Sunday, November 11, 2012

Getting It All Done

I am just having the hardest time finding the time and motivation for this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. Even though I technically have what most people would consider to be an ungodly amount of free time on my hands (because of the slow work season), it isn’t, actually.

It’s all nonfrivolous work, none of that "alphabetizing canned vegetables in the pantry" stuff that desperate writers turn to when the words don’t work. It includes, among other things, taking care of a high-maintenance dog, helping a coworker build a web site, helping with the Copenhagen Belgian auction, trying to get my own auctions listed, last minute work assignments, fighting the crowds at the last big rummage sale of the season, sorting and inventorying that paperwork…

Even so, I’m not that far behind - maybe half a day’s quota off. And I really don’t even have to leave the house the next couple of days if I don’t have to, so catching up - or getting ahead of myself - is theoretically possible.

A picture’s worth a thousand words, as the old saw goes, so I offer to everyone a photograph from the archives that truly lives up to it - and which is providing me with some unexpected motivation, as well:

It’s a photo from May 1977, of Chris Hess working in the shop. It’s probably partially "staged" - it was part of a group of photographs taken for the Spring 1977 issue of Just About Horses - but still, take a closer look at everything going on here.

The lumpy blob in his hands is that of the Benji, being prepared for the moldmaking process; on the table and off to the side is a Charolais Bull, possibly being used as a reference point for the Standing Black Angus Bull, which would come out the following year. Multiple photographs and other reference materials cover the table - some for the Black Angus, obviously, but also for the Stud Spider, another late 1977/early 1978 release.

Other photographs in the set show him fiddling around with the molded halves of Stud Spider, and of another project he was working on at the time, which was apparently repairing a crack in the Longhorn Bull mold. Other molds that were making their debut around this time - but not seen in this set of photos - included Tiffany, San Domingo, the Galiceno, and the Rough Coat Stock Horse Foal.

And he had the nearly completely sculpts of the Legionario and the Andalusian Family ready for approvals by January 1978.

"Get" the picture now? The man was busy!

You can understand, then, when it raises my hackles just a tad to see hobbyists dismiss Chris Hess’s work as lightly as they do. In the space of a year and a half, he casted or sculpted nearly a dozen molds, largely by himself, many of which are still staples in the Breyer line today.

Every time I’ve found myself getting discouraged by my work load over the past several days, I look at that picture and think: Get it done, get it done. Find the time, and just get it done.


LazyShamrock said...

There are quite a few of the Chris Hess pieces that are simply charming in their expression. Actually the Stud Spider mold comes to mind.

While many of them had conformational flaws, they at least looked like horses and not cartoons!

Carrie said...

Although I joined the hobby a few years after Chris Hess' last sculpture for Breyer appeared, I remember feeling a bit of awe when I learned how long he was basically Breyer's only sculptor/moldmaker. If nothing else, those decades of labor & dedication deserve respect!

Anonymous said...

Gets my hackles up too when people badmouth Chris Hess. Hey people, he was there when it all started -- if not for him, who knows how different the hobby might be. I'll be eternally grateful to him for sculpting one of my all-time favorite molds, the Western horse! He also sculpted other vintage favorites of mine - the Five Gaiter ... Mustang ... Fighting Stallion. And he was involved in the adaptation of my other favorite the PAM mold (although, of course, it was Maureen Love's original idea). Really he is a giant in the origins of the hobby. People who criticize his molds are clueless in my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

The more Breyer turns out new molds, the more I find myself buying the Hess pieces. He put a personality into his sculptures that I think so many new molds lack - I can look at any Hess mold and think back to the riding stable I took lessons at and a horse that matched the mold perfectly in expression and personality.

I also love how he didn't have to incorporate "fluff" to get people to like his work - I think if you took away the wild hair on most of Moody's sculpts there wouldn't be such a huge following of her work. because certainly she isn't sculpting anywhere on par with the realism of Hess!

I just hope Breyer never decides to dump all the Hess molds. (honestly, the only reason I joined the Vintage Club was because I knew it would satisfy my love for Hess's molds!)