Tag Archives: hobby

Frustration –> Satisfaction

I have a busy work week before Rose City Live on the 8th, so I wanted to get ahead on packing. I am sure glad I started early, because I found not one but 4 horses that needed repairs! Argh.

I was really peeved at first (especially because it was my clumsiness that added one of those horses to the list) but then I realized that in the big scheme of things, this is not really worthy of exasperation. For one, I had caught everything in time to fix it (not, for example, the night before) and nothing needed major work.

But secondly and more satisfying, I realized I am perfectly capable of fixing all of the problems. I made the horse in the first place, so I can be confident in putting it back on the work bench for repairs. I’m happy that I don’t need to send these guys off to someone else to get repaired- I just added it to my pre-show to do list.

The four models went into the “hospital” on Tuesday, and by today nearly everyone is ready to go. Their fellows are all packed, and the other projects are nearing completion. Hurrah!

About Blogging

I’ve been very busy lately organizing what I coyly referred to in my last post as “a 300 person tech conference.” I was being vague because I felt like the event was not really relevant to the topic of this blog. But I realized that is silly.

This year I helped organize WordCamp Portland. WordCamps are world-wide, community-led conferences centered around the WordPress, an open-source publishing software that anyone can use. Tech-savvy folks can download and install it from WordPress.org, and those of us who don’t want to deal with security and software updates can sign up for free at WordPress.com.

Beer is also an important part of WordCamp Portland, because, ya know, Portland. Photo by Daniel Bachhuber.

Most of the attendees of WordCamps are .org users, including many developers and code contributors. But even though I don’t know my PHP from my MySQL, I’m still a passionate WordCamper. These events are a celebration of the awesomeness of blogging, and that’s something I can definitely get behind.

One of my fellow attendees, Marshall Kirkpatrick, said it best in his post-WordCamp blog post:

Blogging is beautiful, it elevates the human spirit and enriches public life…I see a lot of blogs on niche topics and there’s a whole lot more blogging going on than you might think. Geneticist Daniel Swan blogs about moving from academia to the private genetics industry. Ana Lilian and Roxana A. Soto blog together about raising bilingual kids. Jeff Rothe blogs about his collection of classic arcade game machines. And I think the world is a much better place for it.

His post inspired this one. Because although the tech world might seem far from the model horse hobby, both have evolved and benefited greatly from the growth of blogging. Without the prolific hobby blogosphere, I would not have met most of my lovely hobby friends, nor would I have learned so much about customizing, tack making, etc. And it’s because blogging is so fun, easy, and rewarding that I can share what I’ve learned with you, my readers.

As Marshall Kirkpatrick said,

I remember discovering how easy it was to blog, not so many years ago, and I really hope that lots of people are still discovering how easy and how rewarding it is every day today. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are even easier – but there’s nothing like a good blog post.

I couldn’t agree more.

Thoughts on Commissions

When I re-entered the model horse hobby in late 2009, I made myself a promise that I would emphasize the crafty, do-it-yourself side of the hobby and participate for my own enjoyment and creative exercise. I wanted to maintain the hobby as a personal activity that combined my love of making things with my love of horses.

There was a time when I believed that I would never accept commissions, even if and when I reached such a skill level. I liked the idea of my work being valued by other hobbyists, but I viewed commissions as a chore that some people strangely chose to shackle themselves to.

My first commission

I couldn’t imagine having deadlines for customers who wanted to take a horse to this show or that, or needing to follow a specific reference strictly to the last detail. Forcing myself to work on a horse would have been the antithesis of my hobby goals. My works always evolve as I go along, and I never wanted to have a customer’s desire override my preference as the artist.

My feelings and impressions about commissions have changed, particularly in response to another one of my hobby-promises: that I would keep spending to a minimum, and only buy the supplies I needed to make things myself. I keep that promise still, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting what I consider out of my price range, such as unpainted artist resins.

My second commission, nearly finished

I recently started my third commission, as a trade for a beautiful draft resin I’ve long admired. What I’ve found is that commissions don’t have to be chores or fetters. They can be inspiring and exciting. Each commission trade has been the result of collaborative design and agreement between myself and the customer, with flexibility reserved for me in terms of both time and creation.

The customer’s vision is an impetus for me to create something new, something that perhaps I would not have envisioned myself. And because I maintain the freedom for that work to evolve, I keep the promise to myself to do this for enjoyment and fun.

It is lovely to have my work respected and wanted by others, but even more thrilling to collaborate with another hobbyist on a trade that makes both sides so happy and satisfied.

Blast From the Past

This weekend I took two days to drive down and see my parents and my horse. On Sunday I helped build a tack room! That was wild. And rode my wonderful pony round and round of course. He likes it when I come to visit because I ask more of him than most of his regular lesson riders. I was taking him over these little jumps and he was sloppy as can be, and then we bumped up the height and all of a sudden he was striding ride and cantering straight and jumping beautifully. Lots of fun.

At my parents house I continued the never ending chore of purging and cleaning. This time I found a real treasure: old pictures! About ten years ago, during my first foray in the model horse hobby, this guy was my pride and joy. He was the OF Show Special Cream of Tartar, shown as the POA stallion Doc Holliday (after  the real stallion, who I knew).

Winning 1st in Novice Trail at the NW Expo. Check out that sweet homemade bridle.

Photo show performance picture - western trail, I guess?

Novice Pony Champion at the NW Expo

I also discovered some more misc. horse goods that are now for sale on MH$P, so if you’re interested in a traditional sized youth doll or some flower pots, I got ya covered.

Hobby Skills for Crafty Gifts

Most of my recent crafty time has been eaten by another favorite activity, present wrapping!

My favorite present this year was (it was delivered pre-Christmas) this sign for Robyn’s stable. I’m proud of the idea I came up with and it was an absolute blast to make. I meant to do simple drawings and painting but it was so fun that it turned into this:

I’m tickled to say that I used some of my hobby-honed skills to make this gift. For one, I learned to do detailing and color-mixing with acrylic paint from my model horse customizing. I also have and use my dremel tool for the hobby, and it came in very handy for carving that arrow and drilling holes. And of course, I was thrifty- the base is just a recycled piece of art from Goodwill, sanded and repainted.

Coincidentally, both of the horses painted on this sign have already been used as painting references for models. In the “noon” position is Alice, who I did a portrait of last year as a gift for Robyn. On the bottom is Charlotte who was my reference for Nightfox. So now I’ve painted them in 2D and 3D!

As of today my holiday shopping and crafting are finished. I’ll be spending the weekend with family and returning to home, work and maybe even blogging next week.

Thanksgiving Tidbits

This post was supposed to go up on Wednesday the 23rd, but when I logged in yesterday there it was in my “drafts” folder, waiting to be published. Alas, at the moment I have little else to post- I have finally finished the Super Secret Distracting-From-Models Crafty Christmas Gift and am nearing the finish line (teehee!) on my racehorse diorama. But that shall have to wait. Until then…

This week I’m down in California visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving. I probably won’t be back to ponies until Saturday at the earliest. I imagine many people are spending this week with family and have less time for models. But if you’re looking for a quick fix, check out some of these cool links.

Lipizzaner custom by Cindi Evans – this custom (just sold) is a great example of how a bit of nuanced, well-executed sculpting can make for a very unique and interesting model. No drastic customization, but a drastic change nonetheless. Just lovely!

Dreamflite Design video – Anna Kirby was interviewed on TV for a segment on her amazing stablemate tack. It’s cool to see our hobby getting some press, and with such a talented representative!

Two video tutorials on grey hooves by Jaime Baker, pastel artist extraordinaire.

Dreamflite Designs galloping boots tutorial – Anna Kirby’s ingenious design for stablemate boots.

Cavalia – the famous horse-themed circus extravaganza, coming soon to a city near me. Have you seen it?

image from Cavalia website

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Peace Through Ponies

The other day I was feeling grumpy. And I couldn’t figure out why. And I said to myself, I have a lot of things to do. But I don’t want to do them. I want to pastel ponies.

I didn’t actually have anyone who was ready to pastel- I’ve been prepping for what seems like years. But then I remembered the promise I made to myself when I started back into this hobby: do it for fun. For enjoyment. So I stopped obsessively prepping and perfecting, and went for it. And what a lovely, grump-free evening it was.

I started with some pastelling (the beginnings of two chestnuts):

Then I happily moved on to more prepping and priming:

And then got out my dremel for the first time in too long and chopped up some ponies that needed drastic alterations.

The poor head down mare is once again decapitated. But it’s for her own good, I promise.

The two ponies in the primer picture will soon join in on the pastelling. I love having finish work in progress because it’s easy to do a little bit each day, even when I’m busy. Just today, in a pocket of time before work, I put another layer on the two chestnuts.

In other news, I’ve updated both the My Showstring page and Sales. Model Horse Blab is opening it’s forums to unpaid members this week in honor of the site’s 8th birthday so I’m taking advantage and exploring lots of cool threads. Plus, they’re hosting a free, open photo show. Good times.