I love horses. I’ve never wanted to own one, I don’t even really enjoy riding them…rather, I prefer observing them. I could watch a horse move for hours. In my eyes, there is no more perfect example of the balance between strength and agility, brute force and beauty. I also love horse people. There is something in their blood perhaps, that I can relate to. Seeing as all things equestrian tend to be on the financially steep side, one would think that there would be a sort of elitist vibe that could frighten a Bohemian artist such as myself. I couldn’t find that notion further from the truth though. At every equine event I’ve attended, I’ve found myself amongst free-spirited individuals who appreciate a good quirk much more than the proverbial next guy.
That said, it only seems logical to take my love over state lines and partake in “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, AKA the Kentucky Derby. I must confess, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me until my sister in law, Danielle, (who dreams big and accomplishes bigger, see here) suggested it over Thanksgiving dinner. I set my sights on Churchhill Downs for 2011 and since then have worked tirelessly with my miracle worker/facilitator of dreams Meredith Lindemon of Meredith Communications to make it so. She dove headfirst into the task of getting me not just into the Derby but fully immersed in the entire event. Contacts were made, sponsorships were proposed. We worked out this and that, revised the product, toiled and troubled until about a month ago when the pace began to pick up. Before I knew it I was presented with a ten day deadline to create 4 custom hats for a silent auction and 75 (seventy five!) hand-crafted brooches, hair pins nad combs for gift bags at the Julep Ball.
I was searching for a Derby related video to include in this post and I fell down the rabbit hole of Barbaro tributes. I am stunned at just how many of these videos exist (also at how graphic and injury-focused most of them are) and overwhelmed with emotion recalling how the love that so many of us felt for this heroic creature united us that Summer.
And now it’s all done and my little army is en route to Kentucky. I will be following suite next month to attend the Ball as well as Kentucky Oaks and the Derby. Of course I’ll need to create something to wear to these events but for the moment I’m going to get a full nights rest and come up for air. I just wanted to share photos of the newly minted Diamond Tooth Millenary 2011 Derby Line and take a moment to thank these people:
Jim my husband, who never complained while his home turned into a feather filled factory and graciously relieved me of most domestic duties. Oh, and he happens to be an awesome photographer who shoots all my work for me.
My folks, who have proven to me time and time again that if you ask, you shall receive. Not just because they’re kind, but because they believe in me.
Danielle, my aforementioned sister-in-law who gave me the idea in the first place.
Daniel Wilbur, proprietor of Wilbur Vintage who would open up his shop early for me and patiently allow me to paw through his trinkets in my attempts to amass enough charms with which to adorn all of my creations.
Bailey (and all my chicken friends!), aka chicken master; without his donations I wouldn’t have had any medium to work with.
Gregory Andrew Powell, millenatrix extraordinaire and my arch nemesis who was kind enough to momentarily bury the poison-tipped hat pins and share some of his wisdom.
And of course Meredith, who wasn’t afraid to push me to reach higher even while I was being a brat.
This a Panama hat embellished with fancy chicken and peacock feathers, swiss dot horse hair and antique veil.
This little beret is composed of fancy chicken and ostrich feathers, swiss dot horse hair and a vintage brooch.
Oh and look! Leather tags!
A little something to enhance your up-do; made of fancy chicken wing and peacock feathers, antique ceiling and vintage pearl beads.
That is the back of the comb; it’s a tricky shot since there’s so much going on. I used an antique comb from 1920 and embellished it with the tail feathers of a fancy chicken, some peacock, and a vintage crystal necklace. I added a poof of antique French veil.
Below is the front. This one is a real doozy.
These are a few examples from the gift bag items. I used 24K plated stick pins as the bases and each one is one of a kind and infused with my heart.
The bases for these are silver plated combs; each one is lovingly hand crafted.
Only 5 of these; silver plated base with vintage jewelry embellishments.