By day, he works as the clinical director of Hopewell, a 306-acre working farm in eastern Ohio that is home to 40 adults with mental illnesses. After a day spent counseling groups and individuals and supervising other clinicians, Horne returns home to a 105-year-old house in Girard and works among his scrap heaps.
Those scrap heaps, for Horne, are pieces of art waiting to be put together and balanced. “I’m all about the belief,” he said, “that a well-balanced life is a good life.” Each piece relies on only the most minimal points of contact and might include metal, rock, wood or some combination of materials.
Horne’s work will be on display beginning May 9 in the Looney Gallery of the Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster. An opening reception will be held from 2-4 that day, and Horne will do a talk and demonstration at 3. “I’m bringing a torch and a bunch of metal,” Horne said, “and will do the torching and balancing process.”
Art was not something Horne set about creating. As a child, he tried his hand at woodworking, a hobby of his father’s, and found over the years he was handy with tools, a necessity, he said, for the owner of an old house.
For some time, he said, he told his wife about projects he could accomplish if only he had a welding torch. For his 40th birthday, she got him one.
Almost immediately, Horne said, he started using the torch for “goofing around in the garage,” putting different pieces together to see how they looked. When he ran out, he took to haunting the region’s scrap yards. He’d find 400 to 500 pounds of odds and ends and bring everything home in the truck. “By the time it gets to the scrap heap, it’s no longer clean,” Horne said. “It’s more organic and that’s what attracts me.”
From that point, he said, he just looks at the piles and grabs what he thinks will work together. “I don’t design ahead of time or do any kind of math,” he said. After a few years, the rock was added, then the wood.
With several pieces completed, Horne said he applied to be part of a nearby street fair, where he met other artists who encouraged him to get his work into the public eye. One of those venues was the James E. Winner Arts & Cultural Center in Sharon, Pennsylvania, which then was then directed by Dayna Sear, now the executive director of the Wayne Center for the Arts.
After a dozen years as a sculptor, Horne said he does 10 to 15 shows a year all across the eastern and midwestern U.S. One thing you won’t find in his shows is a “Do not touch” sign. “There will probably be signs that will say ‘Please touch this,’” he said, because of all his art is interactive. While he will have pieces for sale during his Wooster exhibition, which continues through June 11, Horne said he typically does not do commission work. “I make what I like to make,” he said, “and if people like it, they buy it from me.”
It’s all built on a very simple technology, Horne said, and probably never would have happened if he did not live near so much of the rusting old steel he repurposes.
The welding torch proved to be quite the gift, he said, though “I repair very little now.”
For more information about Horne’s exhibition, go to www.wayneartscenter.org. For more about Horne and his work, go to www.danielhornestudio.com.
Published: May 4, 2015