Meet Your Neighbor - Painted Pony Shop

Me painting
Who are you?
My name is Emmaline Sullivan, my shop name is Painted Pony Shop, and I sell handcrafted wooden hobby horses, adorable fleece finger puppets, and a little bit of my artwork - all horse related!

Tell us a little about your family.

I’m married to a wonderful, stabilizing, supportive, silly yet sensible Irishman named Jay. We live happily together in a the most adorable mobile home you have ever seen with our (hypoallergenic, husband-safe) Maine Coon cat named Maggie. The rest of my family lives at my parent’s farm. That includes my Mom and Pa, as well as my 2 horses (of course!) and a Jack Russell terrier that are, unfortunately, non-hypoallergenic. 

Me riding my Thoroughbred, Cora
Where are you in Maine and what's it like?
We live right near Brewer, Maine in a beautiful little spot with a tiny bubbling stream and plenty of wildlife, that somehow balances all of its natural appeal and green grass with a plethora of modern amenities within walking distance. It’s a wonderful place to share our first home! 

Are you a native Mainer? If so, what’s kept you. If not, what brought you here?

Me riding my other horse
My Mom is a native Mainer, who had me in Connecticut, but then couldn’t stand the draw for very long afterwards. As a result, I moved to Maine with my parents when I was five years old, so for all intensive purposes, I consider myself a true Mainer! I’ve stayed in Maine because this is where my family is, my roots. I contemplated leaving for a while, but when I weighed risk vs. benefit, there was really nothing positive that I could come up with! It is such a beautiful state, and I know its rhythm, its unpredictable nature, its amazing natural appeal. What else could a girl need? 

How long have you been making your craft and what got you into it?
I’ve only been making my hobby horses since 2009, and have only been marketing them since October of last year (2010). Everyone in my area knows that I have horses, that I’ve been riding almost since I could walk, and that I love them with a passion. So, when a friend of mine was planning a party, she asked me to make some props for the relay race. They were supposed to be basic, simple stick horses, just to add a bit of a challenge to the participants. Of course, I couldn’t stop at “simple”, I made four horses with bandannas, broom-bristle manes, plumes and feathers, glitter, tailored costumes and custom tack, feathers, beads, chains, curb bits, etc. The horses were a smashing success, among both the parents and the children. When it came time for the actual race, the kids were white-knuckling them and stubbornly refusing to share them with the older participants. So, an idea was born! It took me a while to perfect the product, but I’m proud of what they are today.

Do you feel your craft is related to where you live?
Fine Art Horse Painting
Absolutely! I spent my entire childhood outside. Willingly. I grew up in a rural area with 30 acres of private woods around me. I spent my time exploring the forest, building tents and teepees, interacting with the animals, and making up stories in my head. In the early days, I made my own primitive stick horses out of a branch, a worn leather work glove (that was usually pilfered from my Pa), boot laces, and duct tape. I had a whole herd, with each horse assigned a different breed or discipline based on its height, glove color, and whether it had single or double reins. I used them for imaginary cross-country competitions, Dressage competitions (I became a master of tempi changes!) and flat races. I don’t think I could have had such an imaginative upbringing if I grew up anywhere besides Maine. Having acres of unpolluted, clear forest, with bubbling brooks to play in and not a person for miles helped me to learn to entertain myself, instead of depending on video games and television. I had plenty of resources at my fingertips, which helped to develop a sense of respect for the environment and eco-responsibility. All of these factors contributed to developing my slogan, “Encouraging Kids to Stretch Their Legs…and Their Imaginations!”

How has been a part of the Etsy Maine Team helped you?
African Zebra Hobby Stick Horse
The amount of assistance and information I have received from team members has been overwhelming. Any time I have a question, problem, or grievance to air, I can post it on the thread and receive support immediately. Maine Team members have been instrumental in spreading the word about PPS on Facebook, Twitter, and of course Etsy. I feel that I have made some real friends, as well as valuable business associates. Thank you Etsy Mainers!!

What are some of your favorite shops on Etsy?
So many options! If I had to choose, my top five favorite Etsy shops would be:

Simply Focused Photography (
Noble Gnome (
Our Front Yard (
Jen’z Art Bazaar (
Tribal Style (

Where do you see yourself and your Etsy shop in the future?
Buckskin with Rope Halter Hobby Horse
Well, I’d like to get to the point with my horses where I can contribute heartily to the family income. My husband works a rigorous full time job with a hefty commute and crazy hours, so if we could get to the point where I was selling enough horses that he could drop to part time, I would be ecstatic. I’d love for Painted Pony Shop to become a recognized Maine brand, known for heirloom quality, imaginative design, and originality. But, for the moment, being able to contribute toward paying the bills is ideal!

Where can we find you online and locally?
Oh, my. I’ve been networking a lot lately! Here is my “portfolio”: 

Contact Information:
Twitter: @PaintedPonyShop
Maine Made Profile:

Products Available At:
Etsy Shop:
Endeavour Toys:
Trail of Painted Ponies:
American Folk Festival: August 26-28, 2011, Bangor Maine,

Thanks Emmaline for sharing a little about yourself and how the wonderful state you live in helps you create!  
Be sure to check out all the other awesome Maine artisans on Etsy, by searching "maineteam".