I'd like to introduce the wonderfully idiosyncratic horse, Wee Mickey! Commissioned by Holly, who contacted me through the website while I was away on holiday, Mickey has a blue eye (he was going to called Ziggy, but Mickey suited him better!), brown patches and spots, and a white mane and tail with black lurking underneath.
Holly sent me through loads of pictures of her lad, which made it very easy to see where his markings should go. I love the brown patch on his head - he looks like he's wearing a hat!
I started by making the body out of white clay with a tiny pinch of ochre to take the edge off the starkness of the white. I then mixed up a rich brown colour with a touch of metallic copper clay, and rolled it out on the thinnest setting of the pasta machine that I could without tearing the clay. I then cut the approximate shapes of Wee Mickey's markings freehand with a scalpel, and applied them lightly to the clay body. By rolling the body carefully in my hands, I blended the patches onto the body without distorting the patches or smearing the brown.
For the head, I again rolled out a smaller ball of white-ish clay, and once I was happy with the shape, I cut out a thin patch of brown clay for his skull cap, and carefully blended it using a thin knitting needle (an excellent tool I wouldn't be without). I then cut out an oval shape of flesh coloured clay for the muzzle, and applied a patch a dark grey clay to the lower left side to match his marking. There's even a wee brown spot underneath his muzzle!
For Mickey's blue eye, I used a blue seed bead and placed it so the hole was visible. I usually place the round black onyx beads so the hole doesn't show, but with Mickey's lovely blue eye, you can clearly see the pupil, and placing the blue bead in that position emulates that.
Mickey's tail is quite unusual in that it it is essentially pale cream/white but with a core of black hair (I'm sure there's a technical name for that, but I don't know what it is!) And although most of his mane is that same pale colour, Mickey has a some strands of black lurking under his forelock.
I extruded both a rich black/brown clay and some pale cream clay. I worked on the mane and forelock first and applied the pale strands. When I was happy with the result, I lifted the forelock and added a couple of short black strands. There is limited space between the ears (no disrespect intended), so this was the only way to create the effect I was looking for. For the tail, I worked in reverse, attaching the black strands first, and then placing the white strands on top so the black still showed through.
I had lots of fun making up Wee Mickey - it really is such a joy to get to know new horsey models. And what's even nicer is getting to know the owners - Holly has been lovely to speak to, and she's clearly devoted to Mickey. Mickey's a lucky horse!