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 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. People would stop to see it when he just held up his Horny Toad scatter pin.

It seemed that he was not 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 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 online from this website.

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

  • The original model being carved Carving the original model
  • The master mold being made Making the master mold
  • Molten pewter being poured by Tom Pouring the molten pewter
  • Time to open the cooled mold Opening the cooled mold
  • Details are the most important for Tom Finishing the details      
  • If Tom doesn't like it, it gets remelted A rejected piece is remelted
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