The Sculpture Garden Opens on May 10th & 11th
Come for the bluebells, more horses, works for the landscape & our fabulous new fernery.
for information & private visits email firstname.lastname@example.org
My new book Bert Jansch - Living with The Legend
features at Dartington Ways with Words Literary Festival 2014.
I will be in conversation with my editor Andy Christian in the Barn Theatre on July 8th
My Gallery NUMBER TWELVE East Street Ashburton
Open fridays and Saturdays 10 - 5pm.
It is a fascinating old building in the historic stannery town of Ashburton. Ashburton lies on the southern edge of Devon's Dartmoor National Park 15 miles south of Exeter on the A38. It is a busy, thriving, lively community full of interesting small shops selling unique products and delicacies. There are some great places to eat and to stay.
NUMBER TWELVE specialises in art for home interiors. From the smallest bronze sculpture that can be held in the palm of a hand to impressive life-size horse heads and bas reliefs in a variety of materials, there are driftwood sculptures, pencil drawings and working sketches, prints, paintings, books and postcards...
The extreme weather has kept me confined to the workshop and small horses; there are two about to go into the gallery. Firefly and Copper Colt.
Here is 'Firefly' now finished 24 inches nose to tail.
Below is 'Copper Colt' 27 inches long x 24 inches tall also for sale.
It has always been important to me that art should be accessible but it is sometimes hard to make things affordable. NUMBER TWELVE has made me think on a smaller scale again and, at last, I have begun to draw in earnest after thinking about increasing my range of greeting cards. I began to doodle and there was something about the scale that excited me and I found it hard to stop.
I became even more excited when I got hold of my blow torch and some exterior plywood which I found smells like toast when it burns. So now there are postcard size original drawings on paper and postcard size burned-wood, or is it burnt-wood works. This sort of thing was traditionally called pokerwork, pyrography or woodburning. But I think I like the way burntwood sounds so that's what I shall call them. Any way burntwood works or burnt wood drawings have now joined the ranks in addition to an extended range of greeting cards.
4 x 6 inches 10 x 15mm burnt wood & ink drawing
They are not the only new small things. Apart from little bronze elephants there are now table-top driftwood originals once more. I have found that after a six or seven year break from making small sculptures daylong, and with the advance in lightweight cordless tools, my hands are recovered sufficiently to make small horses again, this time incorporating bronze as well as copper.
I have also been working on a new series of burned works like this one in progress, 'After Equus' is slightly smaller than the driftwood reliefs such as 'Heartbreak Horse' (and 'Out of a Winter Sea' Teignbridge district council collection)
It is great to stretch my capacity; I am having a wonderful time exploring the characteristics of different breeds whilst at the same time considering the abstract element of form and space held in the interior of figurative sculptural mass in works like Cherry Pie and The Young Arabian. Other works such as the large heads, Equus, and the leapers like Sweet September depart more obviously from the literal whilst maintaining (I hope) an intensity and liveliness that to me embodies the true nature of horse. As James Joyce famously put it;
'Unsheathe your dagger definitions; Horseness is the Whatness of All Horse...'
Integrating a wider range of materials with driftwood and oak into the life-size work has resulted in some stunning new pieces. It has been a fascinating experience; there is more variety of texture and I have been able to escape the limitations imposed by a steel armature which has allowed a greater fluidity in the work. More and more pieces are pouring forth, we are rapidly running out of space in the workshop and it is becoming difficult to turn round in the yard.
I seem not to be alone in finding the new sculptures compelling; the foundry reports a high level of interest in them and all this furious work has resulted in some very pleasing international developments. In the last two months bronzes have sold to a gallery about to make it's debut on Vancouver Island, I have a forthcoming exhibition in Jackson Hole in August, another proposed for the centre of Brussels in November through January and 'The Young Arabian' bronze has found a home in Slovakia.
There are new works almost ready for casting, among them 'Dylan' - a fine young cob colt with a great deal of energy. Here he is in the workshop waiting to go off to the foundry. It will be an edition of five available from June.
A caution: the copyright of any artwork belongs to the artist. People may take photos of my work for their own enjoyment but not for commercial gain. We have recently found people attempting to sell postcards and prints online in contravention of international copyright law. Thank you to my followers who alerted me and for their concern that my equine work was being copied. I have also been made fully aware of the number of people now producing driftwood horses, some of them even have moving parts apparently. Whilst I am grateful for the loyalty and concerned indignation expressed, I have to say that I never claimed the discipline of working with driftwood to be mine alone and have always been very open about my working process. If competition and publicity serves to make people aware of the qualitative differences by looking harder at different sculptors then it is no bad thing.
Now to much more interesting subjects...
My Dutch photojournalist friends Pieter Paul Koster and Inga Oostenrijk came for a few days, was it really two years ago? I have kept the photos up because it was such fun having them here.
I was certain they would photograph the thoroughbred under the oak tree, it had caused a sensation at Darley Stud's stallion parade at Newmarket but I was wrong, something else took their eyes.
'Sugar Babe' is a bronze edition of five and is almost a mirror image of the very first driftwood bronze foal of mine 'Sugar Plum' which stole more hearts than any at the stallion parade.
Here she is looking at herself, can you tell the bronze from the original?
Bronze edition of five no 2/5 is availabe in April. To see more go to the driftwood bronze page.
Slightly larger is 'Cherry Pie' a bronze edition of five, no 3/5 will be available in March 2012.
I am hoping to find a larger property, somewhere with serious barns, a few acres, birdsong, clear air and water where I can keep my horses close, have open country to ride through and make a new sculpture garden. . . Dartmoor side of the A380? I may need some help.
Sadly one of my favourite driftwood pieces fell completely to bits in the winter, rotted out as eventually happens with all driftwood work left outside. It did incredibly well to last seven years before the gales got the better of it on my exposed site. Fortunately we had already made a mould and it lives on as Sweet September, immortalised in bonze and now selling strongly. The one above 'Landing' was rescued just days before and will also be cast in bronze.
In the meantime NUMBER TWELVE has relieved the congestion a little.
It is an amazing building, and very old. It is something of a Tardis which makes it a unique gallery space to display interior artworks and drawings. it is now open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Matriarch 11 inches tusk to tail, a bronze edition of 15, at the Ashburton gallery. Child is smaller and there are 3 others in the current family.
A WORLD AWAY.
Some time ago I was visited by the wonderful warm-hearted and enthusiastic Lise Cormier.
Lise is the Chief Executive of Montréal International Mosaïculture and she made me a very interesting proposal.......
She came with the Director of Montréal Botanical Garden, Gilles Vincent and Ginette Marotte, the Vice Mayor to commission a contemporary horse sculpture for Mosaïculture 2013. www.mosaiculture.ca
They chose to have an oak life-size mare and foal. I was very pleased to go and see them installed this June already looking at home among the very new planting in the Botanical Gardens.
Here is the mare, with another horse commissioned by a private client from New Orleans, patiently waiting for the shippers last May. They turned out so similar that they could have been related.
Interview. To read about the creative process click here
For a bit of sheer delight and amazing jewellery visit gorgeous Kate Higham.
The Ugbrooke Connection. 1999 to the present day.
In 1999 I had been making life-size sculpture for two years and could barely turn my car for the accumulation of driftwood surrounding my house. It would be hard to sell the property without a big clear out but I was unsure how I could do that without interrupting the flow of work. My last major exhibition had been at The National Trust's Saltram House near Plymouth when my original life-size driftwood mare and foal were made in response to the magnificence of it's Stable Courtyard.
At the time I was the only British artist working with driftwood and The Press had gone wild; the massive coverage made the show a resounding success and demand was almost overwhelming.
It was at this point that Lord Clifford came up trumps.
Ugbrooke House in common with many of the great and historic houses has a traditional stable courtyard and Lord Clifford offered to rent it me together with the two cottages that formed the rear wall. I signed the lease in October. It was heaven; I had never before had such a great working space and sculpture poured out of me. I took on a full time assistant and was invited to take part in The Shape of The Century - One hundred Years of Sculpture in Britain as part of The Millennium Celebrations at Canary Wharf in London. It was at Canary Wharf that Tim Smit saw my work with the result that I was invited to become one of the first artists in residence at the Eden Project in Cornwall. The full size driftwood horse that became known as The Eden Project Horse was built in the Stable Courtyard at Ugbrooke. Shortly afterwards I bought my current property only two miles from Ugbrooke and started to build my sculpture garden. It is now in it's twelfth year and is starting to look to look quite mature.