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Driftwood Horses

Updated on July 3, 2014
"Fair Dawn" sculpture
"Fair Dawn" sculpture

The sculptures I chose to look into with a little more depth are Heather Jansch’s “Driftwood Horses”. They are truly unique and deserve more recognition than they receive.

They are a unique type; you could place them in the molding wood & molding bronze, but there is much more to these pieces. In reference to the wood there is extremely little carving & molding of the driftwood. Ms. Jansch “only does as much carving as needed; prefer to use the woods natural texture & shape“. The horses are made of driftwood, unique driftwood, oak driftwood, oak, hardwood & cork & driftwood (for the pig statues) There’s also driftwood bronzes & bronze castings.

The stylistic characteristics of these are simply amazing. The bronzing looks to be 100% wood. As for full driftwood the wood is molded together perfectly to take the horses shape, whether it’s to be an Arabian or Thoroughbred, or another breed. It’s as if the wood was just grabbed off the shore & they magically fit together perfectly.



"Nightmare & Daydream III" sculpture
"Nightmare & Daydream III" sculpture

Most of the life sized horses have a heart of oak (the perfect wood for this as it is extremely dense & a longevity to it.) They actually do have a steel frame called an armature that has a coat of fiberglass to it to provide a rough surface for the wood to hold onto; plus it hides the armature. The wood is tied with wire first to make sure the placing is fine then it’s screwed together with stainless steel. The screws are then hidden with filler & paint over that. Their hooves are of lead occasionally; most of the time recycled copper with actual horseshoes for support. They are protected from bugs by a preservative & need to be retouched by the spray once a year. The bronzes are recommended to be covered with a special rug in bad weather.

Surprisingly, the horses fit everywhere. Deserts, beaches, gardens, in your backyard, museums. As with live trees, these sculptures seem to blend in well with every environment. In outdoor settings, they seem to blend in, but yet exquisite enough to stand out. With the urban settings they bring an open feeling; as if a real horse was there & you’re experiencing the power & freedom they have with them & represent.

The mood & emotions these horses portray varies piece to piece. A few examples of these: in “ Boys Day Out” you see the three of them in the wet sand with the ebbing tide & get a sense of fun & the freedom to play – as if they’re about to go full gallop in the blink of an eye having the time of their lives.

"Cherry Pie" sculpture
"Cherry Pie" sculpture

“Cherry Pie” you get the feeling of the playfulness & curiosity of a foal.

“Fair Dawn” is a life sized Thoroughbred stallion; you can feel the power & regality that stallions seem to have naturally about them in their presence.

Finally, “Nightmare & Daydream III” you can feel the bond between mare & foal; the mare’s love & protection of her baby, & the comfort the foal has & it’s curiosity it has for everything in its surroundings.

Overall, the Driftwood Horses have a lot going for them in the world of sculpture. How they’re made; their look, feel & the different sizes. It would be amazing to have them in more exhibits for everyone to enjoy.

Works Cited

www.heatherjansch.com; life sized horses, driftwood horses, bronze castings & student’s Q&A

Heather Jansch - Driftwood Bronzes (Life-Size)

© 2014 Jennifer B

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