Artist and metalworker Jacky Oliver is completing her largest installation to date inspired by the history of the horse in agriculture.
Blinkers is a sculptural installation that draws on a range of traditional metalwork techniques and processes, drawing on research into collections held by Somerset Rural Life Museum and Somerset Archives. Jacky wants Blinkers to encourage reflection about the many ways in which horses have been part of rural life in the county. As Jacky’s research revealed, horses were important not just for their role in Somerset farming. Harnessing the power of these amazing animals also gave rise to many traditional craft skills, including those of the farrier, the blacksmith, the wheelwright and the saddle maker.
She was drawn to the form of blinkers, both because of the simplicity of their geometric shapes, and the part they play in preventing the horse from being distracted, allowing it to focus on the task in hand. The linear-steel structure that Jacky is creating will be complemented by leatherwork crafted by Jessie White. The use of shadows suggests the idea of something that is no longer there – echoing a lost memory.
As well as the final outcome of Jacky’s commission, the displays in the Abbey Barn include maquettes that were part of her creative journey and which were inspired by different aspects of the history of horses in Somerset.