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About the Artist

Meet the Artist and Learn How Horned Lizards are Made

Tom McCain moved to New Mexico as a youngster where he often wandered the vast empty East Mesa of what is now the North East Heights in Albuquerque. He developed a love for the land and the many wild creatures that inhabited the area including the Western Short Horned Lizard.

As an adult, Tom found his niche in the jewelry and lapidary industry as a wax carver, specializing in animal carvings. At first, he carved the usual common animals like deer, elk, bear and rabbits. Eventually, he developed a line of several hundred jewelry animals.

One afternoon while he was seated at his favorite meditation place on his ranch on the Turquoise Trail near the town of Madrid, Tom noticed a small Horny Toad sitting close to an anthill. He intently watched its every move. I guess you are here to remind me of something, he told the little Horny Toad. I have carved just about every other southwestern animal except for you, and you were my favorite when I was a kid.

Using the small lizard as a model, Tom carved his first Horny Toad, which he produced as a scatter pin. He found that his little Horny Toad was his biggest attention getter. When he just held up his Horny Toad scatter pin people would stop to see it.

It seemed that he wasn't the only one who grew up playing with Horny Toads. People not only stopped but they related their childhood stories about playing with Horny Toads. Many of the people from the rural communities and Native American Pueblos began telling Tom legends and stories about the Horny Toad from their own cultures.

Due to the popularity of the Horned Lizard items, Tom McCain created the Horny Toad Connection, LLC which now produces hundreds of Horny Toad items. These can be ordered on line from this web site.

Tom is known around the Southwest as the Horny Toad Man. Thousands of people who have attended State Fairs and regional shows have heard Tom pass on his legends, stories and jokes about the Horny Toad.

How our Creations are Made

Carving the original model

Making the master mold


Pouring the molten pewter

Opening the cooled mold


Finishing the details

A rejected piece is remelted


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