A thousand pardons are not enough, good behaviour is also needed.

Heather Jansch and horses

 

 

I do not teach but like to help students by making information available.

 

Most people ask the same questions about my sculpture. . . .


If you find after reading this that there are still questions you would like to ask you may email me.




 

Where do you find your driftwood and do you do much carving? Where can I see or buy your sculpture? Do you make other animal sculptures? Have you ever made a Pegasus or a Unicorn?


We collect driftwood from the Devon coast and estuaries, although there is less to be found since it became so fashionable.  Local estates supply oak from their woodlands and people bring wood they think might interest me. I don't much enjoy carving and do as little as possible preferring to retain the original wooden texture.


See my horses for sale at my  contemporary sculpture gallery in Ashburton open every friday & Saturday for interior artworks.


Visits to the sculpture garden and its driftwood gallery are by appointment only except for Open Days:

 

usually the last weekend of August and the first three weekends in September. 


As for other animals, I make stags and hinds, elephants & sometimes pigs & dogs.  I have also made a driftwood wall sculpture, or more correctly bas-relief, of the most famous flying horse, Pegasus, you can see it and a fabulous beast of a Unicorn on the small works page of this site. There is also a series of dancers.

 

There are a lot of artists copying you now, what can you do about it? Did you make The Eden Project Horse? 

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing anyone can do about copyists. There have always been copyists and always willl be.  When people look closely they can usually see the differences or similarities between different driftwood sculptors.

 

The Eden Horse is one of mine.

 

It is wrong to assume that all artists making horses from driftwood or teak are necessarily copying anyone else. Driftwood has become fashionable and driftwood sculpture sells well so it's not surprising that there are now small factories producing driftwood horses by the container load. I even get offered them myself. 

 

My response is to continue to raise the quality of my work as high as I am able and let the sculptures take as long as need be.  Nothing goes from here until I am completely satisfied with it,  I have some that have taken as long as five years to reach the quality I was seeking - and I keep experimenting. Experiment is the only way to keep the work fresh and original. 

 

bronze detail bismuth patination. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are there any contemporary horse sculptors whose work you admire?

 

The contemporary sculptor whose work most moves me is Nic Fiddian-Green who has become justifiably world famous for his awe inspiring monumental horse heads. I first met him in the late 90‘s at a foundry in Basingstoke and discovered that we had both been so forcibly struck by the Selene horse head from the Parthenon at The British Museum, that the horse has remained at the very heart of our separate sculptural disciplines. Why particular works of art have the power centuries on to so influence and inspire new artists to fresh interpretations is something beyond my capacity to describe in words but they somehow ignite a latent creative fire in one’s soul and there can be no turning back. 


Whatever the scale of his work, it is immediately obvious that one is looking at the work of a master, an artist with a powerful perception that will span the ages. My own horse heads are as much a salute to Nic Fiddian-Green’s sculpture as to the unknown sculptor of the original horse head that inspired us both. He is another artist for whom drawing remains a vital part of his working discipline. 

 

In your equestrian sculpture what are the hooves made from, do you use horse shoes?

How do you fix the wood together ? Do you do other animals? Do you paint?

The hooves are made from recycled copper and sometimes lead, they may be supported by real horse shoes. 

 

I fix the wood by whatever method works. Each sculpture is different.  I like problem solving it is why my interest in this way of working continues. The larger sculptures have a steel frame, in sculptor's terms, an armature, which is then coated with fibreglass to give a roughened surface. This both both disguises the steel and stops the wood from slipping until it is tied in place with wire. When until I am sure it is right it is screwed screwed together with stainless steel screws. The screw heads are then covered with filler and stain.


I started as a painter specialising in traditional portraits of horses. They are animals that I find endlessly fascinating, I also make stags. I still paint and also make driftwood wall sculpture or bas reliefs and drawings and have for sale both originals and small limited edition prints at the darmoor sculpture gallery in ashburton 

 

I would like a driftwood equine sculpture for my yard, can they go outside and how long do they last?

I do not sell driftwood sculpture for exterior display because it will not last more than a few years. I have found that using a waterproof New Zealand horse rug can help and if sculptures are put undercover for the worst winter moths they will last better. I have some that are now twelve years old and still in sound condition and others that have rotted out in under five years and needed rebuilding.

 

By contrast Driftwood Bronze sculpture will last perfectly outside for many centuries.


My life-size pieces for the landscape are made from heart of oak which is a very dense and long lasting wood. They are treated with preservative to prevent insect attack.I cannot say exactly how long they will last but seasoned oak is iron hard as any builder who has ever tried to cut it knows.  The problem lies with the fixings, all wood will expand and contract with changes in humidity and this will eventually loosen the fixings.  The problem is exacerbated by frost or snow so The Botanic Gardens of Montreal take my oak mare and foal sculpture inside for the winter because their minimum snowfall is one metre

 

 

The mare and foal Oddessy and Hope freshly installed in The Botanical Gardens of Montreal in June 2013

 

Where did you get the idea to make driftwood art? Was it from seeing War Horse? Your work reminds me of the puppets. What is the biggest horse head you have ever made ?
That's three questions in one. I live not far from the sea in the south west and driftwood always fascinated me. I started making horses from it over twenty-five years ago, long before the stage production of war horse. Like most artistic ideas it came out of the blue and was an accident. The biggest horse head I have made so far is a monumental horse's head called 'Fable' which stands about twenty feet tall you can see images of it in the sculpture garden section of this website. 
Do you ever make anything you don’t want to sell?

Yes.  I have the luxury of being able to choose what I sell and what I keep. If I really don't want to sell an original I will have it cast in bronze. One of my favourites was a painted driftwood bas-relief of Pegasus; the famous mythical flying horse of myth and legend.  I kept the original but made several others all of which "flew straight off the wall"   I also love to make large horse heads, it is an opportunity to see the animal in a diferent way.  I used a Pegasus for one of the later Bert Jansch Album covers "Sketches." The drawings for his album Moonshine were my favourites although I also enjoyed designing the cover for Birthday Blues and Rosemary Lane.


Who buys your sculpture, how much does it cost and do you sell  drift wood art online? Is it always bespoke sculpture?

 

 

It is hard to say who buys my artwork; it sells world-wide, my clients come from many different cultures, what they share is an interest in contemporary art. Clients will buy all sizes from small bronze horses for interiors to monumental sculptures as gifts. Museums and Botancial gardens also purchase or commission purchase sculpture.

 

There is a long tradition of sculpture and statues in large estates, and almost every European town has significant monumental statuary in the form of bronze equestrian horses.  

 

Increasingly there is interest in 3D art from both corporate and private collectors world wide. Hotel complexes like to commission contemporary sculpture for their interiors and there is a demand from restaurants for wall reliefs. I never imagined that anyone would buy original art through an online art gallery but most of my sculpture now sells online.


People are always curious about my prices. It is really only the wealthy who can buy or commission bespoke items, and it is the same with sculpture.  Most of my clients demand absolute privacy and discretion, I never disclose my prices to anyone but the client.


At the same time I feel passionately that it is important that everyone should be allowed free access to artwork so the sculpture garden opens to the public each autumn see News & Open Days There is no charge. 


You can picnic by the stream and even in wet weather the average visit is about three hours. There is plenty for the kids to do from treasure trails to lucky dips and wild swings out over the water.  Visitors can buy things from as little as fifty pence for a postcard, twenty pounds buys a signed copy of my book, Heather Jansch's Diary, which makes a perfect gift for people of any age. There are prints and original drawings also available. but there is no pressure to buy anything at all.

 

Do you make any else apart from horses, do you make other garden or yard art?

Yes. I make other figurative art, also site-specific constructions and installations. I particularly like landscape design and artworks that have both an aesthetic and a function. My relaxation often comes from working in my private sculpture garden and landscape where I almost exclusively use recycled materials. 

 

site-specific garden sculpture coffee root and log wall in devon.

 

I also like working with raw cork, it has a very interesting texture, I used it for the pigs at The Eden Project for the Cork Oak exhibit in the Mediterranean biome. I despise waste and will always look to see how things can be reused before thinking about buying new except for tools. As a result my sculpture garden is now featured in the National Gardens Scheme YELLOW BOOK. I have become known for making sustainable art! I make paths from bits of material collected from various parts of the world set in a random geometric pattern, they become memory pathways. the place

 

Do you fit the idea to the material or the material to the idea?

That's an interesting question and I do both at different times.  As a sculpture artist I love problem solving. Working with what there is to hand generally means finding recycled materials and that comes very naturally. 

 

Do you make small model horses to start with or do you start with drawings of horses?

Both yes and no, depending on the material. Small models are sculptures in themselves. They are commonly referred to as maquettes.  In some cases I prefer to let sculpture grow organically, in others I may follow a drawing to some degree. When I am working with an idea to cast in bronze I tend to do more working drawings. I still like to draw, it is the best way to see clearly and understand form. As a child I always had a pencil in my hands and aged about ten was given the notebooks and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci who immediately became my biggest hero, I was fascinated by all his drawings and sketches, they seem as fresh today as when he made them.

 

What materials do you like working with most, bronze or wood? How do you make a bronze from a driftwood sculpture? What is a driftwood bronze made from exactly?

My best work often comes when my creativity is stretched. New challenges, experiments, possibilities and ideas are what keep me alive and I will use whatever material I can find that is interesting. For information on the bronze casting process go to bronze casting

 

Why did you decide to become an equine artist and how old were you?

Love of horses and about three years old. My favourite book was Black Beauty and I was fascinated by wildlife and animal art in general, I loved the drawings in The Jungle Book. I went on to study equines in every way that I could, drawings of horses in the field was paramount but I also read every book about horses that I could find, their behaviour, their ailments.  Different breeds and where they came from were things of fascination to me. 

 

What inspires you? What aspects of the world around you influence your art?

The fact that I am still alive and human on this planet is what influences me. At different times I respond differently according to mood, season, location, dream, opportunity, available material, interaction with others, world events...... the list is endless and ever changing. 

 

How long does it take you to make a horse sculpture. How can I learn to do it?

That is a bit like asking How long is a piece of string? I have several pieces on the go at the same time so if I get stuck on one I can work on another and often that is how I find the solution to the problem. I have had some that have taken three years and others that have only taken a month but I do not log the hours it takes, that is not what interests me, what interests me is how well I make them.

 

How can you learn to do it?  Experiment. 

 

 

Do you use symbols in your work?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you see any?


 

Would you say that your driftwood horses embody the Japanese aesthetic of wabi sab

 

It is not for me to make such a claim but it is an interesting question and I am delighted that my sculpture prompted you to ask it.  The concept of wabi sabi is profound and can be life changing; I encountered it first hand when staying with the celebrated Japanese potter Takasi Yasuda and his then wife Sandy Brown and in the early 1980‘s. For those unfamiliar with wabi sabi there is a brief description on wikipedia.



Do you ever lease any of your sculptures or other artworks? 
 
Yes I am often asked to supply sculpture for special occasions, like weddings or other events. The large heads have a theatrical presence and draw big crowds. Usually it is originals that are used, in part because they are easier to manouvere and transport; often access can be restricted making the installation of bronzes impracticable.
  
Does your artwork contain a significant message that relates back to the world of modern society?

It is to live as well as you are able to the best of your ability with generosity and compassion. I have no control over what others see in my work because everyone will interpret it differently according to their age, experience, belief system or culture as they will also interpret anything I may have to say about it. I do try to answer questions in the most straightforward way but my job is really over once a piece is finished.

 

Do you create your artworks to evoke a positive reaction from the audience or do you try to challenge their beliefs?

NEITHER. Personally I believe that if I become concerned about how others might react, I have fundamentally lost my way and therefore the artwork is in grave danger of dilution or corruption.  I am not a spiritual teacher or a politician and have no interest in attempting to influence others.

I don't think any great artist ever concerned themselves about what others thought. Do you imagine that Picasso Leonard Cohen, Miles Davies or Beethoven, to name but a few, worried about what others thought or tried to influence their thinking?

 

How does the audience respond or interact with your works?

Everyone is different. How do you respond?  It is not uncommon for people to be moved to tears. In reponse we made a medicinal herb garden with undercover seating ovelooking a pool. It provides a tranquil space for relection and for them to recover their composure. Some people respond by making driftwood sculpture. Some are emboldened to change their career, others choose to move house and some buy themselves a horse and start to ride, some write poetry............... 

 

 

 

 

 

I can tell you can draw. Your work has the gestural ability of our Deborah Butterfield in the States.  What do your equines go for?
 
  My original sculptures are sold to private clients world wide, each piece is individually priced according to size and complexity. There is a waiting list.    I  do not discuss my prices other than with clients and only supply galleries with bronzes.

  Among the “art elite”, is your work considered fine art or fine craft?  
 

I can’t say.  I am sure some dismiss it as popularist and one-dimensional, some will consider it craft and others will laud it.  Three of my life-size driftwood sculptures were chosen to feature in The Shape of The Century - 100 Years of Sculpture in Britain to celebrate the millennium in London’s Canary Wharf . The show contained works by Henry Moor, Dame Elizabeth Frink and other luminaries, so from that I guess my sculpture is largely considered to be fine art rather than craft. 




How can I find out more about your sculpture and how you make it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Look very hard at my work. Try to get here on Open Days.  If you can't do that, you could buy Heather Jansch's Diary... A life in the year of which gives an insight into what my life is like and what is involved in the working process.  But the best thing you can do is experiment, try to find your own way of working, something unique to you will have a vitality to it that nothing copied can ever equal..

 

 

What is the differene between statues and sculptures?

 

Statue and sculpture are often confused because the two words have similar meanings.  The word statue is used when speaking of traditional life-size or larger carving in stone or bronze of a human figure or group of figures, and specifically in relation to figures from antiquity especially those mounted on horse back, hence an equestrian statue. A small statue is referred to as a statuette. 

 

According to The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary the definition of a statue is:

‘A representation of a living being, sculptured, moulded or cast in marble, metal, plaster, etc; spec. a usu. life-size or larger figure of a deity, mythical being, or eminent person.’ 

 

Until recently most statuary was of a high quality but now garden centres and shopping malls have become inundated with mass produced concrete, fibre glass/resin and driftwood articles of dubious quality. Sculpture is the term more frequently used to describe contemporary 3D artworks especially those of an abstract nature by a fine artist, either unique originals or signed limited editions as distinct from mass produced factory replicas. High quality sculpture is serious work created by fine creative artists and can be in any material and of any size.  


 



       Can I buy garden sculpture from the sculpture garden on open days? 

       We sell sculpture from the sculpture garden all year round and can arrange delivery anywhere in the world.

 

       What are driftwood bronzes & how are they made, is the driftwood covered in real bronze?  

       Driftwood bronze is an exact replica of the original driftwood, mine are real bronzes. Bronze casting

 

SITE MAP.

 

life-size horses   News & Open Days  small works   driftwood bronzes   bronze casting   

sculpture garden   buy the books   contact/sales   Ashburton gallery  

Buy a photo  opportunities   Eden Project Horse