Debbie Burt and Ollie McPhail with the pupils from Newmarket Academy and their finished sculptures

Moulding young minds through sculpture

The beauty and elegance of the equine athlete has long been a subject of great artistic attention. From the 16,000-year-old Lascaux cave paintings, through to masters such as Da Vinci, Degas and Kandinsky, horses have always been at the forefront of human creativity – the perfect subject to inspire the imagination of young minds.

On January 9th, award-winning journalist, photographer and artist Debbie Burt ran a very special workshop as part of the Godolphin-backed Newmarket Beacon project, delivered by Racing to School. The sculpture workshop involved 27 students being given an armature – a wire framework around which the sculpture is built – based on a horse’s head, and a lump of clay. From there, Debbie walked them through how to create all of the elements that go into making a horse distinctive: the nostrils, eyes, ears, mane etc. The students were then shown examples of Debbie’s previous work, including a trophy she produced for Racing to School based on the great racehorse Frankel, as well as classic pieces from ancient Greece. They were then free to express themselves in creating a finished piece, which showed each of their unique perspectives.    

“Everyone produced something slightly different, which is exactly what I wanted,” said Debbie. “They were an outstanding class, who were enthusiastic and incredibly engaged in their task. They were the kind of group that make teaching easy!”

The Newmarket Beacon is aimed at bringing young people into contact with new and diverse experiences and skills through the charity’s and Godolphin’s connections across the equine world. It is always great to see young people engaged in creativity and you can see a selection of their masterpieces below. Racing to School is hoping to continue this association with Debbie and is very fortunate to be able to call upon her talented tuition through these excellent workshops.

The finished article. A selection of sculptures produced by the pupils.