Horses: a source of inspiration

Whether from the ancient French cave or her own backyard, horses have been Lesley Lloyd's muse

Lesley Lloyd with her horse hair pottery.

Although Lesley Lloyd admits she doesn’t really like getting her hands dirty, pottery is something else.

She’s had her hands in clay since a neighbour urged her to take a course when Lesley and her husband were living in Tasmania.

“It was a two and half hour drive to the course but I became hooked on potting,” she said.

“Pottery is so tactile and the act of creating is so rewarding.”

Lesley’s pottery is the current show at the Quesnel Art Gallery titled Out of the Cave: Art.

Upon their return to Canada in 1973, Lesley joined the Cariboo Potters Guild (she’s been a resident of the Cariboo since 1956 with a few years away at university and the time spent in Tasmania.)

For Lesley, horses have been important in her life since she was a child, so when she was introduced to the horse hair technique by a Texan potter in the late 1990s, she was eager to incorporate the

unique look in her

own work.

Horse hair pottery is much like Raku where the work is pulled from a very hot kiln (about 1,000 degrees Celcius) and actual horse hair from the manes and tails are laid on the pot. They burn into the surface leaving a distinctive and decorative line.

“I grew up with horses and currently have four horses which provide plenty of tail and mane hair,” she said.

But that wasn’t the total extent of her association with horses in her art.

In 1994 she visited Europe for the first time with a friend and returned many times after that, however, it was the discovery of the Chauvet Cave in France and similar caves in Spain which led Lesley to become enthralled with cave art. The Chauvet Cave contains the earliest known cave art, dating back 30,000 – 32,000 years.

Although not open to the public, France has recreated the cave and provides an amazing view of the incredible drawings found within.

“Horses feature prominently in that cave and that has further enhanced my pottery,” Lesley said.

“When one considers how human beings have expanded their art and the forms they use to express themselves since those first primitives, it’s quite amazing.

“Extensive traveling has allowed me to soak up the historical aspects of pottery from museums, galleries and artisans around the world, but visiting present day potters as I did recently on Crete, I have come to understand more the influence of ageless forms and decoration while enjoying more modern expressions in the ceramic medium.”

She added that because horses are so much a part of her life, she expects to express that in her work for the forseeable future.

“But I do explore other techniques and artistic expression,” Lelsey said.

“I would like to work more with salt and soda firing.”

Her gallery show features many pieces of horse hair pottery embellished with her interpretation of cave art featuring horses.

“My work represents my travels, love for horses and passion for creativity.”

The show runs until Oct. 31. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre. South Quesnel Business Association sponsors this show.