Monday, July 28, 2014

The Mane of Sun Cortez

This post does not reflect the opinions of Hagen-Renaker nor its employees. The following is my opinion and my interpretation of the submitted examples.

This disclaimer is necessary because the established stance is, HR's DW molds were never altered between Monrovia and San Dimas. 

The mold retooling that took place in the early 1980's for San Marcos is both acknowledged by collectors and by Jim Renaker, according to Nancy Kelly*.

Hagen-Renakers' Designer's Workshop mold, Sun Cortez, is a prime example of the observations I am (and other collectors are) making about mold differences between Monrovia and San Dimas factory eras. Of the molds that survived at least two factory eras, I have observed that quite a few went through an apparent resculpt and remolding. Some of us collectors summarize the entire multiple mold situation by citing "the mane of Sun Cortez" as the classic example of change.

Collectors are less likely to see the middle-era mold variant, because the San Dimas mold version is so rare. The main side-by-side comparison in this post is between Monrovia and San Marcos. Further on, the San Dimas will be shown. You read that correctly, I interpret three separate mold versions of Sun Cortez.

Left: San Dimas White matte photo and owned by author;
Right: Monrovia Palomino owned by Jayne Kubas
Why edit a mold's mane?
The mane flip of Monrovia Sun Cortez is prone to chipping. 
Maybe the resculpt reduced loss in shipping and retail?

If you are wondering why such an otherwise crisply detailed palomino 
has a smooth face, keep reading...

Huge difference in neck wrinkles and shoulder sculpture, too.

Different hindquarter muscle sculpts.

Different shoulder muscles.

Different chest muscles, throats.

The mane, however, is not the only difference. The entire x-y axes orientation of the heads are different, and it's in the mold. In fact, the above smoothed-out face isn't from a mismatched older mold piece (as evidenced by the neck and throat wrinkles) nor a sponge wipe. It was purposefully flooded of all undercuts because the head makes a 45 degree, when viewed from above.

Monrovia 45 degrees, San Marcos 90 degrees. 
The more open angle makes demolding easier and allows more face detail.

Monrovia head tilts slightly upwards.

Above, San Marcos has distinct points of buttock and differentiated tail.
Below, crispy Monrovia is boneless and has little detail in tail.

San Marcos analogous Achilles tendon goes all the way up to tail swish;
in the Monrovia mold, the tendon ends abruptly halfway up to tail.

Differences: cheekbone, lips, nostril, eye, curb, throat...
San Marcos has face veins.

Differences: cheekbones, nostrils, eye bulges, width between eyes, brow, width of muzzle...

So, the above comparison, showing retooling, is consistent with Jim's information.

San Marcos Cortez molds -King, Sun, and Don- in White (glossy and matte) are also interesting because unlike the Arabian family and DW Head-Up and -Down Ponies, their gray shading is like the old underglaze gray of the previous eras. Other than the Cortez trio, other San Marcos molds in white have a dark, cold tone to their gray shading, in both matte and gloss.

Note the dark, bluish gray shading on this San Marcos matte white Zara.
Compare to the matte and glossy white San Marcos Sun Cortez models below.
Zara photos by author.

San Marcos White matte left, glossy on right.
Photo courtesy Marcia Miner.

San Marcos White glossy, and now matte on right.
Photos courtesy Ed Alcorn.

San Marcos White matte. 
His hooves give away that he is not the bluish gray, despite photo contrast.
Photo courtesy Janis Whitcomb.

San Marcos White glossy, photos courtesy Nancy Falzone.
Look at that soft gray, even under the intensifier of gloss!

The San Dimas mold version, in the very rare bay color. The San Dimas also was released in palomino. As you can see, the San Dimas mold has an altered mane, like San Marcos. Unlike the later era, though, the face details are not as chiseled and hard. Neither are the facial features flooded like Monrovia. The San Dimas is, in my opinion, the in-between mold version. Speaking from my own experience as a moldmaker, it is challenging to mold and cast ceramic horses with such an extreme neck turn. I can understand why this horse was molded over and over, refining it for ease of production.

No mane flip, but retains Monrovia body muscle sculpts and short "Achilles".
The face is neither Monrovia nor San Marcos.
Photo courtesy Sue Thiessen.
Model owned by Nancy Falzone.

Top Row: Monrovia
Lower two: San Dimas
No mane flips on San Dimas.
Photo courtesy Ed Alcorn.

Here is what appears to be a Monrovia-San Dimas Transition model.
White on the altered San Dimas mold!
His eye decoration and sticker are similar to the transition model shown in this post.
Photos courtesy Marcia Miner.

Left: white "transition" with no mane flip
Right: Monrovia palomino

Unlike my usual portrait investigations, I came up dry on the real Sun Cortez. I have this photo to share, but of the two palominos standing behind King Cortez, I can't tell you which one he is. 

Far left: King Cortez, Ernest Specht up.
The other Cortez boys are ridden by Ernest's sisters.

The photo above, with Sun and Don in parade sets, indicated that the tack was made around 1960. My research has shown that some parts of King's set existed as far back as 1947, the date of the photo of him shown below.

King Cortez in 1947, with his early parade set
Source: The Visual Arts: Plastic and Graphic, by Justine M. Cordwell, Google Books.
Page 674. Photo originally from Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association archives.

King Cortez seems to be a bit older than Sun and Don, as he is in promotional photos in a simpler, earlier version of his famous Bohlin parade set that dates to 1947. The post-1960 group photo shows King with a grown-out mane.  In the references below, you can view a link to a King Cortez publicity photo dated to 1949. He was a famous parade horse, hence the multiple photos of him.

The three Cortez stallions premiered in Fall 1957 as HR Designer's Workshop models. The palomino matte of Monrovia and San Dimas is, obviously, the portrait color. 

More mold observation posts in the future!

Gratitude to Jayne Kubas for her help with the side-by-side photo shoot, and to everyone who sent photos: Ed Alcorn, Nancy Falzone, Marcia Miner, Cindy Neuhaus, Sue Thiessen, and Janis Whitcomb.


* Kelly, Nancy. Pers. comm. 5/5/2012

Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Catalogue. Third Edition. P. 80The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003.

1949 King Cortez old saddle set photo

full color

Monday, July 21, 2014

Muddy Monday: Collector Stories, Volume One

Some of the best stories collectors tell are about amazing finds in small towns, coincidences, and random help from strangers. Being at BreyerFest reminded me of this, as I heard stories shared between china collectors. These were submitted by collectors online.

From Lynn Isenbarger:

I had an unusual experience finding my little HR Monrovia Sherif. It has won a champ or reserve at nearly every show I've taken it to, including Reserve Grand Champ of the Americanware Show at Breakables in 2012 and Reserve National Champion in Breed at this year's NAN.

Karen Beeson and I went to an auction in tiny Fairbury, Illinois on a whim back in the very early 1990s. Fairbury was about an hour away, but the listing had mentioned a few horses for sale so we decided to go check it out together. The auction building was small and full of stuff, and as we looked at the sales tables, there was a small box of HRs, mostly broken.

I brought home my stickered, beautifully shaded Sherif after paying $4. He had a clean and glued leg break, but I had that restored. Now he takes place of pride in my china hutch.

I still marvel that tiny Fairbury harbored HRs! 

From Tiffany Tran:

There is one horse in my collection, one of my most prized pieces, that I believe was destined to be mine.

I've always admired and coveted Kathi Bocuki's Showman in bone china by Horsing Around. While HA did a lovely job with the original finish colors, I always wanted to have a custom glazed Showman in elegant dapple bay with chrome. Alas, I couldn't afford to commission one from HA, so he remained a clinky dream. 

One day last year, after a day of errands, I logged online to check MH$P (as we all do) and noticed excitedly that someone had listed my dream horse: a CG Showman in dapple bay with chrome; at a price I could afford. To my great dismay, he was marked as 'ON HOLD'. Disappointed, but determined, I sent an email to the seller, explaining to her that this horse was the incarnation of a personal clinky grail and begged her to please let me know if the sale didn't go through for any reason. Although she agreed to keep me informed, I personally had my doubts that the buyer would back out, because it was such a gorgeous piece for a reasonable price.

Some time later, maybe a couple weeks, I received an email from the seller of the CG Showman. I held my breath as I opened the email. It turned out that the person who was going to buy the Showman had wanted to buy a few models from the seller, but could not afford all of them. As a result, the would-be buyer decided to back out on Showman. The seller asked if I was still interested in Showman...


Three months and several time payments later, I was thrilled and grateful to welcome Showman into my collection. He was stunning; everything I imagined and more. In my excitement, I posted his photo to Blab and told the story of how he came to live with me - and to my surprise the hobbyist who originally commissioned him from HA came forth, and told me the identity of the real life racehorse whose markings were reproduced on my Showman. 

But the story doesn't end there. One day, maybe a couple months after acquiring the CG Showman, I was going through my model horse photos that I'd saved on my computer over the years and stumbled across two grainy old photographs from a long-gone MH$P listing. They were of a CG Showman... a CG Showman in dapple bay with chrome, and very familiar indeed. It seems that years ago I had seen the very same CG Showman for sale on MH$P, and could not afford the asking price, but saved the photos as inspiration. Apparently he changed hands, possibly multiple times, since that first encounter until the time he was offered to me.

Somehow, my dream Showman found me at last. He will stay with me forever. 

Photo courtesy Tiffany Tran.

From Lois Bennington:

How I found my Sespi....A girl I worked with told me that her neighbor was having an auction and she knew there was horse figurines in the house.  So I went to the auction and was disappointed to find NOT ONE horse.  

I'm basically an introvert but I summoned all of my courage and knocked on the lady's door.  'Lori told me you had horse figures.  Do you mind if I see your horses?' and she let me in the house.

There wasn't a lot of good stuff there but in the back of the cabinet was a Sespi.  I couldn't tell what shape it was in.  So I summoned some more courage and wrote my name and address down on a piece of paper and told her 'If you ever want to sell that horse, I would pay you a $100.00 plus 100.00 for each leg that was not broken.  I thought I insulted her by the look she gave me.  Disappointed, I left.

EIGHT years later...I got a letter from another lady.  Do you remember offering some money to a lady for a horse?  The horse's owner was going into a nursing home and was ready to sell.  I could not believe she had kept that piece of paper all that time.  

Plus, I had just gone through 1-1/2 years of unemployment while going back to school.  The unemployment ended 6 months before school did.  I was dead broke by the time I graduated.  Luckily, I was just starting my new job.  If she had called any time sooner, I would not have had the money that I offered her because the Sespi was perfect.

Photos courtesy Lois Bennington.

The horse is now named 'Whitehall Unbelievable' because of the unbelievable luck that the lady kept that piece of paper!  

From Maggie Barkovitz:

On April 2, 2006, one day after my 1 year anniversary of moving to Missouri, I got to encounter my first tornado.  I wasn't home when it hit, and I wasn't allowed in until the next day.  When we were allowed into town, I was greeted by a pine tree sticking out our front window, and a pecan tree that had smashed our second bedroom.  Where my china cabinet sat, the tree now sat.  The cabinet was on the ground.   We lived on the second floor of a two-story apartment complex.  Our apartment was the only one damaged.  

Photo courtesy Maggie Barkovitz.

To this day I still feel the numbness I felt that day, knowing that the most valuable objects I owned, the most valuable object in that apartment, were reduced to shards.  One horse, my Otto known as Spanker, remained mostly intact save a broken leg and a few huge chips to his mane and tail.  He was found still in the second floor bedroom.  One horse managed to survive the fall with only a few chips - my Bahkitt, known to collectors as Lemonzilla.  She had some minor chips, that was it.  The rest were reduced to parts.  Dave found most of them by carefully excavating them from underneath the ceiling, the insulation, and tree.

Photo courtesy Maggie Barkovitz.

They had stories, these horses.  Most of what I collect have stories.  My Hadrian, aka "Haddock the Hadrian", was as a result of a scheme between Joanie, Lesli and Pam.  Joanie had sent Pam a bisque by mistake.  She told Pam to hold on to the bisque.  My birthday was coming up so she asked Lesli if she could glaze it.  Imagine my surprise when he showed up!  All that is left of him is half a body and his nose.  Lemonzilla was a piece I saw Lynn have at the very first Breakables in 2002.  The following year when she was getting ready for BOYC so I asked if one of the horses she was selling was Lemonzilla.  She was and I was so excited to get her.  The Spinnaker I had just received from Addi not long before the tornado.  I entered the lottery for him on the last day at the last hour - next day he was mine.  Otto came to me after I lost out on Puzzle.  He was my second favorite, and was thrilled that Lesli offered him to me.  I loved the hand painting in his mane.  The genie was such a great prize.  She was my favorite of the original run of 20, and when she came up for sale again I was at the right place at the right time.  I received her one month before my next show.  I never got to show her - her name was Bagel.  Two weeks before Ozark Mountain Live, an F-3/4 came through Caruthersville and crushed her & her friends.  It crushed me too - now they look like ancient sculpture ruined by time and war. 


Photo courtesy Maggie Barkovitz.

Friends were so kind.  They sent me shiny pretty ponies to ease the pain.  The biggest surprise was genie's "twin".   What made her twin unique was she was slightly altered from the original, but not by much, so you have to put her up against one of the run of 20 to see it.  She was cast and glazed by Lynn herself to match the pattern of the original.  It was so touching.  I do have her for sale now, but if she never leaves I won't mind.  But to rebuild a collection on a salary less than what I was making in Philadelphia has been tough.  I was able to rebuild to the original quantity I have, but have never been able to grow it past what I had before.  It's been frustrating, but there will always be shiny ponies, and I'll just trade and sell towards what I want my collection to be.

Replacement Genie on left; original Genie remains on right.
Photo courtesy Maggie Barkovitz.

Lemonzilla was sold to another collector, Corrie McDermott, who lovingly restored her and had a great show career with her. Two years ago I was judging Stone Age Live and I had a chance to see Lemonzilla in person since selling her.  I cried, and surprised myself on how much she still affected me.  Last year Corrie was downsizing and contacted me about her.  My birthday present from Dave was being reunited with Lemonzilla.  I cried again - she was home.

You would think that a storm like that would have me shy away from collecting custom glaze china - not on your life.  I love the medium, always have.  Of course, they now reside in the tornado closet, aka the earthquake closet.  I live on the New Madrid fault line...we've had tremors...why did I think moving to Missouri was a good idea again?

From the blog author:

Some of my own stories have been shared on this blog. When you collect for a while, you tend to also collect adventures and spooky stories. I was looking through my collection record for a fresh one, and found that they tend to fall in themes.

A truly astonishing story deserved an entire blog post, the beautiful gift from Margo Potheau.

"The One That Got Away and Came Back"
In which a series of owners get the item from the very moment it was first made available, but through the help of one or more friends, it finds you, years later. The item is always a one-of-a-kind variation, or not an OF at all, which means the same identifiable piece can be traced throughout its course.

"If You Research It, It Will Come"
This never ceases to give me goosebumps. I will not say a word to anyone about a blog post draft I am researching online- digging through pedigrees, photos, files- but out of the blue, a rash of photos are mailed or emailed to me, or I am offered the exact item in trade.

"The Run"
A rapid series of unrelated events brings three or more of the same subject to me, in a very short time frame, like 90 days or less. The run is doubly improbable because the subject is seldom a common mold.

I would love to share your ceramic model horse stories that fit or expand the above categories. I am not looking for stories of cheap bargains, rather special purchases that are meaningful for other reasons. These will be posted in Volume Two. Carry on, Collectors.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Muddy Monday: Some Dirt on NAN/Bfest Week

Dirt, mud, clay, it was all there in Lexington, Kentucky, in particular concentration during July 9th through the 11th. Kentucky itself is known for its ball clay, which is an ingredient in many ceramics, but the events of this past week encompassed more than pottery. In fact, it was an extravaganza for all materials of model horses and animals... wood, plastics, plaster, metal, bone china, porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware.

My visit this year was short, because after all these years of attending, vending, and competing, I needed a rest. I opted for a light version of The Week that, during my annual phase of intense and insomniac preparation, I have no printable words for. On top of that, I have my own ceramics show to prepare for, and a month earlier this year, which means I can only spread myself so thin. More about that show in an upcoming post...

Here is a ceramics-centric bite out of the big week that actually began Monday the 7th, when many of the North American Nationals exhibitors arrive in Lexington. Tuesday is the first day of Nationals competition, which continues through Thursday, the ceramics day. Although several of my friends likewise needed a rest from this year, and others had circumstances that forced them to cancel, I managed to find a traveling partner who also opted for a "BreyerFest Lite" excursion. My longtime ceramics pal Maggie Barkovitz picked me up at the studio. I had huge boxes of restored models to deliver to owners at the hotel. Luckily, her vehicle is large and accommodated the whole mountain of stuff. There is no way I could have brought it all in my tiny car. The car packing procedure is likened to the game, "Tetris" for good reason. 

A carload of such infinite and subtle complexity
 that organic life itself will form part of its operational matrix.

We arrived at the host hotel at 2pm on Wednesday. While I was walking these patient pooches after the car ride, a smiling lady with a box approached me in the parking lot. It was my first trade of the weekend, from Jane Chapman! She was excellent to deal with, and it was particularly easy because we both had the same trade value in mind. Nothing says "BreyerFest Week" like being found as soon as you arrive, with the number-one horse you wanted to bring home. So much happiness! You can see him in the "loot" photo further down, the reissue Thoroughbred and Jockey in gray and green, a mold subject covered in this blog

Collectors already had some hotel rooms open for model sales. I saw that Ed Alcorn's room was already hopping, and so I directly delivered a box to him, straight from the car. This gave me just enough time to see the amazing old Hagen-Renaker factory seconds he had for sale. Of course, there were things I had been seeking for ages! And, you all know how much I love flaws and missing decoration... Can we say "Candy Store"? If you are now drooling with envy, wishing you were there, don't stress; you can buy many online, through Ed's store. Ed had some really odd ones, like the full-body-warp Swaps, plus broken and missing-parts horses, which he gifted to me. The box I dropped off in there was a gift to him, in gratitude for sending Jane to me as a potential trade. 

As I passed open room doors, I peered in to spot any chinas. Imagine my surprise at seeing more HRs, and finding they belonged to my old California pal, Susan Candelaria! When I was a beginning artist and collector, we went to shows together with Joan Berkwitz and Trep Parish. Susan and I even worked at Laird's together, one summer. She had some lovely models available, and I selected a handsome HR San Dimas Two Bits to trade. He's what I have been looking for, to start my Two Bits conga! Thank you, Susan! He's staying "in the family".

Now, to get him a Monrovia brother...

Later on, collector Bev Manderfeld handed me a trade Love "Mystery Horse", the 1155 in cocoa and gold. You all know how I adore "ugly horses". 

I love and appreciate this network of collectors! And since there is a trend online to share our Bfest loot photos, here is mine (at least, most of it unpacked at the same time).

Side note: I found most of the seconds to be particularly nice. HR Quality Control was tight, they must have been picky for all of these to be seconds. Some had warpage, which was easily corrected for cabinet display with a tiny clear silicone dot (as from scrapbooking and framing supplies) under the offending hoof. This tendency of the forward hind leg to warp is interesting to me, because I had the same problem with my CC2 racking horse mold, in a similar pose, in almost the same scale, and using the same earthenware formula.

San Dimas browns, white, all three from Ed.
The Monrovia white on the right, missing leg decoration, is from Jo Ellen Arnold.

Other seconds have glaze bubbles or pinholes. I personally can't recommend re-firing to "get rid of" pinholes, since the underlying cause of a pinhole may be a flaw or resist on that exact spot of the bisque underneath, or a too-thick glaze application. Re-firing can't address these issues, and it kills all that beautiful age crackle. Even worse, as the too-thick glaze oozes downwards with gravity, it could cause more caldera-like holes to appear on the lower legs, where it becomes thicker.

Meanwhile, our hotel room had just been painted. The window was wide open and the air conditioning blasting when we walked in. The construction crew continued painting and remodeling the rooms across the hall, through Thursday.

Each time we reached for the bathroom light, the switch plate fell off the wall.
No screws, that's a fresh remodel!

Our hallway was likewise full of paint fumes, which mattered because we had our room door open for sales and pick ups. I had brought along cookie dough from scratch, and Maggie supplied the toaster oven... we countered the paint smell with the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies! Then, I wandered around, offering people fresh cookies. This is what the hobby is about, making the best of a situation, and sharing nice things!

"Why would one take raw cookie dough to Bfest?"

For such a short trip, Maggie and I planned ahead for our meals. We brought an ice chest, just in case there was no refrigerator in our room. The CHIN rooms can be a bit of a surprise, if you asking for a combination of things like pet friendly, early check-in, and the remodel is active. Cookies are great, but we also bring healthy stuff, like fresh veggies, salads, fruit, hummus, yogurt, lean ham, etc. It is a win-win: feel good and energetic all week, and save the fast-food money for buying models and unavoidable convention expenses. Food is a big deal to me, and I can't begin to tell you how comforting it is to look forward to fresh meals and sweet summer peaches, during each exhausting day of the con. My Bfest tip, for you!

Thursday started at 5am for us, because Maggie had a judging assignment at the North American Nationals, the most competitive model horse show on this continent. This required us to be at the hall 30 minutes before the entrants. I was an entrant, and proxying for three others, including Maggie. As you might imagine, handling 19 china horses in one morning at the Nationals level, and you only own 6 of them, requires some fortifying snacks, steely nerves, and organization.

My NAN equipment.
Emergency chocolate courtesy of Cindy Evans.

Above you see the only page of the program I looked at. I never noticed the cover of the NAN program until tonight, when Jo Ellen Arnold pointed this out to me:

Front and center is her vintage Hagen-Renaker Thoroughbred and Jockey, shown as "Santa Anita", which was also featured in a previous blog post! Congratulations! (The different trophy design shown there is the one I sculpted for the previous 2012-13 NANs.)

At NAN, there is no fraternizing allowed between proxy and judge, so I had Maggie put all her tags and paperwork out with each horse on arrival, before the show. There would be no allowance for questions, if I got her horses confused. I did not see her again until the cart was loaded with packed boxes to leave! Organization is key to proxying at NAN.

Custom glaze and OF models owned by Maggie Barkovitz,
 Jackie Hasser, Elizabeth McKinnon, and the author.

These two photos are just one small segment of the portion of the judging rings devoted to all chinas.
It seemed to me, just one opinion here, that the OF division was not as deep,
 nor as fierce, as it had been in previous KY NANs. 

The opportunity to photograph variations and oddities for future blog posts was not lost on me. A couple folks (thanks, Diana!) alerted me to oddities, while I was walking back and forth. When folks said, "There's another blog post!" and "Is this going to be on your blog?", I smiled because that's exactly what my husband says! 

Can you spot why I took his picture?
Model owned by unknown.

Check out this cool factory error HR DW Heather!
When the greenware is dry, some colors of slip look very similar.
Looks like a decorator grabbed a white slip body and sprayed it 
as if it was a palomino tinted slip body.
Model owned by unknown.

Remember the Roan Lady post?
This San Dimas white has mixed blue and green ribbons!
Model owned by Susan Candelaria.

The busy day was bolstered with shared congratulations, humility, and forgiveness. Maggie forgave me for missing her class while I was called by a steward. In all my years of showing models as a proxy for others, I have never, ever missed a class. I was absolutely sick about it, especially that my misfortune had splashed over onto someone else. But, that same forgiveness and calm in use earlier, came back to me. The ripples have to go out before they can return, and everything we do at a show is amplified to those around us.

Here are some of the horses I owned or handled at the Nationals; sorry that I do not have photos of all of them. Custom Glaze Grey Workmanship was astonishing, as the top five point-winners in the class were all glazed by me. I was floored. Here are links to the official NAMHSA results with photos of some of the others I handled that day.

Custom Glaze by the author, on the Orion (CC5) trophy mold.
"Amadeus", formerly o/b author, now owned by Jayne Kubas.

Custom Glaze by the author, on the Clinky Classic 4 trophy mold.
"Emperor's Favorite", owned by Elizabeth McKinnon.

"Ighma' ", Claybody Custom by the author, on the Muddier mold.

"Smokin' Baby Back Ribs", Claybody Custom by the author, on the Phoenix mold.

The highlight of NAN for me was winning a Workmanship Top Ten with a... BLACK... custom glaze... standing horse. The single hardest color to make appealing or dimensional, on a plain standing pose. He is my personal casting of the "Go Boy's Shadow" portrait.

National Champions I handled for their owner, Maggie, but have no photos:

"Nabu", custom glaze by Joan Berkwitz, on Minkiewicz' Stormwatch mold.

"Widowmaker", custom glaze by author on Ratrod mold. This fellow was a double-National Champion last year.

Of the horses I was handling, I think only the affected three and my "just for fun" green decorator custom glaze didn't bring home awards. This meant I was busy, moving between judging rings, ribbon pick up, and trophy photo station. I saw several horses I made also win trophies, but everything goes so quickly, I was unable to snap pix of them. Ad Astra, owned by Marilyn Jensen- I saw you! These odds are really amazing, at the National level. I was beyond thrilled!

As soon as the car was reloaded, we rushed back to the host hotel, where the Breakables china specialty show was about to open. The show staff kindly delayed judging to 4pm, since some china entrants were still packing out of NAN, across town. As Maggie had done for me, before the show started, I laid out my models with their tags and paperwork for my Breakables proxy, Keith Bean. Keith did a great job showing my herd, and is always a solid citizen in our ceramics world. I had just part of my NAN string showing there, and my earlier misfortune of the day went on to a Reserve Champion in her division at Breakables. Every show is an opportunity, and it's never the same thing twice.

On the table closest to the door, where public are allowed to be, I snapped these blog-related subjects:

Me: "Does your Swaps have hole in his chest? He looks like he would."

Confirmed: super-old Swaps!
Model owned by Rachel Alex Stacy.

HR factory employee custom?
This sponge-dapple technique (including the shade of gray underglaze) is seen on the 
Specialties Draft Horse #3340 and the dapples-only on Percheron Tail-up #A-3213.
This is the only Love-sculpted Percheron Tail-down #A-459 known in this color.
The old dappled ones were matte, and completely different in technique.
Model courtesy Sue Stewart.

With literally nothing to do for a few hours, Breakables' office boss Maggie, Breakables former-awards producer Marge Para, and I - all taking this one year off- wandered around the hotel. We went for a walk to the convenience store, gabbed and laughed at how even without the structure of a show, here the three of us were, together! Yes, we are teaming back up again to do it, next year. We just can't be separated. Until Marge headed home, that is!

Shortly thereafter, Davina Divine arrived for her BreyerFest volunteer meeting, and to drop off a bunch of awesome Doc Holliday molds of horses and trophies! Some of the plaques are very Victorian Animalier style. She had never used them, some were poured once at DH, and she just gave them to me. Some of these will cast special awards for Clinky Classic. Thank you, Davina!

I picked up my horses at the end of Breakables, and kept our hotel room open for restoration pick-ups, for a couple more hours. At 11pm or so, we wandered into blogger Tina Dils' room, and saw some great vintage models, of all makes, for sale. Tina handed me a mystery box of broken models, which I did not open until I returned home. These were free to good home, and I'm excited because they are perfect for my ongoing ceramic outreach project.

When I am given free broken HRs, I restore them 
and then give them to people getting started in chinas.
Everyone has to start somewhere.
These are also known as "gateway drugs"!

At the end of that night, we had been on our feet for almost 20 hours straight. On our "Bfest Lite" tour. Us, taking it easy!

Then, Maggie told me she needed to run to the Kentucky Horse Park, aka BreyerFest proper, in the morning. The sudden plan involved friend favors, standing in line for models, and all the heat and humidity that July can bestow upon Kentucky. Of course, we went! Up we popped in the morning, ate a free delicious hot breakfast in the hotel, walked Pugs, and then we were off to the horsiest place on Earth. The car idled in line for a good long while, starting waaaaay back on the highway, and we were surprised to see the Park guards just waved every vehicle through. There was no badge check, no parking fee. This was because the time it would have taken to sort all the traffic would have made people miss the classes the had paid to attend. We were directed to the very backside of the Park, to a dirt road in an open field near the AllTech arena. We had never been to this part of the Park before!

The walk from the car to the portion of the Park where BreyerFest is held was long and full of sights. We passed an entire horse trials event- from stables, to warm up rings, to the actual deal. I saw a chariot, jousters, Clydesdales, Belgians, and lots of sunburns, all before I reached BreyerFest proper. Here is just a sampling of the Special Run lines. The Celebration model line was slightly shorter, but had no shade. We met a nice fellow who was standing in the sunny line with his horse-collecting family for moral support. I told him he was good guy for doing that. That's devotion.

It's true. 
In Kentucky. In July.

When the number for the noon Special Run purchase line was called, it put Maggie's ticket at the end of the line. She gave her SR ticket to Intrepid Model Horseman Jared Lain, and we made the long walk back to the car. At eight minutes to 2pm Friday, we checked out of the host hotel. A 48-hour Bfest Lite left me with some lessons:

1. Even staying in Lex for half as long, I was not particularly rested.
2. Short stay means missing the big sales windows.
3. The parking and crowds at the KHP get more intense, each year.
4. Get the T-shirt, get the program, while you are still at the Park.
5. Delivering a bunch of big boxes does not mean the car will be any less full on the way home. This is BreyerFest we're talking about.

Thank goodness for Jared picking up those last convention items for us, after we were already on the road home. I have so much appreciation and gratitude to all the collectors and staff who make this a huge and wonderful annual event. Everyone takes turns helping everyone out, and there is so much shared joy in one another's victories. I love you guys.