Beth has quite the interesting hobby; she restores rocking horses. Today she tells us how this niche interest came about and showcases some of her latest work.
I have been a big lover of horses since a child and always remember asking each Christmas for a rocking horse.
I had been restoring & painting furniture in my spare time as a hobby, when Grandad rang to say his neighbour was throwing an old wooden rocking horse out into the skip. He retrieved the horse, and together we got it back on its feet. It took a lot of time, hard work and dedication, taking it back to its original wooden body, sanding tirelessly through the layers of paint and gesso to enhance and retain its natural beauty.
Once completed, I couldn’t believe the lovely comments and interest in the horse, which made me want to do another one. I have done a few now, each one taking weeks to complete, and each horse having its own individual details & character.
I look at these horses as being, restored, remodelled & re-loved, and get the greatest of pleasure seeing the end result. I love the thought of having an old horse, or a piece of furniture, which now looks new, with a lot of history.
To date I have been restoring the older, finer, Rocking Horse makers like FH Ayres, G&J Lines & one more local to me; Collinsons, of Liverpool. These makes are no longer manufactured, but back in the day they were made to the highest of standards, with detail & attention given to the carving. Some of the newer horses now are made of fibreglass, which some people may prefer: nice and neat and very shiny. But for me, I’d rather have an old wooden horse with lots of character from a bygone era.
Once the horse is stripped, it is made sound, with any loose legs re-pinned, cracks filled, a new ear or two; nothing is impossible. Each horse is carefully hand painted and fitted with real horse hair, English leather tack and glass eyes.
Whilst this started as a hobby, I am only just realising how much other people are enjoying my work too.
Beth is currently building a website to showcase her work, she has shared with us her shiny new logo! Ooh-err!