How Social Media Turned an Equestrian’s Love of Wine and Horses Into an Overnight Sensation
By: Brittany Bevis
Would anyone care for a glass of Caber-neigh, Chardon-hay, or Mer-whoa perhaps? There’s a much loved saying repeated by many an equestrian/wine connoisseur that goes a little something like this, “A horse is like a fine glass of wine. You can’t have just one.”
Because that sentiment is certainly true, there’s a definite need for an equestrian-themed receptacle in which to place your adult libation of choice. Enter Marci Voorhees, the creator and artist behind The Horse’s Glass.
Originally created on a whim as a gift for a friend, Voorhees’s whimsical wine glasses feature a custom, hand painted portrait of your favorite four-legged companion. Since creating a Facebook page for her wine glasses in August of 2013, Voorhees has received approximately 30 orders, an amount she considered to be manageable. Then, all of a sudden, last Friday, interest exploded boosting her page from 130 likes to 21,417 likes. (UPDATE: About 30 minutes after this article was posted the number of likes increased to 21,927!)
“My Facebook page is a bit out of control at the moment,” she says. “And to think, less than a week ago I thought I was doing quite well with 120 likes! I really have no idea how it took off. It had to have been shared by a few really popular people!”
“At this point, I have enough orders to keep me busy for a good six to eight months if not a year. And that’s just the orders I have been able to work out of all the emails from the past few days. I still have ALOT of messages on Facebook to work through. At this point, the waiting period is several months, and I have started a waiting list for when I take more orders.”
This whirlwind of a ride began about a year and a half ago when Voorhees accompanied a friend to a ‘paint your own wine glass class’ for her birthday. She spent the session laboring over a stained glass-themed wine glass, when she had an epiphany.
“When I was done, I wondered why I spent all my time on something blah and decided to make a quick horse glass. So, I painted a brown and white Paint horse in the same style as mine are now. It was very rough but fun. A month later, my mother-in-law used that glass during Thanksgiving dinner. She raved about it and how she wanted some for herself.”
“For Christmas of 2012, I painted her a set of horse’s glasses in colors and patterns of horses she has owned over the years. They were not whimsical and had more realistic faces. Then, as a favor, I painted another set of six glasses for a horse lady in Llano, Texas. These are the first ones on my Facebook Stable page.”
Painting is Voorhees’s favorite pastime, but it’s not her full time job. She jokes that the term ‘starving artist’ was coined because it’s 100% true. Currently, she works full time for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the Coastal Fisheries Division.
“I’ve always found time to work on some kind of portrait or drawing,” she says. “Art keeps me sane. I’m looking into expanding so that there are stock glasses of various breeds, colors, and patterns available in circumstances where someone doesn’t have the time to wait for a custom glass. I also want to do a Christmas line of Santa Clops and Mrs. Clops. There are a lot of options!”
In order to create each personalized portrait, Voorhees closely examines photos and descriptions of the horse she intends to paint. After mixing the paint colors, she begins by painting the head profile before continuing on to the shoulder and rump. A horse owner herself, Voorhees is careful to base her proportions on breed characteristics in order to create a realistic yet whimsical image.
“A draft gets a big wide head and wide muzzle while an Arabian gets a wide forehead and a tiny muzzle,” she says. “I once painted a horse who lost an eye in a bad accident. He was painted with a ‘winking’ eye. I work on markings and details of each horse I am rendering. I try to keep them whimsical and fun. Big lashes and big a**es.”
To complete each work of art, Voorhees inscribes the horse’s name, date, and her signature on the bottom of the glass. Once the paint has dried, the glasses are usable and washable. They can be washed in a dishwasher, on the top rack only, however, she recommends hand washing to prolong the life of the paint. The entire process takes two to three hours depending on the complexity of the design.
“If the markings are not too complicated, [it takes] around two hours,” she says. “I like to put a solid coat of paint on my glasses before I cut in details. Sometimes, it can take three to four layers of paint. If the horse has a lot of spots or markings, a glass can take up to three hours.”
Because of the sudden explosion in orders, Voorhees is not accepting any new commissions at this time. However, she has begun a waiting list. For more information about the Horse’s Glass visit the company on Facebook by clicking here.
Looking for some horse-themed wine to fill up those fabulous new wine glasses? Check out the Brave Horse Winery in Wilton, California, a location that blends their love of artisan vino with Friesians and Gypsy Vanners. Another option is a Hot To Trot red or white blend from 14 Hands winery in Washington.
Scroll below to view more fun photos of The Horse’s Glasses. Click on each image to view an enlarged version.