Joan Davis of Flatlands Foto passed on a tip to us about a fabulous gift idea: beautiful sculptures and mugs created by Lindsey Epstein. We asked Lindsey to introduce herself and her unique designs, which could make a great Christmas present for any horse enthusiast.
I’m not really sure where to start, but I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any to begin a little story about myself and the work I make. I started working with clay in high school and continued working with it in college. The University of Vermont has a special community studio within the school where anyone (students or non-students) can come take classes and use the facilities. I ended up working a lot in the studio (in case you didn’t know, Vermont is COLD in the winter and not too much fun for riding…so it was nice to do something inside for a change) and ended up finding out that I didn’t want to be a veterinarian, but that I liked working in clay. So I graduated from UVM with my animal science degree and moved back home to Massachusetts to learn more about clay at UMASS Dartmouth.
During this time, I got slightly distracted with more eventing and riding and I was trying to do pottery and ride as much as possible. Unfortunately both of these activities are time consuming and require a great deal of work. A couple years ago I began selling more of my own work which led to a shift in my focus with less on riding and more on working with clay. Last summer I made a big leap and decided to get my own studio space. Naturally, I picked a dilapidated convenience store in the little town of Rehoboth, MA.
Renovating the space was a project in itself- two and a half months of demolition, painting, cleaning, painting, building and more painting gave way to the studio that I now call my own. It’s a good little sanctuary with a waterfall, small jungle, my koi fish (named Papaya) and lots of blue things.
In my studio I make all sorts of items from clay. Most of them are functional and serve a specific purpose- bowls, cups, plates, butter dishes, sponge holders, jewelry holders, etc, but I do have two specific horse-themed items: mugs with horses painted on them and sculptures of horses. The horse mugs come in various colors and this year I’ve expanded the line to include many new designs.
I began experimenting with sculpture at UVM and the horses I make now have developed and grown over the years. The horses are made with a special formulation of clay (which I make in the studio) and are finished with a process called “raku’ which gives them their metallic shine and color variations. After the horses are made, they must fully dry and are fired once in a traditional kiln. I then apply special raku glazes and fire the horses outside in my handmade raku kiln. When the pieces are red hot, I take them out of the kiln and place them in a can with leaves, newspaper and shavings which all catch on fire for about 30-60 seconds. I place a lid on the can and that is when all the magic happens changing the colors on the horses. After the pieces cool, they are cleaned and ready for their new homes.
Horses are amazing creatures. There is something very fragile about their elegant strength and that is something that I try to put into each one of my sculptures.
If you’re interested in purchasing work, you can see some of the horse mugs for sale here, and the current horse sculptures are listed here: www.etsy.com/shop/
Thank you for reading, happy riding and Go Eventing!