I’m really good at starting projects and abandoning them. 99% of the time it’s because I run into a Problem that I don’t know how to tackle, or there is something that needs to be corrected, but correcting it would require a lot of work. (or a complete do-over, which is very unappealing when you’ve already invested so much time into the piece)
This is exactly what happened with the western show saddle I started four years ago.
In this case, the Problem was how to cover the tree. For whatever reason I never really tried to work it out, put it aside, and got distracted with other things.
Last weekend I came across all the pieces while cleaning, and was going to just throw them out. But nooo, I decided that it needed to be revived.
Maybe a change of pace is what I’ve been needing to get out of this creative slump? Unfortunately time was not kind and the leather had darkened with age. The more I looked at it the more I realized that yes, this really does need to thrown away.
I hate starting things over but in this case I think it’s for the best. It makes me a bit sad to think of all the work I put into it going to waste, but then again, so much time has passed that it doesn’t really matter much anymore. One good thing was that I had created digital copies of the pattern and tooling pattern, which already cut out a lot of work.
So, version 2 has been started, beginning with correcting my lopsided re-sculpted saddle tree. Since the tree was the Problem originally I figured I would start with covering that first.
It’s um… kind of weird.
But it’s a start, even with it’s weirdness. And it’s created more Problems. My pattern is way off. I’m having to readjust everything, which in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t discover when I first started working on this four years ago.
One thing I haven’t had to re-work much are the fenders, so here they are right now. I haven’t done any tooling in four years so I can’t say that I’ve improved there. I also don’t understand why my first attempt at it had to be such a complicated pattern but whatever.
These were created a day apart and there’s a lot of difference between the two. (or is that just me?) I think that has to do with the tools I’m learning to use and just practice/trying to figure it out.
I can say that I really like the stitched detail. For those wondering, it’s paint. I don’t think it’s possible to actually stitch something that tiny, and I’m not eager to try it out.
So yes… this is where I’m at with the saddle right now. I’m taking it slow and not pressuring myself to make it perfect. It’s not going to be perfect and maybe not even “good” but that’s ok. I haven’t made enough saddles to consider myself “good” at making them, and who knows if I’ll ever get to that point.
I do want to mention that on Mares in Black‘s most recent podcast, I was really inspired by what I believe Kylee Parks said about customizing: to just go for it and figure it out. I don’t customize but it still struck a chord with me. Saddles intimidate me because I don’t know how to figure them out, but the only way I will is if I just go for it and keep practicing. So uh, thanks for that.
Hopefully I won’t have to re-start this one in 2023…