“Sometimes I’ll stop work and go out to the stable and pasture to look at the muscles and proportions.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Dixie Jewett
“Drifter,” one of the monumental horses Equine Sculptor Dixie Jewett has created, is a sculpture that perfectly personifies all this skilled artist is about. His steel frame stands twenty hands high and the elaborate variety of found objects that make up his body - from Model A Ford wheels to skillets to license plates and railroad spikes - expresses how our experiences, travels and often discarded items from our past can be transformed to create a new reality beyond any original plan or expectation. It is the story of this singular artist’s life.
While growing up on a farm in Montana Dixie Jewett knew horses well and always felt a strong interest in art; but after high school a different love took center stage. “I always wanted to be an artist,” she says, “but I was sidetracked by flying.” She spent fourteen years flying seaplanes as air-taxis around Alaska and still keeps a plane at her local airport; in whatever spare time she has, she’s rebuilding another.
During all her time flying Dixie Jewett never got art out of her system and for the past fifteen years has pursued it full time as a career. A welding class led her down the path that would capture her imagination and steel became her medium. Dixie Jewett learned the processes of gas- and wire-feed welding and began fashioning horses, ultimately turning to found objects to represent her true artistic statement. Dixie Jewett has now become a renowned fabrication artist working broken tools, rusted car parts, farm equipment and myriad odds and ends together to create her indisputably life-like horse sculptures. One has only to admire the precision with which she captures the nuance of a delicate fetlock or pastern, and the strength captured in every flank and withers, to know this is an artist of truly significant skill.
“Stormy Bay’s” rusty brown patina is ¼” steel plates with a conglomeration of railroad spikes, wrought iron fleur delis and horseshoes added. He was conceived from the patterns of curled parts that mimic the waves of a stormy ocean and represents the love Dixie Jewett has for bay horses. “Drifter” represents Jewett’s travels across the country, always on the hunt for unique materials to incorporate into her horses. On a spiritual level, he portrays the search for our life’s purpose and exemplifies the concept that the total is more than the sum of its parts.
Typically, Dixie Jewett draws her ideas on the floor first then begins the three-dimensional work, taking several months to complete each sculpture. Each one is unique, both in materials and in concept; painstaking work with forge, torch and welding rod bring a unique character to each horse. Jewett says, “Sometimes I’ll stop work and go out to the stable and pasture to look at the muscles and proportions.” It is this precision of effort that defines the incomparable work of Dixie Jewett.