Okay I know the first thing you are thinking is that I spelled "Tales" wrong. Well I can forgive you for thinking that but I promise, this is actually, a tale about horses.
A STORY OF GROWTH.
Once upon a time I was just a full time needle felt artist. I was happily stabbing my way through life-size joeys, emu chicks, echidnas, quokkas, lambs and so much more. All from a humble lump of wool and my favourtie pastime .. STABBING !!
Scroll for more pics of my stabbed creatures, all from a lump of fluff.
Creating these was a lot of fun and it's nice to share my pieces on the internet among my peers and Mutual Admiration Club, which boasts a huge membership. However every time I did share I would be bombarded with, "HOW ?????," and this is such a daunting and open ended question. You see sometimes I don't even know how. So I employed a manager .... enter Monique van Vliet, and all of a sudden it was time to get serious.
Now just because Monique was a very long time friend of mine, this is not to say she wasn't highly qualified for the job. Quality work comes with a price tag and I'm just so fortunate to have a King who facilitates my NEED to be creative at this level. With that Monique was put on the payroll and this was the end of my previous life forever.
MY PREVIOUS LIFE.
In my previous life, pictured below, I met Monique and Erwin around 2005, it was because they had an awesome horse ranch called, "Tales of the Trails Western Ranch." At this ranch Erwin started and re-trained horses for humans, with the constant frustration of knowing that most times he really needed to re-train the humans for the horses, but that's another long story. I am very aware of this need to train the humans and I was on the sidelines of the arena for every second that he was starting my Friesian Warmblood Colt. Pictured below with my mare as a foal and with me as a Stallion.
This allowed me to get to know both van Vliet's really well and I eventually entrusted them with my 16 year old daughter who was horse mad and needed to work .. it was a great time in Ayla's life and she is still horse mad but not for Friesians, she's a Quarter Horse girl through and through (that's her riding my mare). I also dabbled in Shetlands and those two beauties on the bottom right are some of the ones I saw into this world.
My daughter and I with some of my stunning horses.
You see I used to breed horses, and dogs of all sorts over the years. From Basenjis to Staffies and Pomeranian's, Chihuahua's and I even kept a couple of Dingoes. Not to mention all of the other creatures I used to keep and sell to the pet trade. Not anymore, times have changed and so have I but boy did they teach me a LOT about myself and this life, I'm forever thankful to every creature that gifted me it's presence.
Scroll for extra pics of my puppies, bred over 30 odd years.
This hoarding of creatures all halted after a tragic paddock accident, with my then Stallion, in 2011. Using this new art-form to control my depression, it took no time at all to become addicted to the needle. I swapped out the real creatures for the needle felted ones and decided I wanted to make mine as realistic as possible. The feeling of creating a realistic needle felted creature was akin to the rush of endorphins experienced when birthing a foal or a puppy, with a lot less responsibility.
This also meant I said goodbye to all of my other artistic ventures which varied from charcoal drawing through to gingerbread construction, acrylic painting, even on denim and all sorts of mixed media, all gone so I could concentrate on one art-form ONLY for the first time in my life !!
Some of my past artworks.
Any hoo, I digress .... back to the "Horse Tale".
BACK TO THE HORSE TALE.
Early in 2018 Monique had sold out of her business and was at a loss as what to do. "The rest is history," as they say, and in the two and a half years that Monique has been my manager, both her and Erwin have been preparing for A MAMMOTH journey around Australia on horseback.
This is a journey that you, too, can follow if you wish. They are now known as"Tales of the Trails Australia" and it's a great way for you all, to see the beauty of our outback down under.
Monique and their adorable dog Olly are now the support family for Erwin, his magnificent stallion Giles and his trusty gelding Tonto. Driving a big horse truck which is decked out as a home, because the horses are walking.
I was lucky enough to have them stay with me for a few weeks. I made a comfy saddle cover for Erwin's toosh and a few other luxury furnishing for their little home on wheels. They have now set off around the bottom of our home-state Western Australia, on the Warren Blackwood Stock Route, and beyond !! To be the first to ride the entire circuit of our big island Australia !! They are so brave !! If your dreams don't scare you then they aren't BIG enough !!
Check out the size of Moniques truck !!
I thought my truck was big enough, I'm so proud of her, of them both !!
Just a sample of the Tales of the Trails Australia.
THE FUTURE FOR ME.
So now I am changing things up a bit because I no longer have Monique to do all of the "office work" and the making of films is disruptive to the creative process. I am going to do my best to bring something to the table for you all.
My aim has always been the same really and that is to put my art form onto the internet for my children and my children's children (if there are ever any grand babies .. it's early days still) and along the way if anyone asks me "HOW" again, I can send them to my "School of Stabbing" allowing me to get off the internet and actually do something instead of answering question after question.
If anything, I want to teach you "HOW" to learn, not so much "WHAT" to learn. This means eventually you won't need to ask "HOW" because you will just experiment with the tools I have shared with you and fail until you don't like me. You will discovered your own answers and so much more.
This form of learning gives you the courage to go outside of your comfort zone. This is where your personal magic is and finding this is what I want for all of my followers and arty friends. I am always lifting my personal bar and wanting more and more realism.
It was this learning philosophy that compelled me to discover the Drysdale wool from Beersheba Farm and entertain the notion of dyeing and creating a hyper realistic horse tail. This Feltorial is the first of a Series where I will be adding to it as I learn more about the subject. Future courses will also compile previous footage into specific classes like reverse felting, claws, armatures and much, much more.
Dyed Drysdale Wool
If you have purchased Drysdale Horsetails at the discounted price because you are a subscriber then you just snagged a bargain that's going to keep on giving at no extra cost or effort from you.
If you want the coupon code then just subscribe and send me an email .. I'll send it to you before November 30th. Make sure you don't miss the special price on the reverse technique used on this horse too .. that's part of the next Feltorial in the Nitty Gritty Series.
Our Avocado Grove and new Son in Law.
Yes that's my stunning Daughter.
You see I don't want to create needy followers and I have no time for the internet really because my life is rich and full of beautiful nature and a brand new avocado grove where the horses used to be. This gets me off my toosh and out into the sunshine for my vital vitamin D and exercise.
I hate nagging anyone so I'm not much of a sales person. I do, however, enjoy empowering people (because its mutual 100% of the time) and I love to share my knowledge. Mostly because I believe in "Freedom Through Creation"and I want this freedom for all of us.
If you have made it this far and you are still a subscriber or this "Mammoth Horse Tale" has made you want more from me it's all there on the amazing website and in the awesome School of Stabbing that my manager-photographer-friend-extraordinaire, "Monique," has created for me. I hope I can keep up to her standard and make her proud as she and Erwin trek across this great country of ours.
They have promised to send me photos of amazing "Aussie Stuff" to inspire me and while I'm missing my dear friend and work colleague, you all know "HOW" I'm going to deal with my sadness don't you .. yep you got it .. I'm just gonna keep STABBING .. Rx