HEATHER JANSCHHeather’s childhood passions were drawing and horses. Her time was spent riding, sketchinghorses, and dreaming of art school until Walthamstow College where life drawing honed her already considerable skills. Subsequently Goldsmith’s college proved a disappointment; she failed to adjust and was asked to leave after the first year. “You might scrape onto a graphics course somewhere”.She married the legendary folk guitarist Bert Jansch in 1968. After moving to Wales where she bred welsh cobs, she followed the Stubbs tradition of equine portraiture and her accuracy immediately achieved good prices, but commissioned work was ultimately dissatisfying. In search of her authentic voice she sought advice from Arthur Giardelli, a gifted teacher and distinquished artist. ‘Go and draw a hedge, a thorn, draw not what you see but what makes the thorn a thorn, andnever stop working with horses.”Relocating to Devon, Jansch continuing with commissions, painted at Newton Abbot and Devon & Exeter racecourses, producing loose, colourful, impressionistic works. She started to sculpt in clayafter staying with Sandy Brown, the ceramic artist and the celebrated potter Takeshi Yasuda, but neither clay nor plaster were the answer. Copper wire produced sculpture reminiscent of Da Vinci’sline drawings and eventually proved the perfect foil when she included driftwood; she had finally and powerfully found her unique expression of ‘Horseness’. It was time to exhibit.
In 1987 Courcoux and Courcoux promoted her work at the London Contemporary Arts Fair tocritical acclaim and unprecedented public appeal. Exhibiting at The National Trust’s SaltramHouse, her solo show’s life-size mare and foal made national headlines; she was the only Britishartist working with driftwood and she flourished. In 2000 she exhibited in 'The Shape of TheCentury' - 100 years of sculpture in Britain at Canary Wharf, alongside leading British sculptors,Moore, Frink, Hepworth, Caro et al. Jansch’s horses had achieved worldwide recognition and Tim Smit, KBE, bought one for The Eden Project, where it was voted the best loved exhibit becoming known simply as The Eden Horse. Jansch now has her own Devon gallery. Her life-size pieces are cast in bronze editions of five, the originals are reserved for interiors and summer exhibition. They are kept at her Devon sculpture garden which opens for charity every spring and autumn.
“From the beginning my twin passions were drawing and horses, my hero was Leonardo da Vinci, and my dreams were of becoming an artist living in a wooded valley with clear flowing water at my doorstep and horses grazing all around.”