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  • Last modified 69 days ago (April 10, 2019)

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Artist displays love of horses through wire working

Staff writer

Metal bailing wire isn’t a typical artistic medium, but for the last 12 years, it has been the material Marion resident Belinda Skiles uses to wrap her imagination and skill around her love for horses.

“This is something not many people do,” she said. “You can find a few examples, but they aren’t of the same style. It’s something I can do that I feel good about.”

Making her pieces anatomically accurate is important to her as someone with decades of experience with horses, Skiles said.

“If the wire’s been kinked at all or tries to bend as you’re working it, it’s very hard sometimes to make a foot look like a foot,” she said.

Her pieces are generally made for friends, art shows, or as prizes for endurance riding competitions, Skiles said.

“There is a history behind some of them,” she said. “They were made for different reasons.”

“No horse can be made the same,” she said. “I just start doing it until I feel like it’s done.”

The wires she uses are 6 to 8 feet long, but it becomes more difficult to work as she goes on, Skiles said.

“The more you twist it, the harder it is to twist,” she said. “It’s a dangerous thing working with wire. The wire flips around, so I usually do it on the front porch or sitting on my coffee table.”

The potential hazards are usually small cuts, but sometimes they can be more serious, Skiles said.

“I’ve cut myself a few times with it,” she said. “I know it hits me and nicks me, but one time it cut me good, and I bled quite a bit.”

Most of her pieces take several days, but some take more than a year, Skiles said.

“It’s so time-consuming, but anything is,” she said. “Sometimes, you’d rather be doing something. I’d always rather be doing this than housework.”

Bailing wire is her primary material, but not the only one. She also uses copper wire on occasion, Skiles said.

“It’s different because the wire is much softer, but because of that it’s very pliable,” she said. “It’ll change shape, and I don’t really want that.”

Last modified April 10, 2019

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