Amazing Driftwood Sculptures

All images courtesy of Heather Jansch

Think recycling and crushed cans, paper pulp and bottle banks come to mind, but artist Heather Jansch is turning that idea on its head with the most beautiful recycling projects you’ll ever see.

A far cry from schoolyard recycled art projects, artist Heather returns twisted, sun-bleached driftwood, oak and copper to nature by reincarnating it as life-size animal sculptures.

Equine artist Heather, who started out painting horse portraits, has a soft spot for all creatures of the four-legged variety, which is apparent in her art. While she has so far immortalised stags, bears and even pigs
in her sculptures, the horse is the star of the show when it comes to Heather’s artistic creations.

She explains: “From the beginning my twin passions were drawing and horses.” Working with twisted and sea-worn pieces of driftwood from
the Devon coast, Heather gives them new life by painstakingly piecing each item together to not just represent the equine form but to embody it.

Just as each horse has its own personality, so do each of Heather’s horse sculptures and they are even named.

Heather tries to work with each piece of wood as she finds it. Rather than sculpting it or making it fit, she prefers a more organic approach to art.

Timber is often placed around a fibreglass-coated steel frame to hold it steady and fixed in place using stainless steel screws. This combination of materials means that the reincarnated animals have a longer lifespan than their living, breathing cousins.

While not everyone will have space for a scale model of a horse or other large animal in their back garden, Heather says that some of her sculptures do indeed go to people’s homes, although the majority are destined for public places.

When Heather was training in art, she was asked to leave college. She explains: “I was told I did not have the stuff painters were made
from.” While Heather’s painting was accurate and detailed, it didn’t seem to
fit within the trend for what she describes as “square green canvases with
triangles and circles with bold, clashing colours.” But she’s gone on to prove her teachers wrong. Who needs bold, clashing colours when nature can provide everything for a magnificent work of art?

With thanks to Heather Jansch for her kind permission to use images and details from her website.