Wednesday, 18 May 2011

On white horses

Having finished Elephant, I wanted to try something similar and found inspiration from our oldest chalk figure, the Uffington White Horse. He gallops his way across mystical realms in Oxfordshire; you can read more about his history here. I've not visited him myself, but we have our own chalk figure in Sussex, the Long Man of Wilmington who watches over us from the wonderful Downs. I have climbed up the very steep hill to look down on him from above and salute him with affection each time I drive past on the A27. His presence is one of my earliest memories of coming to Sussex from Petersfield, when Dad was still alive and driving us to visit Ganna, "quick, look, look to your right, there's the Long Man". There is something very evocative about these ancient chalk figures, speaking to us of human activity and the desire to mark our landscape and advertise our presence. Something evocative too about the Downs themselves which roll and roll across the south of England, part of my own life's background, scoured by sheep and carolled by sky larks.

My white horse has been edited and added to, partly to make it possible to use applique to create his image, he is very slender in his original form, and partly because I sensed he wanted to feel the wind in his mane and tail. I am hoping he is pleased with my additions and will enjoy a little landscape growing in stitch around him.

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