"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stone Ponies Ride Free.................. -12th Non-Blogger/Blogger Challenge reveal

I, probably like most little girls, grew up dreaming of having my own pony. 
    This was the closest I ever got.

    I grew up in a town called Canyon Country. It wasn't really the country though. It's a suburb of Los Angeles.
    We had a large backyard. Probably about an acre of hillside.
    We had pet rabbits and chickens and dogs, and even snakes and a desert tortoise.
Pippi and Old Man
    I couldn't understand why I couldn't have a pony too. After all Pippi Longstocking had a horse that lived on her front porch, and we had so much more space.
    Ultimately it had to do with zoning laws and the expense of caring for one.
    As I little girl though, that was so far beyond my grasp. I just thought my parents were mean.

    I was lucky enough to have a few friends with horses growing up. 
    My grandparents next door neighbors had a horse. That was probably the 1st horse I ever got to ride. I'd done the pony rides, of course. But this was a real horse. 
    They saw 1st hand at an early age how much I loved this. 
    My grandparents bought me this cute little red outfit for my 6th birthday and made me a very happy cowgirl.
    I wasn't much older than this when I fell off my 1st horse. 
    My friend Shelly had her own.  Her family actually had quite a few of them. 
    Shelley lived out in the country, among the apple orchards in Washington. 
    Riding double, bareback, the horse took off running and we tumbled into a pile on top of each other.  
    Then we got up,   dusted ourselves off,   and got right back on. 
    This did nothing to dissuade me from wanting to ride. 
    There were ranches in the canyons near where I grew up that were zoned for livestock. 
    In junior high my fiend Kim had a beautiful spotted Appaloosa that we would go riding up Placerita Canyon. 
    In high school my friend Christy and I would ride her horse up Sand Canyon out near Vasquez Rocks.

    Probably one of the coolest dates I've ever been on, I was taken riding at Griffith park. 
    The guy turned out to be a total dud, but the horse was a huge hit.

    Every summer at our Lake Tahoe family reunion, horse back is one of our  regular outings. 
    We've changed up the activities from year to year to keep them fresh and cater to the age of the group. Yet in all the years we've been doing this, horseback riding is the one thing that has never wavered
    There's not much involved in riding here, as the horses are all trained to follow the leader. You don't need any experience, and anyone can handle it.  It's an excellent place to get the little ones started. 
    We've tried several different stables in the Tahoe area, including Squaw Valley and Camp Richards, but Alpine Meadows is our favorite. We go back there every year now because it has the best mix of both terrain and environment. Not to mention the pony rides there are cheap and extensive.
    The staff that runs these stables are pretty cool as well. The gentleman helping us saddle up is Dusty. I think he has been in my photos every year. 

This is Annie. She was a Wild Mustang

 The little ones all get pony rides...
...and dream of the day they'll be big enough to ride the trail with their siblings.
 Probably my favorite ride ever, was ridding bareback, on the beach, on a beautiful black Stallion, in Rosarito, Mexico, at Sunrise.
    Everything about that ride was just breathtaking and magical.  
   I must admit that I cheated a little bit with this challenge. 
    I chose the inspiration photo and decided on what environmental issue I wanted to discuss based on the piece I wanted to make for it. 
    I had several ideas, but ultimately I chose to fight for the wild American Mustangs. 
    You can read the original inspiration blog post to learn more about their fight and how to help. 
    I bought these awesome Raku pony beads from Star Spirit Studio on etsy a while ago. 
    I've had this idea brewing in the back of my head, to enamel a horse to go with it, but never got around to doing it.
    I figured this was the perfect opportunity to push me to complete it. 

       I started by cutting the horse out of copper using Aviation snips. I tried to replicate the shape of the Raku beads as much as possible. 
    The new rotary tool my brother bought me for Christmas was very instrumental in refining the shade. If I had had to finish it old school with sandpaper and files, I might have been working on it for months. 
    I then drilled the holes for the mane and tail, and set it aside, while I worked on the rest. 

      I made the free-form squiggles from 12 gauge copper wire and hammered them for strength and texture.
    The rings are copper washers that were annealed and then hammered as well. 
    I then strung the necklace, incorporating all those copper shapes, with Carnelians,  etched Agates from Znetshows in 2 different colorways,  a large "Galactic Raku Orb" by Xaz,  recycled African glass,  Raku ponies by Star Spirit Studio,  etched lampwork Glass beads by Angelika Schott of Calisto Beads,  African bronze cage beads,  a Prehnite nugget from Znetshows,  and finished off the back with hand dyed Sari Silk ribbon from Victorian Gypsy Girl so it wears comfortably.
    It closes with a hammered copper hook and a silk fiber loop. 
    A double drilled Mystic Titanium Quartz Crystal point from Kandu Beads, turned out to be the perfect thing to bring the 2 sides down into one. 
    The pendant consists of a very large lampwork glass focal by Jody Elasia Schaivo of Elesia's Glass.
    I picked this bead out specifically for this project, because it reminds me of ancient Indian cave paintings.
     The colors and textures really lent themselves beautifully to a nostalgic era, of old black and movies, of cowboys and Indians, that painted a picture of the Free Spirit of the Wild West.

    I used a Carnelian round and an African bronze bicone bead as spacers, to allow room for his mane, blowing wildly in the wind as he runs free.

    Enameling the horse was the very last thing that I did. 
    I procrastinated because I was a little nervous about it.
    This is one of the largest pieces I have ever enameled. Prior to this I had mostly enameled beads and small copper pieces.
    The only other large piece I have ever done was the Fairy Goblet for a previous B/NB challenge, and it was a lot of work  
    The pony is actually about 2 x 2 inches. 
    I used a mix of black, white, green Nile and seafoam enamels to try to replicate the coloring in the Raku ponies. As well as Roman bronze mica powder for Shimmer, and Reichenbach frit for the spots, to create the special effects. 
     I continually layered all of these colors, and over fired them, so they blended and meld together, to resemble the look of the the painted Mustang in the inspiration photo. 
    The horse is decorated on both sides, and the lampwork glass focal has different designs on each side, making the necklace completely reversible. 
    I used leather cording for the mane, and wired each section into place. 

    Angelika Schott was kind enough to send a couple of bonus beads with my purchase. I used this pair of etched lampwork glass beads to make the mismatched earrings. 
    One earrings has a hammered copper ring, with a Turquoise nugget dangling in the center. The other earring has a large Howlite coin from Znetshows, and a vintage copper Aztec Eagle charm. 
    Each earring has a hammered copper squiggle, each slightly different, and culminates in Angelika's lampwork glass beads dangling. 
    The holes were too large for my balled copper headpins, and I needed something to keep them from slipping off. Lori Anderson actually gave me the idea to use balled headpins as a decorative wrap. She wrote about her "messy wire wraps" in a recent Bucket List post. 
    I really like the results I got. It lends them just a little bit of extra character. 
    Hung on handmade copper earwires with my signature sari silk fiber wrap. 

        The first bracelet has a Turquoise nugget, centered in a hammered copper ring, and sandwiched between 2 doubled drilled Mystic Quartz Crystal points, with etched Agate spacers.
       2 large Howlite coins with vintage Aztec eagle charms, and 2 large etched Agates.

  Finished with a hammered copper hook and wire loop. 
    The second bracelet is a much simpler design.
    An orange dyed crackle Agate is centered between alternating, hammered copper rings and Carnelian rounds.
    Hand dyed dusty apricot colored silk, is woven through the bracelet and wired into place, for added texture. Allowing it to flow, and softening the look.
    It closes with a hammered copper hook through one of the copper rings. 

       This bracelet isn't an exact match to the other pieces. They were all created as sort of a mix-n-match set.
    The 2 bracelets actually fit together quite nicely and can be worn side by side. 
    They can also be hooked end to end as well, making it the perfect length to wear as a choker.
I hope you having enjoyed running free out on the range with me and my spirited ponies.
    I"ll see you back here next weekend to reveal the winner of our challenge. 
"Back Home" by the Stone Poneys
"Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones
"Sweet Summer Blue and Gold" by the Stone Poneys


  1. Love the necklace and the earrings and the cute horse pendents...lovely pieces!!

  2. In my opinion, the ultimate Bitcoin exchange company is YoBit.