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. Working with driftwood, Bernier studies the shape and form of each piece, carefully carving out or adding to the natural material to form these delicate, feminine figures. “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. “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. Like nymphs sprouting in the forrest and along the seashore, the sculptures are a true fusion of humanity and nature, often evoking themes of fertility and motherhood. 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. “The finished pieces are a reflection of not only my life, my family, and children, but of an eternal, sacred connection we all share with nature,” she says. You'll certainly never view a piece of driftwood the same way again!

Both original artwork, as well as prints, are available via her Etsy shop.

Debra Bernier: Facebook | Etsy
via [Little Things, Bored Panda]

All images via Debra Bernier.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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