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Wee Flora and Wee Marley (b.23 January 2010)

One of the commission orders waiting for me when I got back from the States was from Lauren, who wanted me to make up two wee horses for her - Flora, a grey Arab mare, and Marley, a grey cob cross gelding. The are both beautiful horses, and I hadn't really tackled grey horses before, so I was definitely up for the challenge.

Flora is such a wonderful elegant horse, with a beautiful flowing mane and tail, and delicate dappled markings on her hind quarters. I wasn't quite sure how to recreate those markings in clay, and so I looked at a couple of ideas. Firstly, I made up the body using a Skinner blend of two similar shades of grey. I rolled the sheet into a plug and rolled it into a ball, shaping it so the darker gray was towards the rear of the horse. To make the dappled grey effect, I took tiny specks of the pale grey used for the front of the horse, and placed them randomly on the hind quarters.

This created quite a nice effect, particular in conjunction with the Skinner blend body, and I was pleased to be able to replicate some of the wonderfully subtle markings on Flora. Flora's mane was a wonderful blend of greys and browns, and I achieved this by roughly mixing those colours before extruding them with the thinnest extruder disc I have, and carefully selecting the blend of colours, as well as placing them more randomly to reflect the fineness of the hair. (You can tell the difference in thicknes between Flora's and Marley's manes in the top picture.) Flora's tail was made up for cream and tan mixed clay, extruded thinly and then placed more fluidly, keeping it narrow at the top and splayed out towards the end - I just love this horse!
With Marley, I used another new technique to create the grey coat flecked with dark grey and brown. I based this loosely on the Starry Night millefiori technique (see Starry Night Cats for more info), but instead of mixing several different colours together in equal proportions, I finally chopped up lots of pale gray, and then grated in a few spots of brown and dark grey. I chopped the mixture up very finely with a tissue blade so that the darker colours never had a chance to blend, but where instead dispersed in tiny particles throughout the grey mix. I reformed the chopped clay into a cane and then covered a ball of scrap clay with thin slices from the cane. I then carefully rolled the ball in my hands to blend the slices together to minimise blending the colours, and repeated the procedure with a smaller piece of clay for the head.

This was the first time I've used millefiori techniques for the wee horses - the success of using a Skinner Blend for Wee Donk showed me how effective having blended colours can be, even on such a small scale. I much prefer 'painting' with clay, rather than applying paints - creates much more depth and warmth, and a more natural effect.

1 comment:

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