Heather Jansch: Making Art From Driftwood

written by Anjula August 13, 2007


Artist, Heather Jansch Artist Heather Jansch was born in Essex in 1948 and studied fine art at Walthamstow and Goldsmiths College in London. Jansch has always had a passion for horses and it is this passion that led her to buy a hill farm in Wales. Having spent several reclusive years breeding Welsh cobs, she then set out to establish herself as a successful painter – a period she describes as her “apprenticeship.”

Taking a sabbatical from commissioned work, she moved to Devon in 1980. Eventually however, wanting to sculpt again, she was drawn back to her roots: the horse. Her earliest pieces of wire and plaster are reminiscent to pieces by Giacometti; followed by her series in copper wire — reminiscent to Da Vinci’s drawings. Yet, they still did not possess the unique quality she was seeking.

You’re probably wondering, “How is this art ‘green?”

Jansch finds the raw materials for her magnificent lifesize sculptures along the beaches in the Westcountry of England. Using driftwood she gathers along the coast of Devon, Jansch creates amazingly realistic horses that reveal the explosive power and natural grace of her subject in a manner which gives her work its authenticity – its “horseness”.


Mares NestJansch has long been inspired by her passion for horses, and her knowledge of their anatomy and movement reveals itself in the fine detail of her sculptures. Jansch recalls: “It happened entirely by chance and from seeking to find a unique form of creative expression that felt like my own. I was tired of following in other people’s footsteps. . . . One day while I was out, my son couldn’t find any kindling wood to light the wood-burner and had chopped up a piece of ivy that had grown round a fencing stake. He’d left behind a short section that I immediately saw as a horse’s torso of the right size to fit straight into the copper wire piece I was working on. The next question was where could I find more or similar shapes, and the answer was, of course, driftwood.”


Devon LadJansch has created a beautiful collection of driftwood horses, giving them unique names such as Apollo, Captains Cleo, Devon Lad and Fortune Filly.

To learn more about Heather Jansch’s work and studio in Devon, visit: http://www.jansch.freeserve.co.uk/index.htm


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Charmaine Esling November 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I love your art, and saw you on BBC2 Autumnwatch Unsprung. I thought that your Stag was majestic.

Joyce Maxted February 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Truly amazing and beautiful work.If I had the space(I live in a condominium) I would buy one of your majestic pieces and ship it to the west coast of Canada.

joe cachia March 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I would like to buy one if someone could contact me.

leanne April 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

i am doing my high school art project on your art work its beautiful the way you display such a soft look to the horses with such a rough material!!!!!!

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