Saturday, December 18, 2010

VALOR ... bone china version sneek peak!

Hello There!  It's been awhile since I've sat down and pecked something out for this site, it seems like November is now a distant blur!  Where does the time go?  The last 6 weeks have been challenging to say the least, perhaps that is why it flew by so quickly?  Now we are in the midst of Holiday mayhem and Winter wackyness!

I will keep this brief as frankly, just not alot of time to devote to this posting.  The snow outside is falling quite rapidly and the window to run into town is closing quickly.  But if I do not post it now, who knows when I will get around to it?  not to mention I am very excited and honored to present the photo below.

Valor in bone china is now reality.  Donna Chaney of Animal Artistry in Herefordshire, UK has been working fast and furious to make this long time dream come true.  From the molding to the decoration, her skilled staff has been working full tilt to get these handsome guys on the market.  The photo I am sharing below is the chestnut version's headstudy, what handsome Thoroughbred goodness, don't you agree?   Very regal.

My new website is under construction as is the page for Valor.  It should be ready for reveal sometime mid-next week.  You will find photos of each of the three color samples (dapple grey, mahogany bay and the medium chestnut) and all the pricing and ordering information needed there and then.   Valor is not an easy horse to photograph and that has been giving us more challenge than the actual creation of the horse itself.  But Donna loves a challenge so I am sure she'll deliver!

Hope your Holiday festivities has already been filled with love and happiness and there is much more yet in store.  tom
(ps - word is that Valor will fit quite nicely in Santa's bag of goodies!  So watch for his release, it will make Christmas shopping so much easier for your horse crazy loved one!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Busy, busy, busy ...

Hello!  I do hope everyone survived those nasty Midwest winds we had this week? It sure made me understand the poor people who live in hurricane country and what they go thru x10.  There is nothing worse than sitting by and watching parts of your barn roof get peeled away or your dog house roof go tumbling thru your yard!  But we all survived and have the clean-up to keep us busy, as if we weren't busy enough to begin with.

I thought this Fall was going to be quiet and a good time to get caught up, boy was I ever wrong!  More and more things have sprouted up, the wind storm this week was the least of them.  What is the saying?  "When it rains it pours" ... well then it will soon be pouring. 

Since the Valor project got secured it mandated that I go to England again and contribute to the production stages of his creation.  Who would complain about this?  definitely not me!  I look forward to spending time at Alchemy with my newly adopted foster Mom Donna Chaney and all the goodies being at her studio brings.  (  My flight leaves just prior to Thanksgiving and returns just a bit after the New Year is rung in.  Missing all the holiday travel was my foremost priority, plus it gives us plenty of time to make sure Valor is all he can be.  There will be a couple weeks of this time span devoted to me going to Espana and Italia as well, taking advantage of being so close and just a couple hour plane flight.   Still earlier of this year I did not foresee this 6 week chunk of time being removed from my planned schedule.  So this was strike number one for my schedule to be thrown out of whack.

Right now the house is going thump, thump, thump with stike number two for my disrupted schedule.  Finally, after 10 years living here with asbestos shingles I am finally getting new siding.  First the old layer of shingles must come off, then insulation blown in (this place currently has zilch insultation - talk about cold winter house syndrome) and then the new siding and soffits will go up.  I got new roof's two years ago so that, along with the drip edge and fascia has already been done.  A couple doors are going to be replaced in the house, as well as new windows in the garage. Still, it will be a couple weeks devoted to all this.  This will only be addressing the main house and garage, still leaving the guest house and "pump house" for Spring time.   With any luck, they will be done by the time my flight takes off November 21st.   So from now until then all my time scheduled for finishing up projects has been throw thru the ringer.  Things just never go as you plan!  I am still hopeful I will be able to spend *some* time in the studio to finish up the most urgent/tardy projects before departing for Alchemy.

Third strike will be getting the electrician out here for some new wiring and most importantly, giving me proper electrical means for the new kiln(s) that will be going in.  Nothing is ever easy, is it?  So I am keeping my fingers crossed that the electrian and my schedules jell so he can get this whole problem sorted out prior to November 21st.   Once he is done and the kilns are up and running it will all be worth it, it is just the hassle of getting everything to that stage. 

So that is where I am at right now.  Listening to hammering on my house walls, trying to stay warm (it is 48 degrees outside and probably 58 in the house) and positive about these time diversions that have been dealt to me.  I am hoping, looking back in January it will all be worth it.

Speaking of kilns, this is a life long dream come to life you know.  For years I have dreamed of being able to play in mud, glaze my own goodies and play kiln games.  Below I am showing you one of my very first underglazed ceramic projects from back in 1996, when I was in Kohler Wisconsin working at Kohler Stables.  Some co-workers and myself were taking ceramic lessons a couple nights a week and having a blast being silly and artistic.  Those memories are so cherished with Nancy Neese, Jodi Ziemer and myself working the nerves of Betty, our instructor.  Betty was the old school, late 60ish, deep voiced "Bea Arthur" kind of lady .. which is also the same make up of what the rest of the class was like, let's just say alot of blue hair going on.  Then you had us three younger "kids" disrupting the class, it was a riot.  

A ceramic project circa 1996 - Kay Finch wanna-be, about 8" x 10"
 I have always been a fan of Kay Finch's whimsical ceramic pieces and when I saw that Betty had a knock off mold of Kay's popular  pomeranian "Mitzy" it was a must do!  Well Betty tried and tried to persuade me to paint her via cold paint method, but I insisted I had a vision and wanted to do her like a Kay Finch piece.  For a ceramasist, Betty really didn't like running her kiln for glazing, she wanted everyone to decorate their ware with paints/stains ala "crafty" style.  So when I broke out the pink underglazes and started my swirling, I think all the older ladies thought me on some drug induced psychadelic high.  Didn't matter to me, it was a dream come true and a vision, to work on something that would be shiny and fired.  The week that her final fire was taking place was a long week, my anticipation of how she turned out was out of control.  But in the end, she turned out pretty much how I wanted her to. 

Unfortunately for us three Muskateers, the ceramic shop closed it's doors and Betty passed away.  There were no more weekly gatherings and sillyness, so this photo'd Finch knockoff is one of the few pieces I got to complete during the formative years.  Nancy and I went and got all Betty's mold (this dog mold was not in the inventory tho, sadly) as we had a dream of starting our own little ceramic shop, but those dreams evaporated unfortunately as they so often do.  Who knows where we would be now had Nancy and I got that shop up and running? 

So, it is easy to understand why I am impatient for the electrician to come out and get the electric suitable for kiln use.  I've been waiting since 1996, so what's a few more months?  Well, when you see the light at the end of the tunnel after so many years, you just get impatient I guess.  But I do have some big plans for these kilns, not just for creating shiney horses but for other fun stuff.  Hopefully you will see different projects come from my studio -- things of whimsy, and craziness.  Heck, maybe I will even invite Nancy and Jodi over from Wisconsin for another "girls night out" workshop where we can reminisce and think about what could have been and what is. 

Despite being busy, busy, busy and frustrated my time schedule has been thrown completly out of whack ... I am happy and excited.  So excited I dug this rather large early ceramic piece out of storage to share with you.  There is so much in store I don't even mind being more busy than originally anticipated! 

PS - If anyone has a 'line' on this mold somewhere do let me know.  I think it would look equally cute decorated in a realistic color!  These molds are still floating around so I will remain hopeful.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dreams really do come true

Glossy buckskin Cardiff

I've always been drawn to pretty things, much more than the average person I think.  As a child I loved going into antique shops to admire the fine pottery and china, something most kids really wouldn't do.  Even back then it was always a desire of mine to be a producer of beautiful things, to be able to 'call the shots' and make what I wanted, when I wanted, etc.   Surely if I considered it beautiful, someone, somewhere would also cherish it.

Some years back I commissioned Laura Hornick Behning ( ) to sculpt some mini pieces for me to produce in resin.  Something that was more affordable, yet still filled with good style.  To date I've commissioned six different mini sculptures with one on it's way.  We've concentrated on Morgans (Laura's passion) and Welsh (my passion, as well as Morgans), trying to give a variety of gender and positions.  They're a lot of fun and altho I do not really actively market them, they are usually here in stock for that occasional email from someone looking for one.  Each sculpture has it's very own personality, Laura is very gifted in finding that in her sculpts. 

Laura, like myself, is a long time "china head" and we both like things that go clink.  She had told me once that it was a life times goal to see some of her work in the fired form, something a little more permanent than resin.  Of course I let her know that someday I would get around to finding someone to produce some of our wee ones in ceramic.  It is much more difficult to get your little horses produced in ceramic than resin, there aren't too many artists out there dabbling in ceramic in comparison to resin.  So the kids were put on hold until I stumbled onto someone willing to produce them for me. 

After the fate which secured Deputed Duke with my friend Donna Chaney ( I had a good working relationship with her and the artisans she has working for her.  In a conversation I asked if there was a chance that her mold maker could make some molds of some small resin horses I had produced here (the ones by LHB) and she said it was possible.   So off I shipped the two Welsh stallions to Donna, with me scheduled to follow in a month to work on some other china projects, mainly the big Duke guy.

To keep this posting somewhat short, I arrived in the UK and spent over 2 months with Donna at her Animal Artistry/Alchemy studio and homestead.  While there Mark made my molds of Cardiff (Section D Cob stallion) and Colywn (Mountain Pony - Section A stallion).  It is a long process to make the molds, as timing and fate would have it, the molds were finished at about the same time I had to come back home.   So we were getting closer to some clinky product, but not quite there.  The first two prototypes were pieced together, I got a glimpse of them in the kiln just before I left for the airport.  Again, their progress was delayed.

Since I ran short on time, Donna agreed to produce me some bisque earthenware inventory to get glazed up for BreyerFest.  Soon I was getting flooded with boxes from the UK, inside with little bique beauties waiting to be decorated.  My kiln did not materialize like anticipated so I missed their debut at BreyerFest and again, they sat in the boxes naked and lonely.  It is now September and still no kiln, it is killing me ... I wan to so see some of these bisques with coloring. 

As you probably know -- the ceramic industry is limited with skilled techicians.  Those who do it are usually so busy with their own ware it is impossible to get them to take on outside projects, just not enough time in the day for most people.   Luckily for me, Joanie Berkwitz ( replied to my pleading of help and agreed to glaze me a little herd of both Cardiff and Colywn.  We had both worked together years before, mainly with the Seneca project so I knew she was just the right person to breath life into the bisque bodies.   Well, she wasted no time making them priority and has been glazing up a storm.  So today I will debut a couple of the ones she has glazed for me.  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I have.

Very matte lilac roan Colwyn

view of the base's backstamp

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sushi, the new white meat?

Ok, I confess ... I have no idea what that title is suppose to mean.  Since I wanted to talk about my newest resin release "Sushi" it just kinda happened, hope it doesn't creep anyone out?  This last week I was down in Ohio at the Quarter Horse Congress, etc. and I think my brain is still in vacation mode, so please bear with me.

Well, most of you know that Sushi is my new sculpture created by the uber talented Brigitte Eberl
( that was introduced last month in what I called the September Sushirama Lottery.  I offered a different, newly created Sushi via lottery each odd numbered day throughout the month to members of my Yahoo Groups.  It was alot of fun and I was really pleased with how it all turned out.  Hard to believe it was wrapped up only 15 days ago, it seems like an eternity already ... time sure does have a way of flying, doesn't it?

The reason I am talking about Sushi today is that there are always questions surrounding new releases and this is a good way to get the word out and the facts "straight".  You know, straight from the horses mouth (and I always thought I was the other end on the horse to be honest!).  So although this maybe alot of repeating to many of you, it could be new news to others.  Skip this blog entry if it is boring old news for you, but if it isn't allow me to guide you along the Sushi trail.

As I said above, Sushi is an exclusive sculpture for me by Brigitte Eberl.  I commissioned her to do me a walking Arabian mare several years ago and Brigitte got to wrap up the sculpting in late July at BreyerFest, which is where Brigitte hand delivered the original sculpture to me.  Somewhere during BreyerFest Brigitte and her German friends started to call her Sushi for some reason, I still do not know where that name came from and knowing those crazy Germans maybe I don't want to know (lol!  kidding to all my German friends).  So following the madness of BFest Sushi was shipped off to MVS/Will and Sheri Rhodes to be cast and released in urethane resin as I have done in the past.  The first resin bodies started to arrive at my place in late August, begging for new clothes and indivdual identities.

Her edition is limited to 68 pieces - 60 for myself and 8 are retained by Brigitte as her "artist proofs" ("sculptor proofs" if you like).  Of my 60 pieces I have sent 15 out as "guest artist" pieces and the remaining 45 are to be painted/finished by myself.  This is very similiar to my first Eberl exclusive sculpture "Valentino" who most of you already know.  What some of you may not know is that I can share with you who the guest artists are.  The guest artists are (in no particular order):  Carol Williams, Carol Huddleston, Jennifer Kroll, Jennifer Irwin Scott and Lisa Rivera Shepard. 

In fact, I can tell you what color each artist is doing for me even!  But do remember, things do tend to change and this list is not definite by any means, but is a tasty teaser none-the-less.  The 5 (yes, you read that correctly) guest artist pieces to be finished by Carol Williams are:
medium dark chestnut sabino, dark dappled mahogany bay, dappled palomino partbred(haired!), light dapple grey with fleabites,  and lastly dappled buckskin overo partbred.  Carol Huddleston will provide me with a lightly dappled, dark bay sabino/rabicano.  Jennifer Kroll will delight us with her famous lightly dappled fleabitten grey that is HAIRED.  Jennifer Irwin Scott is looking at a dark, generously dappled sandy/golden bay and my friend Lisa Rivera Shepard is gonna produce her infamous classic champagne partbred coloring.  You can see there is going to be alot of colorful Sushi's being created and I am so excited about the two haired versions as well!    I should mention here that nothing has been decided about the fate of the above resins, they may be offered for sale or they may be kept in my small,  private collection.  Carol Huddleston, Jen Kroll, Jen Scott and Lisa Shepard will each have one copy of their own to finish in their choice of color and market any way they like.  If you are interested in a Sushi created by them, contact them individually to find out their plans. There is a lovely dappled rosegrey Sushi being completed by Caroline Boydston as well, I am so excited about her as I adore Caroline and her artwork. 

Since the Sushirama I have been getting some of the sold Sushi's shipped to their new homes.  I have never sold so many horses abroad, Sushi is an International sensation it would seem.  She has new homes in New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Australia (3 times I think), Japan and of course good ol' USA.  I've got a couple post Sushirama's completed, like this funky lightly dappled bay roan tobiano for Carrie Sapp out West

Sushi #14 Bay roan tobiano o/b Carrie Sapp

Plus this lightly dappled medium "Crabbet" chestnut sabino for Ann Bilon of Ohio.  This lass was debuted last weekend at the Ohio Congress Model Horse show, where she swept away with the Reserve Championship in Resin Light Breed division, congratulations Annie!  I am sure you'll be seeing a Sushi or two at the live shows near you soon.  Personally, I just can't wait to see her wearing tack!
Sushi #16 "Crabbet" chestnut o/b Ann Bilon

So there you have it, more information on Sushi than you ever imagined knowing.  I am sure there will be more posting about her in the months to come.  Not to mention even some discussion about the next Eberl exclusive sculpture I have commissioned with Brigitte!  But you'll have to check back here often if you want to learn more about that.  So until next time ... be kind, believe and live large! 

PS - Brigitte retains the copyright on her sculptures and the option to reproduce any sculpture, including Sushi and Valentino in any other medium -- such as bronze or china.  Yes, wouldn't a Sushi or Valentino look handsome in bone china?    You think so?  please write her at:  and tell her. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Exciting Studio News

Well, as promised a couple days ago, you will be reading this announcement here first.  Believe me, it has been hard to keep this quiet as I really stink at such things, but I think it is safe to let the "cat out of the bag" now.  I am basically just making a brief announcement with additional information to follow at a later date.  I just can't contain my excitement any longer!

Drum roll please ... I am pleased to say that under license from Carol Williams/Rio Rondo you will see her legendary sculpture 'VALOR' produced in fine bone china soon!  Bainbridge Fine Bone China (a division of Thomas Bainbridge Studio) will be producing VALOR thru Alchemy of England.   We are confident this will be another marriage made in heaven and are excited to be announcing this collaberation.  

The few things I can say is that it will be a very limited edition of only 21 pieces made available.  There will be three colorway options, each color limited to 7 pieces.   The colors will be bay, chestnut and grey, 7 of each color and available in either satin (3) or gloss (4).  These colors will be the most ambitious produced to date and we are excited to be pushing the envelope on such an exquisite sculpture as VALOR.  

There will be no pre-order or selling in advance.  Price has not been determined yet, but will be announced when completed pieces are ready to market.  We anticipate having the first color samples finished and ready to sell around the first of December.  Please be sure to leave room on your Christmas list for one of these handsome creations.   

VALOR needs no introduction, he is a legend in our hobby.  This noble Thoroughbred stallion will surely be as lovely and desired in bone china as he has become in resin.  We thank Carol Williams/Rio Rondo  ( for her faith placed in us to recreate her incredible sculpture.  

With the beginning of VALOR we will sadly be closing our Deputed Duke bone china edition.  There are still a few more in the edition to finish and we are confident he will be wrapped up before introducing VALOR.  Duke has been a wonderful experience, unfortunately his mold will not be yielding as many copies as we had hoped for due to the complexity of his molding/position.   More will be posted about Duke and his history at a later date.  Another good reason for you to check this blog frequently. 

Well, the sun is shining and the temperatures tolerable, it is time to get outside and do some preperations for winter.  I hope all are well and enjoying this beautiful Autumn weather.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If I could turn back time ...

No ... don't worry I am not about to break out into a Cher moment here. Altho I could for the right amount of money! "Halfbreed" would be my choice of song, I look so darn good in a skimpy loin cloth and eagle feathers! Enough sillyness, onto real business.

Several people replied to yesterday's posting and expressed interest in seeing some of my "vintage" works de' arte, so today I am granting their wish. Incidentally the scanner was working yesterday, just my brain wasn't. It only took a few hours for me to remember to go into "my computer" to engage the scanner, duh Tom! So I got one photo scanned, it's about 30 years old but the chuckles it will gather are timeless. Jeepers, time does fly bye, doesn't it?

This is my very first dapple grey ever! I would date it around circa 1980. It is the Breyer Terrang (Always liked that mold) painted in oils into this uber detailed and phenomenal dapple grey you see before you. Please direct your attention to the life like dappling, soft shadingand overall realism. Yeppers, this is some fine work here folks! In fact I think my normally supportive Mom looked at it and had to force some kind of positive comment. After this lousy first attempt who would have ever imagined the future greatness, fame and fortune this craft would make me? (you do note the sarcasm here I hope) Fast forward to September 2010.

My first dappled grey - circa 1980.

Here is one of my most recent dapple greys. Really, can't you see all the similiarities? I mean basically the same, just a wee bit more finesse now-a-days.

Dappled grey - 30 years later.
I figure that I have painted well over 1,500+ model horses and there are many more to come. Hopefully my work will continue to evolve and improve, altho that never happens fast enough for my taste. Please Lord, let me paint a dapple grey that doesn't appear blue or purple. See, even this ol' dog can improve. Practice makes perfect, that is what they say, and with this crafting it certainly does help.

I tend to call myself a "crafter" more than "artist". What I do is a craft that I have been working on for 30+ years. Professionally for 15 years! With any luck there will be another 30 years in here somewhere and maybe even a few more greys, all descendants from that first Terrang.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Well, I have finally gave in and decided it was time to create a Blog. I will admit, I have fought the idea tooth and nail ... no real reason other than I didn't want to be "one of those bloggers". Silly! I mean, I enjoy reading blogs and find them not only entertaining but education as well. So why wouldn't I want to participate and have one myself? My stubborn Taurus self was all, lordy knows stubborn can be my middle name.

Finally, it dawned on me that this was the best tool to keep anyone who wanted to follow my Studio, updated. With Yahoogroups it seems as tho the "updates" have become fewer and fewer and people are left in the dark more than I want. Good intentions, just not enough time or ambition for it all. Surely the same scenario will happen with this Blog as it has with many other's ... at first the posts are frequent and then they slowly diminish. But then I got to thinking, shoot even one posting a month here would be far more then I seem to get done thru my Yahoo group, so it's a win/win situation. Sooooo, I tuck away my stubborn pride and present you with another artist's blog. Just what the world needed, right?

Well, I am hoping this will be an easier way for me to keep connected with everyone. I can share project updates easier this way and just generally blab with y'all. Share photos, stories and who knows what else. But in unusual fashion for me, I promise to keep it clean ;)

I was going to start with posting a couple photos of some vintage things I created (back in the late 70's, early 80's) but it seems as tho the scanner doesn't want to wake up yet. Do not worry, I will get it sorted out and get some of those scandalous photos posted at a later date. They will serve as great inspiration to those who think "I could never do what he does" ... believe me there has been more trial and error than the occasional success. So if you're looking for lots of laughs, keep coming back to see those photos soon!

So what little tasty morsel should I include with this first post that will make you want to come back time and time again? Hmmmmmm, certainly photos of myself wouldn't do the trick (talk about driving people away) so maybe I will put a photo or two of some recent work that I haven't published before. AND the promise that in a couple days I will be making a HUGE announcement here about a new project that has me beyond stoked. So come back, you hear ... there will be goodies galore here in the future.

Before closing I want to thank Josh Hoffman for setting this up for me, his talents and technical expertise are so greatly appreciated. Without him, believe me, the current visual elements would not be anywhere near what they are. Thanks Josh!