There are many forms of recycling materials for artwork but one of the more unusual has to be the use of horseshoes. Tom Hill is an entirely self-taught sculptor who has spent the last six years working exclusively with recycled horseshoes.
Tom’s first horseshoe sculpture was created as a 25th wedding anniversary present to his parents. Tom uses a gas forge, anvil and hammer along with some skilled welding techniques to produce life-size animal sculptures. He is best known for his horse sculptures but has broadened his range to include a huge variety of animals including dogs, stags, badgers, squirrels and even hedgehogs!
As a result of his exhibition at the Living Crafts at Hatfield House in 2006, Tom received many orders and commissions. Among them was one from Lady Salisbury for two life-sized elephants as a present for her husband’s birthday. These are now on display with their new baby elephant in their private garden at Hatfield House.
Publicity for this was given on BBC London News, Three Counties Radio and in the local newspaper. More recently, Tom sculpted the leaping horses that graced the final fence on the Olympic cross-country course at Greenwich. All of his sculptures are constructed entirely from recycled horseshoes for which Tom has a ready supply at his workshop on a livery yard in Hertfordshire.
The Olympic commission was by far his most exciting project to date and they were dubbed “The Olympic Horses” by course builder Sue Benson. They were later auctioned at Christies and fetched £70,000.
Naturally, Tom’s equine creations have attracted the interest of the horse racing community and he has also sculpted a racehorse and a lawn jockey.
His work is now admired across the world and he has received commissions from America and Canada. He is presently experimenting with other materials including copper and stainless steel. You can find out more about the work of Tom Hill on his website at Tomhillsculpture.co.uk.