strand braid of double sinew, was something I had to invent on the fly. The original tutorial called for one row of braid. I tried 4-strand and then 5-strand braid, but these were too narrow. In the end I decided to go with the plainest, most obvious solution. Although I'm not pleased with how the butt ends met up (I had to forcefully glue them)(center of back, visible below) the rest of it is fine. There is a heavy, elegant simplicity to that binding; it is not out of scale with the rest of the chair.
Back to the legs: this was my first try of a braided button for a leg. Emphasis on "try" as it turned out a failure! A 3P5B (Spanish Ring Knot) was the wrong size for such a long, narrow diameter. I went for Pineapples (4P5B) and was happier.
And before I knew it, all weaving was done, ends glued and hidden. I made a cushion out of fleece padding and white denim. I knew from saddle blanket-making that white denim is perfectly in scale for canvas, and I wanted a very simple white cushion. In the event it is probably a little too simple. It's also probably a little short. But I like it.
I signed the chair underneath. Now for the last step: dyeing.
I wish I had a suitable model setting...
Come and visit room 610 at the Clarion!!
Friday, June 30, 2017
Here's a link: 1inchminis by Kris This is a blog about making one-inch scale (Classic scale) dollhouse furniture. Most of it features pieces like stuffed armchairs, tables, beds, wine racks, stoves and refridgerators, but in with these largely paper-based projects were several woven baskets, a wicker table and Mein Gott a fantastic wickerwork armchair. It had so much detail! Where did this come from!! The author says, "This is a serious project with some investment in materials." I haven't heard such a quaint denial since the Denver Saddlery Catalog's Horses are big and their strength is great. This chair has been a Master's degree in twelfth-scale wickerwork. Facts such as I built two test-pieces and have been at it for a month and only gotten halfway, speak for themselves.
The cording, to my amused astonishment, was another struggle to get right. I had thought all along I was going to use Artificial Sinew, my old friend. Nope. It squished. While I was in Boulder I managed to get to a Hobby Lobby (they don't occur in the East) and bought 5 kinds of cord, thread, hemp, etc. In the end, after weeks of testing, none of them would do. The mark of the master miniaturist is the willingness to go after the right material for the right look, and it seems to be part of the art that this takes a long time. Many little steps are needed, and many tests happened before I was completely satisfied.
Here is my second test: Woven cord, Hobby Lobby called it.
The day after I got back from Colorado I tried out my old friend, #30 Artificial Fine Sinew from Tandy's, using my previous test piece because making a third one was too much effort. And lo, it worked.
Needless to say, we were off to the races.
While in Colorado I had thought my Mom, an artist from way back, would have mat board; but she didn't. Instead, for the seat, I found an ancient cardboard, taken from the back cover of a pad of artist charcoal paper that must have been at least 50 years old. Whether this was a good idea remains to be seen. It is heavy and strong, but it drilled badly and is thicker than called for. With my sinew being thinner than called for, it may be hard to cover when I get to the seat edge-binding part.
This photo was taken in Maine:
The cardboard, in two layers, makes up the seat. I'm using glue with this chair, something I've resisted working with very much, but there comes a time....
Some work was done in Maine on this chair.
Six days have gone by between the above picture and this one.
Considering I started this chair May 19, the day after the parade set was done, and here it is June 30th and the thing is only halfway done, methinks I have a life.
Part II will cover the lower legs.
In this last picture, note the badly-dye-stained notebook lying at left. Aye yai, a souvenir of haste at trying to finish the great #456. I hadn't spilled dye that badly since the 1970s. I'm afraid one of my conclusions of NaMoTackMo was that tackmaking has a notably higher percentage of can't-finish-to-a-deadline, and accidents, than had NaMoPaiMo. Food for thought.
The chair should be done by BreyerFest, and will be taken there. I have not decided its fate. If someone makes me an offer I can't refuse, it'll find a new home. Meanwhile I'm enchanted with all I've learned, and fully intend to put it to work on a sleigh of some sort. Surreys? Carts? Snowshoes!! More furniture: sofas, rockers, tables! Oh the relief... not so much at the wickerwork, as at having found a field that was worthy of me....
See you in Room 610--!!
Friday, April 21, 2017
|TSII #442, built in 2005. 4-Strand Round Braid on cantle.|
Cutting the slits is part of edge braiding, but it's a skill I'm taking for granted in this post. I have made Needle Chisels (as mentioned in my book The Guide to Making Model Horse Tack), out of needles and paintbrush handles, in order to have miniature thonging chisels. For my current (2017) saddle (TSII #456 Star Wars), I am using my largest Needle Chisel. The blade is about 1.2mm wide. The slits are cut parallel to the edge of the leather, a little less than their own width apart. I'm afraid I space by eye -- experience is the best teacher here. I'd guess my spacing is about 2/3rds or 3/4ths of the width of the chisel; the above shot and the third one down provide some example.
Of course the first time my Galaxy silver strip is pulled through the slit, all its handcut irregularities are revealed! My best efforts are not perfect. I must be prepared to go to an ungodly amount of fuss and care trimming it.
To begin, I've learned to always look down on the grain side of whatever I'm edge braiding and start at the extreme left end. On cantles this turns out to be the off side. My breastcollars and tapaderos have many sections of edge braiding and each section has to be done individually - just start at the left end. The braiding thus travels from left to right.
I open the slits with my Needle Awl or miniature fid, one at a time, as they are braided.
I don't use needles with Galaxy lace. I just cut a point on one end of my strip. The point has to be small enough to easily pass through each slit and let me grab it on the other side. This works out to be about half an inch of point.
The magic number with Four-Strand Edge Braid is four. Starting with the first slit, the next slit is the fourth one to the right. The starting slit will turn out to be useless -- the end will be withdrawn later -- so leave about two inches of dead end at this time.
The Four-Strand edge braid basically follows a figure-8 path. Here the first pass back is shown, through the second slit. Once through, the lace is bent again to go to the right.
View of the back side (flesh side). Having passed under, the working end enters slit 3 (remember him?) and emerges. It's held under my thumb here.
The Four-strand Round Braid really does follow a figure 8 path, overlapping each pass one slit to the right when viewed from the grain side.
And then there's Problem-Solving!! My point has become so worn and frazzled it's delaminating. When this happens, I shorten the lace a little and cut a new point.
The Galaxy end can be glued down on the flesh side with white or brown glue.
I will end this pair of posts with the same shot of my unfinished, completely silver edge braided saddle, TSII #456. When this shot was taken, the seat had not yet been fastened on. Only time will tell whether entirely edging a saddle with silver braid was a good idea! The beauty is fantastic but the increased delicacy and fragility will require dainty handling.
|TSII #456 'Star Wars' unfinished.|