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Ethereal Figures Gracefully Emerge from Distressed Pieces of Hand-Carved Driftwood

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Artist Debra Bernier refers to her exquisite figurative artwork as “spirit sculptures” that emerge from chunks of carved driftwood. Working with distressed barks and fragments of trees, she tames the rough materials into pieces that are smooth and graceful with colorful pink and blue accents. Though they have delicate human faces, their bodies often fuse with elements of nature—such as seashells and brambles—as well as fantastical characteristics like angel wings.

“Each piece of driftwood holds a story,” Bernier writes on Etsy. As she carves the material away, she “reveals” the character and their story. The wood is drastically altered, but she still maintains some of its organic shape by conforming a figure to the swooping curves or blunt branches. In this way, her art represents a true collaboration with the natural world.

Bernier sells her work through her Etsy shop, Shaping Spirit.

shapingspirit1shapingspirit8shapingspirit6shapingspirit13shapingspirit2shapingspirit4shapingspirit12shapingspirit11shapingspirit5shapingspirit10Debra Bernier: Etsy | Facebook
via [So Super Awesome]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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