We have boxes and boxes of pre-digital age snaps. Here is a small selection of old pictures and old memories that chart a long journey of skill development, products, designs and varied work that have made Caballus what it is today.
This was taken outside one of our three timber air drying sheds at our workshops at Cwrt Henri, near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire. The horse was one of the original breaks in design from the traditional Victorian methods of making. We gave the range the name 'The Cwrt Henri Collection' after the village our workshop was located near. This one made from local olive ash, looks like a medium sized horse on a swing stand.
That is a very much younger me, although many would say I haven't changed much in thirty odd years! I am standing by one of our interpretations of a Dentzel outside row stander carousel horses. As American carousels rotate in an anti clockwise motion, you are looking at the less decorative, non 'romance side' of the horse; the side no one sees when looking at a carousel as it whizzes around.
Here is the same horse from the romance side. As you can see a much more elaborate affair.
This is a very early Cwrt Henri design. By this stage we had developed a way of using quarter sawn wood to expose the most amazing patterns in the polished wood versions.
A rather sweet small bow rocker. This horse was made from local Welsh ash. We fell, convert, air dry and kiln all the wood we use to make our horses, a process that takes 3+ years. The difference from other makers? Well it allows us to be able to tell a client where their horse once stood on the map as a tree and we know the wood inside and out!
Blocked up and underway, a carousel horse starts the journery.
A dapple grey on a bow rocker, a cwrt Henri to the right starting to be carved and a Muller armoured horse well on the way to completion.
Sorry for the dreadful picture but it was a long time ago and the only one we have of it! I remember this horse very well as the client led the design process. A process which was very loosely based on a Stein & Goldstein garlanded lead horse with a cherub figure harking the work of Cernigliaro and a more quiet Muller head. The roses were then altered from the original and more added under the saddle cantle with a more heavily haired mane. It felt like a hybrid of styles to me and created a nice and dramatic horse.
Looking up from carving a Cwrt Henri. This room was a tough place to be for an 8 hour shift. I remember the booth as cramped and very dusty as you can see from the woody flour dust settled on my work clothes.
To expand into a different area and carry out the more repetitive jobs varied contracts brought us, the world of C.N,C. machining arrived in the workshops. A truly amazing machine but it has no soul.
We had an opportunity that doesn't come around that often. Not our normal line of work, but for around an 18 month period we made all the snooker table components for the world famous Riley's snooker brand........it was an extremely busy time but very monotonous and unfulfilling!
C.N.C. did let us explore a lot of different products including the precision work required to make electric guitars. However our sculptural skills by hand were employed by an electric guitar maker to shape guitar bodies into organic forms.....a love for wood sculpting was reignited.
We are craftspeople who use our hands and we are artists in our hearts so this interloper was never a happy bedfellow. We took the decision it had to go so we could return to our 'hands on' roots. Retro looking?.....probably.
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