Elaine Peto graduated from Exeter College of Art & Design in 1985, where she studied animals via livestock markets and the abattoir, using the media of photography and drawing to record the structure of the carcass.
In 1986, she set up a studio and continued the study of agricultural animals. Each animal is individually made by the process of slab building in clay, i.e. rolling out a sheet of clay and forming the body, then gradually adding slab by slab to form the whole animal. The details are then remodeled until the animal is complete. It is then biscuit fired, glazed and refired to stoneware.
"I love to work with different pieces of fabric, shells, netting and brushes, which are impressed into the clay, forming a reference to animal hide and brand marks."
The result is a selection of very tactile and dynamic animal sculptures.
Elaine's focus has often been on agricultural or domestic animals, but she has also sculpted more exotic reatures such as okapis or mythical beasts such as minotaurs. She also experiments with incorporating other materials such as metals with ceramics.