Farewell to my father

My father died four months ago yesterday. I am finally able to walk well enough (I broke my leg pretty badly on May 31st), so last night at sunset we went up to the beautiful and quiet grade crossing at Plainview, in the foothills south of Boulder. My dad’s favorite spot for train watching.

There’s a wonderful long view of the plains to the east, and the first steep slabs of the Rocky Mountains to the west. This is the main rail route that climbs out of Denver into the Rockies and west. We were there to scatter the last of his ashes right on the tracks.

Incredibly, as we were driving up we saw that there was a long freight train coming. We raced up and I had less than a minute to get the ashes on the tracks!

My vision was that every train passing over would take a bit of his ashes with them on their journey. So I was thrilled to actually see a train there when I placed them. (As I learned from many train watchings with my dad as a kid, often you wait around a lot and nothing comes.) It was the perfect train for dad; a mix of all kinds of freight cars instead of the long line of coal cars more usually seen.

I couldn’t tell which of two tracks the train was coming on, had zero time to decide, and I was initially disappointed that it was not on the one I chose for the ashes. But it was still pretty dramatic to have a train come through exactly when we were there.

It began to slow, and came to a stop right before us. To me it felt kind of dreamy/uncanny; there didn’t seem to be any reason for it to stop there. I was crying my eyes out and telling my dad farewell.

Then we realized that another train was coming the other way on the other track!!! It turned out to be only four engines coupled together. It thundered through just feet from us, right over the ashes, and I couldn’t help feeling eerily like it was some kind of honor guard salute just for dad.

After they went by, the other train moved on until the whole place was quiet again, just us and the sunset. Until the next train. Perfect, Dad.

HA “Esplendida” for sale, best offers

Bidding is closed. The final bid was $1175  JAM

This is a fabulous sculpture of a PRE mare by Brigitte Eberl, produced in fine bone china bisque by Horsing Around and newly custom-glazed by Karen Gerhardt.

If you click on any image above, a gallery will pop up where you can view them at larger size.

I am holding a best offer sale of this piece. It’s my first time trying this process so bear with me through any glitches! Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. Bidding will be only via email sent to Karen: Email Karen
  2. The highest bid in an email received before 9:00 pm MOUNTAIN time (that’s 2 hours earlier than Eastern, 1 hour later than Pacific) on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016, will be the winner.
  3. Starting bid is $950.00. I will pay shipping.
  4. Bidding must be in $25 increments only. (You can’t place a bid of $955, for example. It would have to be $975.)
  5. Your full name and mailing address MUST be included in your bid email.
  6. You must include the THREE initials you want me to use to I.D. your bid. (They can be not your actual initials/anonymous if you like.)
  7. Your bid will not be accepted if you haven’t followed all the above rules.
  8. I will periodically update the high bid amount with the initials of the person holding that bid, right at the top of this blog post. I will not respond/reply to each individual bid email. If you’re holding the high bid, it’ll show up here with your initials.
  9. You can raise your bid as many times as you like, via new emails, up until the deadline.
  10. High bidder will be contacted after the deadline. Payment must be made in full by September 27, 2016. Paypal is preferred (no Paypal e-checks) but personal check is also accepted. If mailing a check, make sure it will arrive before the deadline. Failure to pay on time will result in loss of the piece, no exceptions.

Thank you for your interest and best wishes in your bidding!

The Breyer Cleveland Bay model is 10 years old!

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March 6, 2006. I walked into the casino ballroom where the Las Vegas Live model horse show was being held. And there, on the Breyer representative’s product display table, stood the very first copy of model no. 703, Tregoyd Journeyman, the Cleveland Bay. I had delivered the sculpture in February 2005 and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it. I was given no advance notice about the Vegas debut and just happened to choose to attend that show!!

Thus began the most fun, satisfying, and precious ten years of my life as a Breyer collector and equine sculptor. I can’t explain why having a sculpture in Breyer’s line of model horses means more to me than any of the work I’ve created in ceramic. After all, ceramic is my chosen art medium! But I was a Breyer model horse collector first—from such a young age—and I guess that will always be where my heart is.

March 6, 2016 marks the ten year anniversary for the CB Breyer model. Being the mold’s self-proclaimed biggest fan, I need to mark this anniversary year, for myself if nobody else. Though I think I am safe in saying that this mold has been a really popular and successful model for Breyer Animal Creations.

The photo collage at the top of this article shows all the colors this model has been released in since the original dappled bay color in 2006. (Not including the one-of-a-kind Breyerfest auction colors and test colors that exist.) I hope for many more appearances in the line!

Here are my photos and notes from some of the best parts of these past 10 years…

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The clay sculpture, early in-progress shot

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The resin master sculpture, which the model is molded from

The first time I held a CB model in my hands, at the Las Vegas Live show, March 2006. (They wouldn’t let me take it home but I sure wanted to!!)

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The original packaging, including the sticker with my name. The stickers were only found on boxes for the first 6 months or so.

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I met Tregoyd Journeyman, aka “Joe”, the real Cleveland Bay horse the model is a portrait of. Breyerfest 2006.

 

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Dozens of the first models in the Breyerfest store, July 2006.

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The first time I find them in a local retail store, PetSmart in Boulder CO, my home at the time. Huge thrill!

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Several times over the years I’ve had the privilege of invitations to the Breyer company painting shop, to work up color ideas for the CB and other models. The colors I’ve designed on the CB include Jazz Fusion, Limerick, and Tunbridge Wells. The two pictured here are in my own collection.

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In 2009-10 my husband Paul and I, and my two dogs, lived for a year in England while he was on a work assignment. I was invited by the UK Breyer distributor to spend a day at their sales booth at the London Toy Fair in January 2010, demo-ing sculpting and talking to toy industry buyers. The CB was just released in its 2nd regular line color, named O’Leary’s Irish Diamond. They kindly gave me my first copy that day. It was such a great experience!

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I met the real O’Leary’s Irish Diamond at Breyerfest 2010.

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In 2015 the sculpture was released in the Crystals series, a Breyerfest special run. That’s a horse of a different color!

When I got the assignment to sculpt this model, I was determined that it would be be “performance friendly”. It is absolutely my tribute to all the friends and model horse hobbyists who love to show models in performance, and to those who create the amazing scale tack and props. The equine miniaturist aspect of this hobby in all its facets is truly something special. I have also been an avid performance shower and tack collector over the years. The model has proved to be super popular in performance classes, which makes me very happy.

I have been thinking hard about what kind of special thing I could do this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary. A party?? A CB model “reunion” where we see how many models we could get together all in one place at Breyerfest this summer?? I really wish I could have commissioned a special LE color.

Then, last year I was delighted to be able to give another horse sculpture to Breyer to become a model. It is debuting in their 2016 Premier Line this year. I can’t think of any better way to celebrate my first Breyer than to have another one arrive in the world right on the 10th anniversary! I hope this new one will be as successful and beloved as the CB has been, and that they both are in production for years to come. A Breyer model that I created is the closest thing I’ll ever have to a legacy… and it couldn’t be more perfect that it is from the hobby that has given me such pleasure for my entire life, and grew into the opportunity to work as an equine artist.

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I will never tire of the pleasure of seeing young collectors with their models. I was that girl once, dreaming of horses all the time… and still am.

Thank you so much for joining me on this trip down memory lane!

P.S: I am attending the Breyerwest event this month, the weekend of March 18-20 at the Northwest Horse Fair in Albany, Oregon (south or Portland). On Saturday, March 19th I’ll be in Breyer’s show area (in the Santiam building) signing CB models and demonstrating sculpting a horse, all day (9-5). Please stop over and keep me company! Here are links to the event:

http://www.breyerhorses.com/breyerwest16

http://equinepromotions.net/northwest-horse-fair/

Custom Glazed RW Shire for sale

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Update: Sold

2016 is the year of New Glazing! I most often update my worklife and news over on my studio Facebook Page, but for those of you not checking in there… this is the year I finally get back to glazing ceramics. 2015 was so busy with travel, family stuff, and working on a new sculpture sold to Breyer Animal Creations!!! (Part of their 2016 Premier Club line, to be revealed later this year!)

I have a pretty large backlog of white chinaware just dying to be colored. I am trying to reduce that “stash” this year. The first one I have finished is a vintage porcelain Shire Stallion sculpture, produced by the venerable Royal Worcester of the UK. In its original factory finish it is a matte bay, produced in the 1960’s, and mint condition pieces are very very collectible. The one I acquired had damage to the mane “bobs” (all were broken off) and tail decorations. Otherwise it was in great condition. Perfect for custom OVERglazing. I repainted this piece using overglaze (aka chinapaints), the exact same hand-painted glaze technique that Royal Worcester used back in their heyday. Because overglazes are fired into the existing finish, I can alter and add to the color that is there. I can also make it glossy finish!

What you see here is that RW Shire, in a fabulous new high gloss fired finish, exactly as permanent as the original color that it was fired into. I’ve deepened the bay color, added extensive dappling, changed the white markings on the legs, repainted the eyes, and changed the accent colors on the tack from blue to green!

I have replaced the missing mane decorations with hand-made wired ribbon flights. The braid down the crest of the mane has some epoxy filling and painted restoration done, where the old bobs had to be drilled out before I set the new wire flights in. I have also replaced the missing bow on the tail with matching ribbon. The horse still has its original bit rings and metal rein, plus the original wood presentation base.

To ensure there is never any confusion that this is a one of a kind custom-overglazed porcelain (and NOT a factory-finished piece) I have fired my studio logo and painter ID (“Custom oveglazed by Karen Y. Gerhardt, 2016”) into the underside of the porcelain base.

To view a large portfolio of photos, please go to this Gallery. 
NOTE: There are two sets of photos there: studio shots like the ones seen above, and a bunch of them taken on my kitchen counter. The studio shots are all TOO RED in color. (I need to get a new camera…) Even with a lot of photoshop color editing, I can’t get the red cast out. So I took a bunch of photos with my iPhone and those show the color MOST accurately! So use the studio shots to view details, but the kitchen shots (like the one below) for realistic color. He appears dark in normal light but if you tip him up and put him in the bright sunlight, the amazing dappling pops out!

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I have enjoyed this special project so much! This one of a kind, beautiful porcelain can be yours. I would like to get $950.00 postage-paid for him. It will be shipped FedEx in a special custom foam-lined box. I guarantee my work and my shipping expertise, and will take it back no questions asked, upon damage or any other reason. You pay return FedEx shipping. I give preference to a buyer who can pay in full via PayPal, but I am open to short time payment terms. Let me know what you have in mind for a payment schedule, and I will consider it.

Serious purchase inquiries to:
Email Karen

Commission work on ceramics still on hold

Long time no write… sorry once again about that!

I’ve had a crazy busy summer, with lots of planned and unplanned travel. My aunt passed away in June and I am executrix of her estate, which resulted in me spending most of June in Pennsylvania dealing with her possessions, and a lot of time after that dealing with all the details of wrapping up a life. 😦

I just wanted to update that I am still not in a position to take on any commissions for ceramic pieces until further notice. I’m working on a very VERY exciting project now, which takes all other work off the table for the time being. Plus we are heading out for more travel in September and October.

I did glaze one bone china Juniper earlier in the month; it was an owed piece to a friend who did me a large favor. This is #9 in the edition of 13 bone chinas. (She’s not quite this “pink”; my camera loves reds far too much!)

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I hope that by this winter I will be so starved for ceramics glazing that I will want to do nothing else. I will let you know when my commission books open. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Email Karen

More Blog Neglect, Sorry!

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Mont St Michel in Normandy

I guess I better update this blog in case someone actually stumbles across it, ha! I’ve chosen a new template for my website so that the focus is now on my portfolio of work rather than the blog, and it now takes two clicks to find the blog.

I am still in non-create mode. This is not in any way a disaster; rather it is a reflection of the great life I’m leading lately. Paul and I have really discovered our retirement-vibe here in gorgeous Colorado Ski Country. We did what most of the locals here do and traveled away during April and May when the snow is melting but spring and summer aren’t here yet, aka Mud Season. We were 3 weeks in France and then another week driving down to Tucson and back via the Utah and Arizona Canyonlands.

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We stayed in a real chateau! In the room at the top of this tower!

“Artist” has always defined who I was, what I did, what was expected of me by others, and what my ego/self image was wrapped around. It feels so nice to simply be Karen… after being Karen, Artist my whole life.

I’m sure I’ll get an idea to do an oil painting, sculpture, or get back to ceramics glazing again soon. I got so many great photos in the last 2 months that would make wonderful painting subjects. But I just wanted to warn you I’m not taking on any commissions for the time being. If I do want to make anything, for now I need it to be what I want to make, not to someone else’s order.

By the way, I am teaching a workshop on painting ceramics with overglazes (emphasis on painting horse color), during Breyerfest in Lexington, KY in July. Here is the link to the info: http://www.breyerhorses.com/bf2015-overglaze

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Canyon du Chelly, northeastern Arizona

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Wisteria in Sarlat, France

BCS Photo Challenge!

I used up a whole afternoon chasing down my entries for this kooky contest being held by Braymere Custom Saddlery. When I could have been doing something far more productive.

Here’s the link to the contest if you have no clue what this is all about. 🙂

1. Vintage
I’m calling this one Hot Tub Time Machine. I have no idea why I felt I had to
float the model in the hot tub. Creepy.

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2. Nekkid
My “secret stash” of unglazed whiteware china. To be glazed… someday!

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3. Scale Issues
My “Boreas” Percheron sculpture in all his sizes!

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4. I See Spots
A test color Breyer “Lady Phase” model that I painted at the Breyer factory
    in 2008.

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5. Unbridled Passion…
…Is sort of what I was going for with my Andalusian mare sculpture, “Danzante”

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6. Rare Breed
 Tregoyd Journeyman, the real Cleveland Bay horse (a genuine rare breed) that the
Breyer model I sculpted
was named after. We met at BreyerFest 2006.

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7. Portrait
My TB filly sculpture, “Portrait”, of course!

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8. Conga
“Heart of Darkness” resins when first delivered, in 1994. 

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9. The Great Outdoors
A vintage performance photo of mine, from the 1980’s.
    I made the doll’s ski outfit, believe it or not.

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10. Best in Show
A live show entry I put together, from the 1990’s I think.

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