Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Difficult horse is. . .difficult.

I completely forgot to post an update about this guy in my pre-Breyerfest rush!  LOL!  For those of you that aren’t on our studio Facebook page, this is Nagmificent.  He is my homage to all those unattractive, poorly trained, horses with sour attitudes that we’ve all known through the years.  They inevitably end up in the hands of some starry eyed gal who is so enamored of her first horse that she has no idea what she’s gotten into!  LOL!  I loosely based this guy on a rank creature that was owned by a childhood friend of mine.  Known to his teenage owner as “Sunshine” this horse was an accident waiting to happen.  In spite of the fact that he actively tried to injure her on every trail ride I witnessed. . .Sunshine could do no wrong in her eyes!  She adored this beast and proudly proclaimed him to be a purebred Thoroughbred that was 14.7 h.h.  ;^P
I sculpted Nagmificent to be a passable but poor representative of many different light breeds.  Indeed I have seen everything from Arabians to Quarter horses in possession of this same “type.”  I don’t usually have a piece take on a personality and presence in my life much beyond the “what you see is what you get” stage. . .but for Nagmificent, it was different.  He has come into the world just as stubbornly as his appearance could have predicted!

 Nagmificent has a long and nerve wracking journey which *fortunately* now has a happy ending!  I completed this brute more than 2 years ago!  I decided to not rush through making a mold right before Breyerfest 2012 so I took the clay and showed that. . .then I let it sit around for a whole year. (yeah, I know. . .procrastination is a sin) Right before Breyerfest 2013 I panicked and started the mold  (on this as well as on 2 other smaller pieces) Aaaaand. . . it. . .was. . .a. . .disaster.   The only thing I can think happened is that I picked up a can of Krylon Satin spray to spray the clay with beforehand instead of gloss.

As I applied the layers of silicon. . .immense quantities of oil gushed out from underneath. . .sometimes it even dripped down all over the outside of the mold from microscopic holes.  All three molds, behaved the same way.  I was crushed.  All that work and there was no way they were salvageable.  I couldn't imagine the silicon could cure next to the greasy mess my sculptures had become!  So I abandoned them. . .all of them.   In fact, I sort of abandoned sculpting altogether for awhile as well.  It really is soul crushing to put that much work into something only to have it ruined through your own stupidity. So the three molds sat there. . .oozing oil and depressing the heck out of me for an entire year.

Before Breyerfest this year, I had decided I needed to throw them all out and get rid of the constant reminder of what I had lost.  About 2 weeks before we were supposed to leave for Kentucky, my Sister Sheri Wirtz was poking around the mold room in my Parents basement.  She asked me if I wanted her to help me finish the three molds and see if we could get anything out of them.  (Sheri has been making Dad's molds for years and years now, so if anyone could do it, she could)  I was reluctant to even try. . .it was just too depressing to even imagine having confirmation of what I'd been worried about all along.  She insisted though, and we set aside a couple of days to make the plaster shells and try to see if there was anything salvageable under all that greasy silicon.

As we peeled off the molds, I was surprised to see that, while the clay had transformed into something that felt like congealed beef fat. . .the silicon was firm and there appeared to be visible detail on the surface!  We pressed on and after a lengthy cleaning process (which ended with me having to rinse out the molds with nail polish remover to get rid of the nasty grease) we were ready to pour resin and see what we had!  I was a complete wreck. . .with every promising sign. . .there came exponentially more doubt that things would turn out okay.  It was because of my rampant pessimism that I almost managed to mangle what turned out to be the only resin copy of Nagmificent in existence!  LOL!

Because we make our molds in halves (for pouring wax for bronze casting) there is the matter of plugging the bottoms of the feet to make sure the resin doesn't come pouring out as soon as we pour it in.  I am always concerned that the resin hasn't made it's way into the lower legs because it's been blocked by trapped air.  It was this very same doubt that compelled me to pull the wood block away that had been sealing off the hoof bottoms before the resin had had a chance to cure completely.  Imagine my surprise to see that not only were both hooves there, in their entirety. . .but that they were still attached to the wood block I had just pulled about a half an inch away from the mold!  AAAGGHHH!  I had stretched his front legs out like warm taffy and all I could think to do was to slam the block back into place and pray. . .  Amazingly, as we demolded the legs first, we could see that everything was fine!  Whew!  But as we went further up the legs the mold began to resist parting from the resin.  I had prepared all of the molds with the same mold release spray but that front half had a mind of it's own.  The resin on the torso, neck, and head had simply become one with the silicon.   So, there was my Sister, sitting there for more than an hour, sweating buckets as she “skinned” my resin out of it’s mold with an Exacto knife.
Sort of like this, but smaller and without all the velvet.

When all was said and done, the mold was completely destroyed, but I had a useable copy of  my sculpture.  So. . .there is still a lot of prep work to do on Nagmificent. . .but, I can finally say with 100% certainty that he will be offered as a resin edition very soon!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The rumors are true!


Yes folks, I am STILL alive!  Contrary to what the lack of activity on this blog might lead you to believe, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, yet. Actually, there is a far more interesting rumor I need to tell you about. . . I'll have to start at the beginning though. . .
Back in 2004 when I released Persia and Bidjar, I still had my old website with the lame hand-coded html.  In the past 9 years I've been through 2 more versions of that website.  I've still got the remnants of the old sites hanging around on my computer though, because I never throw anything out (just ask my Family.)  So, last year, I was puttering about on my computer when I discovered the skeleton of the old Persia and Bidjar sale page.  All that was left was the copy I'd written back in 2004, where I announced that they would be produced in an edition of 200. DOH!  I suddenly remembered that I had set the edition higher than usual to account for people ordering them separately.  I figured it might be difficult to have enough sets for the people that wanted them if either the mare or the foal sold more as single pieces.  Good planning, right?
But, 2 websites, a brain fart, and a few years later I had closed the edition on both of them at 150 like all of our other Traditional resins.  After 8 years though, I was still getting messages every few weeks from people pleading with me to sell any copies that I might have of these resins.  So, I made the decision to go ahead and do one more mold run on the set.  I originally said there would be 200 of each of them and now there will be.
After so many years, I couldn't resist tweaking Bidjar just a little bit.  So he has an updated look that I hope people will like.  The white resin is terrible to take photos of but these shots give some idea of the differences between the two.  (New version is on the right)

Persia is the same as before, except that now she will be hollow cast.  This suggestion from Randy Buckler has proven to be a VERY good one as each cast is wonderfully clean and free of the previous molding and pouring issues!
I am selling them as a set for $300. and separately for $200. (Persia) and $100 (Bidjar) with shipping to be determined by your location.   If you are interested in acquiring either or both of them, let me know your zip code or country and I can let you know what shipping would be.

left: Comparison photo by Deb Buckler.  New version on left.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The long sad silence. . .

 In more than 15 years I hadn't been able to eat a meal in my own home without being hounded by his constant barking and begging. . .and now everything is too. . .too quiet.

When his heart went bad, they only gave him 6 to 12 months to live. . .he enjoyed 39 extra months instead. . .it was still too short.

For the last 3 years he refused to sleep at night, preferring to wander about restlessly between 3 and 6 am.  If he couldn't sleep, neither could I. . .2 months later. . .and I still can't sleep until the sun comes up.

 His medication regimen was all consuming, 6 pills a day. . . taken right from my hand, like a treat.  No bribing, no hiding, no forcing. . . I see the bottles now and have a momentary flash of anxiety that I've forgotten  to give him a dose.

He slept under the edge of my pillow every night.  His soft breathing a reassuring sound.  His silky fur always just inches away. . .out of habit, I still reach out to pet him when I'm half asleep. . .

He was my tiny little Rock of Gibralter, a dependable, cheerful, and devoted soul whose love and affection could never be equaled.  He only weighed 5 pounds but he left a hole in my heart that will never quite heal over.
I dedicate this silly and sappy poem to my friend Melissa G. who met Beebo for the first time in a crowded hallway during a convention in a Kentucky Hotel.  Like everyone else that got to know this little red-headed pup, she was a lifelong admirer. :^)


We met by happenstance, one day
An accident, you and I
Escape was made, but I got lost,
my owner trying to spy.

You scooped me up and brought me home
to the room that called my name
I charmed you with my svelt good looks,
Your heart I would lay claim.

My name was Beebo, Beebs for short
A mind all of my own.
But for everyone that held me close
Affection was always shown.

A life so grand, well travelled, full
Carried me through the years.
You inquired always, how I was
Remembered me so dear.

But time would slow these furry feet
Adventures far between
My world grew smaller, my eyesight dim
Content with old routines

When finally my day to rest
Crept up quite suddenly
Bathed in tears and cradled with love,
I let go reluctantly.

So, remember me, and bring me home
When next time, you and I
Cross our paths and we meet again
In that hallway in the sky.

Goodbye my beautiful Bibelot, Beebo, Beebs, Beeno, Boopy, Pooh-bee, Beano-reano, Hup-puppy, Hooby, Hum-tummy, Bumpy. . .my beloved Bee.  Keep the bed warm for me until I get there. . .

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Enough is enough. . .or at least it *should* be!

Here are a couple of things that remind me of my work space. . .

I'm taking a break from organizing my studio.  Given my past track record, this is a job that I am apparently incapable of completing, no matter how hard I try.  In my entire life, I have never. . .EVER. . .had a well organized and efficient space to work in.  I've tried to fool myself by saying I'm one of those people that thrives in a messy environment. (rolls eyes) That's just what slobs say to make themselves feel better. . .even though it doesn't really work.
As I sit here and look around me, I am struck by the assortment of items that have invaded my studio that have no business being here in the first place.  This is a 10 x 10 foot room which contains the items I rely on to create my art and thus, my livelihood, yet it also contains the cast offs of the entire house.  Unused furniture, storage containers overflowing with heaven only knows what, Karate trophies, wedding gifts from 10 years ago, even my Father-In-Law's *ashes!*
The worst part is that I can't blame anyone but myself!  Not only did I agree to let these things invade my space. . .I put most of them in here myself.  So, now I'm stuck with the sad realization that if *I* don't respect the importance of this space, how can I possibly imagine anyone else to?  It's time to stand up for myself. . . it's time to stand up TO myself!
No matter how many times I tell myself,  "it's just a temporary solution" to put miscellaneous items in here, it just isn't true.  These things stay here, and they interfere with my work and my psyche.  I'd like to imagine that I'm best suited to a world of chaos, but experience tells me I'm most definitely NOT.  Every time I try to do any work, I find myself playing with a 10 x 10 foot version of that slide puzzle, or finding moronic "solutions" like Ernie!  No wonder I don't seem to be able to get anything done!  It's easier to ignore everything in here than to deal with any part of it.
I have to keep trying though, so I will start to slide these pieces around again. . .and I will drag everything out of the closet so I can stash the large dresser in there, I will move the storage containers to the basement to be dealt with another day, and I will take my Father-In-Law's remains and put them someplace more appropriate. . .perhaps in the sugar bowl?  Oh wait. . .that's where the cookies are. . .

P.S. these ball bearings are a perfect size to be used when sculpting 1/9th scale horses.  If you don't need 100  of them, the same seller sells them piece by piece for .25 each.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mental Exercise

In the interest of stepping outside my comfort zone, without leaving the vicinity completely, I decided that I wanted to work on something that has been a stumbling block for me for a very long time.  The perspective involved in doing a 3/4 front view horse head in 2-D can be (and I think I'm not alone in this feeling) daunting, to say the least!

Because I have always been a sculptor at heart, I would prefer to pick up clay over a pencil any day! Of course, the sly trick (or crutch, as it may be) that I've relied upon in sculpting, is the fact that when you're working in 3-D. . .the perspective takes care of itself.

So, a low relief sculpture seemed to be a good compromise.  I get to play with clay and it's a whole lot easier to repeatedly erase things without worrying about tearing up the paper!

I'm a long way from being finished with this, but it's empowering to confront something that I've been avoiding.  It's difficult to be a complete artist when the mere mention of certain subject matter makes your anxiety level jump up a notch.  The only solution is to jump in with both feet and do it until it doesn't bother you any more.  Next up on my list of things I avoid sculpting or drawing. . .People. . .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Five seconds of fame!

Okay, I LOVE watching American Pickers on History Channel and if there could be one thing to make me love the show even more. . .it has just happened!  They were doing a pick to decorate the office of Bill and Liz Shatner's new country house.

When the final result was revealed, imagine my surprise at catching a few glimpses of my Call Me Ringo sculpture on top of the trophy case!  Wheee!

The show can been seen in it's entirety here: 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hear ye! Hear ye!

After MUCH confusion, a rather large hullabaloo, a touch of brouhaha, a smidgen of mayhem, and a pinch of pandemonium. . .I finally managed to get a website published again at

Now, it's not 100% finished yet, *but* I've found a web design program that's easy to use so I won't feel an overwhelming sense of hopeless dread every time I need to update something.

Of course, the reason for this whole headache was that I needed to get a page up for Pipsqueak so I could officially release him and now that I've accomplished that. . . I'm going to bed so I can have nightmares about something other than my website for a change! ;^P