Patches, an IKEA hobby horse all painted and primped and ready for a new generation of tots. Images clickable to make larger as usual!
M Y A R T — One day a couple of years ago, I was sitting in the publisher's offices. I had probably just delivered a book, or was there to pick up a manuscript for a new one. I've been associated with this company for years, working full time for a while, and freelance the rest of the time, and I have quite good friends there, so I usually hang out for a while if I, and they, have the time. This day, my good friend, fellow freelancer, Nancy, brought in her son's hobby horse for another friend of ours that works there, Joanna. Nancy's sons were in their teens, one ready for college, and Joanna's son was about to be three. Nancy was giving the hobby horse to Joanna so Thomas, Joanna's young son, would have as much fun on it as Nancy's two sons had 10-15 years earlier. I piped up and offered to give it a new paint finish, to update it a bit. I believe this was in May or June. They both agreed it would be a great idea, so instead of Joanna bringing it home that day, I did. Thomas was a bit young for it anyway, and Joanna was going to save it for Christmas. I had plenty of time!
While the actual painting and finishing only took about 40 hours, I must have stared at the damn thing for almost 5 months, lol. By the time I decided what to do, and how I was going to paint it, the Christmas deadline was looming! I finally finished it around the 22nd of December if I remember correctly, having worked all night the last 2 nights. Christmas was saved, and Thomas loved it. The entire family loves it. Phew!
I named the little horse, Patches, after a calico cat I had when I was a kid. First I did an all-over striped treatment, with white and alternating pastel stripes. Then I did an all-over copper glaze to tone the stripes down a bit, to go with the natural wood face which I left that way. Then I painted 'patches' all over it, detailing them with various patterns such as a checkerboards, stripes and a woven look, and further detailed them with simulated thread as if they had been sewn on. I mixed a bit of glitter in with the polyurethane to give it a slight fantasy-like look, and to give the finish a 'grip' for the young guy to hold onto so he wouldn't slip off. I also re-created the mane, which had been all one color beige wool to start with. I wove in various novelty wools in lots of colors and textures, including silver, gold and copper look yarns. I was really pleased with the way it turned out. I ALMOST didn't give it back, lol. But I'm no Grinch, so Thomas had a nice hand-painted present waiting for him that Christmas morning.