Artist Newy Fagan has traveled a different bridle path with her kiln-formed glass horses.
Over the past three decades, artist Newy Fagan has created a unique herd of horses. Made of kiln-formed glass, these tiny equine wonders are a mere 7 to 9 inches tall. But what they lack in size, they make up for in sheer number—8,300-plus and counting.
“I don’t remember a time I wasn’t drawing or didn’t have horses in my life,” says Fagan, who grew up on her family’s Connecticut farm. “As a youngster, I gave art lessons and riding lessons for 50 cents an hour. It makes perfect sense that my love of art and horses eventually converged into one.”
After getting a fine arts degree from Southern Connecticut State University, Fagan taught elementary school art for two years. But her artistic ambitions soon led her out of the classroom.
“I wanted to be an artist, so I went all in on the artistic life,” says Fagan. “I painted and participated in art shows. It was at a show that I met a glass artist and that set me on a different path. When I was introduced to the process of fusing glass in a kiln, I had a new artistic calling.”
Not long after Fagan bought a farm near the Ocala National Forest in 1979, she purchased a specially designed kiln from Bullseye Glass Company.
“Bullseye not only made the special kiln, it also makes compatible glass for fusing,” says Fagan. “And that led to creating my first fusion glass horses in 1987.”
But all did not go smoothly from the beginning.
“I call those early horses my drunken sailors because their legs would splay out,” says Fagan. “It took me two years and 600 horses to figure out the right amount of time to leave them in the kiln. But once I mastered that, I was rolling. I’ve made more than 8,300 horses.”
To create each horse, Fagan places layers of glass into the kiln at temperatures above 1,450 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the glass pieces melt together into a flat horse, she removes it. The horse is then quickly shaped and uprighted. It is then transferred into another kiln to cool, a process that can take eight hours.
“My original horses were modeled from an Arabian horse,” says Fagan. “For my new horses, I’m using Clydesdale, Percheron and Quarter horse models. These are going to be a little bigger at 12 inches and be in the colors of those breeds. I love exploring how horses can come to life in glass.”
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