Saturday, June 25, 2016

Devoucoux Eventing Set

All eventing sets take a lot of time and work, but this one had more uphill struggles than most- which makes finishing it that much more gratifying!

This saddle has been in the back of my mind for ages and ages now and I'm so happy to have it be a reality. I love me a good clean dark brown hunter set, but sets like this with fun colors and details (despite requiring extra elbow grease) feel so special and unique. 

I'm also just crazy pleased with the overall sleekness and cleanness of this set- the cowhide really looks quality, and the painted pieces are clean and tidy. 

The pictures don't show it well at all, but the browband actually has little red dots to tie in with the saddle.

This set was a real labor of love, and I can't wait for it to make someone else as happy as it makes me! 

(It's up for sale on MH$P here!)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Studio Update: June 13

It's taken me since March, but this somewhat ridiculous, somewhat awesome saddle is finally finished and getting all the bells and whistles and accessories to go with.

Which has thrown my desk into that old familiar "there's so many tiny pieces of leather but I don't know which ones I can use and which are trash" mess.

The breastplate I've been putting off for days got a start today, though only so far as the alien baby stages:

Most of my time went into finishing up the funky short girth and figure eight bridle.

It's super easy for me to forget how long eventing sets actually take, considering all the bits and pieces- I feel like I've been fiddling with this set forever and I still have the rest of the breastplate and four boots to go!

I'm crazy motivated to get this set done firstly because I think it's going to look really special and I'm pumped to see it all come together, and secondly because I'm making myself finish this project before I start the next exciting thing I have waiting!

But for now, it's back to the breastplate. (Sigh).

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Evolution of the Saddle Pad

There was a time when I literally made saddle pads out of paper towels.

This one is actually just cut from an old sock- classy!

As in, rip off a paper towel, cut into rectangular shape, slap it under a saddle and call it a day. Honestly, I don't even think they looked too bad. I mean, they could never get wet or be handled more than maybe twice, but they looked okay. It took me a good two years of experimenting to move on to another thin, textured fabric: aida cloth.

Intended for use in embroidery and cross stitching projects, aida cloth is a somewhat stiff, uniform weave fabric in a grid perfect for 1:32 scale quilting. Most of my 2014 saddles came with simple aida pads, which even at the time felt lazy, but pads were very much an afterthought for me and they got the job done. 

The open weave makes the fabric pretty transparent on its own, somewhat detracting from the quilted illusion. It eventually started to bug me that my pads were simply shapes cut from fancy fabric, and I stepped it up with cotton linings and hand-embroidered borders:

While this was definitely an improvement and looked much more intentional and loved than the previous version, the embroidery (while cute) seemed out of scale.

I've recently been bugged by how the stiffness of the aida makes the pad sit straight across from the withers to hips instead of conforming to the slope of the back. This is much less noticeable under a saddle than with the surcingle set above, but it does make the saddle sit a bit higher off the horse.

Today I should've been working on a five-point breastplate for my current eventing set, but instead I spent a good few hours playing around and making the next iteration of saddle pad:

One that's actually shaped like a saddle pad! I finally have a two-part pattern that allows for a much closer fit along the top line- that and a super neat new method of doing the trim (you can hardly tell in the pics, but there's a fine black border around the outer edges) make me a very happy tack maker. 

I would love to add the straps for the girth to be threaded through as well as a grab strap on the withers, but I'm stuck on finding a fabric/ribbon to mimic that nylon texture in this scale! Those are the kinds of details that make me happy but realistically hardly even show up after the set is all tacked up, so they're not a priority, but it would be adorable.

One of my past drawing teachers used to constantly tell us to give as much "love" to the background of our drawings as we did the foreground, pointing out many a piece with beautifully executed subjects and lazily scribbled shadows in the back. I feel like pads are easy to see as the "background" of the saddle, the less important piece, but when they're given a bit of love and attention, they can really bring that next level of sharpness to a set. 

(Writing this post was definitely not just further procrastination on that breastplate.)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Halter Time

I've been in a bit of a tack making funk. 

As in, it's summer, I have free time, I'm well stocked on supplies, and yet whenever I sit down to make tack I end up finding ways of not actually getting anything done.

So I've been making halters.

I don't even know how badly people out there want halters, but they're fun to make, don't take up too much time, and make me feel good for finishing something.

I broke out the leather paint for this one, which was a fun little experiment. It came together during a binge watch of That 70's Show, and I think some kind of groovy vibe came through. 

My smallest paint brush was too clumsy, so I opted for using the tip of a sewing needle to paint. I doubt I'll be repeating this process anytime soon, but I like the end result!

I usually use a slip buckle on halters that requires actual buckling to get on and off (as in the black halter at the top of this post), but with that method I always miss the realism of the buckle's tongue. At the same time, I'm not about to make anyone actually operate a tongue buckle at this scale, so I came up with a little cheat:

The buckled buckle just sticky waxes down! Any piece of Stablemate tack that doesn't require the threading of straps through buckles is a winner in my books.

(The painted halter is up for grabs on MH$P here!)