A LOCAL farmer is making forays into the art world, using only what he has around him.
After seeing his brother trying to make a model with old agricultural scrap metal from their farm, Josh decided to turn his hand to sculpture.
‘I really enjoy it,’ said Josh, ‘I just like taking that pile of scrap and turning it into something completely different, it’s really satisfying.’
After some practice in the barn, Josh’s first major project was a life-size ram for a charity auction hosted at the farm over the summer.
Josh said: ‘We had this charity auction and I wanted to make something for it.
‘Lots of the prizes were holidays or products, which are great, but they have a set value if you will. I wanted to do something that was a bit different – I genuinely didn’t know how to put a price on it.
‘I started the price at £300 and thought I’d maybe get about £500, but never thought I’d get all the way to £1,500.’
The process of making the sculptures isn’t easy. First, Josh sources hundreds of used horseshoes, often from local farmers and others he knows through the South Dartmoor YFC, where Josh is the Chairman.
Then, each shoe must be cleaned, sanded and de-nailed, a slow and laborious process.
‘I get them from all the farms all over as people have found out that I’m doing this, but when they come to the farm they’re in a pretty bad way, they’re all just scrap, so I have to sand them all down before I can do anything with them.
‘The other day I found a quicker way, we got a cement mixer on the back of a tractor, chuck a load of gravel in with the shoes, drive along and it cleans them up for me.’
Then the sculpture can start to come together. No project is easy, with the ram taking between 80 and 100 hours to complete.
Josh added: ‘Horseshoes are not easy to work with. They don’t bend easily and they’re really difficult to shape. You have to keep heating them, and then shaping them, it takes quite a bit of time and patience.
‘I haven’t got anything fancy to do it with, just a vice, a welder, a grinder and a hammer.’
Each piece must be made in the exact right shape. In there were about 200 shoes in the design, 50 in the head alone.
Other projects have been a horse’s head, a cockerel and some more household items such as a shoe rack.
After receiving interest from art dealers and friends alike, Josh has no plans to slow down, although time constraints on the farm are his only issue.
‘Someone’s asked me about doing an elephant next, which I have already thought about how I could do.
‘Someone else has asked me to do a lifetime cow, they want it for a wedding for one of their mates. That could be a really fun challenge.’