This series is about horses: about a lot of tossing, turning, expressive heads and necks in various surfaces, textures, and colors. For a long time now I have especially enjoyed drawing draft horses and using them as a theme in my art. This may be because my first horse, Red, was an old roman-nosed chestnut, sixteen hands tall and a little furry around the fetlocks. We bought him out of a field in Goleta when I was twelve, for twenty-five dollars. He might have been a plow horse, but I just rode him. He had his opinions, and a mouth like iron, but we worked things out together over time. I had other horses, but he somehow filled my eye, and it is mainly draft horses that have the solid look I love.
When I am working, I control the medium to a large extent, but I also feel some guidance from it, working in a sort of contemplative collaboration with the clay, or the printing plate, and the theme, and possibly the deity. I am usually hopeful when new directions appear, as they do, but I am never sure what will emerge. With this series, I started each neck about the same way, with two large slabs, impressed with rope and net textures when rolled out, then shaped over hump molds of piled up tee shirts. I made the form for each head by wrapping a slab around a lozenge shaped tee shirt bundle. When the parts stiffened up enough, I joined the neck sections. I worked on two at a time. In joining head and neck parts together, and adding mane and ears and features, the variations appear, and the attitudes emerge. Draft horses have simple names, so I gave each one a name, first, and then listened to what each one had to say to me, for the title. Nina de Creeft Ward, Fall 2012