In Heather Jansch's life inspiration, seems a rather haphazard thing, as she doesn't appear to know just when it will come and it seems to depart with equal suddenness. However, while some might find that frustrating, she seems to be able to accept that with equanimity. One of the reasons for that is that she also appears to lead a very full life, even in the times when she's not creating, thinking, dreaming and building her art. This is made clear by the amount of space taken up in the journal describing events and happenings that on the surface have little to do with her art. For while they may not directly result in the creation of a horse or other sculpture, they can't really be separated from her creative process either as they offer evidence of a mind that's constantly finding the pleasure in life that's required for inspiration to flourish
One of the delights of the journal is its layout, with text, photographs, and reproductions of sketches and preliminary drawings evenly distributed throughout its pages. Whether it's a picture of children attending an open house at Jansch's studio, a rough ink sketch of a horse, or a stunning shot of one of her creations silhouetted against a misty morning sky surrounded by trees, each piece helps to explain why she does what she does. There are no simple answers as to why any artist creates. They may be able, as Jansch does, to tell you what inspires them — in her case, it's life — but as far as why is concerned, it comes down to a cross between "because" and "I must." However, when we see the results of her creativity, and try to imaginee the feelings generated by knowing you were responsible for creating something as astounding as one of her statues or were responsible for the smile on that child's face, a piece of the why comes a little bit clearer.
While her process might seem somewhat random, dependent on inspiration as it is, the reality, as we learn, is that once inspiration hits, hard work, sweat, and toil have as much to do with artistic creation as they do with any labour. One thing you'll learn for sure from reading A Life In The Year Of... is that there's one heck of a lot of hard work that goes into making something beautiful and no matter how magical inspiration might be, without the down to earth perspiration nothing would ever get done. This is a delightful and insightful journey into the mind of a truly inspired artist that will be a pleasure and an education for artist and non-artist alike.