And another thing about the GREAT BIG  Home and Garden Show….

We got to meet up with internationally-known local light, Joe Leonard, woodcarver par excellence, creator of carousel horses, church installations, mythical creatures of all kinds.  He was represented–and did us proud–by an armored carousel horse featured at the entrance next to the hot cars (They were , wouldn’t you know, Mustangs.).  The horse, known as “Bubba” to its friends and followers, had been created for a collector from Dallas, TX, back in 1992.  This collector had seen some of the horses that Joe had created for the Disneyland Paris Carousel and decided that he wanted one of similar size and style.  Voila! Zee horse, he was created and resided in zee Lone Star State until zee collector decided to move to a smaller home in Florida.  Zut!  Alors!  What to do?

Joe was contacted, with an inquiry as to whether there might be someone new who would like to own such a fine specimen.  Disney contacts were made but failed to generate much steam. In the meantime, Joe was at a show at the I-X Center and met Mr. Tim Park who owns the facility.  Conversations ensued, photos were sent.  Sacre bleu!  Bubba is coming back to Cleveland.

Such a steed doesn’t just hang around in barns and racetracks, you know.  Mr. Park was amenable to creating a background façade, consisting of a platform, backdrop and canopy, as well as a set of steps to the rear–the rear of the platform, not the rear of the horse, nobody mounts a horse from there except movie cowboys…Hoppalong Cassidy, maybe–so that the more uninhibited (naming no names here) or the more fascinated may climb into the saddle for a fantasy ride.  Terry Allen of LP Machine was hired to fabricate the metal frame that the whole apparatus is mounted on.  Liz Eustace created the color scheme and did the painting of the façade to complement the colors on the horse.  Joe himself was responsible for the design, construction and hand-carving of the entire work (10 ft x 12 ft. x 6 ft.).

Bubba is now on permanent display at the I-X Center; people are encouraged to get up on the horse and have their pictures taken.  Kids can enjoy the experience, parents and wing-nuts too…thanks to the I-X Center and Mr. Park.

Joe has been working on various private commissions–the Timken home, a Maronite church, a residence in Gates Mills–but wouldn’t be averse to stumping for a matching horse at another entrance.  Look for it.