Rikki Morley Saunders grew up in upstate NY. Under the tutelage of her father, an exceptional woodcarver, Rikki's budding artistic vision was nurtured alongside a deep love and respect for nature. In the 1970's a strong passion for 3 dayeventing took hold. With her daughter, Rikki settled in Unionville, PA to pursue this interest and was long-listed for the 1984 Olympics.
Driven to reconnect with her love for art, Rikki started sculpting. She found enormous inspiration in the natural world around her, which she enjoyed through foxhunting, fishing, stalking, trekking, and other outdoor activities. Her work began to reflect her concern for the protection of natural resources, sharpened by her immersion in the sportsmans' life.
In 1997, Rikki responded to a serious threat to open space, water quality and farmland in her community. Compelled to abandon the pursuit of her artistic interests in order to take up the cause, Rikki founded S.A.V.E., a non profit organization formed to halt the unnecessary expansion of a highway that would accelerate sprawl in Chester County, PA. Only after ensuring the continuing success of this organization could she return her focus to her art.
Rikki currently spends most of her time sculpting. She lives with her husband, Jesse, on their farm in Pennsylvania. Together they have created a magical setting replete with horses, dogs, peacocks, foxes, herons, kingfishers, and a herd of fallow deer. "I am one of the luckiest people alive. Only working from real life, I spend my days with these wonderful creatures, observing their habits, learning their language, studying their form and capturing their grace and spirit in clay." Rikki recently loaned two life size peacocks, Alexander and Nureyev, to the Hudson River Museum for their exhibit entitled "Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art".
"Gift in Velvet", completed in 2006, is a life-size bronze sculpture of a feral white-tail deer which she raised on a bottle. Gift has lived among their herd of fallow deer for 13 years.
"Doing this piece was such a joy - it allowed me the luxury of spending time with Gift, though only the time he permitted. Some days we had 45 minutes to an hour, some days he had other things on his mind."
The common theme which runs through everything Rikki has done is her love and respect for nature, and her desire to protect it from harm. This profound interest can be recognized in all of her work today.
Rikki has been featured in The Hunt Magazine in an article called "Rennaisance Woman", and
has been filmed for a television segment of Exploring the Arts with Suzanne Roberts on Comcast/NBC network.
Rikki attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and has studied under many acclaimed painters and sculptors. She is:
a Fellow at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
an Associate Member of the National Sculpture Society and
an Associate Member of the Society of Animal Artists.