Saturday, August 29, 2009


You know how a color sticks in your mind, and you want to be able to get it right? I finally did! This Stormy was for an article that will be printed in The Boat (the RESS magazine) showing the stages and techniques of ceramic glazing. Hoping with all my might, every molecule in my brain sending positive messages to the kiln, (and a good dinner out, which brings good karma) I could hardly contain myself when I went out this morning to check the kiln....

He will be up at auction as soon as next week, when I can get some light box photos too which will show his subtle dapples even better! These photos were taken at the beach this morning, and on such a bright, sunny day it's hard not to get a lot of glare. Anyway, a sneak peek, and you will see an announcement soon for his auction...

Now to decide on a name!

(click on photos for larger images, use your back button to come back to the blog)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fifteenth Day, Last Prize

This has been such a fun contest, and it gave us a chance to look back at some Pour Horse history. This prize is the only one that I will really miss... but I wanted to give a really nice item on the last day. It has hung in my living room for many years, along with the others that I still have.

You see, when Kristina still lived in the front bedroom/studio, we bought a plate mold... and cast some plates. Then, she drew on them by hand, with underglaze pencils, and glazed and fired them. They are very special, very unique and beautiful. This one depicts a young Thoroughbred, a portrait. Kristina also did me a cantering Draft horse, Saucy, and Dare. All four plates were hung with pride in the living room just before the BOYC show, and have been there ever since.

The winner today is... Susan Natschke!! Congrats, Susan!

Thank you again, everyone, for your support, your kindness, and your heart-felt friendship. When I started this journey years ago, I could never have foreseen the richness of experience and the fullness of achievement that Pour Horse would bring, nor the many friends that would become a part of my life.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Fourteenth Prize Leaps into View

Lynn Fraley and her hubby Barry came to visit years ago, and as a present Lynn sculpted this gorgeous tile. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it... the detail is extraordinary, beautifully executed, and just my cuppa tea. I made some to hang in the shop, and I had a very ambitious plan to make a set of four matching tiles to affix to the bottom doors of my china cabinets. While I still hope to do that some day, I've changed my decor and colors in the living room and this test tile for the project no longer reflects the colors that I will use. The interesting thing about this tile is that it is thin and solid... when I made the mold for the tile, I made a two part mold that pours a hollow tile, because that is what I know how to do! I didn't know how to pour a solid, thin tile... but luckily, the mold can be used both ways. This tile is painted all in glazes, which gives a lovely, majolica feel to it.

And the winner today is... Cindi Nakagawa! YAY Cindy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thirteenth Day, Pins

Pins are fun. Pins are cheap. Pins are great for testing techniques. We made them for presents, for shows, to bring in a little extra cash, for contests, and just because we could.

The prize today is two pins, one sculpted by Kristina (the mule) and one by Adalee Velasquez (the pony foal) The pony foal was a special run for BOYC 2000. And the winner today is... Brona Hicks!! Congrats, Brona!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twelfth Day, Glazes and Marker Pens

Ceramics is funny... you really do paint and glaze with a mixture of experience and hope. You might know that, in the past, a certain combination of colors will give you a certain result, but change one factor and the whole tone and color value of the combination might change too. Of course, that doesn't ever mean that brown plus tan plus black equals purple... but it might equal a warmer or cooler brown, it might equal a darker or lighter brown. The colors don't interact the way you expect, some are dominant and some fade away.

When you put glaze over the top of everything, you cover all of your hard work up with a coating of ground glass, flux, and food coloring. And you cross your fingers as you put the piece into the kiln, hoping that the result will be something like what you expect.

Kristina and I were still experimenting with the clear glazes during the grey Owynn phase of Pour Horse, and looking for the gloss or satin glazes that gave us the best (and most repeatable) look for our pieces. So we grabbed this grey Owynn and hit him with three different satin glazes, divided by a thin line of unglazed area. We then wrote on each area, to remind ourselves of what each glaze was. It's interesting to see the warmer or cooler tones underneath each glaze. He also has funky eyes, I don't remember what we were testing, but whatever it was, it didn't look so good.

This test Owynn, complete with dust, marker pen writing, and funky eyes, goes to today's winner... Elli Heritage!

(Craig and I are going out of town tomorrow, for the weekend, so the last three posts will be written tonight and automatically posted. The prizes that don't ship today or tomorrow will ship when I get home on Monday.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eleven Days, and the Prizes Keep Coming!

Kristina and I issued some of the early horses in both resin and ceramic, to maximize the sculpture's potential. After years of ceramic restoration, and then some time spent casting and cleaning resins at home, I was well on the way to developing the resin/epoxy allergies that are now a permanent part of my respiratory system and skin sensitivity. At the point where we began issuing horses in resin, we weren't casting them at home any more. Some copyrights were picked up by DaBar, or Resins by Randy, and some were issued through us. Maggie was one of the dual medium horses.

Maggie, though a darling horse, is proof of the hazards of assumption. She stood well when she was a sculpture in brown clay. But when cast in ceramic, her body is hollow and her head is almost solid, which changes her center of balance just enough so that she doesn't stand reliably in ceramic. She had to be issued with a base, and along with her tiny little fragile legs, that made her problematic enough so that she was never issued in large numbers in ceramic. I did a small run of rose grey pieces, and some customs, and that's all.

Kristina switched the forelegs for the resin run, so that the raised foreleg is on the same side as the forward hind leg. That stabilized her for the resin run.

Today's prize is a resin Maggie that the resin caster added bronze powder to. I think that it was Randy Buckler who cast her. The winner gets to *choose* between the darker colored Maggie, or the lighter bronze/green Maggie that was a "test" for being a Christmas ornament or key chain fob or whatever, because she has an eye screw in her back. You can see how dusty they are... I pulled them out of the bottom of the china cabinet!

And the winner today is..........Tracy Wells!! Congrats, Tracy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tenth Day is Awarded

Kristina and I began early, to reward our collectors when we could by sponsoring china classes with special awards. Making these awards available for shows was a very direct and efficient way to keep china showing enthusiasm up, and also to give something directly back to the model horse community. We did various designs over the years, and their finishes ranged from realistic to goofy.

Kristina sculpted Hoscar in 1998, and he is reminiscent of a Greek or Roman horse, stylized like the Oscar award. We gave away Hoscars for a few years, and then brought out a new design. Today's prize is the TEST Hoscar from 1998, in a crackled, slightly tinted beige glaze. He is marked TEST #2 7/98 on the bottom.

The winner of today's prize is.... drumroll... Pam Young! Congrats, Pam!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nineth Day... on Fire and Smokey Black!

Laurilyn Burson, as most of you know, is a skilled artist and moldmaker. She's one of the most creative people I know.... she can turn her hand to any skill and her results always look professional. Just recently, when I went over to her beautiful lakeside home, she was painting a giant wall-sized painting for her son, in a sort of Arts and Crafts motif. Gorgeous!
Anyway, Laurilyn was Maureen's best friend and for many years they did things together. They both loved nature walks and birds, and spent many happy hours in quiet pursuit of the natural world. They made a lot of artistic collaborations, too, and we are all lucky that they did!
When we held Bring Out Your Chinas Show down here in Carlsbad, one year, we also had a sort of Open House here at Pour Horse (such as it is!) Laurilyn and Maureen came over, and Maureen had sculpted some horse plaques. Laurilyn cast and cleaned them, bisque fired them, and she brought glazes, her little test kiln, her raku supplies, and set up in the patio. The folks who came over were able to glaze a horse plaque and Laurilyn put it through the raku fire, turning the glazes to rainbow colors. Everyone had an immensely good time. I can't remember most of it, but I think that some kind soul glazed a couple for me (I sure don't remember doing it, maybe I did and just blanked it out) Anyway, the prize today is one of the raku plaques, glazed that day.

And the winner is.... Bev Manderfield! Congrats, Bev!

(It's hard to photograph, black on black. You can click on the photo for a larger photo)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Eighth Day Marches On

When you get a chance to play in clay, you find out why Hagen-Renaker made so many mini animals and goofy things... it's as cheap as dirt. The only real expense is the labor. Plaster, clay, firing.... costs are inconsequential.
Gayle Roller was able to buy the molds from Beachstone/Storybook Figurines, the company owned by Mary Renaker and her husband Eric. They did a lot of little figurines, like carousel animals, religious and Nativity figures, pins, unicorns, and the storybook illustrations of Eulalie. Gayle had so many little character molds, she didn't know what to do with them all. I helped her clean them up, and taught her to cast them, so she gave me the little "toy soldier" mold. My kids were both in the marching band in school, so I resculpted the toy soldier to reflect their marching band costume and made a master mold. Thus was born the "Bando" (which is what the marching band kids call themselves) We spent six years as Bando parents, hubby in particular was heavily involved in the band, and a couple of times I made Bandos to sell to raise money for the band. The 'regular run' has white pants, a purple shirt with a gold thing across it (what do they call that, anyway?), a white hat with a purple band and a gold circle on it. The hair was sometimes painted to match the kid's hair if we sold them to the Bando parents. When my son's band was invited to play at Carnegie Hall in NY, and we had to come up with all of the money, I made a set that had white, black, and gold clothes, with a little tag that thanked the buyer for supporting the band. The special memories that the kids have from their band days are worth any amount of work.

Today's prize is a set of Bandos... one regular run, one special run. And the winner is... Carrie Rouillard! Congrats, Carrie!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Seventh Day Prizes... back to the beginning

In the beginning.... Pour Horse was started in order to make Renaissance Faire pins and stuff. In resin. Why pins? They are easy to do and can be sold cheaply. Why Ren Faire? It's a fun place to sell in. So, we made a bunch of different resin pins and little statues, and turned up at a small local Faire. And did poorly. Barely sold enough to pay for the booth rental. We tried again, same result. What we figured out, was that unless you were selling food, or hats and costumes, you weren't likely to make much money. The people selling at the Faires just liked to go. At least, those that sold at the little Faires. The big one is different... if you can get in at all as a vendor! Anyway, we didn't do it for very long, and by the time we switched to ceramics we were mostly doing horses. But we did a number of pins in that transition, just goofy things. I actually sculpted these (shown below), with some help from Kristina. Nose Picker, Tongue Sticker, Headache, and Shouter. Of all of them, Shouter is probably the rarest. He's patterned after a gargoyle that would be on the side of a building, and the rain water from the roof would come cascading out of his mouth. We probably should have called him Hurley, or (up)Chuck, but somehow he became Shouter.

So, the prize today is a complete set of Ren Faire ceramic pins, and the winner is... Lisa Gruetter! Congrats, Lisa!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sixth Day Prize is Rather Odd

Every time a slip casting is made, there is a chance that something will go wrong. Maybe It's too thick or too thin, or it doesn't drain entirely. Maybe something sticks in the mold, and tears off, like a leg. Maybe you leave it too long, and it cracks because it gets too dry. Each casting is supposed to be between the thickness of one nickel and two nickels, which is the optimum thickness. Consequently, we always had rejected castings hanging around. We used to cut the heads off, to keep track of how many castings we lost... but if the head was still nice and damp, heck... we could do things with it!

Ever notice how much Suspiro looks like an ancient Roman marble carving? Neither have I. Nevertheless, this Suspiro head was made to look like it was an old Roman or Greek marble statue that had broken apart and been buried for eons. We carved nicks, cracks, and holes in it... and then rubbed it with mineral oil tints (which are not fired on, they are oil based and just stain the bisque permanently). An absolutely useless little thing, but it was the kind of silliness that we did in between more serious work. We were always experimenting, and the mineral tints seemed like an interesting thing to try... but they aren't even enough in application. You couldn't, for instance, "paint" a horse with them in realistic colors.

The winner of the Suspiro Marble Head is Mel Hinkle! Congrats, Mel!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fifth Day, and a Useful Prize

This prize has a strange story attached. You see, even though I just do low-fire pottery, **out of a mold**, which is considered something like a cross between kindergarten art and cheating in the wider ceramic world, I do read a ceramics list where the real potters post. The gals and guys who make their own glazes, and raku fire, and talk with knowledge of bentonite and manganese. And I struck up an email friendship with one gal. Or at least I thought it was a gal.

Generally (she says with a slightly Victorian air) I am not in the habit of striking up conversations with men on the internet. It's just easier all around. There are plenty of women out there with like interests. And I don't have to worry if Hubby is looking through my email, that he will come across some guys name and pause to wonder.

So, I thought that I was speaking with a woman. A very strong and interesting woman, who has led an adventuresome life... but the name was Marcy. Marcy, you know. Silly me. After a while, enough information came through that I began to second guess either my sanity or the gender of the person at the other end. Finally, I found out that Marcy was a guy (old family name, third in the line as I remember) and he was a military man who does pottery on the side. So, we will go by his nickname, Tig. But I just wanted you to understand the cognative dissonance of the beginning.

Tig and I talked about porcelain... he throws porcelain on the wheel. Up in the Northwest. We decided to do a run of mugs together. I made a press mold of Otto's head... it was the strangest mold. It was curved. If you don't think *that* was tough!! It had to be curved because porcelain doesn't stretch well, so if you are going to apply it to a curved surface, making it curved in the first place is useful. Then, Tig threw the mugs on the wheel, applied the pressed heads, and glazed them. He did me a huge number of test mugs, but all of them have various problems... like me, he doesn't waste flawed pieces. But the winner of this piece can, if she likes, trade this good solid regular production mug for a slightly flawed test. I picked two colors for production... amber and green. We sold quite a few. Tig was ecstatic... he had never sold as many pieces at once. He made me another shipment, more than I had orders for. So I've used some of the last ones for prizes at shows and gifts to friends, and they have come in handy. People write and mention that the mug design is very sturdy and nice.

You bet it is. I told Tig that I wanted a good, big handle. Not some wimpy handle that you can only put three fingers in. I wanted a handle that I could stick my whole hand into, knuckle to knuckle, and I don't have delicate hands. And that's just what he did. With a little doohickey for your thumb, for a even sturdier grip. Military guy... what can I say?

A bit of trivia... these mugs come in left handed or right handed versions. Seriously!

The winner of the nice, sturdy, limited edition green Tig mug is.... Liz Strauss! YAY Liz!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fourth Prize and winner!

This one is simple, and goes along with the last prize. This is a first-firing Hadrian, and it shows some 'swirl'. When I poured the tinted slip, it had a tendency to seperate during pouring, which caused the swirls. You couldn't seem them until after the piece was glazed... of course. Anyway, the biggest problem was that the heavily tinted slip didn't pour well. It took months, and consultations with experts, to figure out why and correct the problem. Oh, yes, those early Hadrians were a struggle. BTW, first firing pieces were marked with a star, so the whole first kilnload had stars on their bellies.

The winner today? Drumroll...... Jeanene Bernardin! Congrats!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Third Winner... and a double test!

People get excited when they hear "TEST", but sometimes a test piece is only meant to test one aspect of the run.... like, the slip color. When I decided to do Hadrian in a colored slip, I had a book of slip color recipes from HR (given to me by Jim Renaker) but the company who made their pigments was out of business. So, I sort of had ratios, but not the real colors. Jim gave me a very delicate balance beam scale, and some instructions to figure out how to test colors.
Hadrian was a good choice for a colored slip horse... being a Dales pony, they traditionally don't have white markings. But I wanted a nice, rich, dark bay... which ended up being a problem. I started with a small, very precisely measured cup of slip, added a very small amount of dry oxide powder colorant (sort of a saffron color) mixed into water, and poured... no, not a Hadrian, the molds were new and I wasn't going to waste castings on slip tests. I poured Nomads. Why not? Nomad almost FALLS out of the mold. Two piece mold, too! So, I poured the Nomad, added in a little more slip, added in more colorant, poured again, and after the third or fourth time, started adding in a redder brown color. I made six total tests, from light saffron to dark bay. Didn't paint their eyes, hooves, or anything. Just slip color being tested...why clutter it up with details?
Just recently, when I wanted to test some print-at-home transfer stickers, I grabbed the mid-tone Nomad slip test to fire them onto. He has "POUR HORSE POTTERY" across his side, and a dorsal stripe across his back, both made on the computer... problem is, the transfers fire to a sort of plum/rust color, not black, so he is saffron colored with a plum colored dorsal stripe!

Anyway, drumroll.... the winner is Marge Para! Congrats, Marge!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Second Winner

Day two, and the Random Generator gives us both the winner and the prize...

Since we didn't have much money, and did ceramics all the time, we started making Christmas presents for our family and friends in clay. They were mostly Christmas ornaments. The first one, I'm pretty sure, was Kristina's bat. She did sell a limited number, way back when, but their original purpose was as presents. I have two of the black bat, and one of the albinos, and since my kids are about as interested in the factory 'archives' as the dogs are, I'm giving away one of the black bats.

And the winner is..... drumroll..... Sandy Tomezik! Congrats, Sandy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The First Winner!

The contest has 66 entries! I've enjoyed reading them all. From the sweet, humorous, or moving stories, to the scans of old advertising, to great photos of favorite pieces, every entry is treasured. Just for fun, some stats: the first person to enter was Tracy Wells, the entry from farthest away was Maria Sundin (from Sweden), the most moving was Carra McClelland, the entry with the most horses in the picture was Elli (HOW many Saucys do you have Elli?!!That's awesome!) I'll mention more tomorrow.

Here is how I did the drawing:
I put all of the entries in a folder, which sorted them by time/date. Counted them (66) Then I went to the Random Number Generator ( and filled in the fields. I wanted 15 sets of numbers (for fifteen prizes) one number per set, from the numbers 1 - 66. And in one second, I had the list. Printed it out. Totally random. I also numbered and randomized the prizes, after the first one. I knew what I wanted to give away first....

So, here is the first prize....

Yes, an old Saucy! Now, she does have a broken leg... nothing in those days stayed here unless it was broken or had a problem. Those were lean days! But she's been in the case all this time, so it's good for her to have a new home. She is going to... (drumroll...) #11, Cindy Dilks!!! YAY Cindy!! You will receive an email this morning!

Now remember, some of the prizes won't be as big or as valuable. Some are more 'funky' than others. Some have a story, or show a phase in the factory history. But every morning until the 15th, there will be a new prize. I also saved a really good prize for the 15th, the last prize.

See you tomorrow!