Observing beauty in unexpected places, artists Susan Horth captures moments in nature and brings to life a diverse range of creatures with extraordinary craftsmanship and skill.
Susan Horth is an artist and maker primarily sculpting intricate standing works and wearable pieces with beading and wire. Observing beauty in unexpected places, Susan captures moments in nature and brings to life a diverse range of creatures with extraordinary craftsmanship and skill. She is based at Cockpit Arts in London amongst a community of artisans.
Tooled with a set of pliers Susan works organically - constructing an armature of wire, upon which she builds layers of textures and stitching, adding glazed papers and metal foils. To complete the work - carefully chosen beads, pearls, antique adornments and semi precious stones are added from a collection she has built over the years. A vast collection which surrounds her studio and home, fills her pockets and which, she says, leaves a trail everywhere she goes.
Susan has a lifelong passion for wildlife. As a child she would sit quietly for hours looking in the grass as a spectator of tiny insect worlds. Today she is still happiest outdoors in her garden. She has strong convictions about protecting our natural environment and its inhabitants as well as a deep rooted fascination with Natural History, the Enlightenment and an interest in cabinets of curiosities.
Having obtained a BA First Class Hons in 3D Design - Silver & Metal, in the late 80’s Susan went on to develop a series of statement jewellery collections in pleated wire mesh. Her work was applauded by the fashion world and stocked by some of the most stylish jewellers, galleries and stores in London and New York. Ultimately though, it left Susan unsatisfied creatively and craving an outlet to express her true interests.
In the 90’s Susan took the plunge - she bucked the trends of the time and started working as a full-time artist making representative works - depicting insects, flowers, birds and other creatures in ways which are at once fantastical and unnervingly realistic. Every sculpture she creates is completely bespoke and ‘alive’ with its own distinct personality. Owls peer languidly through heavy lidded eyes, embellished bees are poised mid-flight, lizards flit, a bejewelled grasshopper is bright in brilliant green. Through Susan’s eyes even a glistening slug, carrying its pearl like eggs, has an innate beauty and wonder:
“I have always found solace in observing nature - its colours, textures and forms. Green wild places, the sea and the creatures that inhabit them are the most precious things we have. Every creature has its own beauty, some appear ugly at first glance but on closer observation can be seen to be wonderful in design. This diversity continues to provide me with a rich fund of ideas and inspiration.”
This year Susan has also developed a new series of silver statement jewellery inspired by the fluid movement of Siamese fighting fish. The new collection draws on Susan's fascination with detail and movement in the natural world in a more sculptural and futuristic style. Cast using the traditional 'lost wax' technique, each piece is individually carved to create it's own unique form.
Susan is not one to shout about her accolades, but in 2006 she won the prestigious Gold Award at Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship and Design Council Awards in the Gallery Fashion Jewellery category and was ‘Commended’ by Goldsmiths’ again the following year. Her creatures have been commissioned by the likes of Fortuna Valentino and sold in Milan, Tokyo & New York. Today Susan mainly works to commission and sells through boutique galleries, as well as creating collections for leading stores such as Liberty London.