Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sidesaddles and Suffragettes

In my living room sits a lovely black antique sidesaddle with ornate tooling on the leather, a Fall colored tapestry seat and a heart shaped metal stirrup. I absolutely adore it, it is like a piece of art to me, but with a real history. I often wonder about the lady who rode it, the horse who wore it, and what their lives were like.
I've been doing some research lately for a book I plan to put to paper and came across some articles on Suffragettes and sidesaddles. I had never really put the two together like that before, but it doesn't take much reading to see how they are entwined. One article states " And while it is common knowledge that the Suffragettes achieved the right to vote in 1920, what has gone undetected is that these brave women rode into the voting booth as second-class citizens on a sidesaddle, then galloped out astride."
Sidesaddles were conceived as a political and social tool of oppression to women and this is why the Suffragettes rode astride, and why they caused such a stir. Back then women could be arrested for indecent exposure for wearing a split skirt or pants. All that was indecent was the implication that women were less than men.
One of the cowgirls I collect images of, is Alberta Claire, who was a well know Suffragette. She is know as the "Girl From Wyoming." Inez Milholland was another who dared to ride astride and fight for womens rights. You can read about them, Catherine the Great, Evelyn Cameron and more of these brave women on the internet if you wish to learn about them.
Now, I wonder even further who rode in that saddle and what she thought about it.

Photo from my collection

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Timeless ....

Most everyone who reads my blog knows I collect vintage photographs, a lot of them are the old time cowgirls, but I also collect images of the more typical victorian women and horses. I sometimes think they fascinate me so, because I often feel I should have lived in those eras instead of my own. When I look at them I feel some kind of connection, something resonates there. I always wonder who they were, how they lived, and what part the horses played in their lives.
If you have never heard of Evelyn Cameron 1894 -1928, please google her. She was a fascinating person and lived what I think is an amazing life. She came from the elegance of England, riding side saddle and fox hunting, to the remote Montana lands to live on a ranch with her new husband. She trained horses and learned photography as a way to make money. She traveled many, many miles alone with her horse hauling her camera equipment to photograph the land and people. She journaled her life in writings and photographs.
I have plans to create a photo book with my images of victorian women with horses, that will include quotes and any notes on the photos themselves about who is pictured. I like looking back to a time when horses were more than a hobby or passion, they were an indispensable part of life, and women and horses will always be a timeless combination.

Friday, September 10, 2010


This work titled "Contemplation," shows more of the technique I have been working on for my new pieces. After much - contemplation, I feel like I am finally "home" in this artwork form. It is meant to replicate the look and feel of vintage photos, though not photo realistic. I am very busy in the studio with painting and jewelry making, there is so much more to come ! Prints are also going to be available now, on Etsy and my website.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The horse God built

October 8th I will be at the movies. It is the opening date for the new Secretariat film. If you don't know Secretariat, I won't explain, if you do, then you know why I will go alone, because it will make me cry. Not only for Big Red but for Sham as well, whose brilliance would have stood alone had he raced at any other time. Secretariat, who bounded into my heart, like that of a whole nation, will again bring me to tears. I'm not only okay with that, I'm looking forward to it.
"Oh Lord he's perfect" as one article stated back in his day. Those that criticized Secretariat as a stallion apparently did not understand he was one of a kind, the horse God built. See you at the movies.......

To read about Secretariat check out these books: The Horse God Built, by Lawrence Scanlan or Big Red of Meadow Stable, by William Nack.

The Secretariat video link on my sidebar might be of interest as well. This one will take you to Youtube.