Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, November 08, 2010


The equestrian guild has been talking for a long time that it would be so cool to have custom painted banners with which to ride in prosessionals and such. Like our barding and shields, these would have elements of our arms on them - identifying the individual carrying it. Since they are made of silk, they are incredibly light weight and flutter so beautifully. They really add a lovely splash to the ambiance of an event.

So we all got together last winter and came up with a pattern. As is typical for a guild banner, our design represents first our kingdom with the Outlands' Stag, then our barony with its Portcullis. The remaining section is custom for each rider.

After getting that far, we again got into the busy summer season and... the painting never fit into the schedule. Finally in September we decided that another winter workshop was the only way we'd be able to progress. Because this isn't a matter of just getting together for several hours, or even a day to complete. The steps work out to be a 3 day involvment: Friday night Cecelia, Dave and I went over to Leonoras and assembled frames and stretched out the silk on them, and traced the designs onto the silk in pencil. Actually, we only got half of the designs traced on that night. Saturday you go over all the outlines with special paint called gutta. The Gutta is rubbery, and completely seals through the silk fibers. This is necessary to prevent the paint colors from running together. The gutta, however, needs 24 hours to dry, so we went back on Sunday to do the painting.

(For my future reference: Friday 6:45 - 10:30, 4 of us off and on. Saturday 8:30 - 1:30, with Jacob joining us for an hour or so. Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 - 4 of us with Phyllis assisting for half of that.)

In hindsight, I wish I had had my cartoons (paper designs) better assembled. I had all the parts drawn, but they had to be arranged and taped together, then we had to draw on the embattling for the Battlemoor banners. All this took more time than we would have liked to devote... But that all said - having Leonora who has done banners several times before to lead us through each step (AND provide us the studio space in which to work) and having all the equipment PROVIDED TO US by Ansteys (one of the regions recognized banner experts) were two huge boons. We never would have made it through this project without both of those advantages.

As I'm pressed for time, and it's either get this posted now or not post at all -- here's a quick review of some good photos.

Leonora and Faolan (David) applying the gutta.

Starting to paint! OMG - how often is it when you got to paint something, and you end up saying the colors are just so much more vibrant than you'd hoped they could be!

This is my personal banner - the yellow suns on the red background being a key component of my arms. Cecelia's arms aren't finalized yet, but she knows moons will be a component, and her colors are green and black.

These banners are not personal ones, but ones we're making for the Battlemoor war next year. Battlemoor is our kingdom's first war, and last summer was a very successful inaugral year. I helped plan the equestrian program last year, and will again this year. One of the things we struggled with last year was having everyone understand WHERE the equestrian field was! So I'm hopeful having these two banners flying will address that issue.

And Voila: the painting is complete! They still need to be cure for a week, then taken to a dry cleaners to be heat set. Then we're surge the edges and sew the sleeve on to the end of them to slip over a banner pole. Ah, but that's all trivial, right? ;-D