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Taboo?

Several people have asked me about the missing family member, Taboo. I did conveniently gloss overy his absence, didn’t I?

I knew from the start that all the molds from this group were going to present challenges, but Taboo was going to be the hardest of the three. I’ve borrowed this promotional photo from Sarah because the angle illustrates the reason. His head is so closely tucked that the shoulder of the raised leg partially obscures his facial profile. Overlapping pieces like this are a real issue in moldmaking because the mold pieces are rigid. They need a clear path for removal or they break the casting during the demolding process.

I learned a lot working with Vixen, but it didn’t take long for me to decide that Taboo was probably above my pay grade! So when Joan offered to do the master molds for him, I was more than happy to ship him off to the real expert.

If all goes well, we may have some Taboos to glaze in Idaho. But more importantly, Joan has been looking at some of the issues involved in casting really small, intricate horses. Molding Vixen resulting in some new techniques that are already making creating ceramic horses easier. Having a second (more experienced) set of eyes looking at those problems will probably push the technology even farther, which is really exciting – especially since I don’t think Sarah is going to be making her future sculptures any simpler than these guys!

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Well how cool is that?

Today I got an unexpected box from Reeves International. I’ve occasionally done work for Breyer before painting prototypes, and I used to do seminars on horse color for them at BreyerFest. I have made some good friends there over the years, but I haven’t done much in recent years (no time!). I was completely stumped about what they might send.

It turned out to be a copy of the Special Edition “Fire” from the Ethereal Collection. I had painted the prototype years ago, and hadn’t realized that they had actually made him. How cool is that? (In fact, if you purchased one and have the box, the horse in the outdoor picture on the back of the box is the original that I painted.) I think it’s particularly neat that of all the elements, I ended up with the horse designated for fire. (Though technically the prototype would have been among the last horses I painted without “fire”!)

And now I have to share a truly embarassing story about him. Like I said, I painted him years and years ago. Long enough ago that my strongest memory of painting him was my oldest son, then really small, pointing to him on my workbench and saying “COW! Preeeettttty COW!” (How demoralizing…) I also remembered having to give the folks at Reeves my parents’ address because they needed him painted over the holidays. But the truth is that while I remembered that my son thought he was a cow, and that I had done some of the work on him in Alabama, I had forgotten what color and pattern I had painted until he appeared this afternoon.

In fact, late last year my husband took me to Lebos to get riding boots for my birthday, and he saw a different Ethereal in a box on the shelf. He recognized the mold and asked, “Hey didn’t you paint this one Christmas a few years ago?” It was a bay tobiano, and hey, I had done bay tobiano prototypes for Breyer before, so I said I thought it might be. Before I knew it, he was proudly telling everyone that his wife designed the horse. (God love him, he does this sort of thing.) Someone asked if I would sign theirs, and so I did, though I mentioned that I wasn’t sure a signature might not devalue the horse to collectors. (Oh, if only I had known!) So someone out there has whichever of the Ethereals is bay tobiano, erroneously signed by me. Doh!

I used to think that I would never forget a horse, once I had painted it. I guess that doesn’t work so well after twenty years and hundreds of horses. With “Fire”, I had signed a non-disclosure agreement so I didn’t even take a picture for my records. I think next time I do something like that, I’ll at least write down a description so I can save myself any future gaffs.

I should add that they did a really good job duplicating the original. I was told to try to come up with something I thought could not be done on the production line, so considering that it’s amazing what they did with the pattern. Factory-produced plastic horses sure have come a long way in the last decade or so.

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