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Sculpture making







From the moment I was commissioned in August 2014 to create a Memorial to the
World War  I War Horse, I have dedicated my heart to the project.
I have searched in my mind the one horse which would echo as many types of horses possible
well as mules, looking to find in one sculpture what would communicate, through presence,
silhouette, body language and detail, what horses, mules and donkeys lived through and suffered during the war years 1914-1918.
My first study drawings and ideas were very different to the final maquette as the more I read, the more I learned, the more I realized how appalling the war had been.
The preparation and making of this maquette has been very much part of my existence ever since, my emotions far more than I would ever have imagined. Psychologically stressful and physically tiring at times.
During the making process I transformed the maquette into different types of horses in varied
positions working through observation and by altering the maquette to reach what I hope to be a solemn legacy to all war horses and mules by echoing the souls of those animals with dignity.
To reflect in one sculpture what has been described as “indescribable sufferings and horrors”. absorbing


It is quite a long time since I last updated my website and artist page. In fact too long. Sorry. Please join me on Facebook:  Susan Leyland - Horse Block Sculpture  
where I regularly update on new work, work in progress, exhibitions and other.


I have been working all year to prepare for my solo exhibition at the Marino Marini Museum, Pistoia to be held from 10th November – 8th December this year.  I have made clay and bronze Horse Block Sculptures, bronze Gallivanting Horses - horses full of fleeting movement - which are mounted on tall steel stems as well as two large sculptures in terracotta one a block and the other a sphere.  I have a new catalogue containing works created over the last three years and works which will be in the exhibition.  The catalogue will be presented at the vernissage.. The November Marino Marini Museum exhibition marks a moment of great importance to me and I wish to thank the museum directors for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work in the prestigious MarinoMarini Foundation Museum of Pistoia

It is difficult to identify the origin of my inspiration but on thinking back over time I believe that a small collection of white Chinese porcelain horses I owned, some clay and my enduring love of horses perhaps initially led me to create sculpture. Time has since passed and one sculpture has led to another. There has been a natural evolution in my work and ideas that have led to the development of my Horse Block Sculpture – a solution of merging subject and base together. The base and the sculpture become one, each evolving and emerging from the other, whilst maintaining total balance and visual purity. Sculpture has given me a way to transform something into something else and not just that which is visible, but also the morphing of emotions and ideals. The blocks give me a feeling of roots, of stability or a desire for this, as well as a feeling of peace, calm and reflection, whereas in extravagant opposition are the Gallivanting Horse sculptures which are energetic and free. 

This year I have been concentrating on working in wax and bronze as I feel that these two materials enable me to create new ideas and liberate movement which is restricting when working in water based clay and the Horse Block Sculptures.  I have sketched many ideas for horses balanced on tall high bases – horses freeing themselves, frolicking, spirited and mischievous.  Some of these sketches have been transformed into eight bronzes.  I have called them Gallivanting Horses.  Small bronze sculptures on long stems.  The first eight are unique pieces, modelled directly in wax, where I concentrated especially on silhouette and equilibrium.  I have been working and learning at the foundry for several months.  A sort of apprenticeship or sculpture academy as I wish to learn as much as possible .   New ideas for my Horse Block Sculpture continue to evolve and I am inspired to work towards more architectural and angled design sculptures.
I continue to be motivated by creating what I have not done or seen before.


My artistic journey continues to evolve. I continue to be inspired and research an innovative way of representing the horse in art. At the moment - Sculpture which combines geometric shapes with curves . My sculptures often symbolically represent my life's passage, as well as portraying the horse in its own reality I have called these sculptures Horse Block Sculpture.


What I can now call a career, began when I was given some Impruneta clay(terracotta), famous since Etruscan times and I tried to make something with it. The result was a bas-relief depicting a wild horse.  I continued to ‘play’ with clay and made more adventurous pieces learning by trial and error. My objective was to make sculpture of harmonious shape and a pleasure to the eye. I wanted to create beautiful horses with fine legs but I found that it was technically impossible to do.  One day I  broke the horse’s legs, head and neck of one of my fired pieces and mounted what was left on an old piece of stone. This image enlightened me and I worked on creating this type of sculpture where only a part of the horse’s legs were portrayed. These sculptures were mounted on old stone, brick and wood found in the Tuscan countryside. For me these new works captured images of my memory - what  I would remember from one glace - so if part of a leg was not portrayed it did not seem necessary.   From here my work developed. The bases of stone, old brick and wood  became rigorous blocks in clay. Developing on my previous works together with new ideas, the blocks and horses naturally merged together, first in height, then in length. These shapes developed into what I call ‘Horse Block Sculpture’  I continue to research shape and form spending time sketching and developing new ideas. I am working on compiling a book of my sketches ‘Sketches to Sculpture’



I continue to work and adventure into the world of sculpture, developing new shapes and fusing horses, blocks and spheres to create what I have named Horse Block Sculptures. I am honoured to have been given full membership with the American Academy of Equine Art. I will be showing a sculpture for the first time at the AAEA Gallery, in the Kentucky Horse Park during the Rolex Three-Day Event in April.

2009 marks ten years of collaboration with the Tornabuoni Art Gallery, Florence, Italy. To celebrate this we are planning an exhibition in November.
The Cambridge Art Gallery, Santa Monica, California now holds my work and represents me in the USA.

I continue to work with Alan Kluckow Fine Art, London, through which gallery I have been entrusted by Lloyds TSB to make sculptures which will be on show before and during the London 2012 Equestrian Olympic Games.

As I love colour I am also working on what I call Tuscan Panels. The colours of Tuscany. Colours inspired by its villas, walls and countryside where I make and add small bas reliefs. I have met many wonderful people in the past years. People who have given me encouragement and believed in me my work so thank you all very much.



I feel fortunate that my love of horses and art have come together as a natural comb- ination.  My visual memory and many years of observation are vital when sculpting my horses. Moulded in the clay are my emotions and love as well asknowledge of anatomy and horse psychology. I also feel very fortunate to do something I love doing and I hope I am able to give joy to those who come across my work.  

 Susan Leyland 
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