Artist Transforms Driftwood Into Fantastical Sculptures That Look Like Spirits of Nature

Artist Debra Bernier creates fanciful sculptures from the nature that surrounds her in Victoria, Canada. She uses organic materials like clay, shells, and driftwood to create mesmerizing sculptures. These intricate pieces of art portray the spirits of nature as people and natural elements blend together.

“When I work with driftwood, I never start with a blank canvas. Each piece of driftwood is already a sculpture, created by the caresses of the waves and wind,” Debra shares.

She added: “The wood tells a story and I try to think of its journey as I hold it in my hand. I extend or shorten the curves and contours that already exist into familiar shapes of animals or peoples’ faces.”

Debra’s work is not limited to wood, as she often incorporates shells, clay, stones, and other found objects to compliment her figures.

Her passion for the holiest things in the world—children, animals, and nature. She uses organic materials like clay, shells, and driftwood to create mesmerizing sculptures. These intricate pieces of art portray the spirits of nature as people and natural elements blend together.

The incorporation of shells, a symbol of fertility in many cultures, helps draw out this association. As a modern-day reinterpretation of prehistoric stone Venus figurines, these talismans evoke calm contemplation, which Bernier expertly captures in beautifully framed photographs.

Debra loved the ocean and the outdoors as she was a little child. And she is still grateful for the opportunity to express her passion for both with others via her work. “The little girl in me is still fascinated by the shapes in wood, the sun sparkling on the water, smooth, grey stones, and salty seaweed. Simplicity brings me more happiness than complexity. I hope to share this with others.”

Nature is part of our life. Although we sprung from the earth as a seed and are a part of everything, we are quickly losing the belief that we are just another kind of animal. Can you feel for a tree, look at it, see its beauty, and listen to the sound it makes? Can you pay attention to the tiny weed, the creeper climbing the wall, the shadows and light on the leaves?

You may live in a town, there are still trees here and there. Even though the flower in the next garden may be neglected and overrun with weeds, when you gaze at it, you will feel a connection to everything there and to all living things. If you hurt nature, you are hurting yourself.

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