Wherever I Hang My Hat, (That's My Home)

As the early ghost of Christmas loomed over me in autumn 2012, I decided to put aside enough time to make a good chunk of the gifts I would be giving. I tend to sew presents for my Mum and sister, but often have trouble thinking of something to make for my Dad from fabric. This time I was visited by a flash of inspiration, thanks to the tools I have access to at my part-time workplace, Bag Books, and these brooches I came across online, created by artist Felieke van der Leest.

My Dad is a fan of Clint Eastwood movies and also likes silly things, so an idea began to form. I thought I could make a set of hooks, like those you might hang hats from, for him to hang some of his garage equipment from, with the rear ends of horses serving as the hooks. (The only hats my Dad owns are little woolen beanies for cycling in, which don't really require a hook, but I am amazed by the porkpie hat Zoe made for her Dad and might force my Dad to expand his collection of headwear by giving him one of these next year)

My Dad has kept a few of the stranger 3D objects my sister and I created when we doing art projects at school and uses them to decorate his garage, which is full of tools. I once spray painted an industrial sized chain and hook bright blue, and my Dad has this hanging on his wall with a plastic model of Darth Maul suspended on the end. I thought some horse hooks would go well with this kind of installation-of-happenstance.

I ordered a set of solid plastic horses from Ebay  They were made in China, but have this very lovely packaging depicting a British rural idyll.

I chopped the horses in half on the ban saw at Bag Books. The ban saw is a serious machine that I always treat with the utmost respect, as you would anything or anyone that has the power to remove your digits in less than a second.

(Please note; no horses were harmed in the making of this present.

I did feel quite sinister slicing through the middles of these miniature glorious beasts. Sorry horses.

And it was quite a sad scene that lay before me when I had finished.

There was no time for melancholy woe however, as Christmas was fast approaching. I was given a free off-cut of wood by a man sitting in a forklift truck at my kind local builders merchants, Travis Perkins. I sanded it down in my back yard, in preparation for staining. At that moment, the rain came down and I had to move the operation indoors.

I rubbed stainer into the wood with a scrap of fabric. I managed to make quite an unholy mess in the process. 

I ran out of time to complete the project in London so had to sneakily finish it in my Dad's garage, the very lair in which it would be dwelling upon completion! (That is, if my Dad didn't find it either too ridiculous or too impractical to use).

I decided to attach the horses heads instead of their backsides to the wood, as I thought the gift would be slightly more noble, and also that the upwards slope of the head would make a more useful hook than the downwards slope of a bum. Here are the tools laid out ready to go, including the essential mug of very strong black coffee.

I drilled guide holes all the way through the wood and partway into the horses, in the very centre of the flat, sawed ends.

I covered the flat end of the horses in double sided tape, to make sure the bodies wouldn't spin around once they were screwed into place, then Joel drilled screws all the way through the back of the wood into the horses. We had to make sure the screws were the right length so they didn't poke out the front of the horses.

Here is the almost-finished product. I also screwed eyelets into the top of the wood at each side and the centre, so that my Dad would be able to hang it on the wall. 

Here is my Dad opening the present, and wondering what the h%*ll it is.

Here it is in situ in the garage, where my Dad has put it to use as a gardening tool holder. I'm not actually sure what that stiff short handled brush is for. It looks like a horse brush, but as far as I know these are the only horses my Dad owns.

I did make my Dad another gift this year too, which is also animal related. I will blog about that at some point in the future. Now all that remains to be done is to think of a use for the back end of five plastic horses. All suggestions are welcome!