White Stallion Studio, Pyrography and Pet Portraits

As most equestrians know, the horse world is an incredibly small community. Barn owners, staff, and riders all see each other at horse shows, tack stores, sell horses amongst each other, and move from barn to barn.

Go to a Grand Prix and you will find top level riders completely approachable and walking amongst the crowd, taking care of their horses with their grooms, and even watching the competition.

So when my daughter’s trainer  posted a gorgeous custom piece of art on Instagram about her horse and dog, I was really intrigued. I loved the level of detail.  I asked her about the artist and put it aside to contact her myself. Fast forward a few months and the artist was hired as a trainer at my barn. See? Small world. In my totally awkward (but endearing) way I introduced myself and my blog.

I asked Ashley if she’d be willing to answer some interview questions for Bridle & Bone. She did, and I love the story she included in her email to me. So read how Ashley began White Stallion Studio.

 

M y first horse, Pete, was my inspiration for the business (he is a white stallion). He was a stallion that my trainer used as a school horse  because contrary to most stallions, Pete was extremely calm and patient. I leased him for a long time and then finally bought him after college.  I used to get yelled at a lot in art school because I would constantly do these portraits of Pete and my teacher thought I was just sort of drawing this white horse and it was too cliche and symbolic to mean anything.  I had to keep explaining that I saw this horse on a daily basis and he was a real part of my life, not a myth.  I learned a lot from that tension: drawing what I loved, but not being cliche or a one trick pony.  I think that’s when I really took to animal portraiture.  Even when doing something realistic you can have a style that captures something that is beyond just an image.  You have to make people feel something for what you are drawing. 

Read on for my questions for the artist, Ashley Gilbert, of White Stallion Studio.

Heather signature

 

 

 

White Stallion Studio

 

Tell us a little about pyrography. What is it exactly?

Pyrography is the art of drawing with a heated tool or fire.  I have a tool that heats up to varying temperatures and I can change the metal tip at the end to get the desired drawing effect that I want.  Some people do actually use a torch, but I have not been so adventurous to try that.  You can burn on almost anything that can withstand the heat, leather, paper, but the most popular is wood.

How did you learn how to do pyrography?

I taught myself pyrography. I got a few books from the library and watched a few youtube videos.  I’m still not convinced I do it right, but as with most art it really doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you like the results. I wasn’t planning on getting into pyrography when I tried it, I was just going to experiment, but when I tried it, I definitely fell in love.  I love tedious detail work and pyrography totally filled that need for me to work slowly and focused for long hours. 

Do you do any other mediums?

Yes, I started my art career selling oil paintings of carriage horses and then I also love drawing portraits with colored pencil.

What is your most popular product? 

My most popular product are pyrography ornaments that I then color in with colored pencil.  I put the pet on one side and then the name or a special message on the other.  It makes a great very personal gift.

If I wanted a custom piece, how does the process work? 

Right now I use Etsy to sell my work.   I have broken down the listings into the products that are popular to customize, so ornaments, different sized stall signs, leash racks, ribbon racks, frames, etc.  Each has in the description what is customizable about each piece.  Some of the simpler items people are simply sending me the text they want, but some of the larger items require a bit more of a dialog and I can send a proof prior to burning so the customer will approve the layout.  I like when I get to do that because I learn some details about the owner and pet that helps the piece have more character.  I also have one listing that just has a list of different sizes and shapes of wood. That listing is for someone who has an idea beyond what I have in the shop.  I’ll put anything on the size wood they choose for a flat fee (found in the listing).  I’ve made signs with quotes for kids rooms, a portraits of multiple animals, maps, you name it. 

What is your turnaround time?

Each item in the shop has a different turn around time.  The smaller items take 1-2 weeks and larger items 4-6 weeks.  It also depends on time of year.  Christmas is the busiest!

Do you create pieces for other animals besides horses and dogs?

Yes I have done cats and I even did a guinea pig once.  I have been hoping someone would something of a bird as they have pretty color feathers and lots of detail, but so far none yet.

What is your price range?

$40-200.

Why would your art make a perfect gift?

I think the portraits created with pyrography are more unique than your average portrait.  They have a dynamic quality to them because of the warmth of the wood shining through.  This type of art is also extremely practical.  That sounds silly to say about art, but it is a portrait or memory that is special and yet can be useful.  Racks, boxes, frames will all be used and seen often.  I also just love to celebrate other people’s animal and accomplishments.  As I am not a huge company, I am working on your order with individual attention and I feel connected to my customers and their stories.  I love my animals and have my own goals with them so I know how special it is to have something that marks the bond you share with your pets!

 

Would you like a custom portrait of your pet? Order on Etsy today!

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36 thoughts on “White Stallion Studio, Pyrography and Pet Portraits

  1. What beautiful art pieces! I really like the Pyrography, that is a new art form to me, it’s so beautiful. These would be perfect gifts for any horse owner or lover. I thought about you recently because I just started wearing a heart shaped necklace that is made with horse hair in it. My Niece gave it to me a few Christmases ago, but it took a while to find a chain that would fit it. It’s so unique.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Yes, horses, dogs, cats, or apparently even birds! Your necklace sounds beautiful. I’m familiar with owners saving hair from their horse’ tail after death to make into a memorial bracelet. Talk about unique and personalized.

  2. Oh, these are beautiful! I’m going to see about getting ornaments for next year!

    1. They would make such a personal gift. I’m thinking of doing the same!

  3. Such gorgeous and creative art pieces/ornaments with our beloved pet’s faces:-) I think I might get with Babu’s face on it as a gift for myself:-)

    1. That’s awesome, you should! Place your order before December 1 so you have time to put it on your tree.

  4. What incredible products. There is serious artistry in this art form, and then combined with the watercolors- simply incredibly

    1. I too love the combination of pyrography and color. I can imagine the texture under my fingers. This is a definite for gifts!

  5. She is very talented. I never heard of pyrography before, however think I may have dabbled in wood burning in my high school days. She makes beautiful pieces. And the ornaments are perfect for the holidays. Thanks for sharing. You are right, small world!

    1. I thought you would enjoy this as an artist yourself!

  6. These are beautiful! She is definitely very talented. They look so detailed and realistic; I’m sure these would also make a great gift! Surprisingly, I haven’t heard of pyrography till now but I would love to try it.

    1. You should try it! I am so accident prone though I’d probably burn myself or lose some hair.

  7. These are great products! But I imagine it is too late to order something for this Christmas if it takes several weeks. I’ll definitely think about this for future gifts. I also love how you try to find out more about the animal instead of just copying a photo.

    1. She’s promising all orders placed before December 1 will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas. Such a wonderful gift idea.

  8. These are beautiful! I love how detailed the horses are on the boards using the pyrography. This is something I would love to get for my sister and her family for the farm.

    1. It would make a perfect, and truly personal gift. I’m sure they would love it!

  9. Wow, what a talent. I love these art pieces. I have never seen anything like this before.

    1. I’m so glad I could introduce you to this. It’s very original.

  10. What wonderful artwork, wow, I also admire people that are able to do art as I am lousy.

    1. I used to love to draw, but stopped years ago. Now I’m so bad it isn’t even worth trying. Totally out of practice.

  11. I’ve never heard of pyrography before, the artwork is lovely and so impressive that it was self-taught! I’m sure Ashley will be busy in the next few weeks. Thank you for sharing this wonderful work!

    1. I wasn’t familiar with pyrography either. Very interesting.

  12. Those are lovely! I’d love to have one of those ornaments. I’m impressed she’s self-taught.

    1. Me too. It must take a lot of dedication.

  13. My sister is the horse person in our family. I need a gift for her 60th birthday next month. I’ll be checking out the Etsy site to see if I can get her something there. Thanks for the idea! Sandra and Dolly

    1. Happy to help! Anything I can do to support female artists and entrepreneurs. Plus, her stuff is fantastic.

  14. I had never heard of pyrography before! What a neat art medium! I love the way it looks, and I love the story behind White Stallion Studio. My sister-in-law and niece are big into horses and compete in eventing – I will have to check out Ashley’s Etsy store. I bet I can find some great gift ideas for them!

    1. This will be such a unique and thoughtful gift for them and they would love it! Order before December 1 so you can it in time for the holiday.

  15. These are GORGEOUS! I am a sucker for this type of handcrafted art. So much talent.

    1. Me too, her art is truly beautiful. I love supporting women in business.

  16. I absolutely LOVE this!!! I would also love to learn pyrography!! Such a beautiful art form and this has given me some awesome holiday gift ideas!! I am totally checking out her shop! Thank you for the heads up about her!

    1. You should absolutely check out her shop! She’s guaranteeing all orders placed before December 1 will be available before Christmas. Such a unique idea.

  17. Wow these are stunning! It is so easy to get a pet face wrong (perspective is often off) bt these look perfect. I love the horses, they look almost real.

    The Dash Kitten Crew

    1. They do look real! It’s so hard for me with just a pencil, but I can’t imagine doing pyrography. So cool.

  18. I remember being in school and only wanting to do works of my horse – everyone thought I was the crazy horse kid, but like Ashely, when they are part of our everyday life they can take over our hearts. I love her work and imagine the ornaments will be a big hit with pet parents this holiday season.

    1. I can definitely relate to the crazy horse kid! Her art is beautiful and her passion definitely shines through!

What are your thoughts?