War horse – The Slate 

The slate was a great find, cleaned up and chipped to shape the colour and crocked edges are well suited to this project topic. During the war slate was used for many aspects of shelter building, moving artillery and Many other purposes.

To accompany the slate, I also found loose bits of thin wire and a horse shoe. Both materials also suit this story and setting of work. With the wire I have composed a simple image of a horse and man. Thinly framed and characterised, the figures are representatives for the characters in the story. The horse shoe I used as a frame to hold a series of specifically placed beads. Using colours such as pale pink, glass coated red and dark blue I have tried to captured the blood pour from the soldiers during such a dark and dampened time. These beads also form the Union Jack.

With the brief asking for three pieces I have only composed two. My reason being because I cannot find a suitable use for the third. With the simplicity of the other two I dot want to ruin the composition as a whole. With this Christmas project I have felt as though I haven’t had any connection with this work. The story itself isn’t something that interests. But I have found that I lack a connection in most of my work. This is definitely something I need to work on…



War horse – Ideas 

Looking through old sketchbooks I came across some of my favourite works by Joseph Cornell. His use of obscure object arrangements in boxes shout character and quirkiness…

My attempt…

Using the boxed presentation and the theme of ‘building relationships’, chains and boxes represent the gradual growth and strong links in the film. Between the horse and the boy or the German and British soldier on the war front, this theme of ‘building relationships’ and connecting in order to progress can be found through out the film. I have also used obvious objects linked with horses such as horse shoes. Although I don’t need to use such symbols, the horse shoe is made from a strong material, that durable and serves a grand purpose, this also stand for a relationship or friendship.

Moving away from deep boxes, shallow picture frames deemed more appropriate. Considering materials it would be nice for me to make the picture frames from loose planks of wood. Within these frames I have also thought about the materials that I will use and my compositions. Organic materials such as woods, metals, leaves and recycled paper reflect the resources used during the war and on the farms in Devonshire. Thinking of other possibilities, an afternoon of exploring in my garden in west wales brought me to three pieces of broken slate. These pieces stood as a great background for potential work.


War Horse – Materials, Colours & Compositions  

War horse – Intro & Research  

The brief for this project is to put together a badly of work and create three final pieces by the beginning of the second term…quite a straight forward. 


  • The film was originally a theatre production and further made into a film that lasts two hours and twenty nine minutes.
  • Set during WWI, Devonshire, France.
  • Main characters include the horse ‘joey’, a family of three, a general matching to war, an old Frenchman and his grand daughter, German and British soldiers as well as other horses.
  • Genres: war novel
  • Originally published in 1982
  • Author: Michael Morpurgo
  • Children’s novel

The horse…

  • Separated from mother 
  • Buildings a relationship with the farm boy 
  • Saves a families home and income 
  • Sold to a military man 
  • Captured by Germans 
  • Make a friend, another horse 
  • Pulls German artillery 
  • Friend dies 
  • Runs for his life 
  • Gets caught in wire
  • Freed from wire by a German and an English soldier 
  • Returns to farm boy 

Hidden themes…

  • Building relationships
  • Working hard 
  • Taking risks 
  • Having faith