Keeneland Magazine

WINTER 2014

Keeneland, Investing in Racing's Future since 1936.

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KEENELAND.COM K WINTER 2014 53 Clients often send her photos of their be- loved dogs so she can create custom mugs or plates with their likenesses. McKinney's cus- tom wool headbands and hats sport animals of all types — from cows and corgis to bun- nies and sheep for babies. And, recently, a cli- ent who works at Claiborne Farm requested a custom set of brightly painted ceramic bowls featuring African animals. "When I fnd something I like, I dive into it," said McKinney, a mostly self-taught artist who took up knitting at age 16. Demand for McKinney's line of wool hats, headbands, and custom sweaters keeps her and four knitting assistants busy year round. Despite using a knitting machine, the work is time intensive. "I probably make only about 20 sweaters each year. The work involved is so demanding. Each sweater takes me anywhere from eight to 40 hours, depending on the intri- cacy of the design," McKinney said. "Lots of times clients will ask for equine sweater patterns that allow me to incorpo- rate their racing colors and the colors of their friends," McKinney said. "I make so few sweat- ers each year, so I enjoy adding that level of custom detail. That way they feel like they're really getting something special." In the past few years McKinney's time and attention have shifted somewhat more heav- ily to her line of hand-painted ceramic ware, simply because — unlike her woolen ware, which is a winter item — there's a year-round market for it. She currently employs two part- time assistants who help with the ivy and foral accent work, allowing her to devote her attention to the animal designs on each piece. "I've been painting all of my life, but I didn't start painting on ceramics until about 24 years ago, when I bought my current house and decided to paint the sink basins and kitchen tiles," McKinney said. "There's something useful about ceramics, and creating some- thing useful is very important to me. Also, it's From hand-painted ceramics to headbands and hats, McKinney fnds many expressions for her art. CRAFTED By Robin Roenker / Photos by Keeneland/Z M ost equine artists portray their work on canvas, in bronze, or even jewelry. But Lexington artist Ouisha McKinney creates unique equine art that you can wear or even eat and drink from. "My mediums are wool and earthenware," explained McKinney, who runs her own knitting and ceramics studio from her home in Lex- ington's Palomar Hills subdivision. And while equine themes are a big part of McKinney's work — she can custom-create clients' horses and unique racing silks on anything from sweaters and hats to ceramic sink basins, plates, or mugs — it's not all she does. HAND Ouisha McKinney Creates Custom, Usable Equine Art

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