Artist Katie Morgan of Racine “painted” Mary Knapp’s horse, Abby, using show ribbons Knapp collected over the years as a 4-Her. Morgan uses show ribbons as her medium to replicate photos supplied by customers commissioning a portrait of their animals.

Artist Katie Morgan is using an unusual “painting” medium that she discovered in a box of long forgotten show ribbons. During a stay-at-home COVID-19 stint earlier this year, the Racine horsewoman was cleaning her basement and came across her stash of ribbons from her show days.

“I thought to myself, what a waste that they sit in the basement,” Morgan said. “I worked really hard for them and so did my horses. I went on Pinterest and saw many different ideas but nothing really struck my eye. I thought about it for a while and came up with the idea to make a portrait of my horse using my ribbons.”

Although the ribbons are fabric, Morgan doesn’t sew them. Instead, she applies the swatches to canvas.

“The satiny ribbons are cut and hot glued onto a canvas,” Morgan said. “I only do wall hangings and can do any size canvas.”

Those commissioning a ribbon portrait supply Morgan with their show ribbons and a photo they would like the ribbons to illustrate.

“They can send me their ribbons and photo,” Morgan said. “I try to get it as close to the photo as I can. I will mail the finished portrait, pictures and any leftover ribbons back to them.”

Riding since she was 10 years old, Morgan showed English style as a 4-Her. Another 4-Her showing with Morgan is her friend Mary Knapp. Knapp now owns a ribbon painting of her horse created by Morgan.

“Katie took my ribbons that I have won through my 4-H projects and my horses from the last 20 years,” Knapp said. “I gave her a photo to work with and she made me a beautiful picture of my horse, Abby. Her artwork is very creative and the pieces are amazing.”

An arts and communication graduate, Morgan focused on ceramics when she attended UW-Whitewater. She now has a home ceramics studio and will create raku pieces that incorporate the hair of horses, dogs, cats and llamas provided by the customer.

She fits time with her artwork into her busy schedule as an elementary school art teacher at EverGreen Academy in Racine, a fourth to eighth grade private school. She also helps at a therapeutic riding program, giving riding lessons to youngsters with special needs.

When she’s not teaching or creating works of art, Morgan rides dressage with her off-the-track thoroughbred, Franklin. In addition, she and her husband, Robert, have recently built a barn and are now running a small boarding facility.

Morgan can be contacted through her Facebook page or by emailing Morgankatie10@gmail.com.