Category: Who Is

Maytag Matilda – A Horse From Every Angle

The Photo Challenge this week is to look at a subject from different angles. I’ve chosen a Horse sculpture that stands in Plaza Fountainside, Fountain Hills, Arizona.

This horse, a mare, is called Maytag Maltilda. She weighs  5,000 lbs, stands 9 feet tall and  is 11 feet long. The fabrication artist is Dixie Jewett. In her workshop in Dayton, Oregon, Dixie pieces together bits of metal and garage sale finds to create one of a kind masterpieces.

To see Maytag Matilda at her best, click on one of the photos to open a slideshow. To close the slideshow, press your ES-Ca-pay button (or the tiny ‘X’ on the top left of the screen).

People respond to her work, Jewett feels, not only because the sculptures look so amazingly lifelike and animated, but also because “they can identify with all the little bits. They’ve got stuff like that at home.” She vividly remembers the reactions of one couple. “The wife was amazed by how realistic and alive the horse looked. Meanwhile, her husband was up close to it and said, ‘Wow! A ’57 Chevy headlight!’”
– Norman Kolpas, Dixie Jewett – Horse Sense, Southwest Art –

The story of Dixie Jewett’s life is interesting, though difficult to piece together. The Southwest Art story referenced above is the most complete rendition of this remarkable woman’s life, but is a scant one page. I hope someone writes a more complete biography some day, because it isn’t often that an Alaskan Bush Pilot/renowned welding artist is a woman!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

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The Woman Who Patented the Zigzag Stitch

Do you have a sewing machine? What is the first brand name that pops into your mind when you think about the zigzag stitch? If you said Singer – that company developed a commercial zigzag machine in 1892.

The first patent on a zigzag stitch machine, however, was many years before that. Helen Augusta Blanchard filed a patent in 1873.  Patent  #141,987 describes the ‘Improvement in Sewing Machines’ as:

The present invention relates to certain new and useful improvements in sewing-machines, having for their principal object the forming of an overstitch that may be adapted to either fine or coarse work. These improvements also consist in a device, arranged and operated as will be duly described, for varying the depth of the stitch, so as to be used for fine or coarse work, and of a device for disconnecting the operation of my improvements to allow the ordinary working of the machine for its customary sewing.

She applied for another Patent in 1874, #152721, which she said was ‘akin’ to her first patent.  Helen’s patents were for working machines. The model for the machine in her first patent is in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

Helen was born in Portland, Maine in 1840. She was a prolific inventor who patented 27 other inventions in her lifetime, including a surgical needle (in 1894). The biography of this remarkable women is found in the book “Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Technology” by Autumn Stanley.

 I see that the path of progress has never taken a straight line, but has always been a zigzag course amid the conflicting forces of right and wrong, truth and error, justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy.
– Kelly Miller –

Here is the link to how other photographers interpreted this Photo Challenge: The Daily Post – Zigzag

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Not Your Average Ukulele Players

Uke can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you just might find uke get what you need!
– uke4ia –

After this past week of destruction and immense sadness, I was ready for something uplifting. The Ukuleles were perfect – made me cry another bucket load, but for a different reason.

Here is the link to The Ukulele Orchestra of  Great Britain and to their DVD – Anarchy in the Ukulele.

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Who is the Artist of Toonaday Cartoons


For many years I subscribed to Ron Leishman’s  Toonaday Digital Clipart. I have used many of  Ron’s toons in my blog posts,  as you can see in the following gallery. Ron is  a fellow Canadian and Albertan (Alberta is a Province in Canada).  Though I have never met him, I have traded emails with him on several occasions, and he has generously created several toons that I requested.

I sometimes combine several of his toons to illustrate my story and that makes me appreciate the immense variety of topics he has covered!

I didn’t appreciate how hard it is to draw until I tried to do it myself. It is one thing to be able to say, “Of course I know the difference between a pirate and a fire hydrant.”  It is quite a different thing to remember enough detail about each to draw them well.

Which one is your favourite?

SLIDESHOW: Click on any photo to open a slide show. Press your ‘es-ca-pay’ button to close the slide show.

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