I was completely lost for direction after the dissertation hand in, and I spent several weeks floating around, trying to find a new starting point. I was moping on the sofa outside the studio, and I was having a conversation with a course mate about the fact that I couldn’t decide where to go. They asked ‘well, what do you like?’ and I was like, ‘well I like horses.’ I’ve avoided doing projects based around horses before because I’ve always had the fear that I would get stamped as ‘that girl who likes horses’, which doesn’t sound like anything to be worried about but I find that in a lot of tv shows and movies there is the stereotype of that weird horse girl and I didn’t want that to be me.
I figured the best way to avoid that would be a result of how I went about incorporating horses in my project work. On the same day as that conversation with my course mate, I took a trip to St Fagans at the suggestion of a tutor, in the hopes that I would find my inspiration. It was a successful trip, as I found my inspiration in the gift shop in the form of a book titled ‘Harnessed’. It detailed the lives of the horses working in the mines in wales, before they shut down, and machinery took over. What struck me about this was that earlier on in the week, only a few days before, I had been looking on pinterest and had come across a few images of pit ponies purely by accident, but it had caught my attention then and as a result was already at the back of my mind when I found the book.
This combination of things began to cement my new direction. The final element, that fully secured it was a meeting with Kate Dicker, who visited the university to do a talk. I was lucky enough to have a tutorial with her, and I found that she also focused on horses a lot in work. I found some illustrations she had done of working farm horses, which matched my new direction of work in content, as well as her approach to drawing being similar to my own, featuring fluid, expressive marks. It was this meeting that finally got me motivated and interested in moving forward with this project.