How does oneâ€™s cast off become another personâ€™s inspiration? Nature has been awfully kind to Heather Jansch or perhaps Heather Jansch has been awfully kind to nature. There is little doubt that art, beauty and value all rest in the eye of the beholder â€“ and perhaps in this case, more so in the ambitions and inspiration of the beholder. Art is not passive, and this becomes all the more apparent when one can turn something completely mundane or lacking in any apparent lustre into something of beauty and admirationâ€¦
Heather Jansch was born in Essex in 1948. She studied fine art at Walthamstow and Goldsmiths College in London. Her passion for horses led her to Wales where she spent several reclusive years breeding Welsh cobs and establishing herself as a successful painter. Eventually however, wanting to sculpt again, she was drawn back to her roots: the horse. Her earliest pieces of wire and plaster owed something to Giacometti; the following series in copper wire, reminiscent of Da Vinci’s drawings and much closer to her heart, did not quite reflect the unique quality she was seeking to embody. It was not until driftwood made its way into her realm that the life she tried in vain to portray through all these other mediums was brought to light. Finally the explosive power, natural grace, and potential violence of her subject were revealed, giving her work its authenticity â€“and its unmistakable “horsiness”.
Jansch’s work, which comes in all sizes (from life size to the quaint and small) and includes driftwood, plaster, bronze cast, and other assorted mixed media, has gained international recognition and many admirers. She collects all her driftwood from beaches after high tides and storms and will often work a few pieces at a time, with energy and materials wavering in between. The direction and final outcome of any piece is in the hands of both the materials available and the vision behind, with both taking the lead from time to time.
In her own words: â€œI could never have dared hope that I would find a medium of such apparently universal appeal; the popularity of my sculpture has exceeded my dreams by miles. Each new tide may bring a treasure chest bursting with a myriad of unexpected shapes and textures. I love the briny tang that rises from driftwood and the sense of wonder that something so very dead still seems to live, redolent of distant lands and other cultures.â€
Through sheer imagination and vision, dry, dead, value-less driftwood is being reborn into fine, elegant, muscular and eloquent horses, exuding both strength and prideâ€¦ Itâ€™s inspirational to see what we are capable of, what nature has actually provided us with and what value really isâ€¦
Heather Jansch lives and works in the beautiful Westcountry of England. Visitors are welcome to her gallery and studio throughout the year by appointment. You can also visit her website at http://www.jansch.freeserve.co.uk/index.htm