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Pony Expresso

Sara Boettrich

My original idea for the horse was to create a "horse chestnut" using real chestnuts that I collected with my daughter at Cobbs Hill. I liked the play on words, the connection to our local trees and using images from nature. I was considering using the real thing, encasing the enire horse with chesnuts, but the logistics seemed daunting. So I proposed doing it, somehow, with photo images.

Wilson Farms was looking for something that would represent their new line of coffee. They saw the chestnuts and asked if I could do the same thing with coffee beans. Considering that I'm an avid coffee drinker, that the image was still one of nature, and that I could use the play on words "Pony Espresso", I accepted the challenge.

My husband, Matthias, who is a professional photographer, worked with me on the project. The entire horse was completed with one large handful of coffee beans that we laid directly on our scanner at home. My husband played around with the color and then printed one master copy. We had the image photocopied onto photo quality paper and made about 100, 81/2 x 11, copies. I painstakingly cut each copy into quarter sizes or smaller, cutting along the contours of the individual beans. The work was like doing a huge, 3-dimensional, jigsaw puzzle and was as detailed as cutting out individual beans to create a relatively smooth, seamless appearance. I used decoupage' to adhere the images onto the horse and was amazed that it worked! My husband painted the legs and face and coated the entire horse with polyurethane.

What I envisioned was a brown textured horse that would entice the viewer to come closer. I wanted the image to be photoquality and to have a seamless appearance. Not only did it work, but it was lots of fun. I think I fell in love during this labor of love. I miss my horse and look forward to a new project.