*under construction*

13 May 2009

Chasing the Elusive Brass Ring...

I have an old and very deep love for carousel horses. Not just any, mind you -- but those masterfully carved wooden steeds, meticulously painted by hand with pigments coaxed out of exotically hued flora and fauna -- those noble beasts with the warm and realistic eyes of glass --
those... are the ones that

Faded memories tucked deep within the recesses of my mind are once again alive and animated at the very sight of one of these carousel beauties -- the silvery lilting music of the the merry-go-round dance in my ears, and the sweet smell of warm cotton candy is so real that I can taste it. Dizzying excitement rushes over me -- butterflies whirl in my stomach while my eyes search for the perfect pony -- my small hand held tightly as I'm led through the crowd ...
I clearly remember toddling through the sea of legs belonging to the regally posed equines, all the while making my way towards my chosen horse. Saddle after saddle was being filled by less particular children and time was running out -- but I always ended up with my perfect match. As soon as I was seated, and the ride began -- a portal to another world opened.
I was whisked away --
The wooden floor disappeared and was replaced with lush, green grass - life magically breathed into my carousel horse; his wooden limbs were replaced with living ones and within his chest beat the noble heart of true horse. The brass ring that I was chasing wasn't hanging on the merry-go-round - it was the wind in my hair, and for that 5 minutes in which the carousel went round and round, my horse and I were galloping free across the fields in my vivid imagination.

Girls and horses ... I was one of them. I was obsessed and I truly believed that it was soley because I wished so hard and wanted it so very badly that my dreams miraculously came true. On the morning of my 6th birthday, there it was -- I had a horse of my own. Although he wasn't as grand nor as beautiful as the regal horses of the carousel, he was a small and scruffy Shetland pony -- but he was real, and he was mine -- and to me, he was the most beautiful thing in all the world.

My world with horses lasted until I went to college, and it was the best 12 years and childhood I could have dared ever hoped for. Slumber parties in the barn, overnights and camping trips with horses - I was in heaven. I moved from ponies to horses and for my 13th birthday I traveled to Kentucky with my trainer and parents and came home with a young Thoroughbred, right off the track. We did a lot of growing up together - my horse and I - we spent endless afternoons together -- along with fierce training for both of us, we swam in lakes - meandered through fields and along country roads and sometimes we just hung out - we went on fox hunts through the gorgeous countryside - and went to show after show up and down the coast. I knew how lucky I was.
Life was good

Carousels and the horses that grace them are forever entangled with those good feelings and deep, wonderful memories of my years with my horses that came to life. I have just as much love for the steeds frozen in time on the carousel as I do for their living, breathing counterparts. So it's no wonder I have a bit of an obsession with the merry-go-round horses. These pictured in the photos above are all completely restored and just absolutely beautiful. They were originally made in the mid 1800s and are true pieces of Art. I am so very happy to see them lovingly brought back to their original glory -

These graceful beauties above are part of a carousel in France.

Different cities, different countries, different children dreaming as they ride along, chasing brass rings of their own -- it's all very different,
all very much
same ...

A wild yet trusted friend ready to take you there ...

And due to the artistry and skill of loving hands which belong to a caring soul

These majestic creatures are fully restored and each have been given a second life ...

Dream makers ... the Artist and the Art --

Going places limited only by ones' imagination.

I would absolutely love to have one of these retired old beauties for Museville --

Yet, I don't really know where I would actually put one in my home...
I do know where it would take me
my heart --

...And I can't wait to revisit that place.

Giddy-up, let's go.


vicki archer said...

I adore carousels too Isa and am always looking out for them in the villages of France. My favourite of all time is in Avignon, xv.

Millie said...

Thank you Isa for bringing such happy memories flooding back. My favourite carousel has sat in the same place at our beach for nearly 80 yrs. The music, the excitement of choosing a horse, watching yourself in the mirrors & the sawdust floors. But most of all waving to my darling Dad sitting proudly on a bench seeing his little Princess totally caught up in the moment.
Millie ^_^

jerseygirl211 said...

Ahhhh....My Dear Isa, Now I see a deeper connection between you and me. My love for carousels and horses equals yours. Almost every word you wrote, I have experienced myself, the only different being that I was never lucky enough to own my own horse.
My favorite carousel was at Asbury Park, N.J., my father would take me there on our weekend visits and I had a favorite on that carousel also. I wouldn't ride the MERRY GO ROUND, if they tried to put me in one of the seats and would pout if my favorite horse was taken. He would also take me on the pony rides that they had there. I created some excitement one day when my saddle slipped and I was suddenly riding on the side of the pony. One little girl thought I was doing tricks. :O Those days of my childhood were truly the happiest of my life.

I will go upstairs NOW and take some pictures and post them on my blog later today. This has made me more excited than any other posts we have shared.


Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oh...and me. You so eloquently captured that feeling of searching for the favorite wild spirited steed to ride...around and around. I was always looking for carousel horses in my 20's. Your life with horses sounds much like my daughters. Such a noble and beautiful past time.

Miss Kris said...

Hi Isa!

I too have a fond love for carousels! Maybe it is a nice reminder of my childhood or all the artistry and thought that goes into each carousel! Or perhaps it is the anticipation waiting in line, looking for the perfect pony to ride, with all the right colours and within the perfect height for me to get on...all by myself. What freedom I fell with the wind in my hair as it goes round and round! What lovely memories! Thank you Isa!

~Miss Kris~

jerseygirl211 said...

Okay Isa,

I posted my collection. Hope you get the chance to visit my blog.


donna baker said...

I refinished an old carousel horse for someone once. It was a C.W. Parker one and I painted it dapple gray. I was pregnant with my 3rd child at the time so needless to say, I named him Parker. I too grew up with a quarter horse which I usually rode barebacked, and also was thrown too many times to count. But, those were the best days of my life.

Fifi Flowers said...

GORGEOUS photos... are these your photos? They inspire moi to paint a carousel collection... LOVE carousels!

Tessa said...

Magical in every sense of the word!

God's Pittbull said...

Absolutely lovely! Thank you for bringing somany lovely and happy childhood memories with these awesome horses!! How I loved them and phantasized they were real!! I love the picture of the children in the rondabout...awesome!

bettyl said...

Great post! I never thought of carousels like that.